Barbara S Nowak (NOWAK@AC.GRIN.EDU)
Fri, 16 Dec 1994 11:37:29 -0500
Many of the items already listed are excellent suggestions. For example,
ziploc bags are a great help, but sometimes they are not large enough. Using
old cracker tins (I used LARGE Jacob Cream Cracker tins with air tight seals)
for my camera and audio equipment. I kept silica gel in the tins (which I
would "cook" when saturated).
Also, a small walkman size tape recorder is fine for most fieldwork (except
music recording). Make sure it has an outside speaker so you can play back
interviews. This is important for 2 reasons: people like to hear themselves
(and each other); and if you want to do any transcribing or discuss info. on
the tape, it is critical for both you and your "teacher" to hear it at the
I found once in the field, a small range finder camera was a great aid.
Sometimes carrying lenses... was a pain, and all I needed was a camera to
document an activity. Range finders are small, easy to transport when
mobility is critical, and do a great job for about 80 -90% of what we need it
I also found an instant photo camera was a great ice breaker. People were
interested enough in the camera and the photos coming out of the paper, to
want to meet me and talk with me. It is also a quick and easy way to
reciprocate.(Albeit expensive way)
Finally, one item I found very helpful which I have yet to see suggested are
moth balls. Where I did my research (Malaysia), termites were a problem.
They would bore holes in pads of paper and books (they did not discriminate
against field note books and expensive store bought books such as
dictionaries....). Moth balls, while leaving an awful smell protected my
books and papers. I would keep all my paper items in a couple of cartons and
drop some moth balls into the boxes. After learning this trick I never
again had a termite problem (so long as I replaced them).