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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Aberystwyth, Wales
    Posts
    659

    academic reading

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    all you academics out there....how do you cope with reading lots of papers/pdfs/books? Do you read on the computer? Print them out? or use an electronic reader thingy?

    I'm getting frustrated by being chained to the computer all day, but feel too guilty about printing out reams of paper just to read. I prefer reading articles/books on paper because I can pick them up, scribble notes or highlight things, lean back in my chair, wander over to a coffee shop for a bit, sit outside in the sun (on the rare occasion when it appears and is warm enough). Anybody have a good (and affordable solution)? or do I just need to wait a few more years for the technology to catch up?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Columbia, MO
    Posts
    2,051
    I read most everything online. Rarely I'll print out a paper. I think a kindle would be awfully nice.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Boulder
    Posts
    589
    I print more than I would like to. I just can't effectively read 10+ page articles on a computer. My eyes strain, I can't focus, I can't effectively mark on it, etc.

    Smaller articles or articles I'm just glancing through anyway I'll read on the computer. Sometimes I'll even use Adobe or Preview to highlight stuff, but it's slower than printing it and using a real highlighter.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Mrs. KnottedYet
    Posts
    8,976
    I'm not an academic type unless that's a hereditary trait but whenever studying I print more than I'd like. I read hard copy on the train, on breaks at work, on the couch, sometimes even on the trainer.

    However I recycle more than most anyone I know (except maybe your grandma). Once it's read and absorbed to my brain cells if I don't actually need to file it papers get recycled or even re-used as scratch paper and then recycled ....

    Since I buy recycled paper products (yes, even the TP) it's used several times.

    I don't feel so bad
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,103
    I think this is a generational thing, but I cannot read more than a page or two on line. Although this year, I don't have as much reading to do for my program as last year, I admit, I print out all of the articles. How else could I highlight and make notes for myself? Since this is a reading strategy that good readers do, I can't see how I could do it on the computer.
    I keep all of the articles from my classes, but I guess if I ever feel the need, I would put them in my weekly recycling.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    4,713
    Quote Originally Posted by Crankin View Post
    I think this is a generational thing, but I cannot read more than a page or two on line.
    No, it's not. It strains my eyes. I print almost everything I have to read, as it also lets me highlight and write notes. To save paper and ink, I'll print it as multiple pages per sheet if it's a PDF and the font size works. I'll reuse the paper unless it's something I need to keep (handouts for class with notes on them, syllabus, etc).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Between the Blue Ridge and the Chesapeake Bay
    Posts
    5,226
    I print. I have no problem with printing. I print double sided, or use scrap paper to print on the backsides. When I no longer need the things I've printed on one side, I use them as scrap paper to print on the backsides.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    94
    I feel your pain. I have the same dilemma right now. I am in grad school...

    Last year I had access to an office where I was interning (read: lots of free printing), which made life easier. (Yes, I still used recycled paper and double sided etc. etc.)

    Now....officeless.....I am left to using my own ink jet. Ugh. While I can't quite justify printing out 500 pages of reading from academic journals that I have (for ONE! paper), I also don't think I will be able to tolerate reading them online.

    From what I understand, printers that have toner instead of ink (I hope I'm getting this terminology right) are cheaper to use. (Usually the big copiers/printers in offices have toner...but they also sell smaller toner printers).

    I believe toner printers are more expensive outright, but that the cost is WAY offset because inkjet printer ink is SO expensive!


    I feel your pain though! A lot of times I just need to read articles for a paper...to see if they are relevant. Once I decide they are, then I need to be able to write on them....so....computer screen is not so helpful.

    Maybe there is a software that lets you highlight and such on PDFs (without having Adobe) for this purpose???? Anyone know of one???

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
    Posts
    6,981
    I read much more efficiently and faster when I read print documents that are over approx. 15+ pgs. long.

    Not only I can markup a useful article..but it's easier to BROWSE a lengthy document to get to certain sections faster since tables of contents or hypertext links in pdf file can be inhibiting for efficient serendiptuous browsing, locating a certain section within a chapter faster.

    I have tried to print off sections of long .pdf /WORD documents, even if it means inadvertedly printing off an extra pg. or 2 at beginning of print job because I've miscalculated the start and end portions of report that I wanted to print off.

    We have to be realistic with our human eye limitations for electronic...have you ever tried to look at a complex engineering drawing 32" x 24" size pdf with multiple colours and codes --in its totality without it falling off the computer screen? Human brain often needs to look at information fragments/sections --within broader context.

    Observing information users as a librarian after several decades of dealing directly with user feedback on various database products with full text e-docs. and print equivalents, I tend to certain say that in organizations that want to be 75% electronic.. but before the end of the business day, several people have printed off the same document in 1 day..even if they only need 50% of the lengthy doc. for content comprehension.
    Last edited by shootingstar; 10-07-2009 at 12:26 PM.
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know whatís in a personís heart.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
    Posts
    6,981
    Had the nearly laughable experience where I was trying to evaluate in totality all new publications from a large, multi-party publisher. So I went into their database which covers over 30 other sub-publishers for 20 different topics.

    I had to execute separate database searches to even get a list under a topic ....since this publisher has hundreds of titles in its inventory. I would have to check under 90% of its topics. Already wasted a few min. for each fuller database record to open so that I read the new book content summary for me to even make an assessment.

    I was angry and frustrated...it was a waste of 2 hrs. of time as a manager. So I ordered their free 250+ pg. print catalogue so I could plan collections development for the library and look at my budget. At least, I could quickly flip pages, jump around within the print catalogue and quickly browse to make my decisions.

    Moral: There are different situations that do require print vs. electronic. It isn't always our human limitation fault. Online books don't really allow the degree of freewheeling browsing.
    Last edited by shootingstar; 10-07-2009 at 12:24 PM.
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know whatís in a personís heart.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
    Posts
    5,050
    We just bought my mom a Kindle for her birthday. I got a chance to check it out briefly before she took it home (when they were visiting) and man, it's slick! We didn't get her the newest version because she'll mostly be using it for pleasure reading and the old one had all the options she wanted. Apparently you can highlight and make notes as you read. It is surprisingly thin and comfortable to hold. The text is way easier on the eyes than a computer monitor. Honestly, if I was still in school and could justify it, I'd get one for myself. As a student, it would have been wonderful to put all the research I needed into one slim little thing like the kindle instead of having to lug around HUGE backpacks full of books!

    Most of the research I do, I do online. I read it there, too. I only print things out when I need to travel and then I only print sections that I need. I just take notes in a notebook instead of on the documents themselves (something I got in the habit of doing ages ago since I did a lot of library research for my degrees).

    For pleasure reading, I like paper books. I would HATE to sit in front of a computer for my leisure time since I do it all day for work. Of course, who has time for pleasure reading?
    Last edited by GLC1968; 10-07-2009 at 12:39 PM.
    My new non-farm blog: Finding Freedom

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN
    Posts
    1,039
    I hate to but I have to print. I have a muscle imbalance in my eyes and reading off the computer screen exacerbates it. After an hour my head will start pounding. I do what everyone else does, print both sides, recycle paper, use old paper to print the backside. It's still VERY expensive. I use my inkjet b/c the university printers suck! My papers have a lot of scientific readouts of different sorts and I can't even tell what they are showing if I use the on campus printers. Plus a lot of them are color coded and there are only a couple of color print stations on campus so for convenience sake I just print at home and continue to dish out for ink I soooooooooo feel your pain, I have an inner struggle with the print or not to print dilemma daily.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    3,135
    Consider that Back In The Day all that stuff would have been printed out in journals and they'd be waved over that xerographic mo-sheen, feeding it quarters and dimes.

    I've been known to put "two pages per sheet" and print on both sides.

    I struggled with how to take notes because typing spoiled my desire to handwrite note cards... and then I discovered I could make powerpoint slides and print out nine per page and work 'em the same way (spread 'em out on all available flat surfaces...)

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Boulder
    Posts
    589
    I hate color figures.

    I don't print in color (it costs $$, even at school, where b/w is free to me). If I get to a figure that didn't print well or I can't read without color I'll go back to the computer and look at that figure. Annoying at times (especially when I'm curled up under a tree outside), but it works I suppose.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,103
    I bought a laser printer when I realized I would be printing so many articles. It was expensive, but worth it.
    And yes, when I was (briefly) in a doctoral program in the early 80's, I spent at least $20.00 a week xeroxing articles at the library. My children were shocked that I actually had to go to the library and get the articles out of a journal to do this.

 

 

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