14 July 2008

See Also: Nostalgia

It makes me a little sad to think that kids today probably have no idea what The Encyclopaedia Britannica is, much less The World Book.

I spent many happy childhood hours holed up with a volume or three of The World Book. I could study, say, the flags of the world for an entire afternoon.
(And yes, I do realize that this makes me a huge nerd. Still am.) I am pretty sure my parents still have our (now vintage) copy of the 1990 edition packed away in the basement storeroom somewhere.

I’m a big fan of the interwebs and all – don’t get me wrong – but there was something special about opening the a volume for the first time. It was the smell of the gold-edged pages; the crackling of the virgin binding; the silky feel of the thick, glossy paper beneath my fingers. Oooh! And remember when the words “See Also . . . “ were magical? Those two little words would send me into paroxysms of delight! I’d run off to the bookshelf to grab the other four volumes I needed in order to continue down the rabbit hole of knowledge. An article on "Creole" would inevitably be followed up with See Also: "France," "Louisiana Purchase," "New Orleans," "Canada," "Cuisine: French," and on and on. The possibilities? Endless!

Sites such as Wikipedia and RefDesk help to fill the hard-copy, heavy-tomed reference void. And if anything, they make following those rabbit holes much more efficient - everything's just a click away!

But . . . it's not quite the same, you know?

(Perhaps, freshly in my 29th year, I'm becoming more nostalgic for things past already? hahahaha)

1 comment:

Bag Blog said...

When we moved my mom from her home of 31 years, we were at a loss as to what to do with her encyclopedias. They were more like the 1970's edition. I remember Jesse borrowing one book at a time and just pouring over it. I guess they were pretty fascinating at one time.