XLibris: The Active Reading Machine.


Active reading is the combination of reading with critical thinking and learning, and involves not just reading per se, but also underlining, highlighting and commenting. We have built the XLibris™ “Active Reading Machine” to explore the premise that computation can enhance the active reading process. XLibris™ uses a high-resolution pen tablet display along with a paper-like user interface to emulate the physical experience of reading a document on paper: the reader can hold a scanned image of a page in his lap and mark on it with digital ink. XLibris™ monitors free-form ink annotations made while reading, and uses these to organize and to search for information. Readers can review, sort and filter clippings of their annotated text in a “Reader’s Notebook.” Finally, XLibris™ searches for material related to the annotated text, and displays links unobtrusively in the margin. XLibris™ demonstrates that computers can help active readers organize and find information while retaining many of the advantages of reading on paper.