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Swift
2009-Mar-30, 06:42 PM
As a supplement to Tucson Tim's thread on libraries (http://www.bautforum.com/off-topic-babbling/86577-age-internet-what-use-library.html), I'm curious about a hypothesis I have and I need some data.

Which do you like better, browsing a library or browsing the Internet (not which do you use more). And please pick an answer by your age group (under or over 40).

pumpkinpie
2009-Mar-30, 06:49 PM
Library, <40

The internet is more convenient, thus I use it much more often. But I get more enjoyment out of a visit to the library.

Fazor
2009-Mar-30, 07:00 PM
Ooops. I can't read, so I've suddenly aged by >= 13 years.

I picked internet because the question is ambiguous, and I went with "for research". I hate reading text online (though I read both Tom Sawyer and Journey to the Center of the Earth as online text documents), so if you mean for reading... then I'd prefer the library. But for research, it's just quicker to use the 'net. And it's not like I do any important or heavy research.

Swift
2009-Mar-30, 07:00 PM
And pumpkinpie makes an important distinction - not which do you use more, which do enjoy more.

flynjack1
2009-Mar-30, 07:07 PM
Used to love the library but the internet is much easier and quicker for my current needs. Still love book stores though. Internet>40

Gillianren
2009-Mar-30, 07:11 PM
<40, library. I use the internet more, because of the whole leaving-my-house issue. (To be fair, one of the sites I go to most often is the library's; they let you put things on hold from the privacy of your own home.) It's also easier to tab back and forth between my online reference and whatever the other thing I'm working on is. Indeed, IMDB is a constant source of information for me, and I'm not sure I'd be able to get a lot of that information from the library with any degree of ease.

But for preference, the library. For one, I do have the greatest respect for librarians, especially reference librarians. For another, there are all sorts of things I've only found out because of books I picked up just randomly browsing the library's shelves. I have nice, lengthy chats with the security guard at the downtown branch. One of the librarians is eagerly awaiting my opinion of Helvetica, a documentary about the typeface. Which is another thing--I don't like watching movies on my computer, and the library provides me with some 12,000 options of DVDs to choose from.

Argos
2009-Mar-30, 07:35 PM
Libraries used to be great, and I loved them. When I was a teen Id spend hours and hours, for days on end at the city library, schools libraries, etc. One thing I hated was that there were many people between you and the book. Also, many times books were unavailable because someone had taken them before you. And they could be lacking in a particular library. And there were rules and an almost ritualistic atmosphere. Libraries are great, but theyve had their time.

I prefer the freedom, the speed and the plenty of the Internet, at the comfort of my home or office [and I am older than 40].

aurora
2009-Mar-30, 07:54 PM
I don't think I can choose between them. I use them both, but for different things.

I can't see being without either one.

Swift
2009-Mar-30, 08:46 PM
Well, the early returns surprise me. The under 40s like libraries more, 5 to nothing, while the over 40s like the Internet more, 4 to 2. Exactly opposite of what I would have guessed, but the polls are still open.

Tucson_Tim
2009-Mar-30, 08:50 PM
Well, the early returns surprise me. The under 40s like libraries more, 5 to nothing, while the over 40s like the Internet more, 4 to 2. Exactly opposite of what I would have guessed, but the polls are still open.

You can't meet people sitting at home in your PJs in front of a PC. If I remember correctly the library had a fair number of the opposite sex there.

Argos
2009-Mar-30, 09:05 PM
If I remember correctly the library had a fair number of the opposite sex there.

I think it reflects a deeper phenomenon. Some vague nostalgia of ancient values. Everywhere I look kids are getting more conservative.

Disinfo Agent
2009-Mar-30, 09:38 PM
I like both in different ways... :(

Tucson_Tim
2009-Mar-30, 09:40 PM
I think it reflects a deeper phenomenon. Some vague nostalgia of ancient values. Everywhere I look kids are getting more conservative.

You may be correct Argos but never underestimate the power of hormones.

Swift
2009-Mar-30, 09:41 PM
I like both in different ways... :(
Sorry, I broke the first rule of BAUT polling, I forgot to offer choice # 5 - Beer :doh:

eric_marsh
2009-Mar-30, 10:12 PM
I prefer the web because there is a greater wealth of information that it more readily available. Plus, I don't have to leave home to use it.

Gillianren
2009-Mar-31, 12:50 AM
I think it reflects a deeper phenomenon. Some vague nostalgia of ancient values. Everywhere I look kids are getting more conservative.

You have no idea how depressing I find it that you consider a library's usefulness to be an "ancient value." I'm not that old, and I remember when our library got its first computer.

Romanus
2009-Mar-31, 01:48 AM
As my earlier post in the other thread states: libraries. There's something about having a book in my grubby little hands that's irresistible. And, like some others, I can't stand to read lengthy texts onscreen.

BigDon
2009-Mar-31, 10:57 AM
I love my library, but I can't browse it at 4am in my pajamas, like I am right now.

Also I would never be able to watch Cougar, Publius or Trinitree tear apart some quack that I'm educated enough to know is wrong, but not educated enough to properly naysay.

Tog
2009-Mar-31, 12:48 PM
I prefer the library, mainly due to two things. The lack of distraction, and the basic hope that if something made it into a reference book in a library, it can be trusted.

On the internet, there are too many thing to draw me away from what I'm trying to do. There is also the concern that that article or site I found that answers all of my questions was written by someone that made it all up. Heck, I've got a 350 page informational site and it's ALL stuff I made up.

Plus there is the nostalgia feel to things. If I could set up an office in my home, it would be done up in the 40s film noir style.

Moose
2009-Mar-31, 01:22 PM
Well, for me it's a bit complicated. I answered <40 and prefer the internet, which is self-evident, because I also haven't set foot in a library since college.

But it's not because I don't like perusing shelves or reading a physical book. I love those activities. But I prefer to do it among my own shelves and books, at my own time and pace, rather than browse someone else's shelves on someone else's time.

Argos
2009-Mar-31, 01:31 PM
You have no idea how depressing I find it that you consider a library's usefulness to be an "ancient value." I'm not that old, and I remember when our library got its first computer.

I understand your feelings, Gillian, and, as I said, I also used to love them. But information is inexorably migrating to the virtual sphere. Im very pleased with my virtual experience.

I have no fetish towards manipulating books. I know that the physical format of books is very practical, but gadgets like Kindle can fulfill the need for a portable medium.

To me, its only the information that matters.

gzhpcu
2009-Mar-31, 03:32 PM
To me, its only the information that matters.
Same here. I want information quickly. Google, and I get it within seconds. In a library, I would be spending hours in searching and cross-referencing. I spend more time searching and filtering than actually reading what I was looking for. Sorry to say this, but, like it or not, we are in the 21st century.

ciderman
2009-Mar-31, 04:59 PM
Internet, I'm = 40.
But a hard choice, I've always loved libraries (even been a librarian/archivist myself in a couple of jobs now, & I'd love to do it again!) & I think there is a real need to keep hard/physical copies of stuff, because I'm not sure about the volatility of electronic/digital media. For example the shelf life of the average CD/DVD before data degradation seems to be only a few years.. perhaps a decade(IMHO:shifty:). I do appreciate the real strength of digital media is the ability to copy it repeatedly with no loss of information, but in my experience most people & organisations will just write it once, perhaps twice, put it in a box in the basement & expect it all to be fine when wanted years from now, accompanied by the usuall 'We don't need to keep the hard copies now we've digitised it'... grrr.

/archival rant

Regarding reading text on screen, I'm not a great fan though an LCD screen seems to help! Interestingly a much younger friend of mine reckons that he gets more eye strain from the printed page than off a screen! So perhaps it's what you've grown up with, or I maybe I just have weird friends :lol:.

Here's one for the biblophiles (Long Room, Trinity College, Dublin)
http://www.paddi.net/images/longroom.htm
When I visited in October one of those display tables held some original notes written by Darwin during the Beagle voyage.. squeee!!

Gillianren
2009-Mar-31, 07:25 PM
To me, its only the information that matters.

Perhaps this is the basic disconnect. To me, it most assuredly isn't only the information that matters. Now, don't get me wrong--I do a lot of stuff online. Even, come to that, most of my library use! However, I don't think even you really believe it's only the information that matters. Format assuredly counts for something; I'm sure you prefer that the website you read be well-designed and easy on the eye. I doubt you want your information to come from a site with a green background and orange letters; the basic format of black on white is preferable, right?

I'm grateful for black-on-white site design, too. Black-on-pastels, even. It's format, not information, but it makes the acquisition of information easier. Besides, as mentioned elsewhere, there's more to a library than just books, though I must also stand in defense of books. If I had a working printer (I have a not-working printer, though that's in part because I don't have anywhere to set it up), I would go to my Rotten Tomatoes account and print out all of my reviews, because I don't trust their servers much. Lately, the site has been very unreliable about giving out all of the information with the review. A properly-made and properly-preserved hard copy would be better than preservation on a wonky server. True, there are a lot of books in bad shape, but on the other hand, we have many that are hundreds of years old and yet well-preserved.

mike alexander
2009-Mar-31, 07:55 PM
I think there is a real need to keep hard/physical copies of stuff, because I'm not sure about the volatility of electronic/digital media. For example the shelf life of the average CD/DVD before data degradation seems to be only a few years.. perhaps a decade

This worries me as well. I remember when everything was being microfilmed, way back when, to preserve it. Turned out the film wasn't particularly stable, and much has faded and cracked over the years. There are now conservation efforts for microfilm.

A lot of this may just be matters of taste, though. Objects have history, and some of us find that history is part of the gathering experience.

Argos
2009-Mar-31, 08:27 PM
Perhaps this is the basic disconnect. To me, it most assuredly isn't only the information that matters. Now, don't get me wrong--I do a lot of stuff online. Even, come to that, most of my library use! However, I don't think even you really believe it's only the information that matters. Format assuredly counts for something; I'm sure you prefer that the website you read be well-designed and easy on the eye. I doubt you want your information to come from a site with a green background and orange letters; the basic format of black on white is preferable, right?

Yes, no doubt. But then the good stuff [that info that matters] can be sorted out of the garbage. As you know, there is excellent content in excellent presentation already. And note that the information Im speaking of will not be confined to the Web. In the [near] future it will be ubiquitous.

Gillianren
2009-Mar-31, 08:33 PM
Yes, no doubt. But then the good stuff [that info that matters] can be sorted out of the garbage. As you know, there is excellent content in excellent presentation already. And note that the information Im speaking of will not be confined to the Web. In the [near] future it will be ubiquitous.

How? In my opinion, there is already an excellent source for "the good stuff"--it's called a library.

Argos
2009-Mar-31, 09:56 PM
How? In my opinion, there is already an excellent source for "the good stuff"--it's called a library.

Believe me. I used to be a 'library rat' [as they say down here]. I have lived the romantic age of libraries. Im aware of the appeal of old books, the smell, the touch, the quiet aisles [and even girls, Tim], etc.

I have all the literature I need in my professional field online. And, by the way, I have a pretty decent library at home, with my cherished old books et al. Physical, public, libraries just dont seem practical for me anymore [though I know that they may retain some usefulness for historians and other human scientists].

geonuc
2009-Mar-31, 10:09 PM
In my opinion, there is already an excellent source for "the good stuff"--it's called a library.
As I mentioned earlier, I see the value in community libraries. But let's be honest - there is plenty of crap at the library as well. It's not like it's all NYT bestsellers and classics.

Gillianren
2009-Mar-31, 10:12 PM
Don't get me wrong--I do own more than a few books myself, and the number just keeps getting larger--not least from the library's own used book sales! I own my most-beloved books, and more than a few others. However, there are more than a few books that I've only wanted to read once, or wanted to read to be sure I wanted to buy them, or couldn't find for anything approaching within my budget--especially out-of-print books. I don't want to read them on a screen, even my friend's Kindle. (So you see, I'm not dismissing all screens out of hand. I have seen the Kindle, and I'd rather have a book.) And that's assuming that all the books I want to read are available as text on a screen, not a safe assumption. It's true that my local library, or even the greater library system, doesn't have all the books I want. However, there is such a thing here as Interlibrary Loan, which lets me get books from other libraries.

But, as we've mentioned, not all of the benefits of the public library are in books, or even movies, CDs, and so forth. (Though I'll note that the library has some things on VHS that aren't available on DVD or online.) A library is a public meeting place, a place for study groups, a place for children's storytime, and home of blessed reference librarians. Libraries provide free internet for those who cannot afford it. Our libraries have word processing programs usable for those who do not have printers. Libraries keep stacks of public documents such as tax forms. (Though I, personally, did my taxes a few years ago using the library's internet.) There are rare book rooms. The Pasadena Public Library maintains the city's records. Using a library permits easy discovery of other books in the field you're looking for--and lets you look into them and analyze their worth without paying a dime.

Buttercup
2009-Mar-31, 10:12 PM
The internet, definitely. I'm SO glad for the internet. :)

The library in my small Midwestern hometown is missed; but that's mostly nostalgia. It was very neat, orderly, clean and well-stocked. That was yesteryear.

My current (far away from hometown) small city's library is a pain. Some books (the ones I always looked for anyway) seemed eternally checked out (very doubtful) or the dingbats in charge simply couldn't replace a book properly. >:-\

P.S. I'm 40-something (early).

Tinaa
2009-Apr-01, 03:29 AM
Don't get me wrong--I do own more than a few books myself, and the number just keeps getting larger--not least from the library's own used book sales! I own my most-beloved books, and more than a few others. However, there are more than a few books that I've only wanted to read once, or wanted to read to be sure I wanted to buy them, or couldn't find for anything approaching within my budget--especially out-of-print books. I don't want to read them on a screen, even my friend's Kindle. (So you see, I'm not dismissing all screens out of hand. I have seen the Kindle, and I'd rather have a book.) And that's assuming that all the books I want to read are available as text on a screen, not a safe assumption. It's true that my local library, or even the greater library system, doesn't have all the books I want. However, there is such a thing here as Interlibrary Loan, which lets me get books from other libraries.




I use the internet to find books I have my library order through the Interlibrary Loan program.

I love that program. The library had never failed to get every book I've ever requested.

Gillianren
2009-Apr-01, 05:08 AM
I use the internet to find books I have my library order through the Interlibrary Loan program.

I love that program. The library had never failed to get every book I've ever requested.

Heh. The only time I've ever tried Interlibrary Loan with the Timberland system, the librarian looked at me and said, "Wait, we don't have that book? We should have that book." So she ordered it. It took me a little longer, I'm sure, but I'm not sure that's the point.

HenrikOlsen
2009-Apr-01, 12:36 PM
One of the librarians is eagerly awaiting my opinion of Helvetica, a documentary about the typeface.
I though it's good, I saw it on TV when the channel had a daily theme on design.

HenrikOlsen
2009-Apr-01, 12:38 PM
I have quoted this before, but it's relevant here as ell:)

Jenny Calendar: Honestly, what is it about them that bothers you so much?
Giles: The smell.
Jenny Calendar: Computers don't smell, Rupert.
Giles: I know. Smell is the most powerful trigger to the memory there is. A certain flower, or a whiff of smoke can bring up experiences long forgotten. Books smell musty and rich. The knowledge gained from a computer is a - it, uh, it has no texture, no context. It's-it's there and then it's gone. If it's to last, then the getting of knowledge should be, uh, tangible, it should be, um, smelly.

Library for me.

I even go there for some online services because the library has a license to the material and though the need is big when it's there it's seldom enough that I can't justify the expense.
One example is a good law reference, with all law-text cross-referenced to cases exemplifying how it's interpreted by the courts, kept fully up-to-date. Having access to one has saved me money several times from knowing my rights, but at $20001 for an online subscription there's no way I could afford it if I had to buy it myself.


Snuggling in bed with a book is a much nicer experience that sweating my groin moldy and ruining my back from trying to read something in bed with a laptop.


1) Yes, two thousand dollars, it's not a typo.

Gillianren
2009-Apr-01, 05:48 PM
I though it's good, I saw it on TV when the channel had a daily theme on design.

I quite liked it as well. I think some of them treated Helvetica as some sort of Holy Grail, but it was an interesting history nonetheless.

Oh, and the dollar sign goes before the number.

Disinfo Agent
2009-Apr-11, 05:57 PM
I'm convinced! The answer to the question is definitely "Why not have both?" (http://www.bautforum.com/off-topic-babbling/86957-public-library-finally.html#post1469321)

Ara Pacis
2009-Apr-11, 06:30 PM
I agree with libraries, and am <40.

Some people may think it's just about information, but we aren't computers, we are biological beings and lots of physical things and senses work together in us to create and recall memories than mere data. Smell is useful for memory generation and storage, but I think even of light and sound may be useful, especially for those with photographic memory. The saying, "clothes make the man," is also at work here as someone who is dressed is usually more attentive than someone in their sleeping clothes. And, of course, you can meet girls there, especially at a university library. But it's the smell of a library I like, and the smell of librarians... I almost married one. :-P

Gillianren
2009-Apr-12, 02:05 AM
I did marry one! You know, to her husband.