Electronic vs Print

“But my teacher said I can’t use the Internet.”


Staffs at the various library districts in Clark County hear this often as students request resources needed to complete their assignments. It is acceptable to use the Internet for research. There is, however, cause for concern with the use of the World Wide Web commonly referred to as the open web. The Internet is the vehicle used to access a web site, and the library can point the way to the credible and authoritative electronic reference resources that are available.

Electronic resources versus printed material

Many resources in print form at libraries have been replaced with electronic versions for many reasons. For example, updates to electronic resources are timely. The electronic resources, unlike printed books, can be shared by multiple individuals simultaneously, on site and from home. Electronic resources can also save valuable shelf space in buildings. Other advantages include: • the ability to do full text searching; • the ability to download, print, or email; and, • the convenience of accessing articles any time from your desktop computer. These electronic resources include magazines, newspapers, periodicals, and reference books that would be found in print form without requiring valuable shelf space.


Do you trust the source?

The state, school district, and various library districts in Clark County subscribe to databases and eMedia. These electronic resources are published by reliable companies and are evaluated for inclusion in the collection. The resources can include books, magazines, and newspapers. If a student is asked to use resources for a report, an important consideration should be the citation. An article from Time magazine is the same whether photocopied from the physical print source or printed from the electronic source. In contrast, open sites found on the web are designed for a variety of purposes, such as to inform, to persuade, or to make money. Sometimes such sites are created as a hoax or joke. The open web cannot always be trusted. The electronic resources provided by libraries are credible and reliable. The bottom line… The databases and eMedia available to Clark County students and residents are not the same as the open web. Library staffs are available to help students develop good search strategies to effectively use these electronic resources. They are also available to show students how to cite a source to ensure its credibility. “But my teacher said I can’t use the Internet.” “I think your teacher meant the open web. Of course you can use the Internet. You just need to know where to look, and libraries can help!”