October 5th, 2016

How to Research in a Pre-Google Setting

Setting: late 1960s early 1970s - small town in America

My character is trying to research and follow a clue/ lead in something they are investigating. They just have three letters and nothing else to go on - not much of an idea what it is - but this is all they got so they are going to try. Might be an acronym for a business, or an organization - that's all they know.

I'm stumped as to what resources they would be able to use to try to find anything out. They are currently based in a small town in the South West that probably doesn't have a great library. I'm not even sure where one would start looking in a library. Newspapers? Business listings? Stock reports?

They also have resources - or favors they can call in from more populated locations - so presumably someone else in a less crappy town or city is also looking - but where or what at I'm still not sure.

I was a kid in the pre-internet days so I remember card catalogs and microfiche but have no idea how research works when its not just "find a book on kentucky" or "when did a president die?"

I tried googling 'resources in libraries in the 1960's" 'research pre google' - I mainly find history of libraries - and data storage but no idea where someone would go for information or what they would even try to look for.