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Saturday, June 25, 2005

Web Transforming The Reading Habits

Compared with a generation ago, the world is better able to read. The top 35 nations have 99 percent or better literacy. In advanced nations, computers and the Internet are changing the way people read. It is now clear that the younger generation prefer the net to the printed media for reading general news. Thus far, search engines and hyperlinks, those underlined words or phrases that when clicked take you to a new Web page, have turned the online literary voyage into a kind of U-pick island-hop. Far more is in store, says CSMonitor.Excerpts with edits and comments:
Like in the case of "Hamlet"- a student of the play would read the play probably all the way through, and then search out separate commentaries and analyses. When Hamletworks.org gets completed, the site will help visitors comb through several editions of the play, along with 300 years of commentaries by a slew of scholars. Readers can click to commentaries linked to each line of text in the nearly 3,500-line play. In future,through this site any reader can find nearly all the known scholarship brought together in a cohesive way that printed books cannot.The reading experience online -should be better than on paper. Techniques like PARC’s ScentHighlights highlights whole sections of text it determines you should pay special attention to, as well as other words or phrases that it predicts you'll be interested in are offering the kind of reading that's above and beyond what paper can offer.Stanford University research group is taking a different approach in hopes of making reading on mobile phones faster and easier. Analysts expect mobile phones to evolve into a multipurpose "third screen," along with televisions and computers displaying both pictures and text. But the small screen size has made reading cumbersome, as users scroll through tiny screen after screen.To solve that, BuddyBuzz, a project of a small group within the Stanford Persuasive Technology Laboratory, flashes text to the viewer a word at a time.Users who sign up can download news from Reuters and CNET, from several popular Internet bloggers. Users can also feed their own texts into the website and have them sent to their mobile phone, or offer their content to other BuddyBuzz users.Neither ScentHighlights nor BuddyBuzz is commercially available, though a free test version of the latter is available at the BuddyBuzz website.

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