This class thus far has taught me a lot about the importance of media, information, and technology literacy.  We’ve learned time and time again that it’s important to have at least some skill with computers and other devices.  This is important for surviving and getting a job in more urban areas around the world.  We’ve learned that computers can do tasks incredibly faster than one can do them by hand.  Lastly, we’ve seen a lot about how digital and electronic books are quickly becoming more and more common in our society than physical, paper books.  Despite the advances of technology and information media, I have ultimately come to realize that the real value of physical books cannot be replaced by any new computer, book reader, or other innovations.

from justkavi.blogs.com

This topic was heavily debated in Post #8, when we discussed Mark Herring’s “10 Reasons Why the Internet Is No Substitute for a Library.”  The first point that struck me about Herring’s article was that the internet lacks quality control.  Often times when I need to research something, I immediately search the term on Google and read the very first article that pops up.  However, people like me always forget that this information can be from anyone.  I could be reading an article on Biblical translations from a Muslim website.  Although some information may very well be true, I can’t forget about the writers’ influence on the document.  This article gives some good hints on what to look for when evaluating the source of a certain document.  I remember as a high school freshman, my biggest resource of information for a research project was Wikipedia.  I just always felt (and I still feel) that Wikipedia is good at summarizing important parts of a topic.  Little did I know that anybody can edit these Wikipedia pages so what I am reading can be absolutely false.  These difficulties in internet research are why book research can be so much more dependable.  Although, quality control has become more prominent as the internet advances (read Alternatives to Peer Review), there is still much information that can easily leak through to the public eye.

I am not saying that all information on the internet is bad, but there is a lot that should be highly screened before being included in research.  Many would argue, however, that students simply learn more from books than from the internet.  This study demonstrated that academic achievement relates directly to the quality of their school libraries.

One major point that was brought up constantly in Post #8 was that eBooks are uncomfortable and hard on the eyes.  I can definitely relate to this because no one likes to lie down for bed and read a nice laptop!  The feel of holding paper in my hand just makes me feel more connected to what I am reading.  When I read something on a screen, I feel a distance.  People generally feel comfortable with a book that has pages to turn.  I know one of my greatest satisfactions is sniffing the pages of a new book.  No smell is better in my opinion.  On the other hand, getting too close to eBooks causes headaches and sore eyes.

from scientificamerican.com

This article on eBooks vs. paper books goes more into detail about the pains in using an eBook.

One thing that a lot of comments in Post #8 touched on was the fact that the article was written in 2001.  This 10-year gap, according to many, could be the reason why the author was so opposed to eBooks.  Nowadays, we have much improved technology that makes reading eBooks more enjoyable and less strenuous for some people.  A prime example of this advanced technology is the kindle.

from Amazon.com

Reading off of a kindle requires much less strain than when reading off of a laptop because the screen on a kindle is not as bright.  I know that when I am doing some late-night studying on my laptop, I often get an unbearable headache afterwards.  Also, kindles are much more compact than laptops and other electronic readers, making them easily portable and storable.  I was personally amazed at the size of a kindle.  Kindles can be just as compact and easy (if not easier) to carry around as an actual book.  Kindles, unlike other eBook readers, are not limited to reading books. Kindles can also hold magazines and newspapers.

from thenonconsumeradvocate.com

But is this really better than actually having these paper items in my hands?  This comparison shows more of the differences between the kindle and a real book.  Colleges and other institutions are starting to recognize that using kindles and other eBook readers can be more cost-efficient and more environmentally friendly than using paper books.  This article gives a few examples of some groups that are taking these steps.  Although I admire these groups’ awareness of environmental safeties, I don’t think that it is a good idea to have colleges exclusively use kindles.  If colleges transition to completely electronic books, real books would become obsolete and we would have to dispose of them all because of the space they’re taking up.  Won’t this be harmful to the environment as well?

Although the new kindle is likely much more cost-efficient, healthy, and portable than other books, I would still never trade in my personal books for an eBook reader.  To me, there is nothing like turning the crisp pages of a good book.

from cartoonstock.com

Maybe eBooks are good for something.

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