Libraries at UK universities struggled to keep up with demand yesterday as students turned to traditional methods of research.
Young academics found they had to read books for information as online resource, Wikipedia, shut down for the day in protest at US copyright law proposals.
Chief librarian at the University of Thames Valley East, Mrs Sylvia Miniver, said: "The poor dears looked ever so lost, like they'd never seen a book before, let alone a library.
"They came in their hundreds and we were hard pushed to keep up. We managed to help some of them, but quite a few ran away after a few minutes."
Herodotus Chair of History at Hounslow University, Ken Lucid, enjoyed the experience.
"Ha! Serve the idle twonks right," he said. "We took advantage of the shutdown to set special exercises that had to be completed in the day. You should have seen the panic on their faces!
"Oh, you spoke to Sylvia at Hounslow? Does she still wear her glasses on a chain? And did she do that thing where she looks at you over the top of them, takes them off and rests them on that wonderful bosom?
"Used to make my day, that... I used to make up reasons to go to the library and ask her something."