The Library and the Internet:
Ten Good Reasons
to Use the Library
So you have to write a paper on the pros and cons of widgits vs. watchamasqueezers.
You've always just gone on the web and used Google to find information before.
Why should you bother using library resources? Here are ten good reasons
Not everything is on the Internet.
There is a lot of useful information out there on the web. Unfortunately, this
often leads to the misconception that everything you need to know can be
found online. This simply isn't true. There are tons of published materials
(books, articles, videos, music, etc) that you won't find using a standard
search engine like Google or Yahoo. And even when you do find them, your
access may be limited (see #2 below.)
Not everything on the Internet is free.
Much of the web consists of subscription services that make you pay if you
want to get into their website or download their stuff. Before you go and spend
your hard-earned money on these services, check out the library's website.
We've already paid for many of these services so you don't have to.
The Internet is not very organized.
How many times have you searched for something on the web and got a
list of 1.5 million web pages? How are you supposed to make sense of
that? Does searching
the web feel like looking for a needle in a haystack? Well, library
resources, unlike the web, are organized by topic and broken down into
of information (books, articles, databases, etc.) Library resources
have been organized by real people, not by search engine robots.
There is no quality control on the Internet.
The internet is full of lies, misconceptions, and half-truths. Almost
anyone with a computer can put up a website, and they don't have
to know what they're
talking about. Some sites will deliberately mislead you, in order
to get your money, change your opinion on a controversial issue, or
to pull your leg.
Hoax sites are all over the place, and they often look real. Did
you see the one about the first
human male pregnancy? Not real. Library
resources, on the
other hand, have mostly been through editors and fact-checkers who
make sure you're getting (relatively) reliable information.
Sources on the Internet can be harder to verify.
When you write a paper, it's important to cite your sources. Some web
pages make it difficult to figure out who's telling you what and where
they got their
information. Library resources, even those on our online databases,
will tell you exactly where the information came from.
The Internet is too new for some things.
Are you looking for news stories from the day your were born? How about
speeches from World War I? The web is relatively new, and most sources
over 10 - 15 years old have not been digitized or placed on the web.
If you're looking for information on older events, you'll have better
luck checking out
the library's resources.
Library online resources are available 24/7.
There's more to the library than books these days. Library online
databases can be accessed 24/7 through the library's website. Although you access
these databases through the internet, they are not internet sources.
They are every
bit a part of our library's collection as the books on our shelf. The
articles you find in our online databases are reprinted from real live
The Internet is a mile wide and an inch deep.
So you've found 40 websites on widgets, but they all give you the same
four or five facts without very much detail. How do you stretch that
out to a five-page
paper? For a varied and more in-depth analysis of widgets and widgetology,
try some of the library's books or article databases.
You're already paying for the library.
Your tuition and fees help pay for library resources. Why not get your
Real live people can help you use our library.
You can Ask A Librarian (nice, friendly,
master degreed) who is just waiting to help you find the information
you're looking for. Don't
hours in vain
looking for information on the web. Take advantage of our services
to point you in the right direction.
This list is adapted from Mark Herring's "10
Reasons Why the Internet Is No Substitute for a Library" that
originally appeared in American Libraries,
April 2001, p. 76-78. This version courtesy of Lake