London, ON, February 2010
About this photo: Thematic Photographic, our weekly photo sharing activity, is exploring sepia-toned images through Thursday. If you've got one (or two, or...) that you'd like to share, click here and have at it.I date myself when I say I remember going to the library and starting every research effort with a trip through the card catalog. You never quite knew where these endless drawers of time-worn, dog-eared cards would send you, and that, I think, was half the fun. The other half was simply drinking in the experience. I can still smell the wood and feel the drawers open and close. You took your time moving from one to the other as you tried to build up the best possible shortlist of finds.
It was never as ruthlessly efficient as a Google search, of course, and when you were back home well after midnight, you were pretty much up a creek if your original research was somewhat lacking (yes, I speak from hard-earned experience.) But no search engine could ever deliver the kind of visceral experience of rooting through the card catalog. It was deliberate, and it required you to show up ready to invest a little of yourself in the process. So whenever I come across an old library, I try to explore the drawers a bit to remind myself of what it once felt like.
I admit I miss it a little.
Your turn: What do we lose as we move from real to virtual?