July 3, 2011 at 12:58 am #11911
Contrary to popular opinion in some parts of the collecting community, the total of all knowledge in the universe is not yet on the web.
If you accept that statement as true, what are the gaps in the literature (or on the web) that you would most like to see filled? In other words, what books need to be written; what sites need to be developed?
If you don’t accept that statement as true, please give me the URL of where to find all knowledge.July 3, 2011 at 6:27 am #13540
This is a very interesting topic. Thanks !!
If we consider there is no language issue, I have the feeling publications and reference material made real progresses these last years. Why do I say this ?
I will take a few examples linked to my colection areas :
French awards : until recently, there were only a few old dated books in french. This is still the case, if you consider all the French awards; nothing serious and complete has been recently (30 years) published. But : the web is there, thanks to the site of Marc Champenois (http://www.france-phaleristique.com), and specific books now exist as the "Médaille Coloniale" of Patrick Binet (the former book on th subject by Jean Hass being rare nowadays…).
Soviet awards : not a lot published since the fall of the Soviet Union, except the "Comprehensive Guide" of Paul Mc Daniel and Paul Schmitt in 1997. There were hopefully books / catalogs in the Soviet times (they communicated a lot about their awards and heroes), in several languages… Now, you must read Russian to understand the new books published each year from Russia. They are excellent (Durov…) and hard to find if not local… An update of the Comprehensive Guide is most wanted by colelctors, but we also have excellent sources (Mondvor…) and forums on the web…
I could continue… My point is that I believe that the knowledge exist, published in books, magazines, web sites, web forums… Two difficulties :
1. How and where to find it ?
I think, as a conclusion,there are at least one field in which nothing or few has been published : China awards (not my field of collecting, but is there a good comprehensive book on these ?). I believe there are forums, but we are back to language issue…
Ch.July 3, 2011 at 9:24 am #13541
I regard both books and websites as useful resources, but neither are infallible nor to be discarded out of hand!
Websites can be ephemeral, and can contain utter tommyrot – as the ‘information’ thereon has not been seen by any bar the author before it hits our screens. On the other hand, they can be updated as soon as new information comes to light, and they don’t have space considerations for those who wish to present, say, entire chunks of legislation to back up what they say, or post high-quality colour pictures that would be prohibitively expensive to print.
Despite being a dedicated webhead, though, there’s nothing quite like a good book! (Apart from anything else, I can read it in the garden when it’s sunny!). They can be expensive, especially if you want decent pictures, and they can go out-of-date real fast… and they go out of print, so become even more expensive when you want to track down the only tome on the particular medal or country or whatever that has caught your attention!
Hopefully the 2 technologies will fuse with greater use of ‘print-on-demand’ services which, being driven by PDF technology can be updated whenever the author wants to add or amend something and never go out of print… still can be expensive, though!July 3, 2011 at 12:58 pm #13542
Christophe brings up a good point about where to find books. I am a dedicated user of http://www.addall.com, a worldwide book-search site that actually searches other book-search sites as well as book dealer inventories. By allowing you to search on keywords, as well as the basics of author and title, you can often find things that are not obvious from their title. And, it really allows you to do foreign language searches (unfortunately, only in the Latin alphabet as far as I know). I guess Google can do similar things on the web, but filtering out the unrelated sites that have the right keywords can be tedious.
The language barrier certainly stops the laziest among us, but a little effort can solve a lot of those problems. If you can recognize about 50 medallic terms in the language, you have a very good chance of being able to capture the essence of most publications. If you can combine that with a little experience with the language, there is no reason to be blocked by any source written for the popular market. When I was in Germany, I found that learning the terms in George Nimmergut’s price guides allowed me to plow through most German sources with only a little help from dictionaries.
As more and more Chinese-speaking collectors appear in the collecting community, I suspect that the absence of sources on Chinese medals will slowly be corrected. Li Gongqing [James Lee] published "Chinese Orders 1862-1955" in Canada in 2009, and I understand he has another volume coming out. His book has great photographs, which sort of the various grades and classes of orders. Not a lot of text beyond the names of the orders, unfortunately. It’s expensive, but a beautiful work.July 3, 2011 at 1:13 pm #13543
The language barrier certainly stops the laziest among us, but a little effort can solve a lot of those problems. If you can recognize about 50 medallic terms in the language, you have a very good chance of being able to capture the essence of most publications. If you can combine that with a little experience with the language, there is no reason to be blocked by any source written for the popular market.
That’s correct, but you really need to have basic knowledge of the language… For example, Russian language needs you to have a cyrillic keyboard, etc… As I speak basic Russian, I have one… Important for checking with an online translator, in case of doubt…
Ch.September 7, 2016 at 6:48 pm #31793
fred j borgmannParticipant
Five years later but still nothing I know of exists about the Swiss Border Duty Medals issued during 1870-71, 1914-18, 1939-45.
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