Are e‐readers suitable tools for scholarly work? Results from a user test
Article publication date: 14 June 2013
The purpose of this paper is to offer insights into the usability, acceptance and limitations of e‐readers with regard to the specific requirements of scholarly text work. To fit into the academic workflow, non‐linear reading, bookmarking, commenting, extracting text or the integration of non‐textual elements must be supported.
A group of social science students were questioned about their experiences with electronic publications for study purposes. This same group executed several text‐related tasks with the digitized material presented to them in two different file formats on four different e‐readers. Their performances were subsequently evaluated in detail.
E‐publications have made advances in the academic world; however e‐readers do not yet fit seamlessly into the established chain of scholarly text‐processing focusing on how readers use material during and after reading. The authors' tests revealed major deficiencies in these techniques.
The usability test of e‐readers in a scientific context aligns with both studies on the prevalence of e‐books in the sciences and technical test reports of portable reading devices. Still, it takes a distinctive angle in focusing on the characteristics and procedures of textual work in the social sciences and measures the usability of e‐readers and file‐features against these standards.
Schomisch, S., Zens, M. and Mayr, P. (2013), "Are e‐readers suitable tools for scholarly work? Results from a user test", Online Information Review, Vol. 37 No. 3, pp. 388-404. https://doi.org/10.1108/OIR-12-2011-0221
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