Saturday, 2 October 2010

Back In The Day

Sigh, call me backward, but I think Son of Citation Machine is going to chip away again at what it means to do good, honest research, part of which is knowing how to do your citations. Already with Scholar Google making it so much easier to get information from articles and journals without even really having to read anything, information is going to be a pretty darn cheap commodity.

It's hard to make such a complaint too, because I am part of a time where technology has made it exponentially easier compared to older generation academics to get an academic research paper done.

I really wonder what it was like when budding MA and PhD students had to embark on a mecca just to find some elusive book or article (sometimes even overseas!) and spend hours in the library getting the information and sources they needed, and then writing their entire thesis on pen and paper (or typewriter?). There would be unforgettable stories of how an unattainable book was acquired through some unlikely source, or by other means of cunning. Now, that's memorable. I think the process of getting there is just as important as the end-product itself.

It's a new information age where it's rather easy to do/achieve anything information-related. You can be relatively knowledgeable just staying on Wikipedia for hours. You can now own a blog without generating any of its content, through Tumblr. You can convince yourself that you're connected to good solid news by keeping away from the newspapers and reading twitter all day. In such times, information is vast indeed, but very, very cheap.

One wonders if this will undermine the respect that knowledge entails.

No comments: