“The pages of a book shield us from the distractions that bombard us during most of our waking hours.”
This quote from author Nicholas Carr in The New York Times blog post “Do School Libraries Need Books?” eloquently pinpoints my feelings about reading from the page rather than the screen.
Carr (author of The Big Switch) and others thoughtfully discuss the print versus digital argument and how libraries should approach it. While we are seeing many articles, blog posts, and books declaring digitization is becoming the norm, not everyone is ready for this switch. I personally prefer a bound book for leisure, scholarly, or business reading. I simply find that sitting quietly with no distractions on the page - as opposed to a screen - helps me to focus and absorb the material.
However, I realize there are several instances when a digital book is needed. For example, a software support engineer needs a quick answer about solving a customer’s issue over the phone. Perhaps the engineer can turn to Safari Books Online. A second example is that of the student wanting to get ahead on literature homework when she doesn’t have a hard copy of the reading material. This student could turn to http://www.gutenberg.org/ for out-of-copyright fiction, non-fiction, and the classics.
Here in the Richland Library, we have several databases that offer full-text material ranging from historical documents to American and British literature. One of these databases is Literature Online from ProQuest databases.
Today, we had a student looking for a copy of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. It was available in hard copy, but this may not always be the case; however, Literature Online offers more than one digitized version of the 14th- to 15th-century poem. Material from this database is available to DCCCD students, faculty, and staff with current I.D. numbers. Works, which also include critical essays and encyclopedia entries, may be printed or downloaded for personal use. Visit http://www.richlandcollege.edu/library, click on the “Databases” tab, click “L,” and scroll down for Literature Online. (Log onto library databases remotely with your name and I.D.)
Of course, you may always drop by the reference desk, submit a question online, or telephone (972.238.6082) if you have questions.
Now I'm off to immerse myself in a hard-copy book about the digitization of the world.