Reading Revolutions: Online Digital Text and Implications for Reading in Academe

Reading Revolutions: Online Digital Text and Implications for Reading in Academe

Barry W. Cull. First Monday. Volume 16, Number 6 - 6 June 2011.

While the Internet is a text–saturated world, reading online screens tends to be significantly different from reading printed text. This review essay examines literature from a variety of disciplines on the technological, social, behavioural, and neuroscientific impacts that the Internet is having on the practice of reading. A particular focus is given to the reading behaviour of emerging university students, especially within Canada and the United States. A brief overview is provided of the recent transformation of academic libraries into providers of online digital text in addition to printed books and other materials, before looking at research on college students’ preferences for print and digital text, and the cognitive neuroscience of reading on screen.