International and Comparative Librarianship

DEDICATED TO PIONEERS   INCLUDING:
S. R. Ranganathan, P. N. Kaula, R. N. Sharma, J. F. Harvey, D. J. Foskett, J. P. Danton, M. M. Jackson, etc.
This Blogosphere has a slant towards India [a.k.a Indica, Indo, South-Asian, Oriental, Bharat, Hindustan, Asian-Indian (not American Indian)].

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

What do you do when the internet is down?

Annecdote posted by Ivy Lee @ Asian Libraries:

An elderly man queried me why he couldn't access hotmail yesterday. I explained to him that it's a nationwide situation.
Old man: "Oh dear, then what should I do now that I can't access hotmail?"
Me: "How about going back to the days before internet was invented? Like maybe....use the snail mail?"

Dear old uncle has a good sense of humour too and we burst into laughter.

If an old uncle is so reliant on hotmail and has almost forgotten the art of mailing a letter using stamps, well, this just shows how the world has grown "connected" over the years.

It was a test on us librarians' skills to answer quick reference questions without the internet. For example, someone asked what is the national flower of Myanmar. We tried all the encyclopedias, almanacks and factbooks but were unable to find. This morning, I was happy to see my best friend Mr Google greet me on my PC. The first thing I did was look for the national flower. Within seconds, Mr Google tells me that Myanmar's national flower is "The Paduak (Pterocarpus Indicus) blossoms in tiny fragrant yellow-gold flowers" with a colour picture to match. Source: http://www.aseansec.org/18203.htm
God, I admire librarians in the old days before internet. I wonder if there is a documentary somewhere that shows us how librarians handle enquiries before the computer or the internet was invented, and how accurate were their responses compared to us today. It would be interesting to learn, methink.
See also
  • Go to the library - ways to survive life without the Internet
  • The Ubiquitous Reference Service & Return On Investment
  • Case Studies from India: Evidence-based Librarianship
  • Actual Telephone Conversations Heard in Actual Libraries #83 @ Tales from the "Liberry"

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