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Studying and Annotating Electronic Text

by Herre van Oostendorp
Hypertext and Cognition ()


Van Oostendorp found that learning from a computer screen and taking notes on the screen, either in simultaneous or in alternating windows, produces the same or similar learning results as in a traditional paper and pencil method, but that subjects in the paper and pencil condition recorded more notes that those in the computer condition and that the notes in paper and pencil conditions were more compact (141-142). The finding that the computer condition led to the creation of fewer and less effective notes may have a significant impact on how useful subjects would find these notes for later review. These differences might be mitigated by the use of an electronic pencil, a hypothesis that is lent limited support by van Oostendorp's finding in a separate experiment that editors using an electronic pencil annotated and corrected as many errors (including syntactic errors, conceptual errors and errors of consistency) as editors using a traditional pencil and paper interface. The aligned condition also produced more compact notes than the under condition. No differences were found in the number of proofreading annotations subjects made when editing a text using an electronic pencil and a paper-and-pencil condition.

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