June 16, 2010

Kindle 2 : A Review for the Researcher

 I was so excited to get a Kindle for my birthday. When I first heard about the kindle, I didn't think that I would ever like to read virtual books instead of real ones. But once I realized that I could read public domain books away from my computer for free, I was enthusiastic.

Pretty much all that has to be said about the Kindle 2 has already been said in other reviews. I know that the Kindle 2 is aimed at the normal book reader and that Amazon tried to push it on the student market but I was wondering if it would enhance the reading quality for me--a researcher.

I spend my time perusing a lot of old books, some in book form and some in ebook format online. With antique books, the kindle helps tremendously. I am afraid to take antique books out of the house but still like to read and share them with other people outside my home. In ebook format, I can share them without worrying about damaging them. I also like the new-found freedom I have to "take" a google book or other internet based ebook away from the computer and read it elsewhere. (I don't like the idea of having to print out public domain ebooks--it just wastes too much paper.) I spend so much time at the computer reading, I am more than happy to be able to take my work with me outside.

The Kindle has a few good tools for the researcher. The first is free public domain books. Yes we can read these for free on the internet, but it is great to be able to take them where you need them. The second is that you can make notes and highlight on the "pages" in the books. You can also take a screenshot of the page you are reading and import it onto your computer. I especially like these features because you can keep your notes with the book and not damage the book. Another great feature is the fact that the Kindle will remember what page you were last on in all of your books and there is a search function so you can search through books with keywords. that makes it really easy to cross reference books.

Another good thing about it is the privacy. Every once in a while I get a book that I feel funny reading in public--mostly the 3rd grade reading level historical fiction books I like to read to make sure I can make the information I teach kids at living history events relevant to things the kids already know. This also helps in stopping misconceptions that are taught through some of the more inaccurate historical fiction books out there. I am glad that if I'm reading Horatio Hornblower or the Sign of the Beaver at college on the Kindle, I don't have to worry about strange looks or odd questions. This also helps with Civil War book covers that some people may find offensive.    

I cannot emphasis how helpful the Kindle is; however, I do have some issues with it. My first concern is that there are no page numbers! Research-wise, how do you tell someone where a certain quote or fact comes from if the closest you can get is a chapter number?

I also think some of the PDFs displayed a tiny bit to small, if there was a zoom function that let you zoom from 100% to 125%, PDFs would display perfectly. If you flip the Kindle on its side, PDFs are readable but then you can only see half the page at a time. An upside is that PDF files still contain their original page numbers.

That's all I have to say about it. It was a really great present. I can't wait to start reading all of those classics I have been meaning to! I am currently reading The Last of the Mohicans, which I started as a paperback, and am finishing the last 1/4 on the Kindle.

2 comments:

  1. Bron said to tell you, "Not fair!" She so wants a Kindle. You have to bring it over :) Happy birthday.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, Jodi. I hope she enjoyed it, she really seemed to like it.

    ReplyDelete

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