Never before have humans had ready access to such a vast repository of information in their households as we do today with the World Wide Web. That storehouse of information (and misinformation) grows by leaps and bounds every day. With the proliferation of publishing tools and capture devices such as blogging software and digital cameras, anyone can publish online, and millions do.
But that kind of information access is useless unless you can hone your searching, filtering, and researching skills. Mastering the use of a web browser, finding what you need quickly, navigating engines and indices, determining a set of trusted sources, and judging the quality and authority of new sources are all skills anyone who uses the Web to his advantage needs. In effect, on the Web you are your own personal research librarian.
Memorizing facts is less important than the capability to look them up quickly. The Web acts as the outboard memory of millions of people. Now more than ever, you can depend on it to have the information you need, whether it's the current population of New York City or a review of that ice-cream maker you're interested in. You just need to know how to fashion a query that will extract those facts from the endless virtual shelves of information.
Additionally, in contrast to books, film, TV, and magazines, the Web is participatory media (or read/write, if you like). You not only consume it; you can just as easily produce it, and that capability becomes ...