Venn Librarian

Reflections about the intersection of schools, libraries and technology.

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Let’s talk about PDA (part two)

Posted by lpearle on 24 October 2011

(see Part One)

In addition to the questions of findability and privacy and information overload, the question of who actually owns the materials you’re acquiring arises. Let’s say a student is studying Portugal’s involvement (some might argue creation of) the Atlantic Slave Trade. I could purchase a physical copy of Hugh Thomas’ The Atlantic Slave Trade: 1440-1870 knowing that it would be on the shelves for students to use for many years to come. If it was available in e-book format, I could purchase a digital copy. However, I’d have to think about whether I wanted to be locked into a device (Kindle, Nook, Kobo or ???) or if I were going to support a BYOD program that allows patrons to download or read the book on their own device. What if we change devices, from Kindle to something soon-to-be-invented – how do we take that copy with us? The same holds for “purchase” via a consortium or content provider (say, Follett Shelf or OverDrive): if we don’t re-up our fees every year, how can I provide that content to my students year after year (the same question holds if the provider goes out of business)?

This might be a good idea if the books “purchased” are multiple copies of current popular fiction. When the demand for yet another copy of Twilight or the newest Sarah Dessen goes down, just stop renewing that title. But for research, it seems to me that this might not be the best model from a fiscal or a rights perspective.

Finally, there’s the question of note-taking. How easy would it be to take notes on digital content? The Kindle does allow for bookmarking and note taking, but not in quite the same way I see students currently taking notes and marking pages (using post-its or making copies/scans of relevant pages, of course). How easy is it to flip from e-book to e-book, comparing one fact or explanation or discussion to another? Again, this is one of the areas that a strong PDA program needs to address. And if we’re opening up the notes to the public, what are the odds that plagiarism will flourish?

So many questions to consider, and so many conversations still to be had. Let’s start them at AASL11.

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2 Responses to “Let’s talk about PDA (part two)”

  1. […] Educon (for the second year, virtual wasn’t as good as being there) and the SLJ/LJ E-Book Summit in October.  Other travel opportunities took me to Seattle, Atlanta and to a few local (NYC Metro […]

  2. […] formats are all in the same place, they’re shelf-blind.  That all leads to the question of PDA.  It’s not just a budget issue, it’s also an issue of availability and can often be […]

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