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Writer Cory Doctorow always has interesting things to say about the internet and copyright, and here you can see a lecture he gave recently in Cambridge about the so-called Knowledge Economy and the implications of the internet as both perfect copying machine and low or no cost means of collaboration.

You can watch it as a video on the BoingBoing page, or read a transcript of it.

As you embark on your independent research, I’m aware that you need some input on what research actually is and what skills you need to develop and use. Off the top of my head, for example, I’d say you need to develop speed-reading techniques, and come up with an efficient way of remembering what you have read. When I was at University, I used to cut Post-It notes into small strips and stick them into the pages of books I was reading, so I could quickly find quotes.

It’s no use taking notes that are almost as long and detailed as the original text. You need to establish what exactly the text you are reading is good for – is it going to relate to a paragraph of your finished piece of writing, or something longer? Do you need one quote, or two or three?

You’ll also need to keep a record of good sources of information that you can return to. There are some interesting tips (and links) here from a professional researcher called Lisa Gold (she does research for professional writers).

Finally, you might take a look at the British Library web site, where they have quite a lot of information for beginning researchers.

All of these skills will be absolutely essential when you get to university – if you develop them now you will be streets ahead of everyone else.

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