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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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    Thursday, August 09, 2007

    e-Books: Hyperlinking sensibly?

    Following on from my Tail wags Dog posting earlier today, I came across a good example of entirely sensible hyperlinking in an e-book. David Rothman (TeleRead) in Packaging the traditional novel for E: A few musings on forewords and links in e-books says:
    Do you always read the forewords of novels, particularly e-books? Or the epilogues?... Many editors and readers hate forewords and the like... Whoops. Both a foreword and epilogue are built into the plot of a novel I’m polishing. How to satisfy both groups—the foreword-lovers and -haters? On paper, the reader can easily flip ahead a few pages, but E’s harder, if, for example, you’re trying not to overshoot... But what if the e-version of my novel contained links to (1) the foreword or something similar, (2) the main story and (3) epilogue-type material. Suppose that catchy blurbs accompanied the links for the foreword and the epilogue. Then, I suspect, more people might actually read the “extras” than in the case of a paper book.

    No, I don’t want to see traditional novels dumbed down or needlessly complicated. But mightn’t they be presented more skillfully in E than they often are now?

    'Born-digital' e-books can offer so much more than paper books or even the digitised versions of p-books, so why not? This is moving towards some of the things that The Institute for the Future of the Book is experimenting with. If you are going to use a medium, you may as well use it properly! The difference between this hyperlinking to structure the book or the plot and hyperlinking used simply to shorten, keep facts out of the body text, and make the book more acceptable is considerable. If nothing else it lies in the motive.

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