Why I like libraries

In full support of “21st century science overload” while I wrote my thesis even before the digital revolution

I did my PhD on the cusp of the digital revolution. While I could find many new papers online, most of the older work was still in hardcopy format. I spent a lot of time at the library, photocopying, but I also used that time to browse. I’d look at other papers in the journals I was photocopying, and browse books on the shelves near where I found these journals. I’d often fortuitously stumble across something relevant that I wouldn’t have found otherwise. Browsing allowed me to think laterally, to compare my research and results with work that perhaps overlapped on only one particular aspect. These comparisons sometimes shed light on my project, which might not have happened had I not found a particular article or book.