> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note:
> As we 'Inform Ourselves to Death' (see the Digest #263, over last
> weekend), it has truly gotten to the point that information has no
> value any longer. But Lisa, some of us do _try_ at least. PAT]
Regarding vanity press, the reality is that most books printed that
way end up in the author's basement.
I recall reading a "tell-all" book about the phone company a
disgruntled employee wrote years ago. He made fun of the standardized
office layout, decor, and furnishings of each level of management.
His books had an occassional point of interest, but most of it was
griping of someone who just didn't fit in a strictly standardized
world (and a lot of people do have trouble with that.) If they had
the Internet back then, I bet he have a huge web page collecting
gripes from every person who had a fight with their service rep.
My argument is that sure -- there were plenty of disgruntled Bell
System employees and plenty of customers poorly served. But one must
look at the bigger picture of the TOTAL number of happy employees and
satisfied customers. I doubt the above writer would bother to mention
that statistic on his webpage.
I doubt too many people read his book (I found it at a yard sale).
But with the ease of the Internet and search engines it may have
reached more people and spread inaccurate information.
Another concerns is that information overload depreciates the value of
information. Part of that concern is the ease of Internet
I've been in a number of discussions (both on-line and off-line) about
issues where debaters use Internet sources to bolster their case. But
often times those sources tell only a small part of the story. For
issues that interest me, I have printed copy references from either
books I own or library resources that tell a bigger picture and
For example, in a debate about public transit in Philadelphia, several
people claimed the system was losing money for years and near
collapse. I have the company's annual reports that show that claim
was wrong. In debates about Amtrak, I have printed literature stating
Amtrak's purpose was to supplement highways and airways that were
unable to handle all national travel needs.
The ease of the Internet/computer databases are a wonderful tool and I
don't dispute that at all (more below). But I remain troubled that
the Internet has too much garbage on it drowning out valid
* * *
Admittedly, researching material in print is tiring. I recently did
some research the old fashioned way -- pulling out bound indexes,
scanning them multiple times in multiple years for various keywords,
then writing down the hits. Then, I searched the microfilm rolls for
journals and dates for the hits. Then, the individual roll of
microfilm had to threaded through the reader and slowly searched
sequentially for the particular issue date and finally the article.
Sometimes the reward for this would be merely two sentences. THEN, I
have to start all over with another reel. After a while this gets
quite tiring. The only saving grace is that no one seems to use
microfilm anymore and I have the reader room all to myself.