What the Internet hucksters won't tell you is tht the Internet is one big ocean of unedited data, without any pretense of completeness. Lacking editors, reviewers or critics, the Internet has become a wasteland of unfiltered data. You don't know what to ignore and what's worth reading. Logged onto the World Wide Web, I hunt for the date of the Battle of Trafalgar. Hundreds of files show up, and it takes 15 minutes to unravel them--one's a biography written by an eighth grader, the second is a computer game that doesn't work and the third is an image of a London monument. None answers my question, and my search is periodically interrupted by messages like, "Too many connectios, try again later."
Then there's cyberbusiness. We're promised instant catalog shopping--just point and click for great deals. We'll order airline tickets over the network, make restaurant reservations and negotiate sales contracts. Stores will become obselete. So how come my local mall does more business in an afternoon than the entire Internet handles in a month? Even if there were a trustworthy way to send money over the Internet--which there isn't--the network is missing a most essential ingredient of capitalism: salespeople.
Electronic card catalogs do still suck.
Compared with what? Not only can I search by title, author, subject and call number at my local library from anywhere[google books], but I can also find the book by searching inside it for the relevant text and then find the library closest to me that has it.[worldcat]
I don't think anyone -- Stoll included -- would have predicted that even with an instantly accessible, worldwide library database in place, most libraries would still have card catalogs too.
« Older In the US, for the past thirty years, new laws hav... | One of the longest-running and... Newer »
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments
Buy a Shirt