This week I came across two wonderful posts about indexing (which happens to be my profession.) If you’ve ever wondered why indexes need to be prepared by human beings instead of computers, Carol Saller at The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Lingua Franca blog explains (“Book Indexing, Part 1: Is a Computer the Right Person for the Job?”) And Moira Donovan explores the history and extols the virtues of the index in “Back Matter” at Lapham’s Quarterly.
This was a great week for articles generally. Of particular note:
Melissa Ballard, a study and reading strategies instructor at Oberlin College (my alma mater), writes about teaching students the importance of pleasure reading at Inside Higher Ed.
“When cell phones are the book: some observations on e-readers” (Natalie Houston, Chronicle of Higher Education website) Houston discusses students’ use of e-readers and other mobile devices in the classroom.
“What Is the Role of Libraries in the Age of E-Books and Digital Information?” (Jenny Shank, MediaShift)
“What Tech in Schools Really Looks Like” (Audrey Watters, The Digital Shift) explores the current state of technology in schools; the digital divide exists there, too.
Alliance Lab’s interview with Kovid Goyal, the creator of Calibre, the free e-book management software. (Full disclosure: I use Calibre and love it. It’s a great management and cataloging program for e-books, supports multiple e-book formats, and can convert files without DRM from one format to another.)
“Microsoft invests $300m in Barnes & Noble’s Nook; More ebooks for Microsoft” (Laura Hazard Owen, Paid Content)
“Microsoft looking to be third time lucky in its bid for e-books” (Phillip Jones, FutureBook)
“Judge stays e-book class action case against two publishers” (Jeff John Roberts, PaidContent).
“Why e-books will soon be obsolete (and no, it’s not just because of DRM)” (Gyrovague blog, Jim Patokallio) Patokallio believes that the Internet will kill off ebooks; he makes some very good points about the partitioning of ebooks along national borders.
“It doesn’t matter what e-books cost to make” (Mathew Ingram, Gigaom) says Ingram; what matters is what consumers are willing to pay.
“The Window is Closing” (Nick Harkaway, Futurebook) Harkaway believes publishers are running out of time to “get into the game and rewrite the rules” regarding ebooks.
“Has Pottermore Cast the Riddikulus Spell on Amazon?” (Matteo Berlucchi, FutureBook) Berlucchi says that Pottermore shows publishers that it is possible for them to control the point of sale and thus the consumer information.
“Can E-books Succeed Without Amazon?” (Barbara E. Hernandez, MediaShift) Hernandez’s answer is a qualified maybe.
“Can Barnes & Noble Balance Physical and Online Sales Without Killing Itself?” (Antone Gonzalves, ReadWriteWeb) B&N has plans to further integrate its Nook and bricks-and-mortar businesses.
“The digital-only model is cool for cats — and even Shakespeare” (Sam Humphrey, FutureBook) Humphrey argues that digital-only (or at least digital-first) is a good choice for literary works.
And new parental controls have been added to the Kindle Fire software update, according to Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader.