Another Dinosaur

In the age of the Internet, encyclopedias are gathering dust, and most families with young children don’t even consider buying the space-hogging printed sets anymore. Even digital versions struggle for attention.

Michael Gray’s home computer came pre-loaded with Microsoft Corp.‘s reference software, Encarta, but the seventh-grader from Milpitas, Calif., has never used it. He prefers doing research online, where information from a vast array of sources comes quickly and, for the most part, for free.

Like many students, his first Internet stop is Google. “I find information really fast,” Gray says, smiling proudly. “Within five to 10 minutes, I find a good (Web) site to work from.”

Ah, yes: expediency uber alles—I know, of course, that I’m only one of a very few ultra-nerds who ever collected random useless (and sometimes useful) knowledge by curling up with a book entitled “M” or “S”… Heck, even I’m more prone nowadays to use a computer spell-checker or the Internet to look up a word, thus forfeiting the dubious pleasure of bumping into four or five strange new words on the way to finding the one you came for as you leaf through a printed dictionary. So it goes, I guess. Progress and what-not. Comments?

Oh, here’s the rest of that article.