Using the Internet as a Research Tool: Between Information and Communication

  • William Davies


In order to understand a tool’s function, we have to know not only what it can do, but also what it cannot do. It is part of the function of a frying pan, for instance, that it can not be used to make a cup of tea, or at least, not without a great deal of difficulty. But we nevertheless consider it a useful and worthwhile addition to a kitchen, despite this slight inflexibility of purpose. In fact, we might go further still: perhaps we enjoy using a frying pan to cook our breakfast because of its inflexibility of purpose. Futuristic gadgets which promise to replace the trad¬itional tools of the kitchen threaten many of the rituals of cooking that make it an enjoyable pastime in the first place. A frying pan that could make a cup of tea would not necessarily be a very desirable item, simply because it combined two functions in one.


Public Sphere Print Medium Lecture Hall Public Realm Printing Press 
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© William Davies 2005

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  • William Davies

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