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Follett Receives U.S. Patent for Unique BestNotes Functionality in Digital Textbooks
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Oak Brook, IL -- Follett Higher Education Group today announced that its Fourteen40, Inc. subsidiary has received a U.S. patent for certain features of its one-of-a-kind BestNotes™ note-sharing functionality. The patent makes those features exclusive to Follett's CafeScribe® digital textbook platform. BestNotes functionality is just one of the powerful social networking capabilities built into the platform since its inception in 2007.
BestNotes functionality delivers a rich mechanism for collaboration. For example, a student with a digital anatomy book, in the section covering the human heart, can read an electronic note placed by any other reader of the same e-textbook, including his or her teacher, in any part of the world. Scenarios like this are possible via BestNotes functionality, found only in the CafeScribe platform.
BestNotes functionality lets digital textbook readers cherry pick annotations from all notes made by readers of that book across the globe. The system showcases only those notes that receive the most favorable thumbs up votes from other CafeScribe e-textbook users. It employs user-defined filters, allowing users to manage the number of notes they see.
"The rest of the world is going social, why not digital textbooks?" said Bryce Johnson, Follett's director of e-textbook solutions and co-inventor of the patented features. "Instead of surfacing what's fun or popular, social tools like our proprietary BestNotesfunctionality surface the material of the highest educational value. You're tapping the minds of your best and brightest peers on the fly, which adds tremendous value to an already affordable textbook form."
The patent (number 7,779,347 B2) covers the CafeScribe platform's methods of indicating frequently annotated portions of an e-textbook and displaying frequently used words in annotations. These features make it easy for readers to locate the notes most useful to them among the notes of classmates, professors and any readers of the book who choose to share notes. Users subscribe to other readers with a single click, just like you'd add a friend on Facebook or follow someone on Twitter. Other innovative proprietary note-search features of the BestNotes functionality are patent pending.
"We've had first-year law students at Harvard sharing notes with first-year law students at Stanford," said Johnson. "We've had junior college students subscribing to notes from university students in a mentorship model. Every day across the country, professors are making e-notes in their digital textbooks for their students. A digital textbook without note-sharing and BestNotesfunctionality doesn't take advantage of the true digital textbook potential."
The CafeScribe eBook platform is a digital textbook and social networking platform for students and educators. The platform is the latest addition to Follett's broad portfolio of course material options for students, available online and at more than 860 college and university bookstores operated by Follett Higher Education Group in the United States and Canada. For more information, visit www.cafescribe.com.
About Follett Higher Education Group
Follett Higher Education Group of Oak Brook, Illinois, is the leading provider of bookstore services and the foremost supplier of used books in North America. Follett services five million students and over 400,000 faculty members through more than 860 stores. Follett also services more than 1,600 independent campus stores with its wholesale services, and has the most visited ecommerce collegiate website, efollett.com, that provides services and products through a network of more than 900 online campus stores.
Follett Corporation is a $2.7 billion, privately held company that provides products, services and solutions to the educational marketplace.
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