There’s no better way to conduct research on any topic than to turn to the Information Superhighway that is the Internet. Well, make that any legal topic, as mobsters, drug dealers, and those who commit insider trading don’t really put out a lot of information on the how-to’s of their businesses. But for the majority of other topics, books have been supplemented by the resources available in cyberspace. No longer are dusty volumes the end all and be all for information gatherers. That’s because old books are not only dusty and musty, but their information is a bit rusty, too.
Unless you’re looking for information on a static piece of history, books probably aren’t going to provide you with all the information you’d like on a topic. Knowledge in every field of study is constantly expanding, so quoting old facts and figures is not necessarily going to give you the most accurate idea of what’s happening now. Take astronomy, for example. Poor Pluto has been declassified as a planet, after centuries of being known as a planet. When even the planets are subject to updating, it’s important to be able to access the latest thinking and news so that you use accurate information in your research.
None of this is meant to take anything away from books, however. Most books have been well researched, and as such, offer reasonably accurate data as of the date of their printing. Unfortunately, not all information on the Internet is verified as rigorously, so research conducted online should be double checked for accuracy from more than one independent source. Additionally, portions of many researched books are available on the Internet, so it’s sometimes easy to find the “old” information and compare it with the latest thinking on a particular subject. To keep up with a dynamic and ever-changing world, it’s essential to use the most dynamic and frequently updated source!