Do you still use a printed dictionary? I do. With increasing frequency, however, I look up words online. I rarely use my printed thesaurus. It’s much easier with the computer. That got me thinking. Are reference books becoming obsolete? Although it makes me sad to think so, I think the answer is yes.
When is the last time any of us used a printed encyclopedia? I can’t remember. Although I have the Encyclopedia Britannica from when I was a kid, it’s there for nostalgia. I haven’t opened a volume in years.
On the other hand, when I’m deciding on a name for my characters, I do page through my book of baby names. The same goes for some of my sci-fi or fantasy elements. I frequently refer to my books and notes on witches and spaceships and castles.
Of course, I have many books on writing – how to write dialogue or description or set a scene. These are all highlighted and bookmarked, and I do refer to them.
The same goes for my bible. It has notes and underlines and tabs and turned down pages. It wouldn’t feel the same to me to read a bible online.
I also like to be surrounded by my dictionaries and reference books when I’m writing at my desk. It makes me feel at home and in my element.
What about you? I’d love to hear from you on this topic.