I'm trying something new today--Paper Hangover's Friday Fives:
I did a ton of research for my last project, which blended contemporary and historical fiction. My fave tools:
1. Google: Of course! Is there anything you can't find a tidbit of information on by Googling it? (Um, probably classified government stuff. But still.) The easiest and most basic tool, and a great starting point.
2. The New York Times online archives: I call this the Lazy Person's Microfiche.* By searching directly on their website or using Google, you can find articles dating back to the paper's inception. The historical part of my book involved some real New York society people, so I read the original NY Times society articles about them. Primary sources! My 9th-grade History teacher would be so proud.
3. The Library, specifically the NYPL: One of the best collections in the world. Whenever you need to extend beyond the Interwebs for information, the library is there for you. (Speaking of which: Save libraries!)
4. Travel: Sometimes you need to see/smell/feel/hear/taste a place yourself to write it.
5. Friends: I have friends who work in cancer research, have lived in Tanzania, are Hollywood big-deal-people, have owned weird pets, and work at the White House.** When you just need a human with first-hand experience to explain something to you, friends are invaluable resources.
What about you? What are your favorite research tools?
*I have now dated myself.
**And thank goodness for that, so I'm not on watch lists for being a White-House Googler creeper.