9.724 reading from screen

Humanist (mccarty@phoenix.Princeton.EDU)
Sun, 14 Apr 1996 18:06:31 -0400 (EDT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 9, No. 724.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)
Information at http://www.princeton.edu/~mccarty/humanist/

[1] From: Haradda@aol.com (18)

[2] From: CHUCK TAYLOR <ctaylor@desire.wright.edu> (17)
Subject: Re: 9.723 reading from screen

Date: Fri, 12 Apr 1996 23:11:48 -0400
From: Haradda@aol.com

I have been reading and collecting books since I was very young. I read
between 3 and 5 books every day and maybe 40 newspapers and magazines per
week. Reading is what I do for work and for fun. I spend 12 to 18 hours
every day looking at microfilm and computer screens from the public and
private computer systems I buy time on to do my job. I carry a laptop with
etexts on the hard drive or on floppies that I read in clients offices
while I am waiting to deliver my work and be paid or to read during
lunch. I carry books also to read when I have a spare minute. I have
never had a problem reading off a computer screen. It sure beats reading
hand-written records (which I still do only not as much) or reading
microfilms of hand-written records. I have had many people ask me how I
can stand to read off computer screens . For me the hardest to read is
little tiny black on white. I really like plain ascii etext that I can
read white on black. It is true that it is easier to read a book in bed
but I have read etext on my HP200 in bed without any more difficulty than
reading a paper book would be. And for me the best thing is that my wife
doesn't complain about all the books and microfilms I have gathering dust
and cluttering up our house. I am scanning them and putting them on Zip
Disks (100 megs). I hope to eventually put them on CD as I can afford it.

Date: Sat, 13 Apr 1996 18:24:08 -0500 (EST)
From: CHUCK TAYLOR <ctaylor@desire.wright.edu>
Subject: Re: 9.723 reading from screen

The discussion on reading from screen has disclosed only part of the
range of reading habits and needs of readers today. Having recently lost
enough of my vision to be considered "legally" blind (by the U.S. Internal
Revenue Service) I have a rather different story to tell. I have been
able to maintain my full-time position because I read as much as I
possibly can from screen. For me, reading light print on a dark screen
in a room dimly lit to reduce glare is far easier than reading most
print. Rather than printing out texts I want to read, I scan texts so
that I can read them on screen.

The availability of books on-line gives access to them to a whole range
of people with disabilities. There are not merely practical questions
here, but also questions of orality and literacy that return us to Eric
Havelock's discussion of the transition in ancient Greece from an oral to
a literate culture.

Charles S. Taylor
Department of Philoophy
Wright State University
Dayton, OH