Milne Library has recently purchased a Kindle, Amazon’s electronic book reader, to evaluate its potential utility as a tool for providing library materials. Loaded with about a dozen titles, Milne’s Kindle is available for 4-hour loan to anyone interested in trying it out.
For many years, Milne Library users have had access to electronic versions of books through sources such as NetLibrary, Google Books, and (most recently) Springer. One limitation to these ebooks is that they need to be read on a computer screen, which is hard on the eyes, provides limited interactive capabilities and is not very portable. In response, ebook readers such the Kindle were developed and are quickly gaining popularity. While the Kindle is by far the most popular ereader, Sony and Barnes & Noble now offer competing products, and together they sold three million units last year. Apple’s new iPad promises to be a competitor in this field as well.
Students in Prof. Chris Pruszynski’s communication seminar (COMN 391) this spring will be using and evaluating the Kindle from technological and pedagogical perspectives, and feedback from the students’ “experiment” will be extremely useful in the Library’s overall assessment.