Alas, Yrmellyn’s new studies in Immortal History wouldn’t begin with interesting lectures but by self-studies in the library. Professor Griffith Clark had given her a study instruction paper with tasks she must complete and hand in for grading. He had provided a compendion about rules for essays and reports as well. There was also a list of books to read. It was short. Many would have stared at the pile of documents and wondered how they were supposed to stay awake. But, Yrmellyn’s driving force was special. The spark of attunement brought the mage an intense curiosity and hunger for knowledge.
The spark wanted it.
But, Yrmellyn was still an artist at heart and would always be.
She looked around and then she went to a counter which seemed like the place where she ought to start. Nobody was there, but Yrmellyn waited without feeling stressed out. This paid off. After a while, a thin woman with glasses came out and asked if she needed help.
Yrmellyn put the literature list on the counter. “I need these.”
The librarian read it. “The Complete Overview of the Immortals And Their History by Anne
Brandon. And “Research Techniques One, Library Research”.
“Yes, that’s right.” Anne Brandon. Ever since she had seen the name of the author Yrmellyn had been wondering about it. Was it the same woman who had written The Forgotten Secrets of Alchemy, a huge tome in Yrmellyn’s possession since 717? That tome was hard to understand and Yrmellyn had always suspected that it contained the ramblings of a bizarre antiquarian bookseller in the criminal district of Rynmere. Her lost apprentice Rudi’s grandmother. But, it could hardly be the same woman, could it? Anne was a common name and the surname didn’t seem so unusual either.
The librarian came with a big book about Immortals and a thinner book about library research. “Here it is. You can only use them here in the library. Hand it in here at the counter when you leave, please. But, first, you need to sign here ...”
Yrmellyn wrote her name in a ledger, the names of the books and the date.
She found a place to sit. It was in a calm corner where it would be easy to focus on the studies without being disturbed. Then she checked the publishing date of the overview of immortal history. It was published in Viden arc 720. There was no information about the author. This troubled Yrmellyn a bit. In the fall of 720, more than three arcs after losing contact with her apprentice and his family after they had fled from Rynmere she had received news that they might - only might - have travelled to Viden via Norr Bay in the duchy of Endor. The captain of a ship named Gray Gull had told her this, but his memories had been vague.
It wasn’t hard to imagine the Anne Brandon she had met in 717 to concoct one more collection of mysterious ramblings, this time about immortals. It made sense that if - if - the refugees had settled in Viden they had to make a living. And books had been Anne’s way to make a living. The woman had also saved Yrmellyn’s life, twice. She owed her. But, that was then and now was now. Yrmellyn supposed that Griffith Clark had picked the book because it was good, no matter who the author was.
Still, she hesitated.
It might be better to begin by reading the thinner book. Or?
She looked at the study instructions professor Griffith had written. Those weren’t easy to understand at first sight because the professor had written them in a very academic language. It took a while to analyze and understand the first task she would do.
“Read about the library research technique and then write a mini-essay of 3-5 pages about one immortal of your choice. Use the mandatory course literature as the basic source but make sure to check up the references in the text and read them too. Describe the immortal from a historical perspective and reflect on it. When you write your essay, make sure to follow the rules for writing and referencing you find in a separate compendium.”
She opened Research Techniques One, Library Research and began by reading the introduction.
The goal of professional research is to create knowledge by using specific methods to ensure the quality of the findings. This book deals with the technique named library studies. The ignorant average person might imagine that this is the same thing as “reading up”. It indeed includes reading, but library studies have many other aspects. To learn it, this self-study book provides several exercises you should do to understand library research in practice as well as in theory.
Great. The spark found it very interesting. Yrmellyn less so. But, the spark would keep her going even though she already felt that she needed a cup of coffee. She made a note in a notebook she marked “Research Techniques”. Then she continued reading.
Supposing that you already have a purpose and research questions, this book doesn’t deal with that but focuses solely on the library research technique.
Library research includes many aspects of working with written sources of information. You need to understand systems for library indexing, appraise the validity of the books and papers you find.
Then you need to read to find out what the content is and appraise how relevant it is, concerning your purpose. Sometimes your purpose may also be to find all previous documentation and organize it in a literature review. All the literature will be full of references to other literature so you will often need to follow those references and read the content of those too. The total of this is only the first step in the library research, the gathering of the information you will use.
Yrmellyn read that part two times. Was all this “only the first step?” She decided to begin writing a checklist to make it easier to remember. Then she continued reading.
A good piece of advice is to keep your literature and your notes in rigorous order. Establish a good habit from the very beginning of your studies. While you do the first readings and gather the information, be meticulous and write down the full title, author and publishing date of every book and paper you browse. Make short notes about their purposes and content to support your memory and make it easier to find the information later in the research process. You can also add the indexing, so you can see which field of knowledge it belongs to. Note if it is books and papers you own or if it’s sources you can only access in the library. This will give you an invaluable overview of your sources. Strive to archive the materials you own in a logical manner using indexing and alphabetic order.
This cannot be emphasized enough. Bad organization has been the bane of many a student.
Yrmellyn was an artist and her home wasn’t a wonder of perfect order. The last line of this part seemed like a mean treat. Tidy up or else? The research was beginning to come off as the opposite of creativity.
Still, she continued. The spark of attunement willed it. So be it.
When you are a new student your teacher will often give you mandatory course literature. This doesn’t mean that it’s enough to only read this. The first thing you will be told to do is often to check up on references. Checking up references is thus often the first aspect of library research you learn to do in practice. From a library research point of view it’s a small task (though the reading can become extensive) but when you write your essay or report you need to reference the additional materials too, In the case that you use them in your reasoning.
Are you new to academic studies? In that case, please have a look at your study instructions and see if you are ready to work on your task.
All right. Yrmellyn looked at the task again.
It was time to open the book about the immortal history and pick an immortal to write an essay about. She opened the book.
It began with a chapter about Yvithia, Viden’s own immortal. Yvithia came first, no matter that her name began with a Y just like Yrmellyn did. But this wasn’t what Yrmellyn was thinking of. Her attention was trailed on the illustration of the immortal. A chill went up her spine because she saw a very familiar face on that picture. I was the face she saw every time she looked into a mirror. Her own face.
For a moment she just sat and stared at it, frozen.
Then she looked at the text under the picture.
A portrait of the Immortal Yvithia, as imagined by Rudi Brandon-Verran.
Yrmellyn felt tears well up in her eyes. It was tears she had never cried because she hadn’t wanted to give up the hope about her apprentice still being alive somewhere in the world. Now they blurred her sight. The illustrator was Rudi. It had been four long years since she had left Rynmere and failed to get in touch with him again as she has promised. Years of not knowing if he and his grandmother and father had made it out from the chaos Rynmere had turned into before the island had closed all its harbours, for good, it seemed.
A dream about the boy calling out to her had made her travel to Rharne three arcs ago in the hope to find him there. But, she hadn’t. He must be fifteen now, or sixteen even. He must have found another teacher now. Were they all living in Viden, Rudi, his grandmother Anne who was the author of the book Yrmellyn was reading (that was clear now) and Rudi’s father Laurits Verran?
She looked at the fantasy portrait of the immortal.
It was Yrmellyn’s face.