03 April 2009

The electronic textbook

Peter Suber reports a paper in Nature - accessible only to subscribers - on the potential of the electronic open access text-book. I'm surprised that this has not developed sooner - I was forecasting back in 1995 that one of the first things to go open access would be the text book. And it hasn't happened.

I still find it curious: most text book authors decide to write a new one because they find the existing ones imperfect, from their point of view. They trial material with their own students (often mentioning this in a dedication) and then try to sell it in a market already packed with text books. I put the search terms "statistical" and "introduction" into Amazon.com and it came up with 8,393 results Who actually needs another introduction to statistics?

So, instead of chopping down the trees - when, given the odds, it is likely that only your own students are going to benefit, why not create an open access text and invite others of like mind to contribute? Build in links to Websites and OA journals and you'll have a richer resource for your students (and more easily kept up-to-date) than any print on paper version.

Come to think of it - and putting my money where my mouth is - if there is anyone out there who would like to collaborate on an "introduction to modern information management", please get in touch. I'll be happy to create a site at InformationR.net and take it from there.

1 comment:

  1. Virtual Memory sure is becoming cheaper and cheaper and cheaper. I'm curious as to when we will eventually hit the rate of 1c to 1 GB.

    I'm eagerly anticipating the day when I will finally be able to afford a 20 TB harddisk, haha. But for now I will be satisfied with having a 16 GB Micro SD in my R4i.

    (Posted from QDos for R4i Nintendo DS.)