Old News: The Necessity for Change
If online resources were not useful, people would not spend the money for the equipment and accessories that access requires--computer, modem, fees for a data provider--or the time that it still takes to learn the mechanics of digital surfing and data diving. Were we perfectly content with our old ways of knowing, why would we so eagerly embrace the evolutionary new? Thus, before exploring the evolving world of online communication and data, its resources and its reality, it makes sense to take a moment to ask a simple question or two: Why are we so eager for the new? What is the difference between digital and traditional resources?
A partial answer can be given quite clearly. Unequivocally, the evolution of data from print to digital storage and electronic distribution is a significant advance. It is faster, more efficient, and at least potentially more accurate than older means of data storage and retrieval. Evolution advances the past's limits, and the migration of news readers and information users online is testimony to the degree that new technologies improve upon older, somewhat limited venues.
It is distance that fractures the many parts of our world, the villain who demands that we find tools of integration. Our homes and work sites are simply too far from those of the friends and relatives, the colleagues and researchers with whom we wish to be in touch. It is distance which requires that we find a better way to keep abreast of