The Wageningen UR Library has started a test with e-book readers. Six iLiad e-book readers have been made available for library use.
With iLiad, users not only can read documents but also can make notes directly on the screen. The e-book reader uses electronic paper (e-paper), a display technology designed not only to mimic the appearance of ordinary ink on paper but also to overcome a number of shortcomings of conventional computer screens. The text is displayed with black letters on a white background and is still very readable even in high light intensities, such as those on the beach. The device is the same size as half an A4 and is about 1.5 cm thick.
The e-book reader is being used more and more frequently. Recently, the Open Universiteit became the first Dutch university that offers a part of its courses on electronic paper. In three Short Higher Education Programmes, students receive an e-book reader that contains a substantial part of the course material.
The NRC Handelsblad is the first Dutch newspaper that can be completely read on e-paper, which recently includes all sections and supplements. The newspaper made the following press release about the iLiad: "There's been a run on the test request for this device and the number of subscribers who want to have the iLiad is exceeding expectations."
A number of users were asked to test the device and to comment on their experiences with it. Some of the responses: "It's an electronic book, and you have to see it that way, too." "It's not a glorified laptop." "If you want to read in the train, it's really handy." "You can make notes but writing isn't so easy and the reader is slow." "Downloading is surprisingly easy and fast." "Enlarging the text is certainly possible but not easy." "The device responds too slowly." "I only used a fraction of the possibilities, but I am already totally under that thing's spell!"
The test will be wrapped up in a few weeks and the readers will then be available for library users.