15 February 2010

To connect or not to connect?

There’s a battle raging out there: between e-books and paper books, between online sources and dusty old tomes languishing on dark shelves. Which one will prevail? Probably the one that makes the biggest profit for the most people.

There seems to be a lot of ink spilled these days (or should I better say, pixels being positioned?) on the detrimental effects of computers/Internet/electronic texts on the brains of young people.
Fear of the new? Perhaps. Stuck in a rut and comfortable with the Ancien Régime? Could be.

The other day at my local library, I came across a book entitled The Web Address Book for Germany 2009 (m.w. Verlag) which contains 6,000 of the most important Internet addresses. Naturally I borrowed the book. The sites contained therein were considered the most popular/useful but do not show up automatically at the top of any list of search results. Of course, with Google et al. you have to ask the right question and use the right words to get the answer you’re looking for. Inevitably, Number 1 on any list is always Wikipedia. And to find a ‘good’ site you have to sift through no end of c**p. It’s gentler on the nerves to leaf through a book. Which is what I did.

By the way (or “BTW” for those who are fluent only in chat room lingo), there was a whole aisle of shelves in the library positively groaning with manuals on how to use Windows, Linux, PowerPoint, Excel etc.

After much perambulation, let me get to the point. Even today, you still need a book to show you the ins and outs of a computer and the Internet.

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Squeaky Door by Elizabeth Chairopoulou is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.