Thursday, July 22, 2010

Does the Internet Create Infrequent, Inattentive Readers?

Do you think you read more or less than you did five years ago? Ten years ago? Are you reading differently than you did a decade ago?

Some studies have been conducted about how the Internet has affected reading habits and our ability to comprehend information that we read. Basically, the studies say most people are reading more than ever because the Internet provides free, easy-to-access, up-to-date information that entices us to read more frequently than before when our only options were print publications like newspapers and magazines.

But the studies also indicate that, although we have easy access to a wide range of information, we no longer take the time to contemplate these bits of information and relate them to each other as we had in the past. Do you think this is true?

I, personally, don’t like reading on the Internet or on an electronic screen. I do it because it’s quick, easy and free (other than paying for the monthly Internet connection), and because I frequently have to for work, but I comprehend information much better when I have it in print, on paper, where I can mark it up with highlighters and scribbled notes.

I’ve heard talk of electronic devices, like e-book readers or the iPad, which will soon come in a form that will let you take notes on the screen and save your notes. (Or at least I don’t think anything like this has officially come out yet.) I’d be very interested in how I’d like using something like that. Would the ability to scribble notes trump my dislike for reading from a screen?

Just wrote this article for the Examiner: Has the Internet created generations of infrequent, inattentive readers? Check it out, leave some comments.


Beth said...

Baker & Taylor is backing an e-reader software put out by KNFB Technology that allows you to mark up the page, put post-its on the text, etc. I saw a demo of it at ALA Midwinter in January and it looks pretty interesting. They're offering the software for free. (Website below.)

P.S. Good blog post. I have always done better comprehending books in print. Although I'm toying with the e-reader idea I know it will never replace having the real book in my hand... it would purely be for the benefit of not having to take several books when I travel.

Anne Greenawalt said...

Hey Beth,

This is awesome...thanks for the link! I hope it ends up being as cool and useful as it sounds on the Web site. When you saw the demo, were they just showing it on a normal computer? Will it work on devices like the iPad or Kindle?

I'm slowly coming to the realization that if I want to continue to be an avid reader in my old age, I should probably get used to using an e-reader as that seems to be the way of the future.

Beth said...

The demo I saw was on a computer although I believe the idea was to be able to use it on any device. That said, I don't know that it would work on an actual e-reader as much as act as a solution for notebooks and tablets. If I hear more about it I'll let you know.

Another note of interest--Google is coming out with its own e-book store. Their version should be available across nearly all platforms excepting Kindle.