Data Obsessed

The weblog of an almost-librarian interested in special, corporate, and government librarianship, with occasional forays into technology and anime-related geekiness.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Freedom of Information

An interesting perspective on the online access debate comes from Wired News. The article details the curious phenomena of *gasp* people buying information they can access free of charge online.

Really, when you think about it, this actually does make sense. While I'm perfectly comfortable reading online and will, in fact, do all of my reading for classes online given the opportunity, my few attempts at reading novels online have failed miserably. Case in point is Cory Doctorow's Eastern Standard Tribe which I downloaded in pdf form and started to read (and really, it's quite interesting, and I fully intend to finish it someday. I swear.). I couldn't get into reading it on the screen, though, and this is from someone who does a lot of online reading. I would imagine that it would be the same with most people - with something of any great length, a lot of us tend to want to be able to hold it in our hands. There's somehow more control when you have a physical copy.

When we want to read a book, we want to read a book, and a computer screen is a poor substitute for pages between our fingers.

And that's why things like the 9/11 Commission Report sell, despite the entire thing being available online. Because, seriously, who wants that many words onscreen?

I don't, and I spend half my life in front of the computer.


At 9:04 AM, Blogger Sixlegged said...

I've downloaded a few myself and nwever finished them. Then again, the extent of my computer training in elementary school consisted of a Commodore 64 on a cart that was passed classroom-to-classroom for kids to look at, rather than touch. I understand classrooms these days are a little more advanced. Perhaps today's third-graders will be the first generation to kick the book habit.


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