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Librarian Blog

Print may be better

In the last blog I asked the question of whether there is a difference in comprehension for people who read on tablets as opposed to those who read printed books from the same material.

Some of the latest research indicates there is a difference and not in favor of tablet reading matter.

Benjamin Herold writes on the Digital Education Blog sponsored by Education Week about two studies presented at a national conference. Both showed significantly less comprehension among students who accessed material via tablet compared to those who read the material in printed-on-paper format.

I did find another interesting takedown of similar research by John Jones, posted in November of last year at dmlcentral.

But, from what I can tell by googling the question, tablet is not as good as print.

My newspaper career spanned 45 years and a huge change in the technologies used to write and edit news articles and features. It was my experience and observation that reporters and editors made more errors and wrote more poorly on computers than they did when using typewriters.

I concluded that there was some issue involving comprehension on the screen as opposed to on the printed page.

Nothing I have read so far persuades me to change my mind.

Just wondering

We were talking this morning about the migration of reading materials from printed books to Kindles and Nooks and iPads.

Someone suggested that readers who use Kindles don't retain the material as readily as do people who use printed books.

Someone else suggested that comprehension suffers.

I just wonder.

I plan on trying to do some looking around to see if there is any good research on the subject. So, more later.

Just FYI

I guess we at public libraries take it for granted that everyone knows what kinds of services we offer.

A U.S. News blogger reminds us that's not necessarily true.

The blogger's entry lists 15 things you might not know you can get at your library. Things like shop tools at some libraries, and tickets to free community programs at others (like ours).

So some of the services are esoteric or site specific. Others are generally offered by every library. We have trained staff to help patrons search for information, not just in our library but across the world. We also help you with technology questions, and we have classes for specific types of lessons. At our website, you can find all kinds of courses to improve your skills and your life, as well as really good advice on things like resume-building and job-hunting.

I invite you to spend a few minutes looking at things other than this blog at our site, but also come on in and see what else we can help you do.

Amazon unfair

Hachette is a big publisher of books.

Amazon is bigger. Way bigger.

And Amazon always seems to play to win.

So a fight that started off pretty nasty has taken a new and even nastier turn. To force Hachette to do what Amazon wants, the Internet sales giant has essentially boycotted Hachette's authors, a great many of them very famous.

In an unusual two-page advertising spread appearing on pages 8 and 9 in the first section of the New York Times Sunday editions, several hundred writers take Amazon to task for holding their heads under want to try to force Hachette to see things Amazon's way.

What Amazon has been doing to bully Hachette has been just plain old downright unfair and underhanded to boot.

Jeff Bezos: Come down off your high horse and deal with Hachette like a responsible businessman, not a bully.

Disappointing ...

My grandsons, ages 15 and 12, were in town last week, and we tried to do two interesting things a day while they were here.

On Friday afternoon, we drove into Austin to the Harry Ransom Center to see the World War I exhibit.

I picked that particular activity because they are boys, and boys are generally more interested in war than girls are, because I figured it wouldn't hurt them to learn some history and because I figured it would be a great way to spend two or three hours.

In my head, I imagined all kinds of neat things that a museum could do to make a war that happened 100 years ago interesting. Like weapons. Like video. Like mind-numbing big black-and-white images. Like great maps, even interactive maps. Accessible audio. Things to touch. Things to hold. Things to process in some way besides through the written word.

When we drove away from the museum about an hour after entering the exhibit, I asked the boys what they had learned about World War I.

In unison: "Nothing."

The things I imagined, it seems no one else imagined at the Ransom Center.

Even I got bored with it.

I could go on and on about it. But I won't.

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