Free Content Pages in peril: what we may lose as ebooks go mainstream

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Abstract:

The ebook industry is growing asymmetrically: Far more novels are being read than nonfiction texts, and those are generally read as reflowable text on small devices. Uniform pagination is seen as unnecessary, raising the risk that ebook technology will mature without a standard mechanism for citing pages in research footnotes and discussion, making traditional source attribution of older works impossible. The author suggests a publisher-side 'master view' of books including both print-image pagination and matching page markers embedded in reflowable ebooks. Appropriate ebook rendering software would allow human readers to jump to ebook page locations identical to those in print editions of the same work. 'Decimal' page references (such as p. 206.339) could allow precise citation of sentences or even individual words in an ebook without sacrificing human comprehension of pagination in printed works. Such a system would preserve page-based footnoting in both directions between existing print books and ebooks.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2008

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  • The Indexer is published by the Society of Indexers on behalf of all the indexing societies, seeks to cover the full range of subjects, from articles at the cutting edge of new techniques to contributions discussing in a practical way the new tools available to indexers at all points in the technical spectrum or exploring the history of indexing. Its extensive reviews section covers both printed and electronic material, including websites and hardware and software of interest to the indexer, while 'Indexes Reviewed' highlights some of the best (and worst) examples of indexing in action. And, in 'Around the World', it keeps readers up to date with what is going on across the international indexing community. First published in 1958 on a twice-yearly basis, it moved in 2008 to a quarterly publication.
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