Oh, the places we will go!

I re shelved an Internet DIY book today and laughed out loud when I saw that it was published in 2001. My first thought was that the idea of a book being outdated six years after it was published was crazy, but then I started thinking about other books that I’ve refused to read because of their age. As a history major I am constantly researching, and one of my stipulations for a book I use as a reference is its date of publication. (The exception to this rule is primary sources such as The Mallieus Maleficarium, Vindication of a Woman’s Rights, etc. You can never ignore a good primary resource!) Considering the rate at which people are discovering and learning about past civilizations/events, the books historians are writing are quickly becoming outdated. For example, I went to Philadelphia in May to see the King Tut exhibit at the Franklin Institute of Science. I took three books with me on the topic of King Tut and the information that varied between the three was astounding! The one that corresponded most with the exhibit (considered to have the most up-to-date facts on the King and the era in which he ruled) was the one most recently written.
Technological advances are pushing society ahead at such a quick pace we barely have time to look back and remember what it was like without such equipment. We have robots that can walk on Mars and send information to NASA that instantly negates or confirms every idea ever considered; information in science textbooks is instantly outdated and children are learning incorrect information. The same goes for computer programming or “how to” guides because of the type and amount of new methods and products that are designed every day. This keeps computer programmers from becoming specialists on any one product or program because their expertise will not be expert after a few months time.
Upon graduating from St. Mary’s College in 2009 I will be going to another institution in hopes of earning my Masters in Information and Library Sciences. In doing so, I hope to learn the best ways in which to stay abreast of the mudslide of information being published every day.

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