Caught My Eye 3/5/13

Here are a variety of items from a number of diverse sources including Good Ereader; Lapham’s Quarterly; the Chronicle of Higher Education; the Wall Street Journal and the New England Journal of Medicine.

  • Feature: Are eBook Apps, HTML5, or ePub3 the Future of Digital Publishing?  This post on Good Ereader.com by Michael Kozlowski raises some relevant questions about the future of digital publishing with a focus on three main elements of content delivery that “the vast majority of companies employ for their strategy.” He offers up-to-date status reports on e-reading apps, HTML5, and ePub3/ePub2 highlighting both the promises and pitfalls of each.
  • Horsepower  This post in the Lapham’s Quarterly is from their Voices in Time series and shows that dramatic change is nothing new.  It’s an article by William Lightfoot Visscher, excerpted from his book  A Thrilling and Truthful History of the Pony Express published in 1908, that offers an historic example of how communication changes, and changes rapidly.   Mr. Visscher notes that in 1860 the Pony Express was the quickest method of delivering letters covering 2000 miles in a record 8 days. Unfortunately, in only 18 months it fell victim to what at the time was a breath taking advance in technology – the telegraph.  The article also makes plain that the intersection of communication and technology is nothing new.  What’s different today is that the pace of technological change has accelerated to such an extent that it’s impossible to keep up with advances in communication.   Taken in historic context, the rate of change in the modern world is mind boggling and has some profound social and behavioral implications that we will be dealing with for years to come.
  • ‘Bandwidth Divide’ Could Bar Some People From Online Learning This piece from the Chronicle of Higher Education reports on the recent failure of an e-textbook effort in a wealthy school district outside of Washington, D.C.  Evidently this issue is more than unwieldy etextbook technology.  The key factor here was a lack of needed bandwidth.  “Many students did not have broadband access at home and were unable to do their homework, sparking complaints from parents that led the school system to approve the purchase of $2-million in printed textbooks for those who preferred a hard copy.”
  • Welcome to the Library, Where Shushing Is Overdue first appeared in the online Wall Street Journal in early January but has since been pick up by a number of local outlets.  It’s by Peter Mandel who is a travel journalist and the author of nine children’s  books.  Mr. Mandel laments the lost of quiet in today’s library. He also wonders where all the books have gone as he looks over “an ocean of DVDs, CDs, copy machines and computer terminals” at a neighborhood branch. He understands that “it’s important for everyone to have access to the Internet and a level of comfort with today’s high-tech tools”  but still sees the need for “a place devoted to reading for pleasure” and quiet contemplation.

And here is a group of articles on open access from the New England Journal of Medicine that were brought to our attention by Ramune Kubilius, one of our regular contributors.”

For the Sake of Inquiry and Knowledge — The Inevitability of Open Access A.J. Wolpert | N Engl J Med 2013; 368: 785-787

Open but Not Free — Publishing in the 21st Century M. Frank | N Engl J Med 2013; 368: 787-789

Creative Commons and the Openness of Open Access M.W. Carroll | N Engl J Med 2013; 368: 789-791

The Downside of Open-Access Publishing C. Haug | N Engl J Med 2013; 368: 791-793

 

 

 

 


 

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