E-Books Part 1

This Saturday post will start a short Saturday series about electronic books, otherwise known as e-books. For this particular post, I want to give you an idea of what it was like before technology came to the library.

When I was in college, many many years ago 🙂 I was a regular visitor to the university library. It was a humongous place. The main reading room had card file cabinets that were as long as a train. Now, remember this was a time before computers took over so everything in the library had a 3×5 inch index card describing where the book was and basically what it was about. The millions of cards were kept in the mile-long cabinet called the card catalog. I would literally spend hours there until I finally found just the right sources I needed for the paper I was writing.

Zipping now to the beginning of my retirement years for a personal story. When we were renovating our 1927 farmhouse in 2001 I built a ten-foot wall of bookshelves to hold many of the books I have read over the years. The shelves were designed around the ones I had discovered in Thomas Edison’s library in Menlo Park New Jersey a couple of years before. Within a year the shelves were full and overflowing with books and they started piling up at the front. Now zipping forward again to 2019 and all my paper books are now contained in two feet of the original fifty feet of shelves. The rest contains memorabilia from trips and vacations across this great country. I can’t say that I miss the other forty-eight foot at all. Many of the more treasured books are now converted to ebooks with the paper copies given to local libraries.

If you haven’t figured it out by now I do a LOT of reading. It is now split between books and electronic media sites such as the New York Times and Politico. Matter of fact, being deaf I probably spend a big majority of my day reading. Even TV is about reading the captions on the PBS Newshour 🙂

When I depended on paper books as the source of my reports I would most often cover several sheets of paper scribbled with little notes about the important things I wanted to remember. One of the problems with that was, as my class notes, my scribblings become unreadable to me within a week or two of when they were written. I write well but I don’t “write” well it seems. If my sources were my personal books, as opposed to the library’s, I would also have my highlighter handy and my personal page earmarking system.

Now that you have an idea of the “good old days” that our current MAGA president is trying to get us back to, it’s time to close out this post. Next time I will start to tell you some of the many advantages of having information in electronic form. That story will be like comparing the Space Shuttle to a steam locomotive. I will also show you some of the tools that make the task more enjoyable. It is really not as painful as you have been led to believe. 🙂

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