Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Are Books a Modern Anomaly?

Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer reading a good book or magazine to the vastness of the Internet. The tools of the information age are great and all, and I’ll admit it’s hard to resist the power of universal knowledge at the click of a mouse, but there’s several things I find unappealing about reading material from the computer. One, the monitor taxes my eyes. Two, search engines offer me too many choices at one time. Three, many websites are too busy blinking and showing off their latest gadgets for me to focus on what I came there for in the first place. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not knocking the Internet’s usefulness. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a Google junky, completely addicted to random, absurd searches that serve absolutely no purpose (I was an only child, I’m easily amused.) When it comes to genealogy especially, my computer sees three times more action than my bookshelf. For research purposes, the Internet is more accessible, more convenient, and wider reaching. But, despite all the Internet’s glory, I still go out of my way to run to the bookstore for the latest issue of Genealogy magazine or a historical bestseller I’m curious about. There’s just something special about paper copy, maybe it’s the tangibility of it, the fact that we can posses it, that makes it stubbornly and timelessly appealing.

I’m curious about how many other genealogists buy or borrow paper copy information from libraries or bookstores. Do you buy magazines related to the subject? Do you conduct research solely from the Internet, or utilize both kinds of material? Is there anything you’ve noticed that certain physical resources have to offer that the Internet does not? Please drop a comment; I would love to hear your thoughts.

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