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Useful worldwide statistics for the publication of books and magazines are difficult to find, in part because few of the people or organisations who cite such statistics make it clear what they are measuring. When we count "published books", are we referring to new works, translations, new editions, new formats? When we count magazines and journals, are small local magazines with a circulation of a few hundred to be counted equally with international magazines; as with books, do translated editions that incorporate local content count separately? If there are fewer magazine titles, but each is published in larger editions, has publishing output increased or declined? This gives an idea of the questions raised by the statistics that are available. In order to get a broad indication of the effect of the Internet on book publishing, a simple search was carried out in the Books in Print and British Books in Print databases on DIALOG, for books dealing in some way with the Internet. Figure 1 presents the results. With 806 books listed in Books in Print for 1996 and 389 in British Books in Print, it is clear that at least in the English-speaking world, the Internet has provided a considerable stimulus to print publishing, even though many people who read books about the Internet are also using the Internet to locate information.
The situation is similar in relation to print magazines and journals. In recent years, many print journals and magazines have established Web sites; some professional journals, such as School Library Media Quarterly, have transformed themselves from print journals to electronic journals. But while some journals are moving from a print format to the Web, many new print magazines dealing with the Internet have been established (with or without associated Web sites). An online search of Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory on DIALOG
Figure 1: Books about the Internet listed in Books in Print and British Books in Print, 1995-1997
(in April 1998) showed 148 periodicals with the words "Internet" or "net" in the title. This does not include well-known Internet-related periodicals with titles like Online Access or Information Searcher or Classroom Connect. It also does not include local, state, or provincial-level Internet-related magazines, or magazines provided by small Internet service providers to their clients. Nor does it include the many weekly "magazine sections" devoted to information technology that have been established by newspapers, for example, "Interface" from the Times of London, or "IT" from The Australian. It is apparent that, despite developments in technology, the printed word meets a real need; it is likely to continue to be used in conjunction with information technology into the foreseeable future, if, indeed, it is ever replaced by electronic publishing. It could even be said that print and information technology were made for each other, but nevertheless meet very different needs.
A literature search revealed surprisingly little real information, though there is no shortage of opinion. For example, in a "conversation" published in Educational Leadership (O'Neil, 1996), two Internet experts disagreed about the educational value of the Internet: Crawford Kilian felt that it could be used productively if teachers guided their students through the "information white water", whereas Clifford Stoll thought that the Internet "would do very little to resolve kids' reading deficiencies, restore art and music programs, or enhance interpersonal communication opportunities". For Constance Mellon, writing in the Journal of Youth Services in Libraries in 1994, a concern was that "the personal relationship involved when children and adults are reading together... may not be replicated with technology". An article with the provocative title "Will there be a Children's Book Week in the Year 2000?", published in School Library Media Activities Monthly in 1994, looked at the future of children's books and reading in the light of increased use of the Internet and expressed misgivings about the Internet (particularly related to the quality of information on the net). It is worth noting that we now know the answer to the question posed in the title of the article; not only will there be a Children's Book Week in many countries in the year 2000, but print publishing for children seems to be alive and well.
Another group of writers, mostly classroom teachers, assume that the Internet has value and describe their use of it for educational applications. Their articles tend to be positive and practical; some are even evangelistic about the possibilities opened up by this new technology. Celeste Oakes has described her use of Internet electronic mail with first grade students in Nevada for language arts work; among other things, she observed that the "email exchanges motivated some students to work harder in learning to read" (1996, p.38). Harry Noden and Barbara Moss, who used Internet electronic mail with their students via FrEdMail and Learning Link, argue that students gain in reading and writing (1993); in another article, Noden (1995) describes the use of email in his eighth grade language arts classroom and offers justification for use of the Internet as an educational tool. Other teachers and school administrators describe the Internet and suggest ways that its resources might be tapped in the classroom, amongst other things to encourage reading (Marcos, 1994; Irvin, 1997; Ryder & Graves, 1997; Proctor & Allen, 1994). In 1996, the National Council of Teachers of English (United States) published a book, Computer Conversations: Readers and Books Online (Jody & Saccardi), which advocated the use of the international networks to "create a community of readers in the classroom" and "to teach children to talk about books".
Despite all this enthusiasm, and a great deal of anecdotal material, the research evidence is as yet somewhat slim. While there are some indications that young people are reading less today than in former times, watching more television (Davies, 1996), and using more technology, there is also evidence that those young people who watch television and use the Internet also read. This does not suggest that the Internet encourages reading, but it is clear that the two are not mutually exclusive and may even be associated. In 1997, Sólveig Haraldsdóttir and Svava Guðjónsdóttir carried out a survey of 400 teenagers in Iceland (with a response rate of 88.5%) that showed that the Internet "does not interfere with the reading" of the 14- and 16-year-olds in their study; in fact, "the majority of those who use the Internet also read" (pp.58-59, translation from the Icelandic supplied by the authors). In one sense, this result should not come as a surprise: in order to be able to use most Internet applications, one must not only be able to read, but to read well. The effective use of new information technologies requires increasing levels of literacy, rather than the reverse, despite the development of graphical, icon-based, or multimedia interfaces.
It seems, too, that young users of technology, and perhaps other young people as well, seek out print recreational reading materials that reflect their interest in computers and networks. Books with technology-related themes have appeared in the lists of award-winning books for young people in recent years, while at the other end of the scale, we have seen the emergence of series books such as "The Web" series from Dolphin Paperbacks. With titles like Dreamcastle, Gulliverzone, Lightstorm, and Sorceress, the books in this series explore the story possibilities inherent in the international networks; young people, sitting at computers and wearing virtual reality suits, have all kinds of adventures in cyberspace.
Among these resources will be Web pages created by professional associations and organisations that are concerned with books and reading; Web pages or sites created for teachers and/or school librarians (including sites created by education authorities); listservs, newsgroups, and discussion forums for teachers and/or school librarians and /or other people who have an interest in children's books and reading; Web pages/sites created for children and young people with the aim of sharing stories or encouraging reading; sites created by publishers of children's books; sites/pages created by public libraries for their young users; Web sites/pages created by or for authors of books for young people; sites that publish the work of young people (often with the aim of encouraging reading and literacy through writing); and sites associated with special projects.
Figure 2: Part of the Web page created to support the conference presentation
rec.arts.books.childrens (see particularly the FAQ document)
Clinton, Bill (1995), Quoted in "The Internet: Is it replacing the library?", Drive Magazine, Fall 1997.
Clyde, Laurel A. (1996), State of the Art Study of Information Technology in the Libraries of the Nordic Countries: Iceland, Félagsvísindastofnun [Social Science Research Institute], Reykjavík.
Clyde, Laurel A. (1996), "Children's literature and the Internet", Online presentation for the ITEC (Information Technology in Education Conference) Virtual Conference, 3-9 June.
Clyde, Anne (1995), "Children's literature resources on the Internet", Emergency Librarian, 23(1), September-October, pp.52-54.
Clyde, Laurel A. (1993), "Computer-based resources for young people: an overview", International Review of Children's Literature and Librarianship, 8(1), pp.1-21.
Davies, John (1996), Educating Students in a Media-Saturated Culture, Technomic Publishing, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Gomez, Isabel (1996), "Chile", IASL Newsletter, 25(3) October, p.16.
Hunt, Peter (1986), "The child, the book, and the Internet", in Sustaining the Vision: Selected Papers from the 24th Annual Conference of the International Association of School Librarianship, Worcester College of Education, International Association of School Librarianship, Seattle, pp.131-135.
Irving, Judith L. (1997), "Using social proclivity to enhance literacy learning for young adolescents", Childhood Education, 73(5), pp.290-291.
Jody, Marilyn and Saccardi, Marianne (1996), Computer Conversations: Readers and Books Online, National Council of Teachers of English, Urbana, Illinois.
Knowles, Elizabeth and Smith, Martha (1997), The Reading Connection: Bringing Parents, Teachers, and Librarians Together, Libraries Unlimited, Englewood, Colorado.
Marcos, Kathleen (1994), Internet for Language Teachers, ERIC Digest, ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics, Washington, DC. ED 376 734.
Mellon, Constance A. (1994), "Reflections on technology, books and children", Journal of Youth Services in Libraries, 7(2), Winter, pp.207-210.
Minkel, Walter and Anderson-Torgrimson, Paige (1997), "Blender Web nerd world? A guided tour of where teens go for (gulp) fun on the Net", School Library Journal, 43, July, pp.24-28.
Noden, Harry R. (1995), "A journey through cyberspace: reading and writing in a virtual school", English Journal, 84(6), October, pp.19-26.
Noden, Harry and Moss, Barbara (1993), "Virtual schools: reading and writing (professional development)", Reading Teacher, 47(2), October, pp.166-168.
NORDINFO (1997), State-of-the-Art of Information Technologies in Libraries in the Nordic Countries, European Commission, DGXIII-E4, Luxembourg.
Oakes, Celeste (1996), "First grade online", Learning and Leading With Technology, 24(1), September, pp.37-39.
Oberg, Dianne (Compiler)(1996), "1996 IASL Assembly of Associations", IASL Newsletter, 25(3) October, pp.15-20.
O'Neil, John (1996), "On surfing and steering the net: A conversation with Crawford Kilian", Educational Leadership, 54(3), November, pp.12-17.
Proctor, L.F. and Allen, A.J. (1994), K-12 Education and the Internet: A Technical Report Prepared for Saskatchewan Education, Training and Employment, Saskatchewan, June. ERIC Document ED 373 798.
Rudden, Jane F. and Mallery, Anne L. (1996), "Effects of Internet instruction and computer experience on preservice teachers' concerns about its place in planning and teaching", Revised version of a paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the College Reading Association, Charleston, 31 October-3 November 1996. ERIC document ED 409 592.
Ryder, Randall J. and Graves, Michael F. (1997), "Using the Internet to enhance students' reading, writing, and information-gathering skills", Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 40(4), December-January, pp.244-254.
Saffo, Paul (1994), "The soul of a social machine", Electronic Learning, 13(5), February, pp.16-17.
Singh, Diljit (1996), "Malaysia", IASL Newsletter, 25(3) October, p.18.
Sólveig Haraldsdóttir and Svava Guðjónsdóttir (1997), Goðsögnin um þá hefð Íslendinga að gefa bækur í jólagjöf: Könnun á 14 og 16 ára unglingum, [The Icelandic Tradition of Giving Books at Christmas: Survey of 14 and 16 Year Olds], BA Project, Library and Information Science Department, University of Iceland, Reykjavík.
(1994), "Will there be a Children's Book Week in the year 2000?", School Library Media Activities Monthly, 11(3), November, p.4.