Here's a funny story--I went to my public library and found that they do not have Paul Levinson's The New New Media, but they would be able to get it in a few weeks through inter-library loan. Then, when I was reading the 2010 Horizon report, I discovered that each section concluded with an annotated list of suggested readings. I was partly excited for the lists, and then I began to dread them because I didn't want to wait weeks for more books to come through inter-library loan. I pictured myself waiting--forever--for that one book I really want to read for my research, the one that's only available in the library on Mars.
I laughed at myself when I came to my first annotated list: there wasn't a single book, only websites. Phew! Those libraries on Mars can just keep their books! All the information I need is only a cut-and-paste away.
So now, I'm reflecting on my impatience regarding inter-library loan. Each Horizon Report lists some changes in contemporary culture that are manifest in new technology. The second (and they're listed by rank) is that "people expect to be able to work, learn, and study whenever and wherever they want to." This is certainly my expectation. I complained just as much as my roommates when our apartment didn't have internet access for an entire semester--how are we supposed to do our homework, check our grades, email, get on facebook, blog, or watch that new video on YouTube if we can't get online? BYU campus, including the Salt Lake Center, has wireless internet access almost everywhere, and it's no less than I expect. Many students, many of my friends, have internet access through their cell phones as well. We need it! We need access to email when we forgot whether or not the professor cancelled class today. We need access to wikipedia when we have no idea what a French jupe provencal looks like. We need access to dictionary.com when our roommate uses the word "antidisestablishmentarianism" because she's a history major with a fetish for long words.
The report notes that continual access to the wealth of information online "maximiz[es] the impact of learning by ensuring it is timely and efficient." Do we retain more when we find the information moments after it occurs to us to search for us?
Since February 2005, Dharamsala has had high-speed Internet access all throughout the city, indoors and outdoors, from the social enterprise AirJaldi and the Tibetan Technology Center. Over 2,000 computers are connected in Dharamsala. Do the people of Dharamsala have the same same regular need for access to email, wikipedia, and dictionary.com? Norbu Jinpa, an admin for the TCV facebook page, posts almost every day and sometimes more than once per day. To what extent do they use the internet for work or school? What kind of access is available in Bylakuppe?