Monday, November 2, 2009

The Information Super Highway

I've been spending time in the library.
Not by choice mind you, well, kinda sorta.
Anyways, what I've found is that I miss it. The library I mean.
One of the things I miss about school is going to the library and doing research. I miss searching the endless maze of shelves at Hamilton Library. I miss it for I would often get lost or distracted by other books that happened to catch my eye. Granted, most of those books were about art, but it was still fun to find books that were not related to the subject I was searching for.
I could have spent hours in Hamilton.
If they had served beer.
As a small person, I used to spend hours at the school and public libraries. I was a card carrying member. Never left home without it.
The only time students of today use the library is if they have to get on the computers. And do research on the computers. Or get pictures from the computers.
The internets have become their one stop shop for all things research related. Oh, and entertainment related also.
Hey! Kinda like The Flat Tire!
Most high school students today have no clue whatsoever on how to begin to start a research paper using a good ole book. They simply lack the skills.
One student wanted to know how to "skim" through a book.
Text books of course, are designed with sections that are boldfaced, have boxes where certain info is easily located, have definitions in the margins, and have most important information highlighted. Most books do not offer such user friendly options. You actually have to read them.
The "skimming" question left me a bit speechless. It was a skill I took for granted and I supposed everyone knew how to do it. I mean, it's one of those unconscious things that you don't really think about. There really isn't a step by step guide on how to skim through a book. Well, maybe there is and I don't know about it. I mean I never read a Cliff Note in my life.
The point is, most students today lack reading and information gathering skills. The fact that the two research paper formats I am familiar with, APA and MLA, allow internet references can't be a good thing. Especially if one is not correctly schooled in how to tell a good site from a bad one.
One of the things about a vast reference like Hamilton Library was having the ability to cross reference information. For an OCD anal guy like me, it was, comforting.
I kinda sorta like to know what I'm talking about, if you know what I mean.
What brought me to this was a street I pass by on the way to Libby Manapua, Peter Buck Street. I have this book at home:

Unfortunately, since it's at home I never get to use it. I usually end up forgetting what it is I wanted to look up.
So today, since I was in the library anyway and they thankfully had the book, I was able to find out why Peter Buck Street is, well, Peter Buck Street. Peter Buck was the director of the Bishop Museum from 1936 to 1951.
I don't know why, but I like knowing stuff like that.
I just thought I'd share, just in case you, the reader, were wondering who the hell Peter Buck was too.
For me, the real Information Super Highway still leads me to the library.

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