Saturday, February 28, 2009

Are the Print Versions of Encyclopedias Still Needed? Part 5

By Dr. Enrique T. Cayaban

This is now the fifth of the series on the above title. The ideas presented, although much have talked about reference books, digression can’t be avoided as concepts and even practices are closely interwoven. The demise of newspapers, for instance, will surely have a bearing on books and other media using papers which is also linked to the decline of readership in whatever format.

What is spreading the issue and hastening the belief on the death of the print media and libraries are the so-called harbingers of technological truth –that everything can be provided by computers and the Internet at the click of the fingers. Very recently, a promoter and sales agent of computers who was a guest in a program for parents in a prominent TV station proclaimed in high heavens that print encyclopedias are now useless because these are themselves in the Internet. What was worse was that most parents in the audience didn’t know how to run the mouse of the computer and they readily nodded their consent.
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These harbingers of supposed technological truth should do re-examination of their passionate stand about computers and the internet. It is no longer true that at a click of a finger one can already find the information needed. Information from the internet has to be sieved very carefully or else so much time is wasted. Moreover, technology is dependent on energy; and, the energy environment and condition in the country is ghastly chaotic.

We know that computers and its services have now become more affordable these days, more useful and easier, if one knows how to intelligently use the internet. But reiterating my belief, I say, “ the printed word will never become extinct in spite of the world becoming more digital everyday. Moreover, both the printed media and their online editions will co-exist complementing each other.

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