Gaithersburg, Md.—Deputy Secretary of Commerce Robert L. Mallett today congratulated a diverse group of companies for working together to establish voluntary standards for the emerging electronic book industry.
In remarks prepared for delivery at Electronic Book '99, Mallett noted that key players in the industry had just announced agreement on a technical specification.
"This is a critical step toward a voluntary standard that will give consumers the confidence they need to adopt this exciting new technology," he said.
Mallett's audience included book publishers, hardware and software producers, and electronic book manufacturers.
Electronic books are integrated products that combine features found in books and computers. For example, touch screen technology allows a reader to touch an unfamiliar word to get an immediate dictionary definition. Touching the screen elsewhere can make the print larger or smaller.
The technical specification that industry leaders developed creates a universal way to format text for electronic books. The use of a single format for electronic books is expected to accelerate the availability of electronic reading material.
Electronic Book '99, a two-day workshop, is being held at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Md.
As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Technology Administration, NIST strengthens the U.S. economy and improves the quality of life by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards through four partnerships: the Measurement and Standards Laboratories, the Advanced Technology Program, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the Baldrige National Quality Program.