Electronic Design

A Library On Your Laptop

Shakespeare's drama. Plato's philosophy. Darwin's science. Michelangelo's art. Keats' poetry. But you don't need to scour a bookstore to find the works of the world's great thinkers. According to an exclusive three-year agreement with Vital Source Technologies, IBM will preload the classics of western civilization onto ThinkPad notebooks and ThinkCentre desktops for education customers.

These machines will include vitalsource KEY, a delivery application that lets teachers and students search, read, organize, and annotate class materials. It pulls together materials from publishers around the world and helps educators integrate that information into their curricula. Also, vitalsource KEY includes the Personal Portable Library, comprising more than 2000 classics of western literature, history, science, politics, art, and other topics. Buying a hard copy of each of these works would cost about $13,500.

As enrollments rise and budgets shrink, school districts are struggling with textbook purchases. The Personal Portable Library would go far in easing that burden. It also would go far in easing the physical burden on students. A single computer is much lighter than a backpack full of books—and heavy backpacks are an emerging health concern in today's schools. And as software, texts can be revised with the push of a button, so there's no need to worry about outdated material.

ThinkPads outfitted with vitalsource KEY start at $1349, while ThinkCentres with it start at $939. For details, go to www.vitalbook.com or www.ibm.com.

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