Posted by: erinserb | September 19, 2014

Print vs. On-line? That is the 21st Century Question!

I have been recently interested when someone says they do not subscribe to anything in print, periodicals, trade journals, professional reviews, etc.

There is an on-going debate about the medium in which we get our news, commentary, video materials, etc.  Some on-line services have put many firms out of business – e.g. Blockbuster  – is now (for all intents and purposes) a Brontosaurus of its formal self.

When going to the Blockbuster site, it is very sad to see that a business, based on 15-20 year old technology, can be reduced to ashes by another technology – digital delivery.  Could this be the way of the future?

I believe, as a librarian who loves ALL forms of media and information, there could be a balancing of (particularly) print vs. digital.  There have been recent studies regarding students, from secondary school all the way through college, that suggest the taking of physical notes is actually proving to be superior to, say, an iPad or some other form of portable digital device.

Perhaps the impetus of this posting, and some subsequent posting in the future, is about responding to  comments received  “that every form of digital information is superior to print.”   I don’t agree with this.  Human beings, by our very nature, love to hold things in their hands, and in so doing, to search and explore what they holding; the key is how well we absorb the information we are holding.  Does an iPad or Smartphone make it easier to read full length articles?

For former generations, particularly “Boomers”, there is still a need to physically hold information, whether it be a book, newspaper, magazine, etc.  No matter how well a web/digital site is designed, it cannot supplant the need for us to read a physical medium vs. a virtual medium.   However, some sites are very well designed and (I find) are actually easy to read – particularly the Wall Street Journal site.

Other than a select few sites, like WSJ, there is much to be desired about reading and “retaining” content from poorly constructed links, which have (often) dubious legibility or direction.

Maybe I can feel relived that one publication – Newsweek – is actually coming back into print! I haven’t done much research on why this once great periodical has revived their print edition; perhaps it is that even good habits are hard to break – particularly from reading anything that doesn’t require electricity!



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