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Comparing Digital Books

Posted by osiern on October 26, 2008

For this comparison I have chosen to look at The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass from google books and from Internet Archive.

Similarities: Both books can be presented in a “turn the page” like fashion.  I liked this feature better than scrolling because it was I could flip through the pages quicker. Both offered the same book from the same publisher and publication date.  Both displayed all of the pages, even if there was nothing on them.  Both provided a “search the book” option. Both are difficult to read directly off my computer screen, both put strain on my eyes.

Differences:Google books did not have the annoyingly fast flashing of each book and its contents, that bugged me a lot when I was searching for the book.  Google Books presents the book with a white background and black writing. Internet Archives presents the book with “authentic” coloring.  The authenticity may have caused a longer load time because the google version loaded faster.  In the table of contents Google provides links to each chapter and subsection where Internet Archive does not.  While in the reading mode (that’s what I call it when the book is actually open in the flip setting) IA offers no links, while google offers multiple links to various topics including links to booksellers.  Google provides other information about the book on a separate page titled “About this Book.” Here you can find links to the chapters, highlighted pages, reference to scholarly works, reference to websites on Frederick Douglass, and a map showing places mentioned in the book.

Preference:  For a basic quick search of The Life and Times of Frederick DouglassI would choose Google Books because of the quick links to chapters and sections. As an educator I would choose Google Books for the “About this Book” page and resources it offers. For reading the actual book, I would choose neither.  I would rather take the actual book out of the library and sit next to a bright lamp.  Reading from a computer screen is too eye straining.

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