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Breakthrough Technology to Improve Teaching and Learning

Message Number: 
33

ITEM: ELECTRONIC BOOKS TO OPEN NEW CHAPTER 

Is a book a collection of words, printed on sheets of paper bound into a volume? Or is a book just a collection of words, period? Soon technology will let us choose. 
At least two small Silicon Valley companies, 
SoftBook Press, Inc. in Menlo Park and Palo Alto-based NuvoMedia, Inc., have opted for the latter definition. And next Monday they'll announce some fascinating information appliances: a new generation of electronic books, a significant step toward an all-digital era of book-selling and reading. 

Dan Gilmore, San Jose Mercury News, June 12, 1998 

Folks: 

I don't know if this electronic book technology will catch on soon, but here at Stanford an even more fundamental breakthrough is all the rage! 

Regards, 

Rick Reis 

----------------------------- 460 words ---------------------- 

Built-in Orderly Organized Knowledge Device 

Announcing the new Built-in Orderly Organized Knowledge device called B.O.O.K. The "BOOK" is a revolutionary breakthrough in technology: No wires, no electric circuits, no batteries, nothing to be connected or switched on. It's so easy to use even a child can operate it. Just lift its cover. Compact and portable, it can be used anywhere-even sitting in an armchair by the fire-yet it is powerful enough to hold as much information as a CD-ROM disc. 

Here's how it works........Each BOOK is constructed of sequentially numbered sheets of paper (recyclable), each capable of holding thousands of bits of information. These pages are locked together with a custom-fit device called a binder which keeps the sheets in their correct sequence. Opaque Paper Technology (OPT) allows manufacturers to use both sides of the sheet, doubling the information density and cutting costs in half. 

Experts are divided on the prospects for further increases in information density; for now, BOOKs with more information simply use more pages. This makes them thicker and harder to carry, and has drawn some criticism from the mobile computing crowd. Each sheet is scanned optically, registering information directly into your brain. A flick of the finger takes you to the next sheet. 

The BOOK may be taken up at any time and used by merely opening it. The BOOK never crashes and never needs rebooting, though like other display devices, it can become unusable if dropped overboard. The "browse" feature allows you to move instantly to any sheet, and move forward or backward as you wish. Many come with an "index" feature, which pinpoints the exact location of any selected information for instant retrieval. 

An optional "BOOKmark" accessory allows you to open the BOOK to the exact place you left it in a previous session-even if the BOOK has been closed. BOOKmarks fit universal design standards; thus, a single BOOKmark can be used in BOOKs by various manufacturers. Conversely, numerous bookmarks can be used in a single BOOK if the user wants to store numerous views at once. The number is limited only by the number of pages in the BOOK. 

The medium is ideal for long term archive use; several field trials have proven that the medium will still be readable in several centuries, and because of its simple user interface it will be compatible with future reading devices. 

You can also make personal notes next to BOOK text entries with an optional programming tool, the Portable Erasable Nib Cryptic Intercommunication Language Stylus (Pencils). 

Portable, durable, and affordable, the BOOK is being hailed as the entertainment wave of the future. The BOOK's appeal seems so certain that thousands of content creators have committed to the platform. Look for a flood of new titles soon.