Research has Changed Dramatically

Research has changed dramatically since I was in school. I remember in elementary school the libraries still had card catalogues. We were trained in how to use them to find books that we wanted to find.

Technology moves fast because by the time I was in high school, card catalogues were starting to go extinct. The system became computerized and it was a lot easier to find books on a certain topic.

When I was in university, we used computers to locate books and journal articles. We then had to physically go and find the journals and then the specific issue we needed. Sometimes the book I needed could only be found in the special collection. To enter that you room you were not allowed to bring in anything except a pencil. This was to protect the old and irreplaceable books.

I remember spending hours down in that basement making notes on lined paper with a pencil. It was really amazing actually being able to peruse through books that were hundreds and hundreds of years old. I think many of those special collections have now been closed to the public. It is sad that students can’t have access to those beautifully bound books. But it interesting to see that these old texts have now become totally digitized and you can access them on library computers. Of course, now research does not even have to begin at a library anymore.

The first step of researching these days seems to be a Google search. It is easy to find what you want if you specifically define your search. Of course, I still find it a bit limiting. I still go to libraries often. I think they give you an authentic experience that you can’t get anywhere else.

I just hope that the Internet does not take away patrons from the libraries. Libraries are very important and offer services that you just cannot get on the Internet. So go to one and find out something that you are curious about. I’ll see you there.

5 responses to “Research has Changed Dramatically”

  1. It’s so easy but lazy at the same time. My university paid for rights to use google scholar so that’s exactly what we do. Of course we try to keep that under wraps so not all our sources will be the same. It’s easier for us, it takes about 3 hours to finish an assignment inclusive of research, etc compared to what it must have taken before. It’s also easier to see if we’re just referencing fantasy journals or real ones. Push and shove.

    Anyway libraries are one of my most favourite places in the world. I’m fortunate that my uni has a collection of different libraries that one can visit and lounge in for hours at a time just absorbing thoughts from some of the worlds greatest thinkers.

  2. Oh yes, I thought you might enjoy a series that I’ve enjoyed as well. The series itself is called Earth’s Children by Jean Auel. The first book is Clan of the Cave Bear, it’s a story set post ice-age and it is very well researched. I just managed to catch a hold of the last book in the series so my enthusiasm for this series has re-awakened itself and I’m sharing it with other book lovers.

  3. So go to one and find out something that you are curious about. I’ll see you there.

    You’re coming to my town? Cool. Can I get your autograph please?

  4. You will definitely “see me there.” As wonderful as is the Internet, there is just something magical about an actual bricks and mortar library, about walking down a row and letting one’s eyes feast upon the titles.

  5. One of my jobs to pay for college was to clean the university library (at 3 a.m.!).

    Sure, the time sucked and the work — dumping trash and cleaning the bathrooms — was no fun, but the place, even divested of all its people, was magic.

    Rows and rows of delicious books, marching off into the gloom of the half-lit rooms; mysterious notes left on desks and in trash cans of high-level scholars — I told you that I’m incorrigably nosy/curious; and who knows how many ghosts lurking beyond me in the dark perusing old volumes. A few times, I rescued from the trash some very old books of which the university apparently had duplicates or deemed not worth keeping.

    I also learned then another difference between men and Women:

    At least one of the male toilets was almost invariably unflushed and the place was often littered with paper and other gross stuff, including porno mags at one time.

    The Female bathroom was kept so clean that I almost felt like I didn’t need to bother with it; Their toilets were always flushed and the place didn’t make me want to puke as I set about to clean it.