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Old 06-03-2008, 02:14 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by radleyp View Post
Question for those of you who are so certain you can do effective research via ebooks: what do you do when you need to have more than one book open? When I wrote my doctoral thesis, I sometimes had as many as 10 books open at once. Am I to get several Kindles?
Nope, you need a better UI. I was not speaking about this generation of e-readers but about the next.
And then you will just need an easy way to shuffe between your books and to locate the one you need (even searching through multiple ones at one time, etc)
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Old 06-03-2008, 02:22 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radleyp View Post
Question for those of you who are so certain you can do effective research via ebooks: what do you do when you need to have more than one book open? When I wrote my doctoral thesis, I sometimes had as many as 10 books open at once. Am I to get several Kindles?
I don't know about Kindle, but my reader lets me insert bookmarks everywhere. I imagine it would be pretty easy to flip from book to book because of the touch screen and markup functions. Surely that would be easier than having a lot of heavy books to deal with, don't you think?

I remember how it was for me when writing papers - books on every available surface, paperclips for bookmarks sticking out of every other page, etc. I know for me, having it all on one simple reader would have been a godsend.
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Old 06-03-2008, 02:35 PM   #18
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The problem with what yours and the previous post suggest is precisely what you both think is an advantage: flipping. I needed to have several books open at once, so perhaps a very large (unfolding) screen is the answer, but a better UI or many bookmarks are not an answer. For example, I had to compare four different versions of one poem: you can't do that unless the different versions are all in front of you. If I have to flip through screens, when I look at a new one I will forget what was on the other(s).
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Old 06-03-2008, 02:55 PM   #19
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Yeah - that is just and simply a problem of the UI - nothing else. e.g. being able to use parts of the screen for different books, using two screens at once, etc
Or you could just print out those 4 pages. It would still be easier to do the rest of the research.

Or two / three / four devices. I mean - you are comparing four p-books (parallel) to one device, thats unfair. So use 4 e-book-reader (they will get cheaper) and compare them to 4 p-books
Even better: You can compare two different sets of four poems

Oh well, let's just agree that in most cases e-books win hands on, but some usage can still be found for p-books
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Old 06-04-2008, 07:41 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by radleyp View Post
For example, I had to compare four different versions of one poem: you can't do that unless the different versions are all in front of you.
If you have the poems in electronic format, you can easily have them on a computer screen; one in each quadrant.
That is way easier than having pieces of paper everywhere and, it gives you a reason to get that 30" lcd that does 2560x1600!

It is also child-&-wind-proof

But to each is own.
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Old 06-04-2008, 07:50 AM   #21
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putting aside the question of google's motivations / the issue of copyright for a moment, i thought this post (from a different thread) seemed relevant here (emphasis mine) :

Quote:
Originally Posted by Studio717 View Post
I've been using many of the public domain PDFs from Google Books (and a few from Internet Archive) for my research, books that I could access no other way.

The older the book (or item, such as a pamphlet or manuscript), the more reason to digitize it, imo. They are often fragile due to their age, or so rare, that many libraries have held their holdings so close that very few could actually access them.

Once those books, etc., are digitized, then most can be preserved even more efficiently since accessibility will not be required by any but those who are researching the physical form itself. The information contained in the item will be available to many more people, though this will challenge the nature of academic libraries' 'ownership' - control of which is something a few out there are not willing to give up.
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Old 06-04-2008, 08:42 AM   #22
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I have no issue with scanning books for preservation (and in fact have been involved with preservation technologies and products, such as the Xerox XDOD years ago) and to expand the abilities of a library. Digitizing for academic purposes vs. digitizing for commercial gain and advertising without compensation to copyright holders are two different things.
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Old 06-04-2008, 11:45 AM   #23
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He cited the difficulty of annotating texts on the screen, which he felt was key to reflection on contents and preparation for discussion. ...
He really shouldn't be annotating library books.
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Old 06-04-2008, 11:59 AM   #24
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Well, since I'm 20 years out of college, with 4 degrees in some pretty disparate fields that I attempt to keep current in, the idea of having, say, Stanford's library available in digital format (or, say, the entire Library of Congress) to research seems like a great idea. I live in a rural area and there's very little available to me in technical format.
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Old 06-04-2008, 12:04 PM   #25
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He really shouldn't be annotating library books.
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Old 06-05-2008, 05:15 AM   #26
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Robert Darnton, director of the University Library at Harvard, wrote recently in the New York Review of Books that no matter how successful the Google book project becomes - no matter how many libraries co-operate and no matter how many billions of pages are ultimately archived online - physical libraries full of paper books will become "more important than ever."

His argument rests on eight points:

(1) The full holdings of the world's libraries can never be completely digitized, which may lead to the important non-digitized books being ignored;

(2) Google has not ventured into libraries' special collections, where the rarest books are found;

(3) arguments over copyright will continue to be a problem;

(4) obsolescence is built into electronic media, and Google is a company that, like any other, may suffer economic reverses;

(5) Google will make mistakes, and the visual reproduction of actual pages will never be perfect;

(6) electronic media become degraded over time - nothing guarantees preservation like ink on paper;

(7) Google does not employ bibliographers to rank the importance of various editions, so is of little help to researchers; and

(8) a book's physical aspects, its stains, its smells, its marginalia, "provide clues about its existence as an element in a social and economic system."

Via GlobeAndMail
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Old 06-05-2008, 05:25 AM   #27
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Interesting overall, but take exception to:

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Originally Posted by TadW View Post
(6) electronic media become degraded over time - nothing guarantees preservation like ink on paper;
??? Beg your pardon?
Ink fades, paper crumbles, and it takes a huge amount of effort to preserve them, which is why only exceptionally important documents are subject to that sort of treatment.
Digitization doesn't solve all the problems by any means, but if it saves even one document from being lost, then it's a worthy effort.
Not going to comment on the who's, how's and why's though; any such project will create controversy.
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Old 06-05-2008, 07:02 AM   #28
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It also takes a relatively huge effort to preserve digital information.
No really, don't shake your head! File-formats change, storage degrades over time or failes spontaneously, etc - you need to recopy, reconvert, reindex, rearchive, etc etc etc oll that data on a regular basis. This is not a trivial task!
Of course IMO it is much easier to do this with a digital archive then with a "normal" one. But nevertheless - if you e.g. put a book and a hard drive into a hole and seal them, and 200 years later get them out - I believe, that you will have a better chance of reading the book than of reading the hard drive. Even if you would have a handbook or technical reference how to access the hard drive.

Just imagine the following to happen: World War III kills 9/10 of all humans, destroying all technology and civilisation.
Two thousand years later archaeologists of the new civilisations find that cellar. Now .. how should they know how to access a hard drive? The book can just be opened and read (even if you dont know the language or alphabet) - for the hard drive you need to reverse engineer the interface, the drivers, the formats, etc etc
The book is safer. And thats way governments still hold information on microfilm (or similar) and deposit them deeply buried in mines.

Though - you cannot abstain from the books - but ntl the e-books have their value. E.g. they can be access by a number of people at once, they can be annotated without the risk of getting your head screw off by an orang-utan (ook!), they can even be read withuot getting destroyed (touching a page can damage it), etc
Thus you need both.


And even apart from that he has a number of points. But not points against digitalization - but points stating, that the libraries should really cooperate (and it shouldn't be a single company digitizing the information, but better a cooperation of librarys and universities world-wide with archives spread world-wide...).
A real problem is the amount of data. Data without indices, without cross-references, etc is meaningless. If the libraries help with e.g. indexing, etc the information will get much for valueable. And of course they could hold their own archives - thus making the information independent of the digitizer and reducing the risk of economic failures, etc - even making those archives independent of most wars (it is fairly easy to destroy (willingly or accidentally) 10 or 12 computer centers in one country - but it gets more and more difficult if the same information is stored in hundreds of archives all around the world).

Yeah, I am against Google digitizing the books. But hell, they didn't ask me and Google is simply filling a hole the libraries left.


Oh well, librarys just have to evolve like everybody else. Of course - libraries with "real books" will continue to exist. Nobody wants to throw away all those books
But nevertheless - the future of libraries is digital, and they have to accept this. They cannot just simply wish that nothing changes and everything stays the same ...
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Old 06-05-2008, 12:00 PM   #29
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Oh well, librarys just have to evolve like everybody else. Of course - libraries with "real books" will continue to exist. Nobody wants to throw away all those books
But nevertheless - the future of libraries is digital, and they have to accept this. They cannot just simply wish that nothing changes and everything stays the same ...
I think this is less and less likely. In my state, several counties cut libraries completely out of the budget (in light of a huge funding cut, where the choice became fire, police versus libraries). As the non-recession recession ripples out, I think this'll become even more common.

hence why I believe that the public universities (and the private ones, if they want to retain any public funding in the form of scholarships/grants) need to be the key in digitizing for public consumption.
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Old 06-05-2008, 12:04 PM   #30
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I agree, so let me rephrase: Libraries as in "big book archives" with "access for those who need it" (like in old-concepts of libraries) will continue to exist.
As will libraries as in "some kind of book-archive accessibel for anyone for a small charge" providing mainly e-books.
I know, I know - quite a large "rephrasing" - but you had a really good point there.
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