Libraries & eBooks

[NOTE: This is a piece I originally posted on Facebook on March 23, 2012. It’s already somewhat dated, even only a year later, but I want it to live on my blog here because it addresses an issue that I believe is still, and will continue to be, one of the central questions librarians face in a world where more and more of our content is being delivered digitally via third party services.]

Is not good enough better or worse than nothing at all?
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Interesting Article: The Reading Brain in the Digital Age

The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens by Ferris Jabr (posted by Scientific American on April 11, 2013)

When I was in grad school, I had an idea to conduct research into the neurological underpinnings of reading on paper vs. computer screens vs. ebooks. While my vision for the project was beyond the scope of what I could accomplish in the program and thus never got started, I’ve continued to be obsessed with this facet of our modern technology. I’ve written about it on this blog before. I continue to follow research being done on the subject.

This article from Scientific American sums up well what we currently know about how our brains process written language through different presentation media. It appears that I’m correct in my belief that these acts of reading are qualitatively different as far as our brains are concerned.

As librarians, we need to account for these differences in our resources – especially when it comes to education and literacy initiatives.

Thoughts on the True Nature of Ebooks

Stuart Kelly at The Guardian has an interesting take on the potential new reality of ebooks:

Why ebooks are a different genre from print (posted March 26, 2013)

I’ve long been advocating for the multimedia potential of ebooks but I hadn’t really thought about the data-gathering and non-private nature of the medium before.

On a deeper level, I’d like to see more longitudinal studies done on information comprehension and retention when reading ebooks, as well as direct neurological mapping of ebook reading vs. print. I’m curious to know how our pre- and sub-conscious minds deal with the physical differences in the delivery mechanisms.
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‘Tis the Season for Mobile Technology!

According to many sources, this Christmas was a big one for mobile technology! Ebook and app downloads hit record highs! Ebook readership continues to grow while print readership declines!

It’s an exciting time to be a digital librarian!

Wandering through the library these past couple of weeks, with new technology the talk of the season, I overheard several comments that went something like this:
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The Right War Over Ebooks

Last week, this article was tearing through the rounds of the library community:

The Wrong War Over eBooks: Publishers Vs. Libraries by David Vinjamuri

This is an important read. It raises some really good points, challenges some often unquestioned perspectives, and his proposed “pay-per-circ” model appears to have some real potential.

Still, though, I can’t get behind him on this issue. I feel that he misses the whole point. Continue reading “The Right War Over Ebooks”

Hey Authors! Where’s the Library Love When it Comes to Ebooks?

Every time news breaks about a library getting its budget slashed, or a system under threat of being shut down, we see authors from all over the world eager to publicly proclaim their love of libraries. On blogs, on social media, in articles and print, they speak of the irreducible importance of libraries in their careers, their lives, and their communities. They argue passionately for the societal value of the free access to information that only libraries provide.

Such declarations of library love from our favorite authors are not only incredibly heart-warming – they’re essential in our efforts to maintain library service and support in our communities.

In the current struggle between libraries and publishers over ebook lending, I’ve often wondered what would happen if all these authors were to jump into the debate with the same level of library love they show when our budgets are threatened.
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