Does the Brain like E-Books??

This October 14 New York Times blog entry offers the viewpoints of several different information and learning specialists. Very interesting; check it out.

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One Response to Does the Brain like E-Books??

  1. Danny Blloom says:

    In an upcoming issue of Technology Review, from MIT, the following very brief oped letter appears in the Nov-Dec issue: titled [The Way We Read Now]

    One reader — Danny Bloom in Taiwan — was intrigued by the potential of a new pressure-sensitive touch screen (\”A Touch of Ingenuity,\” September/October 2009) that could be used in a wide variety of applications, including e-reader screens. He wrote in:

    I wonder if in the future we might need a new word to differentiate the kind of reading we do on computer or e-reader screens from the kind of reading we do on paper surfaces. I have heard a few new terms being bandied about on the Internet: screen-reading, browsing, skimming, scanning, even \”diging.\” Reading is reading, of course. But we might not be \”reading\” the new-and-improved newspapers and magazines of the future. We might be \”screening\” them.

    I am so glad to see this discussion taking place here, and I hope the story breaks into the print edition later, too. The points of view above are very good to read and study, and there are more people to interview and talk to: Edward Tenner, Christian Vandenthorpe, Thad McIlroy, Anne Mangen in Norway, William Powers (who wrote the essay Hamlet’s BlackBerry, soon to be a book in mid 2010), Bill Hill former Microsoft design and readability guru, Paul Saffo the futurist, Kevin Kelly who is writing a book called Technium now, Sharon Shaloo at the Center for the book in Boston, Jakob Nielsen, Don Norman, James Fallows, Erick Schonfeld, Kara Swisher and many more. Oy yes, and don’t forget Mr. Bloom with his blog that has been focusing on these issues for the past six months at :

    You asked: Is there a difference in the way the brain takes in or absorbs information when it is presented electronically versus on paper? ANSWER: Yes there is. MRI scans will show this as science soon.

    You asked: Does the reading experience change, from retention to comprehension, depending on the medium? ANSWER: Yes it does.

    Conclusion: in fact, reading on paper is so different from reading on screens, on the networked screen and on Kindles, that it is quote possible that we will need a new word or term for this new kind of reading sxperience. Maybe not. But I feel a new word is needed in order to help us study these issues.

    My suggestion: screening, for reading on screens. Others have suggtested screading, scanning, skimming, browising, grazing, and one New York Times reporter told me in a private email that he likes the word diging for digital reading. Marvin Minsky at MIT has some good things to say about these issues too. Ask him for his POV one day, too, as a followup to this very good post. Bravo!

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