Reference Materials

Reference Materials: Why?

So you have been caving, or will be going caving, and have questions. Possibly you have a particular project/cave in mind. It only makes sense to answer those questions, or do some research on the project/cave and area. Well where do you begin?
You may not have heard anything about this strange underground world before. You may even think it is a weird secret society! It is not, but it is a large and vast community. Interestingly your knowledge of reference resources is directly related to your involvement within this community. This section is focused on an awareness of the materials available and the types of information available through them.

The Purpose?

When researching subjects it is very important to define your search/inquiries. How is someone to help you if you do not know the intent of your search. By knowing the intent you can better focus your time and energy to the correct resource tools. This way you will have better results, and actually find items of importance.
Are you looking for Personal trips in your ability range? Is it for improving your technical skills or knowledge of the underground? Are you looking at specific equipment? Maybe you are helping out on a project, or possibly starting one of your own? Are you trying to find out about an event, or trying to track down a specific caver? Are you trying to recall events you took part-in, or occurred many years back?

What tools are available?

  1. The Caving Club
  • Websites, Forums, People (Networking), Club library, Surveys, Equipment, Courses, Guidance (Alberta - Canada) (British Columbia - Canada) (USA)

  1. Senior/Former Cavers
  • Lost caves, Leads, Advice, Techniques, Firsthand information, Mentorship

(AGMs, Pub nights, Caves)

  1. Websites
  • Equipment suppliers, Manufacturer websites, Expedition reports, Videos. Basically anything and everything (Caving equipment manufacturer) (Caving news from around the world) (Videos on all sorts of caving topics)

  1. Books
  • History, Techniques, Conservation, Speleogenisis

(Online, Libraries, Cavers Collections) 

  1. Archives/Libraries
  • Not everything is on the internet, a good place to find the obscure

(Universities [Special collections], Museums)

  1. Magazines
  • Trip Reports, Discoveries, Gear Reviews, Accident Analysis

(National Geographic, Canadian Geographic, Canadian Caver, Caving Club Publications)

  1. Maps
  • Finding Caves, Approaches, Planning

(Geological, Topographical, Google Earth) 

  1. Locals
  • Cave locations, Expedition assistance, Land owners (for access permission)
  1. Television Shows/Movies/Documentaries
  • Inspiration, Education

(Discovery Channel, Planet Earth, Nova)

  1. Log books
  • Firsthand information (Written in the moment by the people involved)

(Personal, or Expedition/Project)

It is up to you to continue to record and report the happenings, discoveries, even regular trips etc. Putting just a photo album on Facebook or other similar social media sites is unacceptable. Publish an article or trip report with the local caving clubs. Allow what you do to be researched and found by more than just your “friends” on those social media websites. By only posting on these sites makes it more difficult for future members; please disseminate your information and knowledge, and please keep a journal or logbook of your caving adventures. Without a report or record, it never happened.

Keep it fun and share your adventures and passion!