Weekly Roundup – 2010.11.12

From time-to-time i find things of interest: blogging them here helps me hang on to the data and conclusions, and might be of interest to others too.

“… the  death of the printed book, at least on campus, has been greatly exaggerated …”

According to a study from the National Association of College Stores (not necessarily an unbiased source):

  • only 13% of college students purchased an electronic book of any kind during July-Sept
  • just over half of those were primarily for required class materials
  • 92% of students indicate they don’t own an e-reader
  • of those who had purchased an e-book, 3/4s used it on a laptop or netbook

Google Books “About this book” Feature

This post about the Books in Browsers conference pointed out a feature of Google Books that apparently many folks, including me, haven’t paid much attention to: the “About this book” page. That page for DeSilva’ “An Introduction to the New Testament” includes, in addition to the reviews and related books links (which are also on the main page):

  • a (noisy) contents list with hyperlinks
  • a word cloud of common terms and phrases, which link to full-text search
  • popular passages that appear in other books (here they’re all quotations from the Bible!)
  • References to this book from other books and Google Scholar
  • A Google Map of places mentioned in the book. It clearly has some smarts, but placename extraction and normalization is a very hard problem: for example, “Emmaus” is linked to a city in Pennsylvania, not the appropriate place in Palestine.
  • Links to other books by this author, and with the same subject index terms (e.g. “Religion/Biblical Criticism & Interpretation/New Testament”)
  • Buttons to export the citation in several formats

That’s quite a wealth of information! (Apparently you only get it for books with previews?)