In this post, Gilded Lily Productions’ Karen Hoy shares a few thoughts on mindful scheduling and the merits of Wikipedia over “proper” research.
On the Art of Scheduling
There was a useful interview with BBC head of arts commissioning Mark Bell in yesterday’s Guardian media pages. See it here.
Among other things, he discusses the scheduling of BBC2 general arts program The Culture Show, championing its move from late night to 7 p.m. It’s a change that I appreciated as a viewer, so I agree with Mark. I love my arts, but I’m not hardcore enough to always watch it very late, when the melatonin is setting in for the night. The brain needs to switch off by then, even if the telly doesn’t (Hello FX). I was surprised at how much more I enjoyed the same content at 7pm, when the brain is still interested in learning things. Now I’ll even rush home for The Culture Show. Part of the art is the fantastically sculptural dresses and jewelry as worn by other-worldly co-host Lauren Laverne. That makes The Culture Show worth a peek at any time.
And on the ever-present temptation of Wikipedia:
I’ve been doing some background research on a new history idea today. I found a short paragraph in a historical novel, that was so evocative and precise I wondered whether it was a “true” detail. It described a notebook belonging to a young girl, and some lines she wrote in it. ‘Gosh,’ I found myself thinking, ‘wouldn’t it be amazing to come across her actual notes in a museum archive somewhere? That would be such a buzz.’
In continuing my very general reading, it was time to hit Google. The inevitable first link to follow up was Wikipedia. It just sits staring at you in the first page of your first “search” and you’re desperate to do something more original, but of course you click on it, just to get it out of the way, and then get on to “proper” research.
Remember, this is still just general background research, nothing specific at all. And there on the first page, in a window, is a summary of the historical reference, with a photographic portrait of the child, and a facsimile of the notebook. It’s just too easy!
I’m grateful for Wikipedia, really. It hasn’t completely replaced libraries, archives, real books, and direct info from the experts, and never completely will. But it sometimes feels like a bit of a spoilsport… like someone who “helps you” with the crossword when you want to think a bit more for yourself first!
Karen Hoy is Development Producer/Writer at UK-based development house Gilded Lily Productions.