Reading Research Online: Ways of Enhancing Scholarly Reading Environments

Peter Arthur, UBC

Abstract


In recent years the explosion of literature available in nonlinear hypertext reading environments has provided the potential for a transformational shift in the way people interact with text. This presentation will provide a systematic review of the literature on online reading as it pertains to scholarly reading environments. It will explore what has been learned about how hypertext environments provide readers with greater control of their reading, compared to print; how they permit readers to explore and connect text according to individual need, establish immediate access, increase interactivity, conduct detail searches, and engage a richer environment through the convergence of text and multimedia. The presentation will focus on what has been learned from studying experienced readers in the knowledge domain, the hypertext system and/or developed hypertext reading strategies have the potential to thrive while others may experience disorientation and increased cognitive load inhibiting maximum knowledge acquisition. The success of this new reading environment will in part rely on what is gleaned from research into understanding reader and system variables that impact reading online. This presentation will conclude with a number of recommendations as to how this knowledge may be leveraged to create superior online reading environments that enhance knowledge acquisition. In this way, online advancements, carefully analyzed, will in turn directly impact electronic scholarly publishing systems, digital libraries and general web design.