Upholding Ma'at

Journeying through the modern world with ancient ways.

Budget Thursday: The Internet as a Resource

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Let’s face it, the internet is a research source that people will most likely use regardless of how much money one has to spare. It’s fairly inexpensive, there are vast amounts of websites devoted to information on Ancient Egypt, and it’s easy to network with others to access such information. When trying to find accurate information online, one discovers new challenges: many people push their unverified personal gnosis –or UPG– as accurate and truthful as a whole; outdated information may be used; or information that’s outright erroneous. So how does one navigate the internet and find useful information?

Google Scholar is a helpful tool. There are a few useful methods, one which I learned while researching for an English essay back in college. I grew frustrated with the lack of scholarly sources the metasearch engines provided. Upon venting on a forum I frequented a fellow member suggested the scholar feature on Google. The scholar filter displays a plethora of links, though admittedly some scholarly sources are better than others. It links to some sites where you must pay to view the article (it seems there’s no escaping that), but many articles are available for free. I acquired several free .pdf files from several reputable institutions, like the Chicago Institute of Near Eastern studies.

Check the “shelf life” of the information. I will caution that some reputable sites still list some articles where the information is very dated. They list these not to “throw people off” as some would lead to believe. Egyptology is a field that changes very drastically, so what may have been held as a fact a few decades ago might be dismissed today.

Fact check with peers. A simple, though questionably effective, way to fact check are forums or social groups. Those who frequent such places often have many resources and knowledge they are willing to share. However not all sources are up-to-date, accurate, or even for a particular path for which you follow. This is where the aforementioned groups are double-edged. As long as there’s awareness of who follows exactly what path (which means paying attention or asking for clarification) a pattern should develop with certain practices. Understanding how other practices function and asking for sources is integral to weeding out some of the information.

Keep up with Egyptology. If consulting a religious forum feels too dicey, there are websites devoted solely to Egyptology. While it’s difficult to discern if JHotep1992 is really pursuing a degree in Egyptology, let alone possesses any real credentials, they may provide accurate information. That’s why I personally stick with resources from a college. Learning what’s accepted as accurate or scholarly is a boon for independent research.

Learn how to research. Another method includes analyzing as many materials as possible on the subject. In my first semester of college I took a composition course where we learned how to research topics. My teacher encouraged us to look at as many different reputable sources as possible from different authors. That way it would be easier to extrapolate the consensus on information and discern facts. It’s also helpful to educate yourself on the types of sources available.

Here are some sites I recommend:

Per Djeba’s Per Ankh Library (note: you will have to sign up for a class or for the organization, but it’s worth it)

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