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‘Real’ Books are still valid! Hmpf!

This morning during the torture (aka drive in fog & rain which took twice as long as it should have but that’s a rant for another time grrrr), I was listening to a couple of morning shows and one was talking about the validity of actual encyclopedias, you know, ‘real’ books.

I turned up the volume.

They were talking about how Wikipedia is going to go dark for a day in protest of piracy laws and then started talking about the good old World Book Encyclopedia as if were totally irrelevant when everyone can Google or Bing or whatever to look stuff up.

I vehemently disagree!

While using the internet and search engines is certainly accessible on a grander scale in present day, it is not always the most reliable source for information and having verifiable, accurate and comprehensive coverage of history and world is still very much needed.

Case in point. I work with some amazing students, they rock, but I find that they are, for the most part, far too reliant on searching the net and using Wikipedia for everything. While Wikipedia is great and covers anything and everything, my issue with it is that it can be edited by anyone. This means that content can be changed and added to and while I agree that this can bring together some details that you may not get otherwise, it can also be a negative and therefore needs to be used as a tool but not as a true reference for education. Going along with the updates, you don’t get the full picture of how things evolve and why, you only get the most current info. If I want a quick tidbit of info on a particular topic, I do use the site, but if I want a specific detail or statistic, I know that I will have to search harder, check their references and yes, sometimes a trip to the good old library is the best strategy.

When one of the kids was looking up an event that took place about 15 years ago we kept hitting a roadblock as you had to pay for content in order to get the stories I knew that were needed and would prove the case. My solution was simple, go to the library and use the CD’s (at least they were all on CD when I used them, they very well may be on the drives now) with all of the newspaper and magazine articles on them. This never entered into his mind to do. I was shocked. I used these CD’s and yes, the good old encyclopedia over and over and over during high school and University! That’s where the info is after all, why are we ignoring that? It’s just wrong! Why are people, not just students, most people, completely relying on digital?

Print is still valid!

I have an e-reader, my beloved Kobo you have heard me tweet and blog about, I adore it, I take it everywhere, but it will never ever replace the feeling of holding an actual book and that wonderful smell of the paper and sense of accomplishment that comes with slipping that bookmark in and seeing how far you’ve actually read (though my Kobo does meter it, but only when I close the book again).

My husband and I have been on a tight budget for a few years like a lot of people. Want to know what my favourite ‘date’ with him is? Going to the bookstore, in our case Chapters, and wandering and checking out books. It’s one of the few things that will totally calm me down too, ask my hubby, that’s a challenge at the best of times ;). We get to go out, we both get to find things we like and are interested in, and there’s that tactile, authentic experience that goes along with walking the aisles and talking to the staff and reading the book jackets etc. I love it!

Are ‘real’ actual books, and indeed encyclopedias that are put together by experts and tested for accuracy losing their validity? I say no. Now more than ever they are needed so that we, and indeed the future generations, can see that there is more than ‘the present’ and there was indeed a past and things have changed, but it’s important to see how they changed and why too in order to get the full picture.

Go books go!

Question: What do you think? Am I off my rocker or should we abandon books for tech?







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