Monday, January 18, 2010

A Little Blogging on the Side: wsu worldcat and Lorena's Look: Screen Reading tools...

I've been added as a co-blogger to the new wsu worldcat blog - you can read more about it and what it is all about in its intro post . I'm really excited about WSU WorldCat (the resource) as well as talking about it on wsu worldcat (the blog)!

As long as I'm talking about wsu worldcat, I might as well mention that I've started writing an every-so-often column for the WSU New Media Group Ning site called "Lorena's Look."
I can't link directly to it (right now its at the bottom of the page, but I'm sure it will be replaced by something else pretty soon) so I'm going to grab the content and paste it in here:

Lorena’s Look: HTML Screen Reading

These days many of us do a fair amount of reading online – news and journal articles, long texty HTML documents, etc. The problem is that reading from your computer screen for longer than five minutes is not very much fun. Over the past year, I’ve found a few tools that can make the HTML online reading experience much better.

Readability; (Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari) lets you customize your reading experience (style, font size, and page margin). Go to the free site, then drag the bookmarklet to your browser bar (it’s a little different for IE, actually – you will need to right click on your mouse). When you are about to read from a Web site, click the link in your browser bar, and it will delete any advertisements, increase the margins, and increase white space to make the reading process much more comfortable. You’ll see three icons in the upper left corner; these enable you to reload the original page, print the page, or email the page.

Not all Web pages work with Readability, and if it is a page that continues through additional page links (like many newspaper pages) you will need to reload the original page, go to the next page, and click the Readability bookmarklet again. Alternatively (and preferably) look for a print option that presents the article all on one page, and then click on the bookmarklet.

Readability has many admirers (including New York Times technology writer David Pogue, who named it one of the year’s best tech ideas for 2009 , but there are alternatives. Tidy Read;( Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, iPhone/Touch) operates in a very similar fashion but provides customization options for each page it is used on. The Printliminator and Clippable allow you to choose particular parts of the Web page to modify. The Printliminator was originally intended to clean up printouts, but can be used for reading ease as well.

Now that you have installed Readability, TidyRead, Printliminator or Clippable (try them all out to see which one you like best!) you can make your reading even easier by eliminating the need to scroll down the page through the use of Autoscroll; (Firefox, Safari, maybe Internet Explorer). This bookmarklet will automatically move the screen forward at a pace you set using numbers (1 is very slow and 9 is pretty fast).

Heads-up: I received a Kindle as a Christmas present, so my next column for WSU’s New Media Group will discuss free ebook tools and resources.

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