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‘Social Reading’ Books Become Places To Meet

(Credit: EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

(Credit: EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

mattleman_125 Education Reports
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By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - On leave from New York University, Stephen Duncombe planned to write a book. However, he decided to experiment toward what a book might look like in the future, seeing an online book as a gathering place where readers can record their answers and conversations.

First, he re-read Thomas More’s 1516 classic Utopia, exploring what a perfect society would look like and started with translations from Latin for his book Open Utopia, under a Creative Commons license, “open to read, open to copying, open to modification.” Then he created a wiki called Wikitopia, so that users can create their own utopia.

Jennifer Howard, writing on Social Reading in The Chronicle of Higher Education, asks how sociable readers want to be (think of all the book clubs!) and believes digital margins are a way to draw students into assignments.

A conventional book invites readers to shut out the world. Social reading asks them to connect with others.

Check out the article and ebook.