At his demo of the IA BookReader at the recent Books in Browsers conference, Mike Ang said about the new BookReader thumbnail view — “We think this is one example where the digital book has some advantages over the printed one.” Mike was talking particularly about the ability of  the thumbnail view to give a unique overview of a book’s contents. I came across an example that shows the usefulness of this, described below.

On the top frame of the graphic at left is a shot from the personal copy of a book by Isaac Newton that has his own personal annotations in the margins, that’s described in IA staffer George Oates’s blog article — This sounded interesting when I read it, but the article didn’t have a link or page number where the annotation in the example appeared in the book. So I searched for the book in IA, and I was able to visually scan through it quickly to find the annotation, using the thumbnail view, as shown in the bottom frame at left.

This simple little example fits in nicely with the idea I’ve discussed in several articles on this blog, that thumbnails are invaluable especially in books that contain non-textual material — In the examples I’ve blogged about previously, this has been illustrations, but marginalia also fits nicely into this category.

A few more details on the Newton example — The close-up of the text (top frame) is from a set of Oates’ slides (#24) about the project; it’s also in her article linked above. As mentioned, although these sources have nice detail about the unusual Newton treasure, neither has a specific link to the occurrence or page number of the annotation shown. The IA record for the book has a note saying “Includes Issac Newton’s handwritten notations,” but doesn’t say exactly where they occur. It turns out that the annotation is on page 73.

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

The Internet Archive’s BookReader got a lot attention at the Books in Browsers conference at IA headquarters in San Francisco last week. IA engineer Mike Ang gave a  technical talk to conference attendees on using BookReader with a touch interface (iPad, Android). He also did a demo as part of Brewster Kahle’s “Books in Browsers” Keynote which was open to the general public, and that’s mostly what I’ll discuss in this article.

The IA blog article on Kahle’s Keynote has a video that includes Ang’s BookReader demo, with some screenshots from it. But the transcribed text in the article doesn’t include the demo, so I’ll give a little summary here — Ang’s 11-minute demo (16:26-27:40 on the video) includes enhanced search capabilities, audio generation from text, use on an iPad, and the thumbnail view (shown in the picture at left), which I discussed in an earlier article.

Ang said in the demo, and also in the conference session, that his team has the new version of BookReader working well in all browsers except Internet Explorer, and that that’s the main hold-up in releasing the new version. He’s hoping it will be out in the next few weeks.

In the conference session, Ang said that it’s especially difficult to get BookReader to work on iOS and Android smartphones and tablets because “multitouch events” are programmed differently on each different device. I particularly took note of this because I’ve used the current version of BookReader on an iPad, and although it works quite nicely in general, I do notice that it’s fairly slow in pinch zooming. This is also noticeable in Ang’s demo on the video. I hope this problem can be solved — I think BookReader, if it can be made to work smoothly, has great potential on iPad-like tablets — A combination that no doubt seems natural to the people at Internet Archive since, as Ang observed in his demo, the iPad happens to be “the size of a small book.”

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

The Books in Browsers conference that met at the Internet Archive in San Francisco October 21 & 22 was a great experience for me and I’m sure for most of the approximately 100 attendees.

Follow-up: Conference reports & Commentaries – Most recent at the top

Presentations – List is derived from the pre-conference Agenda. Twitter addresses are included for presenters who have them — For other attenders on Twitter see here.

Thursday, October 21

  • Allen Noren (@allennoren), O’Reilly Media – Books in Browsers
  • Bill McCoy, Webpaper – Browsers for Books: Formats and User Experiences for Digital Reading   [Slides]
  • Dominique Raccah (@draccah), Sourcebooks – Immersion: What we actually know about adding media to books
  • Waldo Jaquith (@jaquith), VQR – EPUB for website producers
  • Keith Fahlgren (@abdelazer), Ibis Reader – Piercing the Clouds: Privacy, Confidentiality, and Web-based Reading   [Slides]
  • Nicole Ozer, ACLU – Digital Books: A New Chapter for Reader Privacy
  • Jason Schultz (@jason_schultz_), UC Berkeley – Using open licenses to ensure reader privacy
  • SJ Klein (@metasj), OLPC – Rural uses of browser books   [Description: PPT Slides]
  • Jim Fruchterman (@JRandomF), Benetech – Accessibility for browser based books
  • Joseph Pearson (@josephpearson), Inventive Labs – How we’re using Monocle in the Labs
  • Minh Truong (@minh_truong), Aldiko – Books and Apps
  • Daihei Shiohama, Voyager Japan – From mobile comics to broad platform experiences
  • Michael Ang (@mangbot), Internet Archive – Designing books for touch   [Slides in New version of BookReader | Old version]
  • Keynote: Brian O’Leary (@brianoleary), Magellan Partners – A Unified Field Theory of Publishing   [Full-text]
  • Evening Keynote: Books in Browsers – Brewster Kahle, Internet Archive   [Video & Text]

Friday, October 22

  • Keynote: Bob Stein (@ifbook), If:Book – For publishers, working together to support an open-source platform for Social Reading is the key to taking the initiative back from Amazon, Apple and Google   [Background]
  • Keynote: Richard Nash (@R_Nash), Cursor Books – Remember, the reader writes, too… On how discoverability begins with the writer.
  • Kovid Goyal, Calibre – An Alexandria in every neighborhood
  • Aaron Miller (@bookglutton), Bookglutton – A network of Books [Slides]
  • Otis Chandler (@otown), GoodReads – Finding Shelf Space in a World Without Shelves   [Slides]
  • Hadrien Gardeur (@Hadrien), Feedbooks – A Connected Bookshelf   [Slides]
  • Michael Tamblyn (@mtamblyn), Kobo Books – Life Among the Freegans: The Co-Existence of Free Books, Paid Books, and the People Who Read Them
  • Erin McKean (@emckean), Wordnik – Things are looking up for looking things up?
  • Eli James (@shadowsun7), Novelr – Pandamian: A Publishing Support Layer   [Full-text]
  • Kevin Franco (@FRANCOMEDIA), Francomedia – Thriller-based Transmedia and the reader experience
  • Fran Toolan (@ftoolan), Firebrand – A Conversation: Rights in the Book Web
  • Keynote: Matthew Bernius (@mattBernius), RIT – Returning to the Canon for Inspiration: Vannevar Bush, Walter Benjamin, and the future of reading   [Links]
  • Pecha Kucha 7 …
    Blaine Cook (@blaine), Romeda
    Craig Mod (@craigmod), “Post Artifact Story Telling”
    Jacob Lewis (@jacoblewism), Figment
    Cart Reed (@Ebooq), Ebooq

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

** Post-conference: Links to Presentations & Follow-up **

The Books in Browsers conference is in San Francisco, Oct 21-22, at the offices of the Internet Archive. Here’s a list of attenders on Twitter, which is about 2/3 of all attenders. In some cases it was difficult to tell if a corporate Twitter name was the best to use for an individual. I have not put people who are on Twitter but have their tweets protected — If you’re one of those and you want to be on the list, let me know.

Thanks to BLAINE Cook – A Twitter List that gives a live tweet feed of all attenders below.

Twitter name Name

Affiliation
bookgluttonNEWS Alber Travis BookGlutton
indiamos Amos India ITP, NYU
mangbot Ang Michael Internet Archive
glassdog Arthur Lance Internet Archive
kindleworld Basten Andrys Kindle Blog
mattBernius Bernius Matthew RIT
edwardbetts Betts Edward Internet Archive
kirkbiglione Biglione Kirk Oxford Media Works
nathanbransford Bransford Nathan Curtis Brown Agency
naypinya Brantley Peter Internet Archive
patrickrbrown Brown Patrick Goodreads
jambina Buckland Amy McGill University
otown Chandler Otis Goodreads
BLAINE Cook Blaine Romeda
VidLit Dubelman Liz VidLit
abdelazer Fahlgren Keith Ibis Reader
FRANCOMEDIA Franco Kevin Francomedia
snowmaker Friedman Jared Scribd
JRandomF Fruchterman Jim Benetech
Hadrien Gardeur Hadrien Feedbooks
rochellegrayson Grayson Rochelle BookRiff
epistemographer Greenberg Josh Sloan Foundation
m_gylling Gylling Markus IDPF / DAISY
usfsrlib Hewlett Jean USF Gleeson Library
jhorodyski Horodyski John Wrinkled Pants
JenHoward Howard Jennifer Chronicle Higher Ed
shadowsun7 James Eli Novelr
jaquith Jaquith Waldo Univ. of Virginia
UDCMRK Kalfatovic Martin BioDiversity Heritage Library
bookmasters Kasher Bob Bookmasters
billkendrick Kendrick Bill Smashwords
selfpubbootcamp King Carla PBS MediaShift
metasj Klein SJ OLPC
booksquare Krozser Kassia Booksquare
curiouslee Lee Mike OLPC / AARP
jacoblewism Lewis Jacob Figment Fiction
jessielorenz Lorenz Jessie Independent Living SF
ivorymadison Madison Ivory Red Room
armco Malkin Andrew Overbrook Consulting
kevinmarks Marks Kevin Independent
ronmartinez Martinez Ron Invention Arts
hughmcguire McGuire Hugh BookOven
emckean McKean Erin Wordnik
abrahammertens Mertens Abraham Red Room
KatMeyer Meyer Kat O’Reilly Media
bookglutton Miller Aaron BookGlutton
calliemiller Miller Callie LitLife
craigmod Mod Craig Pre/Post Books
tiny_librarian Morin Becky California Acad Sci
m_murrell Murrell Mary UC Berkeley
R_Nash Nash Richard Cursor Books
allennoren Noren Allen O’Reilly Media
brianoleary O’Leary Brian Magellan Partners
josephpearson Pearson Joseph Monocle
pilsks Pilsk Suzanne Smithsonian Inst Libraries
poezn Porath Michael UC Berkeley I-School
draccah Raccah Dominique Sourcebooks
Ebooq Reed Cartwright ebooq
sol613 Rosenberg Sol Copia
ericrumsey Rumsey Eric Univ of Iowa
jason_schultz_ Schultz Jason UC Berkeley
letiziasechi Sechi Letizia Bookrepublic
ifbook Stein Bob If Book
mtamblyn Tamblyn Michael Kobo Books
pthompson Thompson Patrick Inkstone Software
ftoolan Toolan Fran Firebrand Tech
minh_truong Truong Minh Aldiko
aweber9 Weber Andrew Random House
dwilk Wilk David Creative Mgmt Partners
adamwitwer Witwer Adam O’Reilly Media
tiffanycmw Wong Tiffany Aldiko

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey