One of the things I find fascinating about the evolution of the Internet is the fact that even as our potential ability to interact with each other and build a community is expanded, something is lost. My boyfriend used to play World of Warcraft continuously, which he claimed was basically as good as hanging out with his friends, since they were all online. I begged to differ.
Is anything lost with the increasing digitization of primary sources? Convenience and accessibility are fabulous things, especially in our fast-paced society. But isn’t there something to be gained by having to travel somewhere and search its archives? I have a romanticized view of Gandalf in Fellowship of the Ring crouched over ancient scrolls, mumbling old languages and smoking his pipe.
So we don’t get to do anything that fun. But if I could go to Ottawa to look at something instead of pulling it up on the Internet I’d jump on the chance. Scholars managed to find funding for these endeavours before the Internet convenience revolution. Hopefully it won’t be lost.