To continue my case for print media, here are two more reasons why it is important to our information world:
2 – It inherently involves checks and balances. Books and other print media have to pass checkpoints, people who have a vested interest in their publication (editors, agents, etc.) and a collective interest in getting it right. The Internet can correct things quickly, sure, but because information moves so quickly, bad information is flooding cyberspace and corrections do little to patch the dam. With print, more time is available to plug information holes. You may not be evaluating the validity of that book you pick up off the shelf, but someone else at least has.
3 – It takes time. Time and quality go hand in hand. The Internet is fast, but speed sacrifices quality. Without the balance of good quality information brought about by in-depth, long-term consideration, the rest of the information landscape gets overtaken by superficiality, resulting in information consumed by our society primarily consisting of fluff. The Ego gives way to the Id and the Superego gets shoved under the bed. Too much ying and no yang. It’s sugar overload and not enough veggies. Have I made enough metaphors yet? Don’t believe me? Start reading a few studies about students’ information habits and how many employers are finding new grads unprepared for the workplace*. Fast flowing digital information can be great, but our society needs more of a balanced diet. Think of print as being your whole grains.
*Project Information Literacy is great start http://projectinfolit.org/ In particular, I advise reading “Lessons Learned: How College Students Seek Information in the Digital Age” as well as others. Look for them under “Publications.”