- Why the Brain Prefers Paper is an article that appears in the Oct. 15, 2013 issue of Scientific American. In order to read it via the link above you will need to have an account on the website. However, most library discovery systems should provide access. In any case, the general conclusions draw in the article include:
- Studies in the past two decades indicate that people often understand and remember text on paper better than on a screen. Screens may inhibit comprehension by preventing people from intuitively navigating and mentally mapping long texts.
- In general, screens are also more cognitively and physically taxing than paper. Scrolling demands constant conscious effort, and LCD screens on tablets and laptops can strain the eyes and cause headaches by shining light directly on people ‘s faces.
- Preliminary research suggests that even so-called digital natives are more likely to recall the gist of a story when they read it on paper because enhanced e-books and e-readers themselves are too distracting. Paper’s greatest strength may be its simplicity.
- As Interest Fades in the Humanities, Colleges Worry This article in the New York Times points to concerns about the future of the humanities on college campuses. With falling enrollments, programs are under stress. The article quotes Andrew Delbanco, a Columbia University professor who writes about higher education, saying that “Both inside the humanities and outside, people feel that the intellectual firepower in the universities is in the sciences, that the important issues that people of all sorts care about, like inequality and climate change, are being addressed not in the English departments.”
- Disruption 101 For Self-Publishers According to this Forbes article by Suw Charman-Anderson, a number of factors are causing major disruptions in the publishing industry and challenging the primacy of traditional publishers. In fact, “the level of disruption cannot be underestimated, and it’s going to have a significant impact on publishing as we currently know it.” Ms. Charman-Anderson thinks that the issues confronting the publishing industry are similar to those facing the news business. She goes on to discuss six principles for how media companies must deal with disruption developed by Clark Gilbert, former Harvard Business School professor. She claims that these are principles that publishers need to understand as “the landscape is changing and will only change more as the the disruption truly takes hold.”
- Staying Relevant This post by Carl Straumsheim in Inside HigherED reports on a recent conference on sustainable scholarship hosted by the nonprofit research organization Ithaka. Attended by some 200 academic librarians and publishers as well as other interested parties, the future sustainability of more than libraries and publishing was discussed. Higher education itself was under review as MOOCs, the traditional lecture and the implications of online teaching came up repeatedly. Evidently “Big Data” also played a major role as most speakers touched on it “whether discussing blended learning or library use.”
Tom is originally from Brooklyn N.Y but has spent his entire professional career in South Carolina, most recently as Head of Reference Services at the College of Charleston. As part of the Against the Grain and Charleston Conference team, he serves as the associate editor of the print ATG as well as the co-editor of the webpage. Tom’s conference duties include coordinating the Penthouse Suite interviews as well as the conference poster sessions.
He received his MLS from the University of Buffalo, SUNY and a second master’s in public administration from the College of Charleston and the Univ. of South Carolina. His wife Carol and he live in downtown Charleston and she is an artist and a tour guide offering historic walking tours of the city.