What is a virtual bookshelf?
As the name suggests, a virtual bookshelf is an online space that allows you to store the books you are reading or track the ones that you want to read in a virtual environment. A virtual bookshelf is a programmatic method to create an interactive bookshelf to store and read digital books online.
You can keep the virtual bookshelf private, or make it public and share with your peers, friends or to the world at large. A public bookshelf allows you and other readers to view your current and anticipated reading booklist and also rate the books of interest.
Related Read: The Best Online Bookshelf for Digital Publishing
As with the conventional bookshelf, the virtual bookshelf allows you to catalog and organize your library of books on multiple shelves, or in other words, organize based on different categories. Besides, the various tools and features allow you to track your reading progress and even maintain a list of the books you want to read in future.
Most virtual bookshelves, especially for schools and higher education, are linked to libraries worldwide and have a browser that allows readers to scroll through and view titles arranged as they exist in the physical library.
As social media fatigue sets in with sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc., the attention is now shifting to specialized sites, for instance, those dedicated to music and books. A virtual bookshelf is one such area that is entirely dedicated to books. It facilitates discussions, allowing readers to identify and access not only the popular but also the underrated books in various categories of interest and even make a purchase with a few clicks of the mouse.
Search the Internet and you will come across several platforms that offer a virtual bookshelf with integrated social media features that allow you to access and read books, create a booklist and share your reading list for discussions and review. Some of the more popular virtual bookshelf websites include:
- Library Thing
- Good Reads
- Revish Bookglutton
- Chain Reading
Also Read: Why You Need to Make a Switch to eTextbooks
How Do Students Benefit From a Virtual Bookshelf?
Access to a Complete Library of Resources: As education goes online, a virtual bookshelf is the perfect solution for students to access digital books, both on the web, and from digitized libraries of their respective institutions. A virtual bookshelf provides students access to the resources they need to complete their homework or conduct research for an article or project.
Access Neatly Arranged Books: An online bookshelf is a wonderful way of finding books. All books are neatly arranged in categories; so, an English literature student looking for classics will find a shelf displaying books such as Jane Eyre, War and Peace, and Far from the Madding Crowd etc., for easy scrutiny. When you click on the link, you can read the review of the book and see if it meets your interest.
Supports Online And Offline Teaching: A virtual bookshelf supports both online and classroom teaching. For instance, an instructor can provide additional information to clarify certain concepts using an online resource from the bookshelf. The instructor can highlight important paragraphs for students to read as part of a classroom activity or homework. A virtual bookshelf thus, allows students to learn more efficiently. They can read and highlight text, and add notes the way they would do on paper. As said above, you can share your virtual bookshelf with peers, which means that you can even subscribe to your instructor’s and classmates’ notes to view on your bookshelf.
Promotes Group Activity: A virtual bookshelf promotes online group activity. To illustrate this with an example, a physical library would contain limited copies of a book that supports a particular topic. However, with a virtual bookshelf, all students in a group can have access to the digital version at the same time. For instance, a group activity could be to find support for the question ‘Is the ghost real in Hamlet?’. With a virtual bookshelf all students in the group can have access to the digital copy of the book in which they can highlight in different colors text that supports/disproves the question and add notes for all members of the group to share.
Simplifies Search: Students will also find multiple ways to browse through pages and sections including a linked table of contents, which makes it easy to navigate to the topic of interest. Once there, they can use search terms to find the exact paragraph or section they are looking for. They can also copy paste text passages for homework or reference. Some bookshelves also support course materials with rich media and interactivity, such as quizzes and videos, which make learning more interesting.
Anytime And Anywhere Access: A virtual bookshelf is a digital version of the physical library that allows anytime and anywhere access to learning resources. The students don’t have to carry heavy backpacks, rather they can access the eBooks on their device of choice, be it a notebook, tablet, reader or smartphone. Thus, a virtual bookshelf offers great convenience, allowing students to carry and access the complete library, armed with just an Internet and a reading device. Some virtual bookshelves also allow users to purchase and download a book for offline access. Alternatively, students can also copy paste from books in a separate file and then read through the notes anywhere and anytime.
How to Create an Interactive eBook
The virtual library or digital library provides both students and instructors access to the much-needed resources to support education. Also, modern pedagogical practices aim to shift control over learning from the instructor to the students and this can only be possible if they have access to the resources they need to support their learning. A virtual bookshelf is your all-in-one digital library that provides 24×7 access to books and other learning resources with a few clicks of the mouse. Besides, readers can review books, share notes and have discussions on the books of their choice within a private group or the community at large. eBooks are now an emerging trend and virtual bookshelf is fast gaining the attention of reading enthusiasts and educational institutions as a means to support learning.
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