My Guide to Wasting Time

I’ve heard people say since ’96, “you can find anything on the internet!” And what joyous occasions we have all spent, surfing the for countless hours and exploring the world wide web. However, most people now get sucked into the same social networking sites and dedicate their precious time to youtube, myspace and facebook. It’s not long before you feel you have exhausted the internet’s resources for entertainment. But when I get bored I just stick out my thumb and hitch a ride on the information superhighway! Well with that aside, here are some things that tickle my fancy and others may find entertaining.

This all began in design school, where there is always a demand for picture resources. Any design student should learn after a few projects that using Google Images is a pretty piss poor way of finding quality and interesting source material to work from. And I say this being guilty of using such a convenience. However, there are great archives of photos, movies, audio and more for you to that have been digitized for all for you to enjoy.. Wait, it’s better than great. It’s incredible, fantastic, splendorous, magnificent!.. The point being, I get really excited about this stuff. So allow me to elucidate.

Many organizations and large universities have begun to digitize their archives of media and make them available to the public. One of the first ones I came across was the Library of Congress’s digital collection. If you have any attraction to US history or primary articles including civil war photographs, daguerreotypes, and some of the first moving pictures ever created. It is easy to get lost in another world. To describe the amount of content would be pointless as it can go on for infinite lengths. They have even taken the liberty to categorize material so that it is easy to browse through.

My second revelation came when I realized the existence of university archives. If you are so inclined, try this Google search: university+digital+collection. In the resulting query lies many years worth of wasted time that can be spent digging. And I should say as a disclaimer, it does require some sifting through some very user unfriendly sites with gobs of boring content. I mean, not everything can be as squeaky clean and easy as Web 2.0 but the payoff is worth it. Part of the fun is finding that one amazing collection of photographs collection hidden under piles of dry, bland, text-heavy sites. You will find your Googling will get more savvy when you aim to find the images that really interest you. But, if you would rather just point and click, you can try the Duke University Library for some pretty interesting collections that are well organized. Also check out the blog Bibliodyssey. In my eyes, this man is truly a god among men. He posts some of the most fascinating illustrations and manuscripts that exist on the internet for all to see. And for that I am eternally grateful..

Just when you get overwhelmed by the amount of material you can encounter from the libraries’ endless repositories, you are just scratching the surface! Archive.org is a precious gem of the internet. If you haven’t already learned of the glorious Wayback Machine or the seen the Prelinger Film Collection, then you must go now! Almost everything is public domain, including movies that have fallen outside of their original copyrights. Check out the movie “Charade” in their feature films collection. It is a hitchcock-like thriller starring Audrey Hepburn. How could you loose? I will leave you to explore.

I am geeking out so hard I just might have a heart attack. There is so much more to talk about but it would be in vain. It depresses me knowing that I have been away from scouring the internet for the things that truly inspire me. My hope is that I can take a small respite from school work during spring break and dig a little deeper into the dark abyss. The internet is the ultimate distraction and, now more than ever, I crave for nothing more. Please share other tips and links if you have them. Now go and be fruitful in your quest..

..Just one last distraction..

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