Friday, January 30, 2009

Are the Print Versions of Encyclopedias Still Needed? Part 2

By Dr. Enrique T. Cayaban

My query of course got some results. I also got several “blog sites” where the exchange of ideas in one site, at times, became discourteous and uncouth. One site to see is this: http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/92695.

Let’s take a look at some unsettling comments:

More disturbing to some librarians is the clear tendency of people, especially students, to use Internet search engines as their first, if not only, research tool, relegating expensive library-sponsored resources to afterthought status or ignoring them altogether.

With the vast knowledge available on the internet, one can find pretty much anything just by using a search engine like Google. So is there still a place for encyclopedias in this information on demand era?

These are lonely days for encyclopedias. At libraries, the volumes sit ignored for days on end as information-seeking patrons tap busily away at nearby computers. Even in the warmth of a loving home, that set of hard-bound books that once represented the crown tool of a good education gets the cold shoulder.

Kids can hear and see Martin Luther King deliver his 'I Have a Dream' speech, and there's nothing in a book that can do that.

"Sometimes my mom uses it as a coaster."

Yes. My encyclopedias are being used at the moment underneath the TV in my bedroom to make it higher.

What disturbing comments!!! Comments and practices that tear librarians into pieces! The truth can not be denied that libraries have to compete with the appealing IT media – internet, computers of all kinds, CDs, DVDs whether interactive or not, cellphones and those with e’s like ebooks, ecards, ejournals, ecommerce and those with i’s like ipod, iphone, and the similar gadgets. Once, more, the blogger says:

“The use of printed reference works in the sciences has almost dropped off the meter these days. The web has essentially ended the era of going to the library to look something up. Most faculty no longer bother, and most students just give you a blank stare when you suggest they walk twenty feet away and open up a book. The concept is foreign to them.”

1 comment:

tandang tony said...

my simple answer to this question is yes.

we can simply lament on the decline of the print encyclopedia or we can do something about it. being librarians can be a good thing. we can be a force for change. or in this case lobbyists for the print encyclopedia and other print resources for that matter. while it is true that the preference these days can be found online, there are still undeniable benefits to having print resources. it is up to the librarian to create ways to highlight and exploit these benefits... to show that print resources still matter. if we do nothing i'm afraid even we, librarians, will forget what it means to have an encyclopedia in our hands