Why is the sky blue? How does that bug stay up on the water? Why can’t I hit him? My kids are teenagers, so the questions they are are more sophisticated now, but they’re still mostly ‘how?’ and ‘why?’ (and I’m still struggling with answers.) How? and Why? are the questions that lead lead people to scientific discovery, and to religion. And they’re the questions that help us operate in the world, day by day. A two-year-old want to understand because they’re natively, naturally curious but also because understanding how a waterbug skates across the pond might help her to do it too.

There are two questions I’ve heard more than any others since we started creating reference: ‘Aren’t you afraid you’re going to run out of ideas?’ and ‘What’s so special about what you do?’ That is, ‘How (do you come up with new ideas?),’ and ‘Why (do you do this?).’ Answering these questions is what the publishing thread on the blog is all about, but we’ll also explore just what reference is and does and means, in this information loaded and overloaded world of ours.

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