Electronic Books Explored, Debated

While the "laptop vs books" controversy rages in some educational circles, a workshop of the National Institute of Standards and Technology is focusing more concisely. On October 8-9, NIST will host a meeting to examine the ramifications emerging from the convergence of book publishing and computer technology. In addition to presenting the commercial and technical implications, presentations will also cover electronic book concepts and prototypes. Imagine, for example, a touch screen that allows a reader to touch an unfamiliar word to get an immediate dictionary definition; or giving the reader the capability to size the type to accommodate vision problems; or highlighting by finger rather than by a yellow marker. NIST, headquartered at Gaithersburg, Md., hopes to bring together publishers, teachers, electronics executives, and other interested parties.

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