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Blue Skies Thread, Is the Library Obsolete? in General; There was a conversation here recently (casual lunchtime chatter, not anything serious), about appropriate investment in library/reference resources, and someone ...
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    enjay's Avatar
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    Is the Library Obsolete?

    There was a conversation here recently (casual lunchtime chatter, not anything serious), about appropriate investment in library/reference resources, and someone questioned whether the Library is actually worth maintaining. With the wealth of good web sites, electronic resources, e-books and so on which can be kept up-to-date and have little or no cost associated to them, have paper books been obsoleted?

    Just a thought, but I'd be interested to hear your views on it.

    (I'm just meaning reference books here; the merit of fiction books is a separate conversation.)

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    stevenwba's Avatar
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    for me, no.

    for a quick burst of information on a subject the internet is quick and great, such as wikipedia, but i just cannot bring myself to sit and read an ebook, most ive done is the first page, before my eyes hurt and i get bored, so for that reason i still like to read huge amounts on a good old paper book

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    The FE college I used to work in found that book use increased substantially when they put computers in the library (Learning Resource Centre)

    Students would come in to use a computer to find info for coursework etc, get stuck and ask for help. Sometimes the LRC staff would point them at a relevant web site but often they'd point them to a better book.

    The critical thing here is that the book stock was relevant. Can't remember the exact numbers now but an average public library only lends about 20% of its stock in any year; this college library lent every book more than once.

    The LRC staff were also involved in getting content into the VLE (Moodle) and making sure that it worked well - I think the future for education libraries that you have a mix of "traditional" and "modern" media and staff who are comfortable with all of it.

    I think one real advantage of a book is that you can't just copy and paste and say "job done" - you actually have to read it, find a bit you think is relevant and write it out. Even if you end up just copying out a paragraph, at least you had to read it in the first place.

  4. Thanks to srochford from:

    Soulfish (5th February 2010)

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    It would be a shame if they did.

    Books, newspapers and magazines have a much better ability to show the context and the atmoshere in which an article was created.

    Pick up an old magazine (maybe one that's 10 years old), even if you are only examining one article you'll noticed period advertising and other articles. Even the style of the type setting and photographs.

    If you read the same article off a web page in isolation you'll miss many of these details.
    Last edited by K.C.Leblanc; 5th February 2010 at 10:12 AM.

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    Little-Miss's Avatar
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    That's a scary thought.....i really hope not!

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevenwba View Post
    ...such as wikipedia,
    Sorry for this being slightly out of context in the way you meant it but...

    Wikipedia has the problem that anyone can edit it (okay - anyone with a pc, net connection and enough knowledge to do so) and while the vast majorityof it is correct, some pages are right out there. Go look up William Shakespeare for example. (There was alot wrong with it last time I looked, but that was aaaages ago)

    Okay - I hear the counterarguement that anyone with the skills can write a book (which sadly seems to be a dying art these days), but its alot harder to actually get it out there to people whereas someone's "facts" about cheese coming from the moon can be up there in a couple of clicks!

    Plus, theres nothing like sitting there with a good book - heres hoping the library never dies.

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    enjay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by srochford View Post
    The critical thing here is that the book stock was relevant.
    And that's our issue at present; the new specifications for some subjects - and some new subjects - have meant that some books aren't relevant while some topics don't have books at all. I wouldn't suggest chucking out a perfectly good book, but am questioning which would be a better investment given that money must be spent on something.

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    enjay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by korifugi View Post
    "facts" about cheese coming from the moon can be up there in a couple of clicks!
    Too true, and I wasn't suggesting we burn the books and use Wikipedia instead, more that we could use things like Kerboodle (with the advantage of a strong syllabus tie-in) and proper, well-researched pages from respected establishments. The skill to differentiate between fact and Wikipedia is something we teach the students anyway!

    Consider also how quickly some areas, especially Science and IT, are advancing at the moment. Given how quickly these books will become inaccurate, is it worth buying them? Our ICT GCSE textbook , published a mere 5 years ago, refers to how many PCs are now shipped with as much as 512MB RAM in them. I dread to think how quickly a book about the human genome project (part of the new Science spec) is going to be equally laughable in its inaccuracies, which could have a negative impact on the students' work if they're basing it on similar "facts".

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    Vested interest here as I actually run our Library as well as the IT Network. I'm in a primary.

    Libraries are about more than non-fiction. E-readers are NOT the solution for teaching children to read and the excitement of rummaging through shelves or book boxes to find something they like will never go away.

    My dual-role helps the children to understand that there is more to finding out information than google and wikipedia.

    Children in particular should be encouraged to read and gather information from multiple sources. Books, magazines, comics and newspapers are all as important as the internet.

    Many school libraries (and probably college ones too) fall into disuse as they and their stock are not kept up to date as money is withdrawn to spend on other things. They can be grim and dusty places under those circumstances. They can also be bright vibrant places where people want to spend time... it will be a sad day if they disappear.

    I'm proud of my 6000 volume Library that caters for children from 3 months (board books) to those with reading ages well above their 11 years. It was refurbished just before I started here 5 years ago and has just been done again.

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    The library here has gone when the librarian left, it will now be a computer based learning centre which will be very nice but i do beleive the library has a place as well.
    No one will relise untill we have chucked all the books aways away and they become more expensive than the latest IPAD

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    EvLPhenom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elsiegee40 View Post
    My dual-role helps the children to understand that there is more to finding out information than google and wikipedia.

    Children in particular should be encouraged to read and gather information from multiple sources. Books, magazines, comics and newspapers are all as important as the internet.
    I absolutely agree that children should know that there are other places other than google to find information.

    To me there is nothing more interesting than to flick through pages of a book to find something you need other than going on the internet and searching google.

    I don't think Libraries will become a thing of the past, but i think as someone mentioned that they should have a mixture of media from books, to computer and all the things in between.

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    "The irony of the information age is that it has given new respectability to uninformed opinion" - Some guy on the Internet.

    Wikipedia assumes general knowledge will ensure articles are roughly accurate. That's great for commonly known things (or niche Klingon mating rituals), but when you get into specialised knowledge those with it are less likely to waste time on Wikipedia, especially if their article is likely to be reverted or contested by a basement-dwelling asshat.
    Last edited by pete; 5th February 2010 at 02:09 PM.

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    another point maybe

    for me the main drawback of using the internet, as a primary source of information, and most probably the laziest method of finding out information, is that people assume what they are reading is true. I would always trust a book over the information found on the net, as it has been examined for accuracy before publication.
    Just about anyone can set up a website that will generate enough hits, to come top in search engines, or they can pay for the priviledge to do so, even if the information is wrong.
    i can see the point about books being dated in areas of knowledge that are moving forward, such as science etc, but for me the internet is a poor substitute for written texts, face to face discussions, and teching in general, as it removes the human aspect. you cannot simply click the cross in the top right if you are speaking to someone in real life, and you disagree.
    i can however see how the internet is good for contacting people/experts, but is a poor substitute for the generally accepted method of 1 teacher spreading knowledge with 30 face to face.

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    Quote Originally Posted by farmerste View Post
    I would always trust a book over the information found on the net, as it has been examined for accuracy before publication.
    Some books may have been checked for accuracy but unless it's some kind of academic text book I really wouldn't assume that it's any more or less accurate than the stuff you can find randomly searching the web.

    This is particularly true in areas like politics where most of the content is opinion (you can be reasonably sure that it is the opinion of the author but that doesn't make it accurate!) but there are plenty of other books which are the view of one person (or one group of people) - the Bible and the Koran spring to mind but there are plenty of others - the Food Doctor is one where you might think that the content is fact but plenty of people would disagree.

    The critical thing with any source of information is to try and assess who is writing it; Wikipedia loses out because its content is basically anonymous but there are plenty of websites where you can identify the author and you can find out whether their opinion is generally respected and trusted.

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    enjay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by farmerste View Post
    I would always trust a book over the information found on the net
    Surely that just depends on the site in question - I would give the British Medical Association's web site as much trust as I would one of their books. Wikipedia is notoriously fictional, but you can't tar every web site with their brush.

    Quote Originally Posted by farmerste View Post
    as it has been examined for accuracy before publication.
    Really? Ask any nutritionist about "Dr" Gillian McKeith's book. (the use of " was intentional, by the way, as the Advertising Standards Authority ruled her use of the term was misleading, considering it is a correspondence award from a non-accredited American college; she must now not use it or put it in quotes!).

    Quote Originally Posted by farmerste View Post
    the internet is a poor substitute for written texts, face to face discussions, and teching in general, as it removes the human aspect.
    When did I suggest replacing teachers with the Internet? I suggested replacing outdated books with legitimate electronic resources, not even necessarily web-based ones, rather than (currently) up-to-date new books.



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