Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Hole In Space

This hole that I am referring to in the title is not a black hole; it is the hole in cyberspace.  It is the assumption of many of us that if it is on the Internet, it must be true.  That assumption is reinforced by another:  everything and anything can be found on the Internet.  This is so not true.  

If a historical society or any other repository of historical data decides to not enter all, any, or none of its' data on the Internet, the cyber seeker misses out.  The decision to not enter data by these groups has many reasons, but the most common is that the information is so old that photos of any kind can damage the pages on which the information was written.  In other words, it's fragile.  So, the amateur seeker must turn off the computer, get out of the chair, and visit the home where the fragile data resides. However, many people will not do this.  Most certainly this is not any fault of the repository; personal experience has shown them to be quite accommodating.  The fault lies in the belief held by the seeker that the Internet is the Holy Grail of information and that any other sources are non-existent.  Anything and everything is on the Internet and if it's on the Internet it must be true.  This is pompous ignorance. There is one more thing.  Internet access is quick and easy.  But quick and easy does not necessary make it right; it makes us lazy.        

The seeker may find the basics of what he or she is looking for on the Internet but this should be considered nothing more than a skeleton outline.  It takes some dedication to cause that drags the seeker out of of his chair to do some field work.  This field work includes not just visiting these places.  It also includes, if possible, interviewing people, and then looking for detailed information in university libraries.  This is a tried and true method of basic research.  It's how it was done before the Internet.   

                                                   Copyright @2014 Terry Unger         

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