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Thursday, May 1, 2008

There are so many roads left

Now's no time to be blogging. For some reason I've decided to download a couple of huge updates over dialup, and my connection might present fair competition for my cat climbing up stairs after too much chewing of her catnip cushion. It's a good incentive to stop blogging and get back to my journal, which I can't finish tomorrow morning as planned, because I need to spend tomorrow morning at the National Library again.

The librarians were very helpful today. There wasn't a lot of material from the CTU in the main collection, so one of them helped me do a search of the unpublished material in the Alexander Turnbull Library. This turned up what could be archive gold - a hundred or more cartons full of CTU papers of all shapes and sizes, dating from 1988 to the present. All, however, are closed for 20 years after their latest date, except by application in writing to the head of the CTU. As I said before, I don't have time for that.

The other thing of interest at the Alexander Turnbull was a series of 11 folders labelled "CTU circulars", also dating from 1988 to the present. No one had a clue what was in these, so I requested the first three. There wasn't time to wait for them to arrive today. I'm going back to look at them first thing tomorrow. If I arrive when the library opens, I'll have just under half an hour to decide whether I need to see the other seven - otherwise I'll have to wait until the next request time at 11 am.

It's all getting rather complex.

If the first three folders do in fact contain CTU newsletters of any variety, I'm well in luck and can continue with my original train of thought (just what were the unions doing in the late 80s and early 90s while various governments trampled all over their constituents?). The problem then will be selecting a representative sample (Sandra suggests four from each year) while resisting the urge to read every single issue.

If the folders don't contain anything of interest, I can go with the 1990s policy documents on the CTU website. (Sandra says they're sufficient in the way of sources - only one type of source is required.) They may not cover exactly the period I wanted to look at, but they'll be interesting nonetheless.

Other things: one of the CTU staff members has offered to look over a draft of my essay. (That means I'll have to try to finish it early!) Essay 1 is due back on Monday, and I'm anxious about it. In today's lecture we tried to characterise the success or failure of social movements, and concluded that, like most things in social science, it's really hard to do.

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