Web users have case of short-term memory


This article from the New York Times discusses how the Internet has effected how we percieve history, and how new information on the web outweighs historical data by an enormous number.\"It doesn\'t give any sense of time because almost everything on the Web is about events and articles in the last five years,\" Herring said. \"It doesn\'t give students the impression that they\'re sitting on the shoulders of giants. It gives them the impression that they\'re giants.\"
\"Although the scope of historical artifacts online is growing, the Web is still generally the domain of documents and photos that were created in 1995 or later. Many public libraries and countless private archives--such as those maintained by newspapers, law firms and private research companies--have digital collections that date to when their Web sites were developed.\"

\"A newspaper that created a Web site in 1996, for example, will likely have an online archive of articles and photos since that date. Earlier articles and photos--often stored on microfiche or in envelopes stuffed into file cabinets--are not likely to find their way onto the Web anytime soon.\"

\"The Library of Congress National Digital Library is one of the most aggressive programs to archive historical documents online. The goal is to have 5 million items from the library\'s vast collection digitized by the end of the year.\"

\"Although it will be one of the largest online collections in the world, the digital library will house only 4.2 percent of the library\'s 119 million items--from books and photos to historical papers and scraps of cloth. That means people who rely on the Internet will have access to a small subset of the Washington-based library\'s full collection.\"

\"Because of the Internet\'s modern focus, it tends to concentrate on popular culture instead of more far-reaching socioeconomic forces. A search on Yahoo found 76 Web sites dedicated to teenage rock icon Britney Spears--more than three times the 25 sites found on Yahoo dedicated to the Great Depression.\"

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