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Instant Gratification (was re: paper request)

I definitely agree with the opinions of Tracy and Tom...to a point.  

As an example, I'm a 16 year old student.  I take a biology course, and as a 
project we recently had to write a paper on certain coenzymes, their functions, 
their sources, etc.  I was, honest to goodness, one of only two or three kids 
in the whole class (40 kids) to use a non-internet source.  And, to make this 
more amazing, these internet sources that the other kids used were not 
scientific papers (as we are debating in this ongoing post), but simple 
websites from universities and other students.  

I, on the other hand, used the internet to find refs, and took a trip to two 
different libraries to pour through countless volumes of biochemistry and 
biology books.  I came out of the project with a perfect score, while most of 
the other students came away with a headache because they could not find all of 
the information on the internet.  

The same is true in all of my other classes, and it drives me nuts.  I am 
probably being truthful when I say that only 10 or 20% of kids know how to use 
a card catalog.  Most kids probably haven't actually research in a library 

Now, this is Middle America, not any kind of academy or boarding school.  These 
are regular highschool students, and it shows a sickening trend.  I always 
associate research with a library, but I fear that most of my classmates don't 
know how to use them.  

Of course, on the other hand, there is also the problem of actually finding 
papers.  I live in the middle of Illinois' farm country, and my local library 
doesn't even carry Science or Nature.  Scientific American is the most 
scientific of any of the publications that they carry.  In this case, the 
internet can play an important roll.

However, there are no practicing and publishing paleontologists in my home 
town, and if I (or any other kid from where I live) do decide to go into a 
scientific field, we will have more than adequate research opportunities at a 
university or professional library.  That isn't much of a problem.  It is now, 
as a student that wants to find papers and learn more.  But, in a few years 
when I go off to college, I will have more than enough opportunities to find 
the papers I need.  

For now, I find the papers I need by contacting others in the field.  I have a 
large stack of papers in my basement that have been sent to me by the 
paleontologists that have written them.  There are other ways than the 
internet, and although the internet is a nice tool, library research is a skill 
that is needed by everyone.  In that sense I am ahead of my classmates.


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