It is always nice to see someone you respect blogging and Richard Waghorne is a man I respect an awful lot. I found his blog two or three days ago and he has out posted me to link to me first! If you haven’t read Richard’s Sicilian Notes yet you should start now!
The tutors and graduate students of UCD’s School of History have started an online blog for History papers. Its well worth reading some with paper son Islam, Medieval Expansion of Europe and Irish America in the 19th Century.
One more story on e-newspapers. They are coming you know, well at least according to the Washington Post.
In a comment on Book 1.5 Adam makes an excellent point and one I have considered before:
what does Jarvis propose as a replacement for books? He says himself he is not thinking of “replacing them with electronic gizmos in some paperless future of fable and fantasy”, so what exactly?
I find it hard to see a time when books are replaced by anything, even portable electronic devices
It is a key question. What is it exactly that Book 2.0 advocates are proposing. The only real example of a close to product is something like SOHPIE which is due to be launched by the Institute for the Future of the Book. You can see an introduction to the project in a PDF here.
But it, like all other approaches to improving the book, involves electronics and networked text. Hyperlinks and online notes seem to be high on the list of features most proposers see as critical. All of which involves electronics. And with electronics comes problems. With electronics comes an enormous hurdle. Usability. Electronics requires power and makes portability a problem. Screens are required which means the eyes are put under strain reading from them, if there are features that rely on access to the internet then if you are for some reason not near a Wi-Fi or hard-line connection your Book 2.0 becomes less useful.
So in many ways we lose the key features of a book; paper, portability, independence and accessibility. What do we have then? Not a book anymore but something else. Book 2.0 is not actually a book at all. It’s the web content on a mobile platform. In fact it’s not 2.0 anything. Content is as content has always been. That it may now be served to your portable reader does not make a text book any less a text book, that it offers you the luxury of hyperlinks and notes that can be changed and edited makes it only a textbook that has increased usability but concurrent weaknesses. In many ways a textbook of this nature sounds more like Wikipedia than anything else!
What is Book 2.0 is it just the web on your mobile reader or is there something more that I am missing?