Monday, March 05, 2007

Print and the Web

Interesting essay by Edward Tenner on the relationship between print and the Internet. For the full essay go to

Here is an excerpt --

On a positive note, one recent study implies a surprising strategy for cultivating reading and book buying. Andrew Abbott, a professor of sociology at the University of Chicago and chairman of a task force that studied library usage by all parts of that university, reported in the October issue of the University of Chicago Magazine: "The more an individual uses books, the more he or she uses electronic-research resources, and vice versa. ... At the very least, the survey data provides no evidence that traditional research practices are being replaced by electronic ones. Thus, the replacement hypothesis — a standard idea in library literature — must be rejected."

The possibility follows that the more sophisticated students become as users of search engines and online databases, the more likely they will become readers, and perhaps buyers, of books. The knowledge-hungry person will need and appreciate print, just as many serious readers of traditional books in an older generation became the gurus of today's electronic scholarship. As Abbott observes, "there was no evidence that younger people were somehow 'more electronic.'"

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