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Reading skills in online environment

Abid Hussain

READING is considered to be one of the oldest habits of human civilization. Reading revived to many shapes such as Clay tablet, Papyrus calfskin etc but the arrival of Gutenberg printing press ended such discrimination by making the printed word available to all. Technology like computer, laptop, tablet, Kindle and similar devices made it more prominent from traditional setup. Internet contributed data at enormous speed. It is considered to be one of the most effective ways of reading skills of our present generation. IT has highly influenced many minds. In old days people were mostly relying upon libraries when Internet was not invented.
Now, electronic resources are the primary information source for many students. Internet is considered to be the useful source of information for many ways such as it provides efficient and accurate services in time of needs, it saves time, space, energy and resources, the tremendous escalation of information can be controlled on the internet. It helps in providing quality services. It is a source of resource sharing and cooperation. It provides better information in modern ways. Many people argue that the Internet has negatively affected the use of the library. But, in my opinion, readers are increasing widely than ever before and the value of libraries have not yet been affected. Albeit, Internet has changed the taste of readers, libraries are changing itself from traditional to modernsetup. In the current scenario, the old traditional libraries and redundant material are no longer appealing the attention of users, similarly, libraries are linking themselves with a variety of information through latest databases.
The libraries and librarians are prevailing themselves with the nature of readers. Experimenting new technologies compelled librarians to use embedded ways. Many researchers depend on traditional library setup and the librarians deal them in that way whereas, the current generation relies more on computer-generated files rather than that of old traditional setup. Many people depend more on printed books rather than using Internet for information rationality. According to a survey of the American Library Association, only 8% content in the form of books and journals has been displayed through the Internet and 92% content has been housed in the library. Researchers are producing research in enormous rate from only 8% of contents via Internets such as Google, Yahoo etc. Internet considered to be the luxurious style of reading in many ways but, reading from the internet has many disadvantages a few are listed here, reading from the internet is not long-lasting.
Internet disperses people attention in bulk of information. Reading a long time on Internet damage the brain capacity. Prolong reading on Internet creating health issues, such as backbone, muscle pain and eye sights etc. Some other disadvantages include this menace with context to research and researchers who rely on the Internet. The Internet provides a huge amount of information which confuses researchers what to select and what to reject. The researchers must be cautious about the information obtained. Most of the information being uploaded on Internet are not going through a review process. There is no standard policy for information to check the accuracy. An infinite amount of titles, texts and abstracts confuse the researchers. Most of the information is not reviewed or edited by an expert in that particular field.
Even we don’t know the information which we are reading is authentic or not. A disgruntled contributor or a child may upload anything on the Internet which can misguide us. The Internet is one of the powerful instruments for research, learning and easy access to the material in less time, a great source of current information, fact-finding and research development in the history of human race. No doubt it is one of the most outstanding inventions in the area of communications. Male, female, young and old are intoxicated by this worthy invention and considered it as a source of information, enjoyment and research development. But, Health is wealth above all activities. If you have sound health you have everything. Keeping in mind the aforementioned advantages and disadvantages one can better understand the way of reading for better tomorrow.
— The writer is working as Library Officer in Institute of Strategic Studies, a think-think based in Islamabad.