The internet has become our go-to place for just about anything but is it really the best place for information? When you are researching something, doing school/college work or swatting up on a subject for any reason, is the internet the best resource? I happen to think not. I believe that other than for speed and convenience, the library is a much better option. Shaking your head in disagreement? Want to know where I’m coming from?
1. Not Everything is on the Internet
Yes, there are billions of web pages on the internet, but it still cannot beat a library because a substantial amount of material on the internet is either missing or is expensive to access. No more than 8% of all journals are available online, but you will get a lot more in libraries, especially ones that have deals with sister libraries in other states and even countries. For quality and in-depth research, the library beats the internet.
2. You Get a Lot of Useless Info on the Internet
The internet gives you everything it finds as per your search query, which means you end up with a jumbled mess of results. Things are different in a library – all you have to do is ask a trained librarian for help and they will locate your subject of interest in no time. No information about model trains when you’re looking for the history of the bridal train!
3. You Don't Know the Accuracy of the Information Online
One big reason why the library is better than the internet is that there will always be a system of check and balance in your local library to ensure you only get correct information from authentic sources. There is no quality control online – anyone can put up anything on the internet. A Wikipedia article can’t beat a book you find in your nearest library on any topic of your choice.
4. You Get Incomplete Info on the Internet
It seems as if the digitization of journals has reduced the importance of libraries, but that's not the reality. Even after paying money to be a member of those full-text sites, what you get is not complete. Articles on these sites will have no footnotes, graphs, tables and formulae. Journal titles may also change without warning, which is only going to leave you all keyed up.
5. It's Difficult to Have a Virtual State Library
At least not without bankrupting the state! Even a modest library houses half a million volumes, and it would take about one billion dollars to digitize it.
6. The Internet Cannot Help You Find Something Really Old
Why? That's mainly because most of what you find online is only 15 years old. Most vendors offering magazine access drop an earlier edition when they add a new one. This leaves you with two options – spend so much of your hard-earned money to gain access to older material or go visit a full-service library. What would you do?
7. The Internet Cannot Improve Your Test Scores like Libraries
A study shows that students who visit well-stocked and well-staffed libraries more often get higher ACT scores and perform better on writing and reading exams. Does it seem like a good reason to send you back to your local library?
8. Books Are Portable
Nothing can beat the feeling of curling up by the fire with a good book – not even a laptop or any handheld device. Don’t you just love cracking open a new book and hearing those crisp pages turn?
9. E-book Readers Are Not for Everyone
E-book readers are definitely impressive, and the technology will improve in the future, but the prevailing opinion is they won’t halt the production of physical books.
10. There Are No Library-Less Universities
Even the ones that first started working with paperless universities have already built traditional ones – California Polytechnic State University explored the possibility of an online university but moved back to the traditional one in two years.
I think a library will always have more power than the internet because of the simple fact there is no quality control for what goes on the web – and it’s highly unlikely there ever will be. The information will undoubtedly increase, but as things stand, the poor stuff will increase exponentially too. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Books or the Internet?