Thursday, March 29, 2012
I love you, internet. But it's complicated.
Do you guys remember libraries? They were those places where all the books were. Sometimes libraries smelled a bit weird and stale. There was this crazy secret code called the Dewey Decimal System, and Philosophy was at the beginning and History was at the end, and EVERYTHING ELSE EVER was in between them.
But sometimes your library -- either the public library or the university library -- just didn't cut it. Sometimes you wanted a tiny shining gem of information, and you couldn't shake it out of any of those books on any of those shelves.
I love books, really, I do. But when it comes to research, the internet is my friend. Sometimes it's my friend who talks utter crap, but it's still my friend.
Today I wanted to know what sort of car someone might drive in the 1920s. What was it called, what did it look like, and how much did it cost? Can you even imagine how long this would have taken with microfilm and periodicals? Thanks to the internet, I had this is seconds:
That's the love out of the way. What about the un-love?
Everyone talks about the lack of references on the internet -- how do you know the information you're seeing is correct? -- and that's a valid concern. What's more valid, for me at least, is the distraction factor. Because while it only took me a second to find that poster about Daimlers, it took me at least an hour to get the hell off Words with Friends.
Because sadly those words aren't the ones I should be writing.
Do you still use libraries?
How do you like to research?
Do you ration your time online? Or are you completely undisciplined like me?