The other day I posted a brief snippet of an article that I penned on Information Deserts over at Libraries and Transliteracy. Well, I ran across this TedXWindycity video on food deserts. See how it relates:
Filed under digital divide, information deserts
As of late I have been lamenting the demise of neighborhood book stores or other collections of physical books.
I understand that physical books have limitations that electronic media are not heir to, but still… My “information desert” observation is that an emphasis on internet-driven information sources to the exclusion of a diverse physical collection limits the user’s ability to make relationships across disciplines. Basically, my argument is an extension of Ms. Franklin’s (6/14/11 12:07 pm) comment. The mind needs a balanced diet of information sources. Google may be filet mignon, but it’s not appropriate for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day.
The anti-food desert crusaders think that things like CSAs or farmer’s markets are solutions. They’re right. Moreover, I would extend the comparison and say that one of the best characteristics of being in a CSA is that you get what’s been growing, not what’s been shipped from Chile. Radishes are in season, you get radishes. You have to figure out what to do with them. Maybe you find out that they’re really quite tasty sautéed in olive oil and a vegetable stock reduction. The same applies to a physical collection. Reading a book is a much more focused experience than the internet.
It’s probably documented somewhere, but I find one of the great joys of a physical collection is the serendipitous encounter with an unfamiliar text.
Oh, I agree that physical collections are the true garden of life. I believe that Voltaire said something along those lines.
I think that when a physical collection is just not accessible, an internet based information alternative can “serve” a purpose. By that I mean that accessing ebooks and other sources is better than nothing at all.
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