Theoretical and Empirical Background to the eBook

Theoretical and Empirical Background to the eBook

Azza A. Abubaker (Benghazi University, Libya & University of Huddersfield, UK) and Joan Lu (University of Huddersfield, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1884-6.ch008
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A textbook in any e-educational system is an important element that requires a closer look at its components and structure, as well as identifying the barriers that affect the level of learning. This can be achieved in different aspects such as the analysis of textual content or sentence structure which is one of the concerns of linguists. On the other hand, examining the textual content can determine the appropriateness of the education level for students. This type of assessment is part of educators' concerns and by examining and defining the factors that could affect reading a text on screen, this is usually related to the way of displaying text such as font size, colour, background colour, amount of text and the location of the text on the screen. This is a key focus of this research. In this chapter, the concern will be to define the concepts and the structure of an e- document as a starting point to investigate the usability of e-texts as it covers the following: definition of e-document; history of eBook; structure of e-textbook; contribution of e-textbook for education; comparison between reading electronic and paper book; young people and the use of the internet and computer; statistical data for using the internet in Arabic countries; designing an e-textbook.
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1. Definition Of E-Document

Before discussing the factors that impact electronic display, it is important to give a brief look at the definition of digital document; this should help clarify the difference between paper documents and the electronic format, which is difficult to recognize and the underlying concept less clear.

However, the examination of knowledgeable production showed the use of multiple terms by researchers, such as visual book (Landoni, 1997; Wilson, Landoni & Gibb, 2003; Crestani, Landoni & Melucci, 2006; Landoni, 2000), CD- ROM book e.g. Maynard & McKnight, 2001), eBook (Ismail & Zainab, 2005; Anuradha & Usha, 2006; Martínez‐Prieto, Fuente, Vegas, Adiego & Cuesta, 2008; Landoni, 2010), e – paper (Jeng, Lin, Liu, Liao, Wen, Chao & Shieh, 2005) e- work (Martínez‐Prieto, Fuente, Vegas, Adiego & Cuesta, 2008), digital book (Cavanaugh, 2006; Leeuw & Rydin, 2007), web book (Kleeck, 2003), and electronic text book (Landoni, 2002; Cheyne, 2005).

At the same time, the studies focusing on eBook emphasize that the terms eBook and digital book are more used than other terms. For example, Vassiliou & Rowley (2008) in their study reported that 19 definitions used the term ‘digital’, while 20 definitions used ‘electronic’ and 12 others used the term ‘online’. However, using different terms when providing a definition to eBook could be attributed to the type of e- book that is used in the same period.

Alternatively, various attempts have been made to introduce different concepts to eBook according to several perspectives, such as format (Lynch, 2001; Lam, et al., 2009), media (Landoni & Diaz 2003; Cheyne, 2005), goal of delivery, or benefits of use (Anuradha & Usha 2005; Connaway, 2007). In this study, the focus was on attempts to define eBook within the period from 1990 to 2011, wherein the majority of definitions had become out-dated due to rapid changes in the field of ICT.

In chronological order, Martin (1990) focused on the hyperlink and how this function changes the concept of eBook and made it different from a paper book. In the same line Hamilton, et al (2001), Wilson et al (2002) focused on the power of an eBook compared to the paper version. In addition, Wilson and Landoni (2001) provided three definitions to an eBook according to different perspectives: (1) hardware devices used to read e- content such as HI eBook; (2) software such as Microsoft Reader and Adobe Acrobat Reader; and (3) web book that can be accessed online. In addition, Barker (2005) categorized eBook into 10 types based on three aspects (publication medium, functions, and facilities), while Hawkine (2000) divided eBook into four types.

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