Week 1–Do I understand the Web?

Do I understand the Web? Well, depends on the day… I used to be a 100% PC-logic-oriented type of person, that is, as long as there was a logic pattern to follow, with a clear beginning and a clear ending in my web searches, I could understand. I am, in a way, luckier than Vannevar Bush because I do not necessarily have to bury myself in volumes of books to do my research; however, I still think that a good understanding of how a certain volume is organized is needed. But I do realize that in my searches I may lose the element of serendipity that involves searching through book after book. Years ago, when I had Summer Fellowship at the Library of Congress, I was assigned to sort through all the literary works published in Latin America during the first months of 2005. My task was to recommend which books made it to the stacks and which ones went to general archive -or whatever the place was called. Reading through book after book gave me a good sense of what was going on that can not be repeated because now all research must be done at a faster pace and combined with other activities.

And then links were invented, how did we survived without them, I do not know! As an English grad student at UND, I got to see a hypertext program that linked text for literature and language studies. It was not ‘live’ as they are now, but the department owned one laptop computer that we could use in Prof. Kathy Dixon’s office. The thought of making infinite connections —as a linguist then— simply blew my mind away. We could research a topic et voilà the information was right there, without turning the page. To think that I now get frustrated when a page does not load fast enough!

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