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Monday, June 16, 2008

Think Think Think - Read Read Read - Google Google Google

Some of my quilting friends have been asking how is the internet changing the Library world? Well , my best answer to this question comes from an article "Is Google Making Us Stupid? by Nicholas Carr at Atlantic Monthly July/August 2008.

Mr. Carr provides a wonderful explanation as to how the internet, and Google is changing the way people think, read, research and, sad to say, interact with libraries and each other. He makes the point that the media theorist Marshall McLuhan pointed out in the 1960s, "media are not just passive channels of information. They supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought." Carr postulates that the "the style of reading promoted by the internet, a style that puts efficiency and immediacy above all else, may be weakening our capacity for the kind of deep reading". This is all rather worrying for academia and libraries. Carr continues that "The result is to scatter our attention and diffuse our concentration As people’s minds become attuned to the crazy quilt of Internet media, traditional media have to adapt to the audience’s new expectations"

For Nicholas Carr, deep reading is " a sequence of printed pages promotes is valuable not just for the knowledge we acquire from the author’s words but for the intellectual vibrations those words set off within our own minds. In the quiet spaces opened up by the sustained, undistracted reading of a book, or by any other act of contemplation, for that matter, we make our own associations, draw our own inferences and analogies, foster our own ideas. Deep reading, as Maryanne Wolf ( Center for Reading and Language Research Professor of Child Development) argues, is indistinguishable from deep thinking. " Carr asserts that "we risk turning into pancake people — spread wide and thin as we connect with that vast network of information accessed by the mere touch of a button.”

OUCH - pancake people! I'm flat chested enough and don't need to be challenged in any other way! I know my life and my job have been dramatically affected by the internet. Although I agree with much of Mr. Carr's thesis, I still wouldn't be without Google or the internet! What to do, what to do ...


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