If digital libraries are to become truly useful, they must assist users inmaking the transition from paper books to digital hypermedia. Many peoplereport that they derive a high degree of comfort from books for the followingreasons:
- Portability. Books can readily be carried, are compact, light in weight andcomfortable to read. Anything you can't read in bed will never displace abook.
- Reliability. Reading books would still be possible even if every computeron earth were down.
- Familiarity with the medium. The pages of a book are easy to turn, the bookcan be opened to any page, and the linear hierarchical organization of thematerial is easy to grasp.
- Low cost.
- Ability to annotate. Comments and corrections can be written in a book;passages can be marked for emphasis or studying, and a book can be resold torecover costs.
Published: February 1999; WTECHyper-Librarian