Archive for Thursday, October 5, 2006

Reliable source

October 5, 2006


To the editor:

I found Mark Hirschey's column of Oct. 2 ("Libraries are limited, obsolete") to be a disturbing reflection of commonly held attitudes regarding libraries.

While the Internet may provide a high degree of convenience, it is not a reliable source of information. Blogs, instant messaging and publicly edited sites such as Wikipedia may be a good place to quickly and casually find information, but these are not acceptable references for serious research purposes.

I am troubled to see how many college-level students indiscriminately use the Internet as a research tool. Anyone with computer access can post information to the Internet, which provides an exciting democratization of information and opinion, yet also a dangerous pitfall. When referencing scholarly books or journals, readers are gathering information from edited and juried volumes, sources with far more integrity and responsibility than most Internet sources. There is no source of information that is infallible, but the push to fund technology at the cost of traditional print media is dangerous and degrades the educational value of the library.

Mr. Hirschey's goal of Internet access for all economic levels is noble, but access to the printed word coupled with the many other services provided by the Lawrence Public Library is far too valuable a resource to neglect.

Alison Miller,



classclown 11 years, 6 months ago

And if you require more time to do your research the library will actually let you take a book or two home with you. Doubt they'll let you take one of the computers.

ControlFreak 11 years, 6 months ago

Ok, but not everything can be found in a scholarly journal.

The bibliography (something most people ignore) provides useful information regarding the writer's sources. Which can then be perused in a LIBRARY.

Scholarly articles are secondary or tertiary sources at best. Often times these journals are further removed than that.

Most primary source documents are not available online.

Researching just online is lazy and potentially extremely inaccurate.

blessed3x 11 years, 6 months ago

I always find the best resource at the library is the homeless guy that sleeps in the chair.

Confrontation 11 years, 6 months ago

Many students have access to on-line journals and other "scholarly" materials.

hodgie 11 years, 6 months ago

Also, let's not forget that these students have access to these online journals because their library subscribes to them. I can't imagine one student being able to pay for access to EBSCOhost or INFOTRAC.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.