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Books are a thing of the past

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  • Books are a thing of the past

    From Slashdot:

    College Libraries Without Books

    Groo writes to tell us CBS News is reporting that books are a thing of the past at a University of Texas library this fall. The University will be converting the library to a 'social gathering place more akin to a coffeehouse.' This push is done in response to the increasing use of online research as a part of undergraduate studies. According to the article the missing books will be replaced by "colorful overstuffed chairs for lounging, barstools for people watching, and booths for group work. In addition to almost 250 desktop computers, there will be 75 laptops available for checkout, wireless Internet access, computer labs, software suites, a multimedia studio, a computer help desk and repair shop, and a cafe."
    http://slashdot.org/articles/05/08/2...id=146&tid=126

    I put this under Reasoned Debate because it has always been a religious debate for our academics. :lol:
    The cat spread its wings and flew high into the air, hovering to keep pace with them as they moved cautiously toward the city. Then, as they climbed over the rubble of what had once been a gateway and began to make their way through piles of weed-grown masonry, the cat flew to the squat building with the yellow dome upon its roof. It flew twice around the dome and then came back to settle on Jhary's shoulder. - The King of the Swords

  • #2
    Oooh, oooh! I was being all prescient, see:

    Nutmeg was too young to remember the days when the halls had been filled with shelves of books and reverential silence. Now the air was dust-free and alive with the relentless clattering of keyboards. The few books that remained were in glass cases, retained "for display purposes only".
    (Quote from Nihilists Do It For Nothing (A Nutmeg Rodriguez Fix))

    http://uk.geocities.com/deecrowseer/Crashtest03.html

    Of course, I was only three days ahead of my time, but still... :)
    "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

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    • #3
      The internet can not match the information found in books. That is a bad idea to take away the books. The internet only has what somebody puts on the web sites and that is mostly only a summary, not much at all. The internet is actually disappointing in many ways,it is hard to find certain things.

      "With a deep, not-unhappy sigh, Elric prepared to do battle with an army." (Red Pearls)
      - Michael Moorcock

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by lemec
        The internet can not match the information found in books.
        There are academic portals such as Athens, which carry a wide range of specialist journals - but as of yet they don't have all the back issues. A lot of academic research can be carried out online, but I'm not sure it encourages thoroughness or depth. It's also bad for the eyes, which is a far from facetious consideration. I can't concentrate properly on what is on the screen: I have to print my work off to spot the typos, and anything useful webwise I tend to print off.

        This development is being mirrored in public libraries, with the current dogma being that they contain too many books ( :? ) and need to be transformed into "Discovery Centres" something bearing a slight resemblance to an amusement arcade crossed with a museum. Otherwise they need to look like a branch of Waterstones (big displays hyping multiple copies of the same book). We are told they have to change to survive, but its hard not to see evidence of 'dumbing down'.

        Me, I'd be tempted to use them if there were more books. If you order one it takes ages to travel from the other end of the country, or if its a new one you get queued in a list waiting for it.

        It's all a bit sad, really.
        \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

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        • #5
          As Berry is a coder, he will probably agree when you can tell the biggest geek / coder in your office is the one with the largest pile of books. And writing software involves a lot of paper.

          It was also no coincidence that Amazon was the first massive consumer Internet firm - turns out that Internet users were a lot more likely than average to be heavy readers than not.

          Whatever happened to the student union bar as a social meeting place anyway?

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          • #6
            Just keep buying books.. They can never take that away from us!
            :x

            Comment


            • #7
              :clap: I'm doing my bit.

              One of these days I'll get around to reading the buggers... :?
              \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Jules
                As Berry is a coder, he will probably agree when you can tell the biggest geek / coder in your office is the one with the largest pile of books. And writing software involves a lot of paper.

                It was also no coincidence that Amazon was the first massive consumer Internet firm - turns out that Internet users were a lot more likely than average to be heavy readers than not.

                Whatever happened to the student union bar as a social meeting place anyway?
                So true.

                In Seattle some cafe's have SHUT OFF the wireless on Saturday and Sunday.
                The cat spread its wings and flew high into the air, hovering to keep pace with them as they moved cautiously toward the city. Then, as they climbed over the rubble of what had once been a gateway and began to make their way through piles of weed-grown masonry, the cat flew to the squat building with the yellow dome upon its roof. It flew twice around the dome and then came back to settle on Jhary's shoulder. - The King of the Swords

                Comment


                • #9
                  As I've said elsewhere, I think there's a place for both if there's only the will to do it. From an aesthetic pov nothing beats the sensation of opening a freshly printed book and letting the sensations waft over you. From a conservation/archival perspective, a book (if looked after) will be readable for far longer than digital media might permit. Already there are tapes and disks with electonic data on them that are practically unreadable because the technology/apparatus to read them has been superceded. There's also a permanence about a book that prohibits future tampering or revision. You'll recall no doubt that Winston Smith's job in Orwell's 1984 was to revise and re-edit articles that had appeared in newspapers with the new, currently recieved wisdom of how the past had been from Big Brother. If everything is only stored in digital mediums what assurances would there be that 'facts' weren't altered to suit current circumstances?

                  On the other hand, current and near-future technologies mean that it's possible to store a huge amount of information on ridiculously small and portable unit. Just imagine if you could fit the entirity of Mike's output, both fiction and non-fiction - even musical - on a single Blu-Ray DVD (or similar media)? You could walk out of your door with the equivalent of 100 books in you pocket.

                  Long live diversity, I say.
                  _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
                  _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
                  _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
                  _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Digital meltdown / loss of information has been used as a basis for collapse of society in many SF stories. As implied above, I think coders and technologists have far less faith in the reliability of technology than most (does anyone think the songs they buy from iTunes today will be playable in 50 years? Gramophone disks were perfectly playable until the 70s - it was only in the 80s turntables stopped having the 78 option - and any 45 recorded since the 50s still plays on turntables today).

                    I think people are becoming aware of 'digital history' though - there are archives of 8-bit computing magazines and software available on-line, even CDs of 8-bit games music - along with emulators, etc. What was once redundant is now available again.

                    The other plus side is Print on Demand becomes easier in a digital world - hence Mike's Jerry Cornell stories being back 'in print' for the first time in many years. There's no cost to keeping it in print anymore when there's no plates to set, etc.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have many academic reasons for wanting books, but my real connection with them are purely aesthetic: I like the way they look, the way they feel, the way they sit on a shelf...

                      Laptops aren't as cozy. And books don't need batteries. :)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If we ever lose the use of electricity in the future, we would lose alot of information,haha,that is if everything was saved on computer instead of paper. I can see where there is a need for both computers and books.

                        I can imagine some historian of the future wishing there were more facts saved for him to study, just like now how we wish we had all the books and scrolls from the Library of Alexandria.

                        I guess eventually there will be more sites that have greater detail on the materials that they cover.

                        Yes, I agree too that books are better to have around to take anywhere to read and are more comfortable. You can take books and read them near an ocean,lake or swimming pool and not have to worry about the ruin of your laptop. I thought it would be cool if you could get some books with lamenated pages so you could have them around water and not have to worry about them,hehe, a little off subject there.

                        That is also a good point about how people could edit books the way they see it as they add them to the database. After time who would know what was truth and what is lies?

                        "With a deep, not-unhappy sigh, Elric prepared to do battle with an army." (Red Pearls)
                        - Michael Moorcock

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'm with lemec. We absolutely need both. PC data bases are great for condensed archival, editiing and info searches but they will never replace books. And as Jules suggested one massive EMP, whether man-made or of galactic origin and all that data goes up in so much electromagnetic smoke.

                          I love the net for research but hate to read extended text on screen.

                          Perhaps we should go back to old fashioned human memory for archival. I seem to recall Celtic bards and Druids used to be able to memorise huge swaths of info, what to speak of the storytellers of Homer's time and the Eastern sages of yore.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I've got 7,000 books in my house, most of them in my library. (There are probably about 1,000 of them scattered around other locations in the place.)

                            If I didn't have books, what would my wife and I do with all the shelf space? (Dee's "Spring Cleaning" not withstanding.)

                            LSN

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by L_Stearns_Newburg
                              I've got 7,000 books in my house, most of them in my library. (There are probably about 1,000 of them scattered around other locations in the place.)
                              8000! :o

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