WR121 Fisher: Observing the Ordinary
Researching Everyday Objects
Below you will find some specific books and online encyclopedias to search for credible information about the object you have selected. You may also be interested in browsing for objects in the ebook below titled An Uncommon History of Common Things.
Additionally, you can take a look at books and articles on your object by using the tabs at the top of this page. (If you have chosen to write about Twinkies, you're in luck!)
Your research can address the following questions about the object:
What is its history?
What are its origins?
Who invented or popularized it?
Which peoples/cultures first used it, and for what purposes?
What might most people not know about this object that you consider surprising or interesting?
Books About Everyday Objects
- An Uncommon History of Common Things (eBook)From hand tools to holidays to weapons to washing machines, "An Uncommon History of Common Things" features hundreds of colorful illustrations, timelines, sidebars, and more as it explores just about every subject under the sun. This is an ebook!
- ObsoleteObsolete contains essays and entries on more than 100 alphabetized fading subjects, including Blind Dates, Mix Tapes, Getting Lost, Porn Magazines, Looking Old, Operators, Camera Film, Hitchhiking, Body Hair, Writing Letters, Basketball Players in Short Shorts, Privacy, Cash, and, yes, Books.
- Really Useful: the Origins of Everyday ThingsThe stories behind the invention and development of everyday objects in home and offices.
Find Books, Articles, DVDs, and more
Take a look in PCC's two online encyclopedia collections for your object.
Simply type in the name of your object and scan through the search results. While not all objects will be represented, many will have helpful, focused encyclopedia entries.
- Credo Reference This link opens in a new windowProvides online versions of 500 published reference works, including general and specialized dictionaries and encyclopedias. Try the Concept Map to search for terms and topics that are interconnected and displayed in a visual form.
- Encyclopedias for Background Research This link opens in a new windowA selection of online encyclopedias that provides general overviews of topics across many subjects. Start here to get working definitions of key concepts and a big picture view of your topic.
Advanced Google Searching
---> Limit the search to educational websites and add the words “history” or “origins” to your search:
spoons AND history OR origins site:edu
---> Find a relevant Wikipedia article and follow the links in the reference that look promising.
---> If the object you're researching is a brand type, such as "Kleenex" you might go to the parent company's website, such as Kimberly-Clark, in order to see if they publish historical information on the product.