Monday, February 15, 2010

Musing Monday..Amo, Amas and Amat.

It's Monday, yes again, so let's head over to Just one more page and check out these week's Monday Musing question...

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about a reference material.

Do you keep reference books on your shelves at home? What’s your first port of call when you need information – the internet or a book?

Do I keep reference books on my shelves? Yes.
Do I use them? No, not really.
But, of course, the answer is not quite that cut and dry. :-)

Folks, I am old enough to remember the world before the Internet. Yes, there really was a world before the internet, a world full of reference books, and trips to the library to look things up. Imagine that...having to actually leave the house to go to a library to find the answer to your questions.
Unless you were lucky enough to have a set of encyclopedias. I can remember the day my mother made the not insignificant financial investment to buy my brother and I the set. I can remember the world of information it opened to us, conveniently located right there in our house. I could book at them for hours and hours. I believe it was the Encyclopedia Americana, a 30 volume set, that surprisingly is still in print. It had it's own little bookcase...and I have no idea what happen to it. I guess at some point, in some move, we gave it away.

But that was often just the starting point for research, for a school paper or whatever. The encyclopedia was a starting point but after that it was off to the library, searching through those huge card catalogs, in the big wooden cabinets with all the little wooden drawers, with thousands and thousands of individual paper cards listing each book. Gosh, I wonder what happen to those cabinets..I would love to get my hands on one of those. Then off to the stacks, or more rarely, to the reference section, where the librarian would carefully hand you the book, the book that could not be removed from the reference room. You would take it to the big tables they always had in libraries, where you would sit and copy the needed information by hand into your notebook, because yes, it was before copy machines too!

Now, you just boot up the laptop and type your question into the Google thingie on the toolbar and the answer is your in seconds.

So are reference books a thing of the past? No, I am not sure they are. Granted, I never use the dictionary or thesaurus sitting on my shelves. The internet is way faster for that. But I do still use books for some things. Gardening, for example. I have a fair number of books about gardening subjects and I do use them. Unlike the internet, books offer the big picture, in a form that is easy to 'page' through. And for me, with a visual subject, nothing beats the photographs in a book.
Lighthouses are another subject I frequently use books for. For a quick question, yes the internet is fine, but for something more in depth, I find a book...or several books..easier to get the needed information from.

Then, maybe I am just a dinosaur.
Maybe I am a holdover from the last generation of people that remembers doing research without the internet and retains a certain fondness for it. Or maybe there actually is an advantage that a book can offer over the computer screen in some cases. I would argue there is. Or maybe I just like to argue.
Either way, as I have said before, they will have to pry my books out of my cold, dead, fingers.

Amo, amas, amat? Don't know what it means? Well, look it up! I will lend you my Latin/English dictionary. A real paper book dictionary. Or you can Google it I guess...


  1. I mainly use the internet. Here's Mine.

  2. i have to agree. i didn't think about it when i was writing my Monday Musings response, but i do have several books on photography that i refer to often when i'm working with my camera or editing photos. so, similar to your gardening books, i do keep some photography books on hand for reference.

    aside from that though, i have to admit that i run to the internet for nearly everything... a sign of the times, for sure.

  3. I also fondly recall those card catalogs!

    I do have a bunch of reference books, and the ones I use the most are the thesaurus (better than online IMHO) and the German-English dictionary. There's of course and I do go there first, but sometimes you just gotta have the book!

  4. I LOVED my World Book Encyclopedias! I got more entertainment from them as a child than my Barbies or Batman on TV. And I have reference on my shelves now, but they generally remain untouched. Why deal with it, when you can get an answer in 5.2 seconds on Google?

  5. Oh my goodness ---- what a trip down memory lane! Remember microfiche?! I spent countless hours in front of those stupid machines doing my college thesis!

    Yes, I much prefer the speed - and convenience - of the 21st Century internet.

    In answer to the question - I know it is the latin conjugation of a verb -- I love - you love - he/she loves???

  6. Hmmm, I wonder too what happened to all those card catalogues. Occasionally I will use my dictionary but you are right about the internet is faster and more convenient but I do hold nostalgia for a simpler time and place.

  7. doubt you are younger then me. that explains it. ;-)

    yes little reader, I do think sometimes books are actually easier for research.

    Lenore...for you German...for me Latin. But I can only talk to dead people...

    Sandy, having spent many happy hours with your encyclopedia, that is the official sign of a Book Nerd. Welcome to the Club.

    Oh yes Molly, I remember microfiche!
    And yes, you got the Latin question correct!The rest of it would be the plural...
    amamus...we love (plural) love
    amant...they love

    Kaye..I really would love one of those card to the internet to look for

  8. We had that same little set of encyclopedias! I remember that bookcase sitting at the end of our hall. I do use the internet most of the time these days.

  9. No, you're not a dinosaur. Even kids these days will have to use the college library to do extensive research. The Internet only begins the journey.

  10. One of the few 'jobs' my sahm had when we were growing up was selling World Book Encyclopedias. I'm sure she did it only so that we could have a set at home. It was considered the sign of having arrived if you had your own set.

    Nowawadays, while I don't have a computer, I do have a reference shelf in our library at home. It holds mostly language dictionaries, a thesaurus, two world almanacs, and several atlases. Internet is great as a start, but like you said, there's nothing like the 'big picture'. Hubby uses them a lot when he writes, so he can get the language, and the geography correct in his stories.

  11. Two thumbs up on reference books. While quick reference is just a few clicks away on the internet, there is no replacement of reference books about style, grammar, and usage.

  12. We use the internet a lot, but I still think books are better when you want a lot of reliable information on a subject that's readable, not just a collection of facts.

  13. I only use the internet now, but I do remember having encyclopedias when I was a kid.

  14. We have a zillion reference books, all procured before the days of Google. Now, we rarely consult them and it's such a shame! I still keep them though - you never know when we will have a terrorist attack and no computer access and then you and I will have a leg up on all the information we need to survive!

  15. Hi!
    I'm with you, I can remember those large tables at the library, sitting there because you couldn't take the book out of the library. Thanks for stopping by my place. Have a great evening.


  16. We had a set of World Book encyclopedias that my parents somehow got suckered into buying and I was always paging through it ... I loved how you could learn about totally unrelated things if you just go straight through.

    And some things (like gardening) are better suited to a dedicated book rather than the internet.

  17. kathy, everyone else seems to have had the World Book!

    CeeCee, they better hurry before the libraries get rid of all their books.

    wow Tina, I never knew we had arrived! ;-)

    Matt, I agree..books are often the best.

    rhapsody..I actually have a collection of survival books, so I am all set!

    Jenners, you can join the encyclopedia reading nerd club. we meet in the library reference room..

  18. Gardening was very beneficial and it is very good to have a beautiful garden.


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