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You have to admit that the concept of e-paper is enthralling. This article is interesting since it shows exactly where e-paper is right now – watch faces, a student newspaper trial, conference center signs and Wal-Mart sale signs. Not quite burning up the old Fahrenheit 451, eh? Then again you can still see the potential- starting small – probably in jewelry and toys, then appearing in our smartphones and then suddenly being everywhere. But when? And when will it be in colour?
Then, for those of us who’ve seen the Harry Potter films, instead of actually reading the tomes, aren’t the spell books cool? Moving images right on the page- sometines in 3D and with sound! I wonder if this is how my grandparents felt when they first saw TV. Anyway, the merger of Adobe, providers of the Acrobat PDF reader, with Macromedia, providers of Flash technology, seems to step one step closer to this world of magic paper. It’s not hard to imagine a flash animation of a DNA sequence or a microscope view of a petri dish embedded right there in your PDF document.
I don’t think of this e-paper thing just in the context of children’s story books or newspapers. I wonder when we’ll see the day when most dissertations are not easily stored in electronic printhard copy metaphor formats. We already see a small minority where the dissertation contains working programs and objects that may not be sustainable (i.e. readable or usable) over time. What happens when these icons of scholarship become swiss cheese works when their electronic components can no longer be viewed easily – especially to a wider web based public with ‘ordinary’ equipment?
Anyway, that e-paper stuff is sure interesting to think about. Will it sneak into our future the way everything else does? How do we deal with it in libraries?

Posted on: August 4, 2005, 5:34 pm Category: Uncategorized

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