Very interesting article in The Scholarly Kitchen by Joseph Esposito. Worth reading the whole thing:
Saint Jerome in his Study, fresco by Domenico Ghirlandaio, 1480 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The inexorable march of e-book adoption may be heading into a wall in the most unexpected market — the academy. It’s strange that this should be the case, inasmuch as universities are arguably the most wired segment of American society today, but several conversations I have had of late with academic librarians make me wonder if the “affordances” of e-books, at least in their current form, make them inferior in some respects to print.
By “affordances” I mean the properties of e-books and what they enable us to do. We know that print, for example, has among its properties the ability to store a fixed text and that e-books (when properly configured) permit us to link to other documents and perform full-text search. What librarians are telling me is that their patrons — some of their patrons, at any rate — are expressing reservations about plans to migrate to a mostly- or all-digital strategy. There are things that some scholars can do with paper that they can’t do with digital editions, and they are thus encouraging librarians to continue to acquire print for the library collection.