Thursday, October 29, 2015

If it's not on the Internet, does it exist?

Were you born before 1985? Then you're a digital immigrant, i.e. the last generation that will remember the world before the Internet. And THIS is how you found information...



If it's not on the Internet, does it exist?

I Googled an old gay bar (it's now a vacant lot) that I frequented as a young Mistress, only to find absolutely no mention of the bar on the Internet.

Surely this drinking establishment wasn't a figment of my imagination? Surely I wasn't drunk ALL the time during my misspent youth?




Fortunately, I was able to confirm the bar's existence by visiting The Archives in my city. Yes, The Archives...a physical bricks and mortar edifice containing public records and other historical documents. 

Not only did I find the bar listed in an old city directory, I also found old newspaper ads on microfilm, announcing events at the bar.

So I wasn't imagining the place after all. It existed. But not on the Internet.

It's not the first time I've searched online for something that happened before 1991, only to find nothing at all on the Internet. Not one link. Not one scrap of information. In fact, there have been countless times I've searched in vain for events that apparently never happened or people or things that apparently never existed.

A reminder that not everything is on the Internet. You may have to visit a library or Archives to find what you're looking for.



Over to you now, Bitches. Have you found everything you were looking for on the Internet? Is there something you couldn't find online?

45 comments:

  1. In the mid-1990s I was looking for historical information about my decommissioned US Navy destroyer. The local library did not have the book I needed, so I sent an e-mail to the library at the Pearl Harbor Navy station library. A sailor who worked there was very helpful and sent a scan of the book page I was looking for. A few days later he wrote again that he had gotten into trouble with his supervisor for doing that and could no longer help.

    The book is now online.

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    Replies
    1. LX: Thankfully, more and more books, reports and documents are being added to the Internet. Otherwise, much important historical information will go unnoted and forgotten unless you know where to look for it in sources other than the Internet.

      The sailor who scanned the image for you probably got into trouble for some sort of copyright infringement. Forty lashes!

      Delete
    2. No copyright issues as such government publications are in the public domain.

      Most likely it was some crusty lifer First Class or Chief Petty Officer overreacting because the sailor had done something "different." I still feel badly about that.

      Delete
    3. LX: As you can see from this public domain flowchart, our copyright issues aren’t as straightforward as yours. Ha!

      Delete
  2. Thank you Mistress for reminding everyone that libraries and archives are still very important resources that should be supported. As a librarian, I concur that we are the best search engine!

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    1. CANADIAN GIRL: Here are 16 reasons why you’re important.

      I’m sure we can think of more.

      Delete
    2. I almost cheered when I read this one@ "The highly social nature of the web therefore makes it highly susceptible to, for example, sensationalized, low-quality information with the sole merit of being popular. Libraries, in contrast, provide quality control in the form of a stopgap."

      As a former librarian (and someone who is an avowed F***book/Tw*tter-avoider, I wholeheartedly agree! Jx

      Delete
    3. JON: I had no idea you were formerly a librarian. Did I miss a post?

      The “16 Reasons” article goes on to say, Only information that is carefully vetted is allowed in
      THAT’S important when searching for accurate information.

      Delete
    4. "International Woman of Mystery", that's me...

      [And I vetted that information like a good gatekeeper should!]

      Jx

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    5. JON: It’s not just anything or anyone who gets through your golden gates.

      Delete
    6. JON: p.s. Your eye for detail and accuracy explains all the great factoids, quotes, etc., on your blog.

      Delete
    7. Factoid. What an unpleasant word. I never did like Norman Mailer, nor his writing. Jx

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    8. Ugh.. Norman Mailer.. an offensive person and I didn't realize he'd coined the word factoid.

      I take it back. Please replace the word "factoids" with "facts."

      Delete
  3. What I find isn't online isn't so much the information as the experience - the feeling of old, crisp pages of books, of perching on a stool back in the stacks of my childhood public library, book open on my lap, and of the new worlds that just a picture or two could conjure up.

    Now you can think up the most remote place on earth and immediately find everything from comprehensive street views to local restaurant recommendations (I love investigating never-to-be-taken trips to places like Bangui or Pyongyang). Even so, there's something about those long, dusty, mornings first spent in a library that can't be recaptured online.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MUSCATO: Beautifully stated, dearest Muscato.

      And may I suggest a spritz of this?

      Delete
  4. When I was at school, we had a library class that, amongst other things, taught us the Dewey Decimal classification system.
    Which reminds me: I need to get to the library as there are some children's books that I've been trying to find on the internet but can't. This may be due to a poor memory rather than an incomplete internet, but I'm going to blame the internet anyway.

    Now get off my lawn!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mr.DeVICE: Speaking of Dewey, I love the two adult books and the children’s picture book based on this library cat.

      Delete
    2. You can't go wrong with libraries and cats. I love Dewey the cat too.

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    3. Gee... I used to sort my own books at home according to the Dewey system.

      But now, I classify them not "en ordre d'auteur" but "en ordre de hauteur"... to save space! ;)

      Delete
  5. You know what the internet is actually best for? Porn, of course. You can track down pornsters that have been as dust for decades and discover amazing facts that other smut fiends have been compiling for you. Smut fiends, I salute you all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. PEENEE: One can certainly appreciate a blog of Playgirl models listed alphabetically by name from 1973 forward.

      And you’ve certainly done your part in providing muscle pussy to the masses.

      Delete
    2. Porn? There's porn on the Internet??? My goodness!

      Delete
    3. "Goodness had nothing to do with it."

      Jx

      Delete
  6. There are a few sites (apart from Google, the scary wannabee-world-dominator) I admire - and, unsurprisingly they are run by academic institutions, such as The Internet Archive/Wayback Machine and the The British Library. Wikipedia is fine, if intermittently accurate... Jx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. JON: You can’t believe everything you read on Wikipedia although I know people who rely on it without questioning its accuracy.

      Wikipedia is fine for getting a general idea on a subject but if you’re doing serious, academic research, exercise caution.

      Delete
    2. I immediately follow any references on its pages to check out who wrote them, whether they are based upon verified facts, blah, blah, blah... For biographies and much scientific stuff then it's a good place to start, I agree But as you say, caution needs to be exercised all the time. Have you ever edited a Wikipedia entry? I have. It's almost too easy... Jx

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    3. JON: You put the “anal” in “analytical” and I say “good on you.”

      I don’t dare edit a Wikipedia entry… once I get started, I’d never stop!

      Delete
  7. "digital immigrant" while concise, seems like a veiled way for millennials to really mean "OLD."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If "born before 1985" is old. Oh dear. It is nowadays, apparently... Jx

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    2. KEV: I imagine even Madonna has to ask Lourdes & Rocco to set up her iPhone.

      Delete
  8. The inerweb gives licence to rewriting history. It only takes 70 years for lived history to be forgotten... I read that somewhere in wikipedia...

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  9. Bruwhahhaaaah ... cough ... teehee ... sorry ... history, eh ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MAGO: Nasty cough.

      Perhaps we should go over your medical history.

      Delete
  10. a few years ago on a visit back east, i spent a glorious afternoon at the library in my home town. we had a weekly 5 cent paper that was everything you'd think it was. that paper was almost a diary of "our" lives. i must've done some prior phone calling & found out that the back copies were NOT online. what was available was microfiche. so, i put aside an afternoon & trotted back into the familiar building, plunked myself down behind an old fashioned machine & relived my life. it was that day that i found this. i found an article (& photo) about my mother home selling vivian woodard cosmetics, the birth notice of my youngest brother, i could make you a long list.

    i did ask why all that film wasn't available online....
    the answer was simple, money.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. NORMA: What a treat to find treasured moments of your life in that newspaper.

      It’s a shame that more local history isn’t online. I had to wait 3 weeks for a microfilmed small-town newspaper to be sent to my library so I could read a certain article from long ago. It reminded me of how one did research “back in the day” before the instantaneous results that can be found on the Internet.

      Delete
    2. there were some other treasured moments in that paper, detailed in the police blotter which involved the pep squad (me) & a plethora of sports teams.

      Delete
  11. In 40-50 years from now, when the Internet will be replaced by whatever else they're going to conjure up, our grandchildren will rant about how things were much better in the good old time of the Internet and Wikipedia!

    Nothing really changes and yet everything is different.
    I try to go with the flow and whatever is forgotten, is forgotten. There is nothing in my past I want to keep alive anyway.

    Hugs
    Jon

    p.s. I do love the feeling of holding a real book, the smell of paper and ink. I don't think I'll ever buy a Kindle or any of those electronic reading devices. Ever! But I admit it could be useful for someone visualy challanged.

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    Replies
    1. HUGGY JON: I still prefer paper books but I have an eReader too. The eReader is useful for cramming an assortment of books onto when I travel rather than lugging around the extra weight of paper books.

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    2. I'm thinking of bying one for my mother. She turned 80 last week and her eyes aren't as good anymore. she can't read small print even with her glasses. With an electronic reader, she could embiggen the text.

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    3. HUGGY JON: The font on my eReader can be embiggened so much that it’s probably visible from space.

      Delete
  12. We have entered the Infomaniac age and privacy is no more. Who knows what new and exciting opportunities lay ahead for us in the next decade or so, but look also at what technology has taken away from us, our freedom to shoplift, it used to be so much easier back in 1985 try it now, it is well-nigh impossible, they've got CCTV cameras that can follow you right home to your doorstep.

    Just for the record, I was just a young slip of a thing back in 1985.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MITZI: I’m surprised you were even a twinkle in your father’s eye back in 1985.

      It must be all those skin care products you shoplifted.

      Delete