Plotting the points on the web - what to read next?
July 28, 2007 3:54 PM   Subscribe

SelfDirectedStudyFilter: How do you figure out what to read next, in order to supplement your current and recent readings, or expand your understanding of concepts/themes? Are there any good resources for this (other than university)?

For instance, let's say a popular movie has reignited my curiousity regarding Virilio's theory of the accident, and I'm interested in what might have influenced his thinking on that, what's been influenced by it, and what could arguably be related, even tangentially or in just one aspect.

Looking Virilio up on Wikipedia doesn't offer much help. His own works have their footnotes, but I've done what I can with those, and a writer won't always be the best source of parallels to their own work.

I'm not interested in tracing lineage (Aristotle -> X) - in fact I'd like lateral non-sequitirs as much as direct connections - and am by no means restricting this to critical theory, philosophy, non-fiction - or, I guess, even strictly text. Pop culture is fair game as well.

I'm looking for
1) any web resources (wikis, online discussion groups), and
2) advice on self-directed inquiry of this sort,

but anything this brings to mind is welcome as well. Thanks.
posted by regicide is good for you to Education (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I would find out what scholars of this Virilio person (or of his field) have to say about him. Their job is to provide the context you appear to be looking for. Those works, in turn, will refer to lots of additional sources of context and commentary.
posted by notyou at 4:02 PM on July 28, 2007

If you're a member of a public or university library (and many university libraries offer membership to community members just for this purpose; here's UCLA's site explaining cards for external users), you may have access to online databases like JSTOR full of scholarly journal articles. We've also chatted about online library resources on Metafilter here.
posted by mdonley at 4:10 PM on July 28, 2007

The Massive Resource List for Autodidacts was posted on the blue awhile back. It might be useful.
posted by sciurus at 4:26 PM on July 28, 2007

I have to do this quite a bit for research. Notyou's answer is spot on, but, more specifically:
Search Google Scholar and JSTOR for citations of the book that contains this theory (was it The Art of the Motor? I can't remember). Find the three articles that discuss it most in-depth, then look at who they cite and reference, and what analytical framework they're using. Find those resources, both books and articles, then rinse and repeat until you know enough.
posted by nasreddin at 4:33 PM on July 28, 2007

Reference librarians can help with these sorts of questions, and you don't have to be attending a university to use their library.

As far as internet searches, remember that you can use google to find other pages that link to a given page, which can be very helpful.

Learning more about pop culture usually requires leaving the house and talking to people. If you are interested in, say, video art, go to an art show and talk to people. Maybe one of them will have a lead on something coming up involving video art, attend that and there will be more people there who know about the topic you are interested in.
posted by yohko at 11:21 AM on July 29, 2007

take the above advice, and from there, add a splash of bibliography. There will be articles and books referenced that don't seem to be directly "about" what you're studying, but some will contain priceless information.
posted by bilabial at 8:04 PM on July 30, 2007

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