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Staff Picks: Encyclopedia Titanica

Rabbit holes are curious things. One moment you click on an article that a social media algorithm tossed onto your feed based on your likes, clicks, and general activity, and three hours later you are an armchair expert in a subject you never paid attention to before. It may be a one-off thing. Maybe your deep-dive satisfied your curiosity and you never look up that topic again. Alternatively, it can be the beginning of a new interest, hobby, or passion.

Ship TitanicMy interest in the RMS Titanic began this way. I was watching a video on YouTube (I don’t remember which one), and the recommended videos included a link to an interview with a survivor of the sinking. I was intrigued, so I clicked on it. When that video was over, I clicked on another one, and another, and another, and so on. I read the books, I watched the movies (and not just the James Cameron one), I spent frankly too much time reading about it online when I should have been working on other things. Such is the blessing and the curse of the rabbit hole.

Recently I finished a paper for one of my MI classes on the Encyclopedia Titanica, a website that seems tailor-made for this type of Internet adventure. The site has detailed lists of all the Titanic’s passengers and crew, with linked biographies, a collection of research articles on related topics, and an active Message Board where users discuss anything and everything Titanic-related. In my paper, I talked about how the Encyclopedia, while it isn’t an “academic” publication, is still serious enough about the information it collects and shares that scholars view it as a reliable research tool. As I worked on the paper, I found citations of the Encyclopedia in many different articles, including (to name a few), an article about the impact of the Titanic disaster on maritime law. The sinking prompted improved safety regulations and the establishment of an International Ice Patrol. Read the American Archivist article (Rutgers restricted) and check out the Encyclopedia’s article, too.

To close, allow me to send you down a rabbit hole of your own. I’ve personally enjoyed the following YouTube channels and their Titanic content:

  • Tasting History with Max Miller: The host cooks historical recipes while sharing information about their origin and context. Currently, he is working on a series of Titanic videos.
  • The Great Big Move: Covers ocean liner history, with many videos dedicated to the Titanic.
  • Part-Time Explorer: Videos on this channel cover a range of topics, focused on but not exclusively maritime history.

Happy learning!