Reading encompasses a broad range of complex and poorly
understood practices involving documents. It is this set of
practices that is supported in the active reading machine.
Describe these practices and give scenarios that make your point.
Some of the activities and characteristics associated with
reading include things such as the following.
- Flipping pages.
Fast flip of pages in order to find a particular piece of
information. For instance, one can flip very quickly
through a book in order to find a given figure or table.
Reading two pages at a time. For instance in a technical
paper a paragraph may be explaining a figure which is
shown in the next page.
- A book may open on a frequently browsed page.
People use bookmarks and color/labeled tabs to signal
pages or places in a document.
It's possible to see how much a page has been seen by the
physical state. For instance depending on how crumbled or
dirty the page is, a person can induce the use frequency
of reading that page.
Get an idea of the TOTAL amount of information in the
document by the size of the document or book. Persons
typically expect to find more informaiton on a thick book
than on a thiner one.
Pages provided a chunk of text with a certain size. This
allows to group concepts, divide the presentation of the
information into manageable chunks.
See how much of the book has been read. Noticing how
think is the set of pages read and the set of pages that
have not been read, gives an idea of where in the
document one is.
Get an approximate idea of the time required to read ALL
the book, since the person can induce an approximated
estimation of how much time does it take to read a page
and how many pages are in a document.
- Reading is not associated with a particular place such as
the office. It's possible to read in different locations.
- Reading is not a work related task but it is also done
for pleasure. This implies to be able to read in
comfortable positions such as lying on a bed or on the
- Reading implies focusing the eyes in small targets. This
is fatiguing for the eyes. Therefore an eye-firendly
medium is prefered by the humans. This is one of the
reasons, most persons print out documents in paper
instead of reading them from the screen.
- The spatial property of paper is very important when
reading. The relative position in a page can be used in
order to code differente levels of relevance or group
- Reading is most commonly done in a sequential fashion.
Nevertheless there are many examples of non-sequential
reading, such as footnotes and hypertexts, where
non-sequential reading is required.
Some activities may seem desirable when reading. These
activities are related with a broader task, such as authoring or
correcting a technical article, where reading is also a sub-task.
- Reading implies focusing the eyes in small targets.
Therfore it limits the activities the human can do. For
instance, when driving a car and reading a map is
necessary, this implies a switching back and forth from
the map and to the road. Some sistems such as some
airplaine's cockpit have head-up systems that allow to
read information without loosing track of critical visual
- It's possible to underline, highlight and mark the text
in different ways.
- It's possible to code degrees on the marks, for instance
a heavy underline is made to be more notorious than a
- It is possible to make annotations next to a particular
paragraph or idea in a document.
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