Submitter: We’re in the midst of a big shifting project, and as I was making my way through the 920s, I came across this gem – Complete Idiot’s Guide to Online Genealogy – year 2000! At some point fairly recently it had been REBOUND, so I don’t have a nice cover to show you. As the librarian in charge of the computer books in the 004s, I was appalled and immediately withdrew it, but we still have a copy in our Genealogy Reference section. Sure, there are some still relevant tips for online genealogy sources, but the information is so out-of-date, this can’t be very useful. Check out the pages that talk about how dial-up works and the handy search engines Alta Vista and Hotbot. Since our Genealogy section will also have to be downsized, I’m hoping to talk them into getting rid of their copy, too.
Holly: Hotbot! I remember that one. Just because a book has *some* useful information in it does not make it a keeper. You have to consider the book as a whole, and this one is too old to be useful. Some patrons would follow a book like this step-by-step, and then call the reference desk, frustrated, saying “the book said to go to Hotbot, but my computer doesn’t have The Hotbot! Should I install it? Can I get it on The Facebook?” I like the Complete Idiot’s Guides, but they’re not helpful to newbies on any subject if they’re this outdated.
Direct from 1984, here is the latest and greatest technology on microchips. I have a feeling this technology is going places! My favorite is the picture with the bug holding the microchip. I think our next move is to train ants to fix microchips and then we will eventually become slaves to the ant overlords. I think this is how Skynet started.
Submitter: I removed this book from the shelves of my public library when I did a massive overhaul of the collection last year, soon after I was hired. I saved a few of the most outdated and/or offensive titles under my desk. This is one of them. At the time of weeding, this book was nearly 50 years old. A technology book. 50 YEARS OUT OF DATE. A TECHNOLOGY BOOK.
Holly: Do librarians hold on to things like this because they think, “Oh, it’s cute! People like nostalgia!” or because they think it has some sort of historical value – or are they just lazy and haven’t weeded in decades? It is cute and people do like nostalgia, and it does have historic value (and yes, they are often just lazy)…but those are the reasons why it belongs in a museum or archive, not in the regular shelves at the public library. My favorite line (last page included below) is about how if your “dad” uses his credit card to buy gasoline, a computer makes that payment happen. How does it work when mom pays at the pump? Apparently in 1968, she didn’t.