Monday, February 27, 2012

Final review of the inquiry process

Throughout this whole project I followed the “Pathways To Knowledge” method of inquiry.  For the most part I feel that this method was the best for examining my inquiry question.  This method and its steps were a great help in finding an answer to which E-reader is best for a school library user. 
            Part 1: Appreciation and Enjoyment.
As I stated in past inquiry blogs, I had an appreciation for e-readers ever since they became a bigger technology over the past few years.  Like many I was skeptical about moving on to a different medium after physical books have been around for thousands of years.  When I finally got my e-reader as a Christmas gift I realized the benefits that my device actually gave me and it enriched my overall reading experience. I examined all the different file formats that I could play with and examined all the benefits that my device offered  I still from time to time read physical hard copies, mostly due to price differences as well as the fact that I had already owned them prior to getting my device. 
            2: Presearch
For this step I named off all the e-readers I could think of and the different specs that I knew each device offered.  Whenever I went to B&N or Best buy, I would take a look at their e-readers and would play around with the different functions.  I came to realize how different the Nook simple touch was compared to the Nook Color and Nook tablet.   I played around with the different apps that these devices offered until I realized I like devices that are e-readers first and tablets second, This is why the iPad was not particularly talked about throughout this project.
3: Search
Searching for information wasn’t particularly hard.  I wanted to focus on sources that regular people would use to evaluate on their own terms.  One of my favorite sources are writers blogs.  People who at least somewhat know the publishing business can be the most knowledgeable on the subject of electronic texts.  Scott Marlowe’s blog was one of the sources I used to learn about file formats.  Another thing I knew would be a great help is tech magazines.  The magazine “Wired” is always full of information on emerging technologies.  They have articles from professional reviewers as well as articles from normal everyday users.  Before the age of the internet, most people needed tech magazines to know about new devices, this is still somewhat the case today.  Of course the websites of the devices company are also a help in acquiring information on the different abilities of each device. Although I do warn any reader that the page would be more biased out of interest in making sales. 
4: Interpretation
While compiling all the information I found that I understood more and more about the differences between the nook and kindle devices.  While they both serve similar functions, they have completely different types of usability.  Not having a kindle readily available to me served as a bit of a disadvantage because I had more prior information on the nook.  It was in this step I realized what I wanted out of an e-reader in a school library.  Knowing what you want is a great step forward in doing an inquiry like this.  It offers limitations to your searches and narrows down what information you have to the most helpful sources.
5: Communication.
Doing this assignment on my blog was a great help.  Not only did it offer the opinions of my peers and suggestions on how I can go further with my research through their comments, it also put what information I did have in one place that was easy for me to access.  This allowed for a better organization of my thought process.  Without the blog posts I would have been much more disorganized and would have had more trouble interpreting and evaluating the sources that I was using. 

Inquiry assignment. What I learned.

            Throughout the inquiry assignment I used the Pathways to Knowledge method of inquiry.  Using this inquiry I finally came to the conclusion of which possible e-reader would be best used in a school library media center.  Although there are many of devices that are used for the purpose of reading electronic books, there are many that are more in the public eye than others.  These are the devices that I decided to focus on for this assignment. 
            What I came to realize is that the best device, in respect to price, functions, usability, and overall use of the product is that the Nook color seems to meet the most standards. While the price may be a little more expensive than that of the regular Nook and the Nook simple touch devices, the price of the product has gone down extensively since its release and the subsequent release of the Nook Tablet a year later.  A little over a year ago the price of the Nook Color was over 250 dollars after tax nowadays it is only 169 dollars (Barnes & Noble 2011). With new devices always coming out, competition will eventually lower the price even more.  Another advantage that this device has is that it is the perfect mix of the physical book reading experience, with being on an electronic device.  The touchscreen and lcd display mimics the animation of turning a physical page on a book rather than just changing an image, (Moon, 2011).  This is good for people who are skeptical about moving on to e-books.
            The Nook Color seems to support the most file formats as well.  In a school library media center this can be extremely useful.  Right now it can read power point present presentations, Pdf, html documents, e-pub, and so much more (Marlowe, 2009). School librarians won’t have to spend more money on having to purchase a file over and over in order to be compatible for their e-reading devices.   As a school librarian I would want something that is the most volatile for use.  Devices like the amazon kindle only support one type of file for their e-books.  With the Nook Devices, one can purchase files from multiple places and not just the Barnes and Noble online store, this ultimately helps in saving money, allowing for better budgeting within the library’s department.  Another advantage of this usefulness is that a School librarian can create PDF’s of physical copies of their collection and put them on the device as long as it falls under fair use policy or any policies that protect libraries from copyright infringement.  While this will not necessarily allow for the book to be taken out of the library, it does make the text more readily available for users inside the facility.   The Nook is also capable of using web applications to aid the hearing impaired whether it be through audiobooks through purchasing audiobook playing apps, or even music playing with a preinstalled Pandora application (Wehner, 2011).
            Overall I feel the Nook Color introduces students to emerging technologies without abandoning them in unfamiliar territories.  With all the useful functions it has for helping students with their reading experience, it is a great device for any school library to have.
Moon, Brad. “Is the Barnes & Noble Nook Color Right for your Family?” Wired Magazine. 11     April, 201l. Accessed 14 February 2012. barnes-noble-nook-color-right-for-your-family/ 

Marlowe, Scott “E-Book File Formats”.  3 October, 2009. Accessed 12, February, 2012.             

Wehner, Mike, Tecca, “Nook Tablet vs. Kindle Fire: Is Either Tablet a Solid iPad Alternative”

Barnes and Noble, “Nook Color Webpage”, Last updated 2011, Accessed 10 February,

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Inquiry assignment: Online Magazine articles and User submitted material

If you're a mild tech freak like I am and like to read up on latest technological advancements, is one of the perfect resources.  It is an online magazine with contributors that are extremely knowledgeable in their prospective fields.  They even have a whole section of their website that is dedicated to examining E-readers. for more information the url is

Magazine articles are important for examining new gadgets.  Many tech sellers will get subscriptions to these magazines in order to keep up with knowledge about the devices.  They are also important for buyers who are deciding on what gadgets they want to buy.

Another thing that I feel is important is user submitted materials.  One of the most popular websites for this is Reddit.  Doing a simple search of  "e-readers" on this website gets results of multiple blogs, articles, podcasts etc. that users have already found for you.

here is the search for E-readers on

Right now I'm almost done with all the materials I need to finish this assignment.  The final results of my findings will be in the final paper for this project.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ebook File Formats

I've been researching the different formats that different e-readers support.  The formats determine how one's e-book is displayed on their e-readers.  For instance, my nookcolor supports epub, pdf, and even powerpoint formats.   Some word documents can also be displayed on my device.  While I was looking up the kindle formats I found that the kindle only supports kindle format books, which is definitely a setback on answering my inquiry question.  Devices like the iPad can support most of the ebook formats through the Kindle and Nook applications that are available for download on Apple's application market. 

Scott Marlowe is a relatively new author and has his own blog.  One of his posts talks all about ebook formats. 

Personally my favorite format are the Epub files.  I feel that Epub format most closely resembles actual books, as well as being fairly easy to convert into.  I have a  program called Calibre ebook management that converts files such as pdfs into epub that can easily be transferred to my device. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Kindle Fire Versus Nook Tablet

While doing some more research about the Nook Tablet, I came across this article.

It discusses the different features of both devices and examines to see if either can make a suitable alternative as a tablet to the IPad 2. In the end the article puts B&N up on top over the Amazon, but only slightly.  I think this article is a good starting off point in finding out the specs you are looking for in a device.

This article is also related to the post I put up about how E-readers are supposed to be E-Readers first and Tablets second.  I know if I lent out E-readers at a library I would much rather them use the devices for reading and not just watching movies and downloading songs.  Don't get me wrong, I do think libraries should have all these mediums, however, with funding the way it is right now I would rather all the available space in the E-readers to go towards texts.  There are already plenty of mp3's available in most places as well as digital video.  Getting E-books that are still under copyright are a whole different story. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Inquiry assignment so far.

Currently I am focusing on the Nookcolor, since it is readily available to me at the moment.  I have been looking at the different software updates for the device since it came out in November of 2010.  The first one introduced an app market for the users.  The second one edited some of the features of the device.  For example, when turning the page it actually looks more like turning a physical page, before it was just switching pictures of texts.  I am worried however, that there might be some negative aspects to adding new software.  My one concern is that I feel it might diminish the point of an e-reader.  With devices coming out like the Nook Tablet, Kindle Fire and others, I feel like the reading part is being put to the back burner. Adding an app market does take up a lot of space and downloading games diminishes the reason for having a E-reader. That reason is to read, not to play Angry Birds.  These devices should be an E-reader first and a tablet second.  If that wasn't the case I might as well have gotten a real tablet instead.

Later on I am going to start researching more on the regular Nook and the Tablet next.  Hopefully there will be plenty of information on the technology blogs that I know to help me out.