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What’s in a Name?

March 30, 2011

As Juliet asked Romeo “What’s in a name. That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.” (Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare) so we as librarians are asking each other if the moniker e-book is a relevant name in the era of electronic publication.  Is an e-book just a collection of data, in essence a database? Should we come up with a new word for the concept of e-book?  Or is this something that will naturally change as technology evolves? If an electronic textbook includes multimedia and interactivity is it still an e-book?  Will the term e-book eventually sound as old fashioned as horseless carriage?  What do you think?

Additional reading:
Click and Jane, by Virginia Heffernan

E-books and Their Containers: A Bestiary of the Evolving Book, posted by Joseph Esposito

– Valerie Lynn, Member at Large, CRD

One Comment leave one →
  1. Bonnie permalink
    April 8, 2011 5:00 pm

    One hundred years from now people will look back at the the turn of the 21st century and remark upon what an exciting time this must have been! I can’t recall who said it, but I do recall that he said that the changes occurring in the publishing industry right now are comparable to the invention of the printing press. Val’s post raises some interesting questions about how we perceive the transition that is happening as what we know morphs into something different. I have been enjoying reading books on my Nook, which I purchased last year when Barnes & Noble first introduced it’s ereader. I admit that one of the reasons that I choose the Nook over the Kindle was the Android operating system that allowed me to upload PDF documents in addition to downloading ebooks. Although I haven’t thought about the various iterations of ebooks as anything but ebooks. The Scholarly Kitchen blog makes some interesting suggestions. As books evolve, now even more than ever, we can say that you can’t judge a book by its cover!

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