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February 15, 2011 / Brent Sears

Information Is No Longer Scarce

Back in the olden days – the 1990’s, research was hard, time consuming, and sometimes expensive.  The books available were at a local library, bookstores, or in the possession of those in your community.  If you cared about learning there was at least one encyclopedia set in your home to make it possible to look things up.  If you couldn’t find the right answer there it was off to the library or bookstore, but there we no guarantees.

Then came the Internet search.  It allowed us to locate whatever we were looking for instantly.  It was no longer difficult to find out about Canadian Ukrainian polka music, the work of Temple Grandin, or how to make homemade explosive….not that I am recommending the last one.  But that is the change.  The person looking for answers can find them directly with a computer and an Internet connection.  The publishers, authors, and editors of Encyclopedia Britannica no longer get to decide what is important to talk about.  Someone will start a wikipedia page if it is necessary.

The game has obviously changed, and so has the market.  When was to last time you bought a CD at a record store?  When was the last time you used a card catalog to find a book?  When was the last time you got your news from a newspaper or the NBC Nightly News?

The Internet search has changed how we do things, so get ready.  When you can find everything sitting in your bedroom at 4am, don’t be surprised when physical places that were strong in the 1990’s start to close up shop.  Ask Borders about that one.



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