The web has transformed research into a more efficient process. Think about when you have a question about a certain event, person, or happening at some point in history. It is as easy as searching a few key words and having literally millions of hits appear. Some are reputable others less. The first link that one would likely see is Wikipedia. My impressions on Wikipedia have changed. I once felt that it had no place in the class; likely due to my teachers and professors drilling the negatives of Wikipedia into my head. However, Wikipedia and other less reputable sources offer valuable information to help us shape our research. They can be used to better understand a topic and ultimately shape where we would like to go with our research.
With the change from libraries to digital archives information is at our fingertips. There are an unlimited amount of databases housing thousands, if not millions, of resources all available at the click of a button. No longer does one have to painstakingly flip through catalogs, encyclopedias, and folders to find valuable research. Furthermore, the resources we seek are easier to obtain; using the key word search all we have to do is press enter and any source related to our search will be displayed directly in front of us. It truly is a wonderful thing; the internet has allowed historians to view documents, sources, and digital media files that may not have been obtainable via traditional methods.
With that being said traditional research methods are still vital in any research process. The web does not offer us an opportunity to see the document in its original state. We can only view it through pictures on our computer. Essential factors such as the size of the document, placement of the text on the document, and in some cases the layout are all unavailable to viewers on the web. In other cases only transcripts are available. It is essential for all historians to appreciate the entirety of the document and not just the words on the page.
While the internet has allowed for research to become much more streamlined there is still something to say about conducting traditional research. In the world we live in with both at our disposal it is great to be able to get the best of both