Research Paper Sources: Web vs. Library
In the information world today, one has the internet tool at their finger tips. This might lead to researchers thinking they need not go to the library as they can have all the information they need through the internet. This is a wrong assumption as these two tools supplement each other. They both have their advantage and disadvantages.
In libraries, the catalogs used are universal. This means one can find whatever they are looking for in whichever library they choose to go. They offer free access to journals, magazines, periodical publications, books and other publications. They also offer material that has been archived going back some years. This could be important in looking for trends in research and using hindsight to know what to look out for. Many libraries also have the added advantage of having free internet connections, with other web based resources like reference CD-ROMS. If one is stuck, they have the librarians to guide them through the maze and help them locate their resources.
On the other hand, libraries are used by many people. In some cases, the resources that on is looking for may have been checked out by other patrons. This makes it impossible or time consuming looking for information, especially from popular books and publications. Compared to web based resources, it is difficult to find updated information. Library sources cannot provide the minute by minute information that websites provide and one will have to rely on other sources. Another disadvantage of libraries is that they have opening and closing hours most of the time, and so one cannot access information throughout the day.
The internet on the other hand is a vast resource that provides access to anything and everything. One is able to access information 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Information on websites is up to date, with news changing as quickly as minute per minute. It provides the opportunity of two way communication through live chat and email. The internet also has a complete multimedia experience, offering not only text but also videos, audio, photos and graphics.
On the downside, the internet has the big issue of credibility. Anyone with an internet connection can publish content on the internet. Not everything that the researcher searches for and finds is credible. It does not have any organization or catalog, and might not be able to provide some resources that are several years old. The internet by itself cannot be relied on; it should be used as a complementary resource.
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