Research is a time sink

Today I forayed to the National Archives. First of – awesome staff! So kind and helpful (and patient). Second – OMG. In order to access the green paper of the Dawkins era, I have to lodge a request which takes 90 days. And then that request might actually just tell me the submissions aren’t in that particular set of papers. Basically, it takes 90 days for someone to find the set of papers, look at it, and then put onto the web site what is actually included. Then I can’t access them until July next year even  if they are there because the Archives are moving buildings (naa-closure-notice). But I can pay to have them scanned.

On the upside, this process indicates I’m the first person to go to the source document for research in higher education because no one has activated the file before. In research terms, I’m in unchartered territories and that’s always a good feeling!

However, on the downside, I’m now in holding pattern for the 1988 data, but I do have a lot of other work to do. I was also told by the helpful person how the Archives lodge the materials (it’s done by agency, not topic…) so now I’ll go back to their web site for more effective searches in case the 600 submissions I need aren’t where I’m hoping they are. I did get told the story of the people who pull down 100’s of documents to find just one….it could be that this is going to take some time…..

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