I had the opportunity of sitting with Ismail Serageldin, the director of the Library of Alexandria at a session at the STS Forum. He told me a story about a fellow educator and librarian who was dismayed that students were only citing things that they could find on the Internet and were no longer using physical libraries. Ismail said that he disagreed. He told me that he felt that students using the Internet were correct and that it was the libraries that needed to make more material available online. I totally agree. (He also said he was a fan of Wikipedia.) So it's good news that:

Matt Haughey @ CC Blog
30 Million newspapers to be put online

Great news for the public domain: The National Endowment for the Arts and the Library of Congress are putting 30 million newspaper pages online, dating from 1836 to 1922.

It'll take until 2006 to complete the project but the Library of Congress has put up a sample from The Stars and Stripes, an armed forces paper, posting every issue from 1918-1919.

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Not to take away from that anecdote but the announcement on the NEH site says the project won't be completed for 20 years.

this triggers a memory of the book:

The Future of the Past, by Alexander Stille

a good read on the library of alexandria and related things


Sorry, I'm a bit on the side of the unnamed educator. I think it's sad if students only cite things that are on the net when many things that are relevant to their studies still aren't. They should investigate all sources of information that bear on their topics, not just those. that are digitized. It's the knowledge that is important, not the format in which that knowledge exists.

Sometimes, in our enthusiasm for things digital, we slight other modes of knowledge and expression. Let's not do that here.

The Former Editor in Chief, the Encyclopædia Britannica is not a fan of Wikipedia, calling it "faith-based".

i've been reading a bit of the on-line Stars and Strips ... it's interesting, and i like the sense of humor in it. for instance, in the woman's page a girl (Lola) writes in to say that her boyfriend had written that he was "SOL" and what did that mean? they told her "'SOL' means nothing more nor less than 'Sweet On Lola'. You sould worry, Lola Dear!"

The Stars and Stripes (Paris, France), January 31, 1919, Vol. 1 No. 52, page 5 of 8

more odd was the report in the first issue that captured Americans were being mistreated, in part by photographing them between "negroes wearing tall hats". from my 2004 vantage i'm not getting the full meaning of that ...

The Stars and Stripes (Paris, France), February 8, 1918, Vol. 1 No. 01, page 1 of 8

anyway, as much as i'm enjoying it, these digitized microfilms do have a cumbersome interface. i mean, it is great for someone like me who has really dreamed of having old publications on tap from my computer since the '80s ... but i don't really see the kids getting into it.

it takes effort (and search skills). unless some teacher specifically requires research in historical sources (ie. day-after reports of the Kennedy assasination), then i don't see kids doing it. they'll just google and take the top hit.

of course, i think teachers _should_ require that these sources be used as _part_ of a term paper (etc., if they even do those anymore)

dumb me, i didn't see that i can just grab a pdf of the page, or the whole issue. much better.

Hmm... Coincidence?

http://scholar.google.com/

wow, thanks rick. playing with that link, i wound up in "worldcat" and learned a google trick to look up books in local lirbaries. Use (including quotes):

"find i a library" uncommon grounds

more info

http://www.oclc.org/worldcat/open/tips.htm

that's the second impossible thing i've done today ;-), too bad i didn't mangage to do both of them before breakfast.

i usually ignore my typos, but that should be "find in a library" above. sorry.

Sorry, I am on the side of teh director and joy ito. When they built the library of Alexandria in 3rd century BC, there must have been people who must have said "What? they are going to put all the scrolls in one place. Whatever happened to going up to Greece and treking to Persia to research firsthand. Aiyyah, The students now a days want it easy."

Even books and publications come from some other source. Internet and google only makes it easy to find info. I guess what we need is complete digitisation of as many books and other media as possible. Also, in many places books are far too expensive or banned. How am i gonna subscribe to Nature or even Natinal Geographic if I run a small school in a developing country.

Nice to know this is a real topic and not just one I picked up on...

http://www.thephilpot.com/archives/2004/11/reasearch_tools.htm

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Over the last number of years the internet and people have become as or more dependent on the data that flows from a few sites. Those include Amazon, Google, eBay, and a smaller number of other players.

While we don't wish these companies a Read More

Joi Ito's blog carries the wonderful news that the Library of Congress is working to digitize 30 million old newspaper pages and put them online for entirely free use by educators, students and anyone else interested i... Read More

The Google library scanning thing is old news in the blog newscycle, which means it's time for reflection. Joi Ito mentioned a conversation Ismail Serageldin related to him:He told me a story about a fellow educator and librarian who was... Read More

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