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The Electronic Broadsheet -- all the news that fits the display

Submitted to the Media Arts and Sciences Section, School of Architecture and Planning on May 10, 1991 in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Science.


Developments in screen technology and computer hardware have given us color displays with resolutions up to 2000 lines and a screen area of broadsheet size. These computer displays give us a range of new possibilities and pitfalls in content selection, imagery, typography, and human interaction.

This study describes the implementation of a display application that presents broadsheet-sized electronic newspapers to the reader. The program explores the possibilities that large screens offer, and the implications of using large screens are discussed.

The display application also takes advantage of the dynamic nature of a computer display. Much of the newspaper metaphor has been preserved, while the computer invites instant updates and user participation.

Current computer architectures do not provide adequate performance to drive the large monitor, and the electronic newspaper is augmented by dynamic screen updates and navigational tools to better competer with paper-based news distribution. Still, the large monitor has proved an excellent device for electronic newspapers as well as a general purpose X11 workstation. At 2000 lines we are reaching the threshold of paperlike access to information.

The display application is the user interface module of the Newspace project.

Thesis Supervisor: Walter Bender

Title: Principal Research Scientist

This work was supported in part by IBM.

The Electronic Broadsheet - 30 JUN 95
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