...in the bottom drawer
I knew I'd lose it so I put it in a safe place, and now I can't remember where it is.

currently stashed in: Cheshire Street, London
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April 28, 2005 || 5:35 pm

Another week, another tool to make Google even more invaluable and to advance the trade of 'internet researcher' over 'librarian' - Google Print. Much as I love and depend on these things, and they do make my life infinitely easier and open up possibilities for inquiry that would be unthinkable otherwise, I do rather lament the increasing decline of real books and real libraries. If you have Google Print, will anyone ever buy an academic book again? One wonders what the publishers who are partnering this venture think. Or will the best of these tools become subscriber-only?

For me, I'm old-fashioned and there still will be no replacement for sitting in the reading room of the London Library. But I feel that increasingly I won't be sitting there because of the books I can find in the stacks around me, but because it provides somewhere quiet, dignified and uplifting to do my work, or spend a couple of leisure hours. The LL has always been a cousin to the gentleman's club, and maybe (my former employers take note) its forthcoming redevelopment needs to bear this in mind. But then again, until Google finds a way to mimic the wonderful happenstance of browsing through 'Science and Miscellaneous', there will be obscure corners of the world that can only be researched by trawling the stacks.

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