The Encyclopaedia metaphor again
22 January 2008 2 Comments
I posted a blog post way back in September about why I like browsing references books and in particular my concise Encyclopaedia.
I was thinking last night when looking the Encyclopaedia up again that the reason I like it better than the web as a reference guide in certain circumstances is not because it’s necessarily more accurate (I think the jury is still out on the accuracy of Wikipedia versus an Encyclopaedia), nor is it because it’s richer, nor is it because I like reading it in print rather than on screen, the main reason is because of the random things that come up whilst I’m hunting for the thing I’m looking up.
For example last night my Encyclopeadia journey started out with a hunt for the Apocolypse (which is quite interesting in itself because all the major religions seem to agree that there will be one) but I ended up looking at an ethnic reference map of the world, in between those I found out what Saint Basil is associated with and various other random factoids. What I’m saying is that there is perhaps more of a need for something equally random on the web. Google’s “I’m feeling lucky” is a little bit like that but usually far too good these days at getting an accurate answer without taking you to random places first. Really it’s just the fact that with the book open certain things leap out at you because they’re on the same page or have pretty pictures etc. and you end up learning something bizarre. I’ve no idea why this appeals to me but it does!