I’ve been working on a nonfiction book that requires a great deal of research. In some ways, the Internet makes research much easier than it used to be. Instead of squinting at microfilm in a library, I can access old newspaper and magazine articles on line. On the other hand, there is so much misinformation on the Internet that I’ve had to double and triple-check sources. Often I find more than one answer to the same question.
All of this made me curious about just how much erroneous information has been published on line about me. In less than two minutes, I read that I was born in 1937 (wrong) and that I had attended Rutgers and Penn State (both wrong.) I found a book site for readers that includes a “Peg Kehret Message Board” where people have sent me messages and asked me questions. The trouble is, I don’t have anything to do with this site and have no way to answer the questions. I try to reply to all mail and email, and I respond to comments on my Facebook author page, so it’s frustrating to realize that people posted questions and comments, and assumed I got them, when I didn’t.
With all the problems of the Internet, however, I can not imagine being without it. It may or may not save research time overall, but it certainly broadens the scope of what I learn.