There was an interesting and somewhat provocative article about the future of reading in the Christian Science Monitor last week: (Link: How the Web changes your reading habits.)
Computers and the Internet are changing the way people read. Thus far, search engines and hyperlinks, those underlined words or phrases that when clicked take you to a new Web page, have turned the online literary voyage into a kind of U-pick island-hop. Far more is in store.
Since people are still largely reading the way they always have, they ask, why not use technology to make reading itself more efficient?
The reading experience online "should be better than on paper," Chi says. He’s part of a group at PARC developing what it calls ScentHighlights, which uses artificial intelligence to go beyond highlighting your search words in a text. It also highlights whole sections of text it determines you should pay special attention to, as well as other words or phrases that it predicts you’ll be interested in. "Techniques like ScentHighlights are offering the kind of reading that’s above and beyond what paper can offer," Chi says.
I hope to write more about this at a later date. I think some kinds of reading are suited for the screen but some are not. Paper affords more attentive reading. Whether that’ll change when we have interactive e-paper, I don’t know.