Friday, July 07, 2006

Between the pages lies pure gold

Friday is movie day at our local library. The sign up sheet fills up fast, so you gotta get to the library early on Monday to ensure your seats for the upcoming showing at weeks end.

Last Friday's movie was Stuart Little 3.

Our small town library actually has one of the nicest, flat-wide-large-highdef-wallmounted tv's in the city courtesy of a generous donation from the Friends of the Library group. Deep pockets, this group. Good taste in gifts too.

So, we arrived early to get good seats for the girls. They got their cup of microwave popped corn and room temperature cherry flavored juice boxes, settled into their chairs and were ready for the show.

I took my laptop and found a quiet spot in the corner of the geneology section.

No wireless access at our local library, but I was confident that I could go a few hours without checking my email, and that if I needed access to any information that my research required, I was, after all, in a library.

Sooner than expected, I found myself needing to check out a few quick facts to support the piece I was writing.

"Flashback," I thought, as I had to physically get out of my seat, access the libraries materials database via a smart terminal, find the referenced book, take said book back to my table, only to spend the next hour searching for the particular piece of information I needed.

I faced down this archaic information storage device (book) with grit and gusto. No wikipedia. No google. No "find" function. No "search" capability. I turned page after page after page.

I had to use my eyes, my brain, my fingers even, to actually READ, SCAN, and SEARCH for a single particular passage in this hard bound collection of letters, words, sentences, paragraphs, and pages.


To add insult to injury, when I did find something that could possibly have been relevant data, I couldn't just copy and paste the text into an outline formatted text file for editorializing and editing at a later time and date.

No. I actually had to WRITE down anything and everything I thought may be relevant to my research.

I was flustered beyond words. My eyes were sore. My brain hurt. My mouse hand was twitchy and my confidence in my own note taking abilities was shaken down to the core.

My, how quickly our study and research habits have changed.

You bet.
Thankful to be living in a time where I have near instantaneous access to the world's largets library of information?
Oh brother, where art thou?

1 comment:

18 Gauge said...

funny, I had a very similar blog entry in February about the same thing, only involving me looking up a phone number in an actual phone book instead of google. That was miserable.