Online Reference Material for a More Informed Public
Although the internet is used for a variety of purposes, such a social media, networking, email, and gaming, it is most valuable for online reference material. Almost anything a person wants to know can be found online with a few seconds or a few minutes. For example, if one wants to find out when and where the dodo bird resided, a simple internet search will yield results that include dozens of online articles and lesser bits of online info. The breadth of reference material online and high quality articles online have been a boon to everyone from professional researchers to students to the typical person who just wants to find a good burger. The only thing that people must be wary of, however, is to double and triple check the reliability of the sources that they consult. This is particularly prudent for those people who intend to utilize officially any information that they glean from reference material online.
Anyone who has done a college or graduate level research paper during the age of the internet, probably remembers their professors discussing the ways to determine the credibility of reference material online. During these discussions, the professor would tell students which reference material online was forbidden from research, and the material that was safe. Forbidden material usually included wikis, personal blogs, and material that was biased or slanted in some way. Of course, there were the traditional, dusty professors who forbade students from consulting reference material online altogether. Since it is often fast and easy to find reference material online, it is equally simple to double and triple check that information. Thus, if one uses the internet wisely, it is the best source of information ever. In fact, in the eyes of some techies, the wealth of reference material online has nearly rendered brick and mortar libraries as obsolete.
While libraries are far from extinct, and probably will not be anytime in the immediate future, the infinite amount of free reference material online has made many basic daily functions easier. While the reference material online has not made people smarter, it has arguably created a people who are better informed on a variety of topics. While the internet can be criticized for many reasons, it is difficult to criticize anything that cultivates a better informed public.