The Electronic Version of Evidence Explained

Evidence Explained has become the standard work for citation formatting, but it is a real big book.  I travel for a living and found it too heavy to take with me, so I was happy to hear a while back that an electronic version was in the works.  I have a Barnes & Noble Nook so I was hoping it would be in that format, but that didn’t turn out to be the case.  Instead the book was published for the LockLizard reader, a less-well-known reader for the PC and Mac.

While I’m real glad that the electronic version is available and I have even bought a copy, I really wish it had been made available for the Nook, or at least the Kindle. Lots of people already own these book readers.  If they don’t they can download the software onto their computers.  The requirement to install an obscure program would seem to be an impediment to sales.

Also, here isn’t a version of the LockLizard software for smartphones, iPads, or other tablets.  The Evidence Explained FAQ says a viewer is in mid-development, but it will be some months before one is available.  I would think they would have sold a lot more copies if they had distributed the book through a medium that could run on more devices.

The Kindle and Nook allow bookmarking and note taking.  Bookmarks would help one get to common citation types quickly, but is not available in LockLizard.

Finally, LockLizard has difficult computer count restrictions.  You are allowed three downloads.  According to the FAQ the license will migrate from one computer to another if you get a new one, but they also say that they recommend that you keep “at least one of your three downloads in reserve for future needs”.  This is bad DRM (copy protection).  At least with the Kindle or Nook they keep track of your devices and you don’t have to worry about losing your copies if you move from one computer to another.

I hate to complain about all this, because I’m really happy that Elizabeth Shown Mills has made an electronic version of Evidence Explained available.  She has even tied it in with a nice web page with lessons.  But while I’m not thrilled with book distribution being in the hands of Amazon and B&N, and I’d prefer no DRM built into the book at all, I don’t see the LockLizard solution being better for anyone.

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5 Responses to The Electronic Version of Evidence Explained

  1. Julie Michutka says:

    I agree, it is a small disappointment; I’d like to be able to bookmark and annotate my copy too, as I do my hard copy. I still have my electronic copy of the first edition, and I put that in my Dropbox so in a pinch I can access it from my iPhone. Because we never ever want to be without a copy of Evidence Explained, do we!

  2. It’s handy that the first edition was unlocked so that you can read it from the iPhone. Elizabeth must have learned a bad lesson from less scrupulous customers which led her to DRM. I’m making do with Who, What, When, Where, and Where for when I don’t have my computer with me.

  3. Beirne,

    Thank you for your kind words about EE. I totally agree that it would be ideal to offer it in a Nook, Kindle, or iPhone/iPad edition. (The latter route is one my publisher and I *are* using for my reality-based historical novel, ISLE OF CANES.)

    When we investigated these delivery modes for EE, a basic requirement was “flowable” text. A major feature of EE is the 170 QuickCheck models that diagram citations, so that both users and software engineers who create citation templates can understand what each element represents. That is a static feature, not flowable.

    You are also correct that Footnote.com’s release of an unprotected edition of EE taught a lesson to a number of publishers. LockLizard, which is the leading delivery system for educational materials intercontinentally, anticipates having an iPhone/iPad edition later this year. Unlike Adobe, LockLizard guarantees protection to both the publisher and the consumer who is concerned about hacker-created viruses; and it will not release a version until all potential hatches are closed.

    • Elizabeth,

      Thanks for the explanation. I went back and looked at a QuickCheck page thinking it wouldn’t be too hard to figure something out, but then I realized that while it isn’t too hard to make an individual citation flowable, making the title for the item, the bar underneath, and the text below that all flow the same way was another thing. This is sad but I now understand the motivation much better and don’t have a good alternative.

  4. Pingback: Second DRM form of Evidence Explained | GenVoyage

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