What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

05 April 2013

E is for Encyclopedia

I've heard I'm like a walking encyclopedia. It's the sort of thing that's not meant as a compliment but that I totally take as a compliment anyway, because I'm really nerdy like that. And really, it's not me at all; I can't help how my brain stores information (i.e., useless facts always at the ready; important things lost forever), but sometimes the stuff in there is useful for other people.

From blaize on stock.xchng.
It's been amusing to hear the admonitions from academia over the past few years about using Wikipedia as a source, because anybody can edit it and blah blah blah. You know why you shouldn't use Wikipedia as an academic source? Because you wouldn't use the Encyclopedia Britannica as a source, either. Or World Book. An encyclopedia isn't a source-- it's where you go when you've never heard of something before and you need a starting point.

Although my profs have often made the very good point that you can just go to the articles cited at the bottom of the Wikipedia page and read them, and possibly use them as sources. That doesn't always work as well in the journal-article-land that is grad school, but hey, I'll take what I can get.

Please don't tell me how you feel about Wikipedia. How about: When was the last time you used a paper-and-ink encyclopedia?

7 comments:

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Oh gosh...I haven't used a real honest to goodness encyclopedia since grade school. Do they still produce them?

Crystal White said...

I found your blog through the A-z challenge! I know grad school is hard, but yu will be so glad yu did it! I finished my masters about 3 years ago and it really helped me become a better teacher.

My Life With a Boy

Margo Kelly said...

I prefer old fashioned books ... but ... I don't utilize physical encyclopedias very often anymore. I did all the time as a kid, though. :) Happy A to Z month!

Donna Shields said...

It's been a couple of years. But as you pointed out, its a great spring board.

JEFritz said...

My sixth grade teacher made us learn how to use encyclopedias, which is deeply ironic since I later learned, as you said, they're not really cite-able sources. It would have been a lot more useful to learn how to use the academic nexus lexus.

Teacher-Mom said...

oh there's something about those onion skin-like pages, trimmed in gold, bound in black leather that just cannot be beat by a piece of metal encased in plastic and glass...nope can't match that at all! And don't even get me started on the smell of!

erica and christy said...

We have an old (like, 1987) set of encyclopedias in the storage room of my elementary school. Every once in awhile when I have a child with sensory processing problems, I put a few in a backpack and have them carry it around.

That's what you meant, right? ;)
erica