Research Anyone?

Next week, I have two major papers due. Both require serious, college-level research, accurate citations, footnotes, endnotes, bibliographies, and such. Our professors have blithely instructed us to “use the library’s databases” for our research. As if this student had a clue. The last time I did any research for a paper cable tv was a brand new concept. The space shuttle had not yet taken its first trip into space. PC was shortharnd for “politically correct”, and look what that’s turned into. I dimly recall digging through card catalogs (yes, paper records) and tracking down dusty books in remote stacks on the upper floors of the library. Hell, the last term paper I wrote was typed on an IBM selectric with self-correcting tape!

But, today, our fine institution has electronic databases, providing full text records in some, abstracts in others, and, at the very least, citations to other items of relevance. For most of the students, it appears to me, working with the e-databases is old hat, hardly worth discussing. For me, although the concept of a database is familiar, the struggle of looking through literally dozens of databases seems as daunting as trying to find 12 books and reading through them for citable references and scholarly ideas.

You know, it really isn’t harder to do things in this new generation, it’s just different. The key is keeping the mind flexible and open to new ideas……

Which is what I signed up for in this gig!

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“Life’s hard, son. It’s harder when you’re stupid.” — The Duke.

Education is a companion which no misfortune can depress, no crime can destroy, no enemy can alienate,no despotism can enslave. At home, a friend, abroad, an introduction, in solitude a solace and in society an ornament.It chastens vice, it guides virtue, it gives at once grace and government to genius. Without it, what is man? A splendid slave, a reasoning savage. - Joseph Addison
The term informavore (also spelled informivore) characterizes an organism that consumes information. It is meant to be a description of human behavior in modern information society, in comparison to omnivore, as a description of humans consuming food. George A. Miller [1] coined the term in 1983 as an analogy to how organisms survive by consuming negative entropy (as suggested by Erwin Schrödinger [2]). Miller states, "Just as the body survives by ingesting negative entropy, so the mind survives by ingesting information. In a very general sense, all higher organisms are informavores." - Wikipedia

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