Will Modern Technology Such as the Internet Ever Replace the Book or the Written Word as the Main Source of Information?
Reading is one of the oldest habits of human civilization. It has been the passion of the greatest personalities of all times. One of the first documentary sources for reading was manuscript, however, accessible only to the elite class of society. Later, the arrival of the Gutenberg printing press ended such discrimination by making the printed word available to all. The Gutenberg printing press brought drastic changes to the fundamentally oral society of the day. It was certainly a great jump in the humanity's onward march to the reading society. The emergence of the Internet has created an extraordinary change in the reading culture. It has made its existence, fully or partially, in the reading behavior of the people. Presently, reading is no longer confined to the print reading. The scope of reading sources has changed drastically in the Internet revolution to include web sites, web pages, e-books, e-journals, e-papers, e-mail, discussion boards, chat rooms, instant messaging, blogs, wikis, and other multimedia documents. Now the potential reader can access and browse the online information from the whole web while using his/her terminal at home.
The hypertext and hypermedia technologies allow the e-readers to go from one page to another by selecting links in various directions popularly known as surfing. The termSurfing of Internet was first used by Jean Armour Polly in 1992 and defined it as "browsing the Internet while going from one page to another …" (Polly, 1992). The Internet surfing enables to navigate a world full of interconnected information, discover new sites, read up-to-date information, and download things of interest. Surfing the Internet has become a daily routine of the new generation. The present generation especially the college students are well versed with the new technologies and their application in present networked society. Roberts and Foehr (2004) observe that the Internet has fixed deep roots in the lives of the net