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The Mobile E-Book Reader Brian Kelly UK Web Focus UKOLN University of Bath UKOLN is supported by: URL

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Presentation on theme: "The Mobile E-Book Reader Brian Kelly UK Web Focus UKOLN University of Bath UKOLN is supported by: URL"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Mobile E-Book Reader Brian Kelly UK Web Focus UKOLN University of Bath UKOLN is supported by: URL Abstract This talk will describe the portable e-Book reader by placing it in a historical context, describe the dangers of the current confusion in terminology and the importance of standards and strategic thinking. Abstract This talk will describe the portable e-Book reader by placing it in a historical context, describe the dangers of the current confusion in terminology and the importance of standards and strategic thinking.

2 2 Contents Introduction Historical Perspective The E-Book – What Is It? Publishing For The E-Book Beyond The E-Book The Digital Talking Book Conclusions

3 3 About Me Brian Kelly: UK Web Focus – a JISC-funded post to advise UK Higher and Further Education communities on Web developments Based in UKOLN – a national focus for digital information management located at the University of Bath Provides advice to UK HE / FE communities on best practices for providing Web services Recent involvement in looking at the potential for e-books within HE / FE (with links with Library sector) First used a mainframe computer in 1974

4 4 Devices A history of mainstream computer devices Old Paper tape Punch card Terminal VDUs Graphics terminal Micro (e.g. BBC, Commodore, Sinclair) Current PC Macintosh Unix / Linux workstations and servers Emerging E-Book WAP, GPRS, 3G Digital TV PDAs Kiosks Laptop (for students) Networking technologies: Wireless LANs / Bluetooth Failures? X Terminals NCs (Network Computers) Thin Clients Futures Watches Wearables Electronic ink (eink.com) …

5 5 Lessons Marketplace Need to be aware of marketplace developments: PC as winner / NC as failure / Mac as niche market New products and apps are appearing rapidly – and are disappearing too! (dot.com collapses) Avoidance of proprietary lock-in Avoid being locked into a device (cf. BBC Micro CBL applications; dongles for PC software; etc.) Free readers arent enough (cf. browser plugins) Royalty-free licences arent enough (cf. GIF) Standards Support for standards essential to: Minimise locking dangers Allow resources to be reused

6 6 NetLibrary – Case Study Spring / Summer 2001 NetLibrary taking high profile in various e-Book seminars around UK Universities (e.g. SCURL/SLAMIT seminar in June 2001) Autumn 2001 NetLibrary bankrupt, and being purchased by OCLC

7 7 Current Position Weve been here before. What is different today? Information hungry society (multiple TV channels, lists, SMS messages, voice mail, …) Pervasive networking … coming in UK (e.g. free network access from PCs in shopping malls in Hong Kong) Demand from a computer literate student intake (Nintendo generation) Demand for universal access for all Where can I read my ? - typical question for the academic at a conference. The answer is now not just the conferences PC facilitys but laptop / PDA + mobile phone / landline / wireless LAN

8 8 Benefits Devices Purchased By Users Pass on capital and supports costs to students! Laptop policy for students attempted at Warwick - but students are buying mobile phones and PDAs anyway Mobile Access Providing access from home / from anywhere will: Minimise transport costs, ease congestion, etc. Minimise demand on institutional facilities Offline reading should be a good thing, and its desirable to facilitate this Universal Accessibility Access to resources for people with a range of disabilities

9 9 What is An E-Book (1) Which of the following gives the closest approximation to your view of the term E-Book: Access to book-like resources from a computer Managed access to book-like resources, providing Library-type facilities, such as reservation, loans, MARC records, etc. A hand-held device (as described 20 years ago in HitchHikers Guide To The Galaxy) A talking book Something else All of the above

10 10 What Is An E-Book (2) An e-book can be: A trendy name for any resource on the Web A resource (often large and book-like) to which access is managed (and resource often encrypted) A format which describes book-like structures and corresponding functions A resource designed for reading on small devices Name of device used to read files in e-book format This talk focuses on the small device (and corresponding formats)

11 11 Mobile Devices A range of different types of mobile devices are available E-Book Reader Mobile Phone Siemens hybrid phone, MP3 player and PDA Hybrid eBookman hybrid e-book reader, MP3 player and PDA (was at Argos for £169) Traditional E- Book reader such as Rocket cost about $249 PDA Palms PDAs are available from £100-£400

12 12 Some Personal Comments Dedicated E-Book Reader Heavy (large hardback) but good for sustained reading PDA Usable for multiple purposes (calendaring, note-taking, , Web browsing,, …) Hybrid PDA plus MP3 music player looks attractive to youth market Mobile Phone Communications, not content, is king! as weve seen from popularity of mobiles and SMS.

13 13 Exploiting The New Devices The Researcher Plugs mobile device into desktop machine and downloads W3C Web site for reading over weekend Uses intelligent agent to find relevant resources from e-print archives and downloads to mobile device for reading on (long) train journey The Student On Friday evening in student bar, a friend mentions some useful reading resources. She takes out her mobile device and, using the Student Unions wireless network, she downloads the resources The Social Animal I plan my TV and radio viewing and visits to cinema using personalised AvantGo settings

14 14 An Unsolicited Quote I'm a real fan of eBooks - particularly because they are easier to hold than a book! I have a spinal injury and I have read more books in the last 6 months that the previous 6 years Unsolicited message received by a colleague following a presentation she gave on e-Books

15 15 Managing The New Devices Procurement and Management of the Devices: IT services responsible for hardware procurement and manage PC clusters, but who will lend out the devices? Do IT services negotiate preferred deals and leave users to buy? Procurement And Management Of The Content: Clearly a task for the library? Publishing Your Own Content: Lets not forget this Who defines strategy for publishing? cf. the Web – initial interest in finding content, now in publishing

16 16 E-Book Format Wars PDF Derivative Based on Adobes PDF format Well-established, well-used Proprietary, and based on appearance rather than structure XML Derivative Based on XML XML is now well-established Open standards, and, being based based on document structure, supports re-purposing My Proprietary Format Other companies muscling in, and making an attractive offer to convert your documents to their locked format

17 17 Proprietary Formats Warnings: Dangers of proprietary formats Difficulties in reuse of resources Difficulties in managing browser plugins How does Davtel's proposed e-book solution work? The publisher sends the book in any electronic format to a 3rd party storage company, where it will be translated to our format free of charge. How does Davtel's proposed e-book solution work? The publisher sends the book in any electronic format to a 3rd party storage company, where it will be translated to our format free of charge.

18 18 Peace In Our Time? There has been: Recognition of the dangers of format wars Agreement between the two main camps Adoption of XML :-) See OeB (Open eBook Forum) Web site Note also AAP standards work in rights management, metadata and numbering – see

19 19 Unresolved Issues Standards issues still be resolved include: Digital Rights Management (DRM) The book publishing world is aware of the difficulties that music publishers found themselves in with applications such as Napster EBX is a proposed DRM standard Cataloguing Information ONIX (ONline Information eXchange) is a proposed standard for sharing catalogue information between publishers and libraries …

20 20 Creating An E-Book

21 21 Viewing Here is what the the resource looks like using their viewing software E-ditorial This file was created using the E-ditorial software. What is an e-book?A simple explanation would be to say that an e-book is a self-running computer program - an executable file. i.e. this is a proprietary format! E-ditorial This file was created using the E-ditorial software. What is an e-book?A simple explanation would be to say that an e-book is a self-running computer program - an executable file. i.e. this is a proprietary format! See.

22 22 Another Creation Tool Drag and drop a Web resource

23 23 A Better Way Is this ease of creation desirable: Its easy to create a HTML page Its easy to update Web pages to HTML 4/XHTML Its easy to create a PDF version Its easy to create a WAP site Its easy to make use of Flash … Is this true? If you have a large Web site to maintain and wish to support multiple devices (some which may not take off) you will have to use an automated approach to content management

24 24 Resource Reuse You should store your resources in a neutral, richly-structured format (ideally XML) XML Database XHTML WML E-book format Print PDF Specialist formats B2B formats Local script / CMS / XSLT transformation Can you think of any valid reasons for storing resources in a proprietary format, with limited scope for reuse? Are: To provide encryption & security To outsource the digitisation To get fancy bells and whistles good enough reasons?

25 25 PDAs are becoming more advanced e.g. consider the Franklin E-bookman: Advertisement: Listen to a song, Schedule a Meeting, Listen to a Book, Take a Note It provides audio facilities Subscription options ($13 / month in US) for Audible books (see ): over 12,000 audiobooks from that ranges from bestsellers to radio programs to The Wall Street Journal Cost $150 (at Amazon.com) See Beyond The E-Book Note: before buying one read the reviews!

26 26 E-Books and Talking Books We are seeing convergence with other devices. For example consider the Rio consumer device: The Rio 800 comes with 64 MB of memory, enough for about an hour of MP3 music. It can also accommodate Windows Media Audio (WMA) files, which can stretch the playing time out to nearly two hours... It plays Audible formats 2, 3, and 4 and it holds up to 20.5 hours of programming. Cost $225 (at Amazon.com) Subscription options for Audible books (via Amazon.com – but not Amazon.co.uk)

27 27 Digital Talking Books New Talking Book devices: Digital devices aimed at visually impaired Use an XML DTD Standards work coordinated by the Daisy Consortium See The proposed national standard for the Digital Talking Book (Z x) is out for ballot – see

28 28 … and Voice Browsers Another mobile device is the Voice Browser: Use your mobile phone to interact with voice- enabled Web services Work being coordinated by W3C (see ) Work currently stopped due to concerns over patent claims

29 29 Putting It All Together W3Cs SMIL: Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language W3Cs open standard for integrating streaming audio and video with images, text, etc. Potential accessibility benefits See

30 30 Conclusions To conclude: There are many new consumer devices arriving which appear to have potential for general use Will also have benefits for people with disabilities Inevitably some devices and formats will fail to gain acceptance (remember BetaMax!) Avoid proprietary lock-in: Dangerous if you choose a failure (Betamax) Dangerous if you choose a winner (Microsoft) Management of access to e-books is important Creation of e-book resources also important There will be new devices – which makes standards and interoperability even more important


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