I took a trip down memory lane yesterday. I visited the periodical stacks at my university library. To tell the truth, it has been years since I have gone to the shelf and pulled down a tome, and riffled through the pages of a bound volume, hoping the article had not been cut or torn out by some other long-ago reader. It felt a little funny to be back there, even though I am on the same campus all the time since I teach at the same university where I got my MLS. Back in the old days at SHSU, library classes were held in this building, and on the same floor where I found myself yesterday. I could remember being there every week-end in the early 80’s when I was working on my degree. I could look in the little conference room where I had catalog classes with my hero, Dr. Bonnie Thorne. It is a storage room now. For those of you who remember her, Bonnie is doing great, retired, and looking amazingly unchanged from when you had her for a class. I found the volume and article, which was from 1995 and no longer available online, and made a few notes.
Looking at the article was another memory-lane experience for me. It was by Dr. Doug Rogers, director of the doctoral cohort to which I belonged in the late 1990’s, and still inspiring students at Baylor University. This article was the linchpin of his views on technology and I wanted to refer to it in an upcoming presentation. I want to talk about the article in a future posting but wanted to commemorate my library visit and search in this one. The questions I could not escape were…
1. I wonder how much longer all these resources will be here? The musty smell of all those aging pages was, if anything, more intense than I remembered.
2. I wonder when I may be back over her to do a search for a print article? I still use the library for books, of course, but for journal articles, no—online databases generally suffice. Of course my fields are educational technology and librarianship, and 99% of the time I want the most recent information possible.
Am I saying print files like these are passé? Do I advocate disposing of them? Emphatically not! Even in my field, I just proved the ongoing value of those bound volumes. My BA is in English and history, and I certainly know that scholarly thought regarding these realms does not get dated in the same way as information may in other fields. Indeed, my reason for seeking the outdated article, which is about educational technology, is to point how timely the premise is some twelve years later. Long live libraries and the treasures they hold until the time comes when I need that one remembered gem and find it waiting for me on the shelf!