Does anyone use a print dictionary anymore?

When I started in my current gig, I inherited a bunch of print materials — old technical manuals, old procedures manuals, old everything (I had 3 different editions of the LC Authority User Manual!), dictionaries, printer manuals, workshop/training manuals, and more. This accumulation occurred naturally, and as staff decided they no longer needed print resources given that a more recent edition was available online and somehow those things came to me.

The shelves behind my desk became not only my bookshelf of professional resources, my print CVs, etc. but also a repository for all kinds of print documentation.

Anyhow, I decided to “clean house” yesterday and tackle my stuffed bookshelf. One thing I discovered is that none of the staff in my area have opened any of the dictionaries and other ready reference materials, in well… years.

We just all go to resources on the web for quick questions — dictionary.com, roget’s, wikipedia, GALILEO resources, etc. I’ve even discovered that I use my programming cheat sheets less than I used to (I love my SPARK charts, but if you can use colorzilla, firebug and the other web dev tools at Firefox, why bother?)

I did keep the things that I (or we) use as well as just couple of things that I’m still emotionally tied to. I couldn’t bear to withdraw my print copy of the bib formats, although I rarely use the print, because the electronic copy is far superior in terms of searching abilities! I kept my copy of AACR2 from lib school, even though it’s outdated (I do have the more recent updated one, though).

Funny, how we hold on to print resources for no real reason, isn’t it? Every print resource on my shelves is duplicated elsewhere — online freely available, GALILEO , the UC (USG’s Universal Catalog), the departmental bib center, the department head’s office, the library stacks, etc. I can get to all of that information IF I ever need to see the print, but unless the ‘net is down, I don’t see why I would need them.

So, now I have significantly more space on bookshelves, a tidier office and renewed hope that I will not turn into the packrat like my grandmother. 😉

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