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August 06, 2003
Who is Santiago Calatrava? a culture blogger on the educational power of the internet

The other day my super-intelligent friend Alice, whose judge of a good blog is infallible, I've always thought, recommended a particularly fine culture blog , and while rootling around at it I found this, on the educational power of the internet:

For now I just want to give the Internet a pat on the back. The Internet, I think, is very good, which I did not think of first, but which I am now thinking with particular thoughtfulness.

I was once a failing architecture student, and as regulars here now know, I remain a (st)architecture fan. But until recently, I despaired at the cost of keeping up with it all. Keeping up means you had to have pictures, and pictures on paper are just too expensive, and too bulky to share a flat with if you get at all serious.

Until today, I had no idea who Santiago Calatrava was, or about that beautiful footbridge in Bilbao. I am, in short, thanks to the Internet, catching up.

I dined with Michael Jennings last night, and he was likewise raving about how much sheer stuff the average bright fifteen-year-old now has at his finger tips, compared to the time when he was a bright fifteen-year-old, searching through inadequate libraries for dumbed down books about whatever it was, that as likely as not weren't there at all.

And who, pray, is Santiago Calatrava? That's no the point, apparently.

the real point of this posting here is not Hurrah For Calatrava. It is hurrah that I was able to learn about the guy, and so amazingly quickly.

About fifteen minutes ago, I knew nothing of him. Then, the daily New York Times email, and I'm straight to the op-ed piece linked to above. Google search: "Santiago Calatrava". Bingo. Now I've done about half an essay on him. Education or what? I am myself back to being a bright fifteen-year-old.

I couldn't have put it better myself.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 11:10 PM
Category: The Internet

Yes, there's a lot of stuff on the Internet, but there's also a lot of stuff *not* on the Internet. In researching virtually any topic, I'm always struck by how much I can find at the local university libraries that is nowhere to be found on the Internet...and these aren't really world-class libraries, either. My concern is that the Internet will be used as an excuse for not teaching kids how to use libraries and how to do serious research.

Comment by: David Foster on August 10, 2003 05:30 PM

i agree w/ david. when it comes to architecture, i've found that there is much more information in books than on the web, especially since architecture pulls from so many other fields of interest. when it comes to recent information, A + U and el croquis are excellent magazine resources.

there has to be something about the categorization of searches on internet search engines versus the searches at libraries. physically being there, at the shelves, gives you the ability to drift from one topic to the next to the next, and looking at the index of references in a book can instantly give you 100 other sources that are directly related. it's how i search, at any rate.

Comment by: cristina on December 24, 2003 02:12 AM
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