Literacy and E-Reader Jargon
When any new technology arises, new terms are vital to explain these changes as easily as possible. ‘Library 2.0’ is a perfect example, and e-readers are bringing even more buzzwords and acronyms to the frontlines. Not only are new words created, but some major distinctions are appearing between words like the difference between a ‘virtual library’ and a ‘digital library,’ where they are not interchangeable.
Librarians and readers may need to work on their e-reader literacy. Below is a list of some of the biggest recent e-reader buzzwords. Please feel free to pitch in your own.
Accelerometer – An accelerometer measures acceleration of vibration and can be used in rockets, aircraft, and e-readers (among other things). In terms of e-readers, an accelerometer is the internal hardware that detects to which direction your e-reader is facing and adjusts the screen accordingly. Essentially, accelerometers provide an ‘auto-flip’ feature. If an e-reader does not have a built-in accelerometer, the reader must manually switch the device’s orientation between portrait and landscape.
Digital Library – A digital library is a collection of digital documents. Some digital libraries, such as OverDrive and NetLibrary can loan books to e-readers through public libraries. Other digital libraries, such as Project Gutenberg and LibriVox, specialize in public domain materials.
DRM – DRM, or Digital Rights Management, refers to technology used by hardware manufacturers which controls access to files. In terms of e-readers, DRM is used by companies like OverDrive to put expiration dates on digital library checkouts. Some e-readers are made to handle DRM, while others cannot. Notable e-readers which cannot handle DRM are the Kindle and the iPad, which means that neither of these devices can check out e-books from OverDrive. DRM is generally considered to be a controversial topic. Publishers, readers and manufacturer’s all have a stake in different sides of the DRM argument.
EPUB – EPUB is an international standard file format for e-books recommended by the International Digital Publishing Forum. EPUB and PDF are the two most widely used e-book file types.
LCD – LCD, or Liquid Crystal Display, is a screen technology used in tablets and e-readers. LCD screens are backlit and can display full color, and brightness can be adjusted. Although LCD screens do not replicate the appearance of paper like E Ink, they load pages faster and do not require additional lighting at night. Most importantly, visually impaired readers may feel that LCD screens are more accessible.
Sideloading – Sideloading is the term used to describe transferring files from one device to another. For more information, see this blog post about sideloading and e-readers.
UI – UI, or User Interface, is what the reader interacts with. This may be the icons on the touchscreen or buttons on the device. Understandably, a good UI makes for a much better reading experience than an unresponsive, confusing or cluttered UI.
Virtual Library – Although the terms ‘digital library’ and ‘virtual library’ are usually used interchangeably to refer to digital documents, a virtual library is actually different. A virtual library may contain digital documents, but is also an extension to a traditional brick-and-mortar library, and may provide traditional library services like reference (such as Ask-a-librarian), research help, or the ability to place holds.
Originally published on BlogJunction-Arizona
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