Thursday, October 21, 2010

Scribd and Apture Make PDFs Interactive

Scribd, a PDF publishing service, has now integrated Apture search technology to make PDFs interactive. Now anytime you're reading a document on Scribd and you come across and unfamiliar term just highlight it and click "learn more" to have text references, images, and videos pop-up on the document. You can then click the links, read the pages, and watch the videos within the pop-up on the document. I tried it this afternoon and it really is as simple as easy to use as it sounds. Watch the short video below to see Scribd and Apture in action.

Apture Highlights on Scribd from Tristan Harris on Vimeo.

Earlier this week Robert Scoble published a video interview of Apture's CEO Tristan Harris. In the video below Harris explains to Scoble how Apture works.


Applications for Education
I often use public domain primary documents in my US History courses. Some students really struggle with some of the verbiage in those documents. Now if I upload those documents to Scribd and have students read them there they can quickly access definitions and explanations without opening a new browser tab or window.

Apture makes a browser extension that enables users to highlight words on any website and open related information in a pop-up box just like you'll see on Scribd. As Tristan Harris explained in the video above, Apture is useful for exploring the curiosities piqued when coming across a new term or phrase while reading. Apture could be very handy for students to find explanations and related links without opening a new browser window.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
3 Web-based Tools for Creating Screencast Videos
Using Screen Captures to Enhance Instructions
Bounce - Share and Collaborate on Screen Captures