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    Location: Aberystwyth, Wales, United Kingdom

    I am the owner and managing director of Information Automation Limited (IAL), a company that specialises in research, consultancy and training for the information profession. We are particularly interested in all forms of electronic information resources (e-journals, e-books, etc) and I teach a course in electronic publishing at the Department of Information Studies in Aberystwyth. Drilling down still further(!), my interests centre on the quality and evaluation of electronic information, and in the thinking that underpins activities in library and information science.


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    Sunday, July 01, 2007

    e-Books: first e-ink and now e-paper

    Reported in if:book (the paper e-book) and subsequently in TeleRead with rather more scepticism (Horseless Carriage Department: A p-book with links built in) is a new invention byManolis Kelaidis, a designer at the Royal College of Art in London. The blueBook prototype is a paper book with circuits embedded in each page and with text printed with conductive ink. When a "linked" word on the page is touched, the finger completes a circuit, sending a signal to a processor in the back cover which communicates by Bluetooth with a nearby computer, bringing up information on the computer's screen.

    David Rothman (TeleRead) says:
    “By the time e-paper is a practical reality,” he asks, “will attachment to print have definitively ebbed?”
    Given a quotation used by one of the speakers at the Bloomsbury Conference (I cannot vouch for its accuracy) - "There are not enough trees in China to provide every Chinese citizen with a morning paper" - the move to e-publishing may be more important than it seems. (Although it is, I suppose a toss up as to which is the less green: producing electricity or felling forests.) There was much talk about engaging with the new technologies, and also about using appropriate information 'styles' for the electronic medium. Manolis Kelaidis may have found a useful intermediate technology - although, for me, it would be more of a "Wow" product if the new information produced appeared actually in the book - perhaps using e-ink technologies on facing pages.

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