Topic: comparing paper to electronic access to information

topics > computer science > information > Group: information retrieval

problems with hypertext
testing and evaluating user interfaces
user interface for hypertext

examples of usability studies
personal information
problem of screen size
problems with information retrieval


As screen resolution improves, electronic access looks the same as paper access. Reading electronic text can be nearly as fast.

Electronic access is better than paper for incremental cost, linking, editing, full-text search, short notes.

Paper is better than electronic access for scanning, annotation, spatial layout, privacy, tangible, store of value, complex task coordination. (cbb 10/07)

Subtopic: on-line vs. paper up

Quote: search strategies differed between electronic and paper versions; e.g., selective, sequential, zig-zag, and dog-earing [»askwS4_1985, OK]
Quote: electronic displays are very limited compared to 3d printed books [»mendE3_1988]
Quote: on-line text is more homogeneous than traditional text, e.g., typefont, newspaper vs. book; reduce by graphical design [»nielJ3_1990]

Subtopic: electronic better than paper up

Quote: the incremental cost to store an image of a document page is nearly 150x less than a page of paper [»hartPE6_2003]
Quote: subjects preferred working with TIES and thought it was faster and less tiring than paper [»shneB8_1987]
Quote: SuperBook better than paper when questions used words from text or headings [»eganDE5_1989]
Quote: essays written with SuperBook significantly better than those with conventional documentation [»eganDE5_1989]
Quote: SuperBook users rated the documentation significantly easier to use [»eganDE5_1989]
Quote: full-text search retrieved more relevant documents than a manual index
Quote: electronic text is as if the card catalog included the full-text of each book [»kerrST_1986]
Quote: replaced paper diary for running a papermill with an e-diary; 3,500 entries in a year; four hours training [»robiM1_2000]

Subtopic: electronic reading as fast as reading paper up

Quote: electronic reading as fast as paper if high-quality, anti-aliased fonts on high resolution screens [»goulJD4_1987]
Quote: paper better than TIES for simple information retrieval tasks but about the same for complicated ones [»shneB8_1987]
Quote: when reading a screen of text, electronic reading as fast as paper reading [»askwS4_1985]
Quote: electronic reading effected by overall density, local density, and grouping (half of total variance) [»shneB_1987]
Quote: reading from computer screens is equivalent to reading from a book [»muteP7_1991]

Subtopic: improving electronic text up

Quote: aids for electronic text: broad menus, user-defined keywords, backtracking, tutorials, on-screen information [»kerrST_1986]

Subtopic: paper better than on-line up

Quote: paper is better than on-line documents when reading for the purpose of writing; ease of annotation, quick navigation, and spatial layout [»oharK3_1997]
Quote: paper faster than Hyperties for using a maintenance manual; if pruned electronic text, its performance doubled [»marcG1_1988]
Quote: every experiment showed that paper was superior for reading to any computer condition; wrote better letters on paper [»hansWJ9_1988]
Quote: one of the great virtues of regular libraries is that scholars pay no more than casual users
Quote: paper preferred over electronic copies: accessible, tangible, exactly as sent, finite life, private [»hartPE6_2003]
Quote: like currency, paper is a store of value and a medium of exchange; intrinsic value without effort by the owner [»hartPE6_2003]

Subtopic: annotation easier on paper up

Quote: annotation on paper was effortless compared to on-line annotation; on-line annotation was cumbersome and distracting [»oharK3_1997]
Quote: annotating and note-taking while reading are important for text comprehension and summarization [»oharK3_1997]

Subtopic: paper for coordination up

Quote: paper tickets help coordinate the traders; finished deals, breaks in work flow, and volume [»jiroM5_2006]
Quote: British airspace controllers use flight progress strips arranged in racks; records all instructions to the pilot [»hughJA11_1992]

Subtopic: skimming/exploration easier on paper up

Quote: when reading and summarizing a document, subjects spent a good deal of time moving through the document [»oharK3_1997]
Quote: it is easy to move through paper documents; for example, subjects anticipated page turning and used two hands to mark the current location
Quote: paper subjects turned back pages 9x more than electronic subjects [»askwS4_1985]
Quote: with paper documents, subjects learned the physical location of information [»oharK3_1997]
Quote: skimming a book is 41% faster than skimming a computer screen [»muteP7_1991]
Quote: all five subjects unclipped the paper document for rapid movement and selection of the current page [»oharK3_1997]

Subtopic: paper vs. on-line studies up

Quote: studied paper vs. on-line documents by summarizing a 4 page article from a general science magazine [»oharK3_1997]
Quote: studied casual users learning to use computerized reading [»askwS4_1985]

Related Topics up

Group: problems with hypertext   (7 topics, 98 quotes)
Group: testing and evaluating user interfaces   (9 topics, 262 quotes)
Group: user interface for hypertext   (5 topics, 110 quotes)

Topic: examples of usability studies (31 items)
Topic: personal information (41 items)
Topic: problem of screen size (12 items)
Topic: problems with information retrieval
(51 items)

Updated barberCB 6/02
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Thesa is a trademark of C. Bradford Barber.