Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The card catalog and google and shelves and feet

I remember going to the card catalog and perusing titles and subject for hours, jotting down locations on a notepad, meandering about the five story library looking for particular books. The process took a long time. Occasionally the book I was searching for was already checked out or misplaced. I do not recall becoming aggravated. I found the process relaxing and, because of the nature of the process, gave me an extra focus for my research.

When I search for something on the internet, I expect immediate and accurate results. I do not expect advertisements for vacations, life insurance offers, mortgage offers, job scams, or even worse the pron-take. Then pages load slow, very slow, so slow that after about 3 seconds, I'll close the page out. The searches often provide some of the information I am after, but rarely provide what I am after.

It can all be very aggravating. My google-fu needs some insight. Or maybe I should Bing things now.

All that said, the internet can still be a wealth of ideas and information made assessable.


Anonymous said...

But even if the book you were looking for wasn't there, the books to the left or right of that empty slot could prove invaluable. I miss that process.

Now I make a few clicks online and receive email when a book is ready to be picked up. I have no idea what was shelved on either side of it.


Davis Chenault said...

That's spot on. I couldn't count the times I looked left and right of the book I was searching for and found something far more interesting or enlightening.

As an undergraduate I had to do some research on late pleistocene freshwater clams. How dull! But lo and behold, near and around the book on freshwater clams, was a wonderful array of books on pleistocene megafauna. And a life long fascination developed from that moment.

I got locked in the library one night as well. haha. I fell asleep in an isle while reading a book and, apparently nobody noticed me.

That was not the last time I got locked in a building.

Anonymous said...

And a life-long fascination, hm? So how many times have you crushed PCs under megafauna feet?


Jason said...

I often lament the "instant gratification, more, more, now" culture we've created. We wonder why incidents of mental health problems, addiction, and ADD are through the roof when one didn't hear about them nearly as much in the old days--it's because we've created a culture of stress.

Libraries are evolving of necessity to survive in this new world order, embracing technology and becoming technological and civic hubs for their communities, moving far beyond "Buildings with books," and becoming centers of information, learning, and gathering. This is a good thing. But as a (hopefully near-future) librarian, I have to say a lot of people would do well to spend some time browsing shelves. They might rediscover a pleasure they'd lost.