[Nfbmo] Fw: [Missouri-l] Project puts 1M books online for blind, dyslexic

Gary Wunder gwunder at earthlink.net
Sat May 8 18:15:41 UTC 2010

I wonder how this differs from BookShare?

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Fred Olver" <goodfolks at charter.net>
To: "NFB of Missouri Mailing List" <nfbmo at nfbnet.org>; 
<nfbmi-talk at nfbnet.org>; "Bill" <xchiefbiele at aol.com>; "Kenneth M Schimel" 
<k.schimel at sbcglobal.net>
Sent: Friday, May 07, 2010 1:02 PM
Subject: [Nfbmo] Fw: [Missouri-l] Project puts 1M books online for 

> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: Chip Hailey
> To: missouri-l at moblind.org
> Sent: Friday, May 07, 2010 4:06 AM
> Subject: [Missouri-l] Project puts 1M books online for blind, dyslexic
> Project puts 1M books online for blind, dyslexic
> Email this Story
> May 6, 11:14 AM (ET)
> SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Even as audio versions of best-sellers fill store 
> shelves and
> new technology fuels the popularity of digitized books, the number of 
> titles accessible
> to people who are blind or dyslexic is minuscule.
> A new service being announced Thursday by the nonprofit Internet Archive 
> in San Francisco
> is trying to change that. The group has hired hundreds of people to scan 
> thousands
> of books into its digital database - more than doubling the titles 
> available to people
> who aren't able to read a hard copy.
> Brewster Kahle, the organization's founder, says the project will 
> initially make
> 1 million books available to the visually impaired, using money from 
> foundations,
> libraries, corporations and the government. He's hoping a subsequent book 
> drive will
> add even more titles to the collection.
> "We'll offer current novels, educational books, anything. If somebody then 
> donates
> a book to the archive, we can digitize it and add it to the collection," 
> he said.
> The problems with many of the digitized books sold commercially is that 
> they're expensive,
> they're often abridged, and they don't come in a format that is easily 
> accessed by
> the visually impaired.
> The collections are also limited to the most popular titles published 
> within the
> past several years.
> The Internet Archive is scanning a variety of books in many languages so 
> they can
> be read by the software and devices blind people use to convert written 
> pages into
> speech. The organization has 20 scanning centers in five countries, 
> including one
> in the Library of Congress.
> "Publishers mostly concentrate on their newest, profitable books. We are 
> working
> to get all books online," Kahle said.
> Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind, says 
> getting access
> to books has been a big challenge for blind people.
> "Now, for the first time, we're going to have access to an enormous 
> quantity," he
> said.
> Maurer, who is blind, said that when he was in college, he hired people to 
> read books
> to him because the Braille and audio libraries were so limited.
> "That has been the way most students have gotten through school," he said. 
> "This
> kind of initiative by the Internet Archive will change that for many 
> people."
> Only about 5 percent of published books are available in a digital form 
> that's accessible
> to the visually impaired, Maurer said, and there are even fewer books 
> produced in
> Braille.
> Ben Foss, a San Francisco man with dyslexia, says having so many more 
> books available
> is liberating. He compares it to a million more ramps being added 
> throughout a city
> for a person who uses a wheelchair.
> "For me, it's about access. They have provided flexibility and freedom to 
> get books
> in a format that I use every day," said Foss, 36, who is the director of 
> access technology
> in the digital health group at Intel Corp.
> The digitized books scanned by the Internet Archive will be available for 
> free to
> visually impaired people through the organization's website. The 
> organization does
> not run into copyright concerns because the law allows libraries to make 
> books available
> to people with disabilities, Kahle said.
> Jessie Lorenz, an associate director at the Independent Living Resource 
> Center San
> Francisco who has been blind since birth, said it has been hard to find 
> controversial
> or edgy titles in a format she can use, and choices are often dictated by 
> institutions
> or service groups who have selected certain books for scanning.
> "For individuals living with print-related disabilities, this is 
> groundbreaking,"
> she said. "This project will enable people like me to choose what we 
> read."
> Lorenz, 31, has already decided what she wants: Howard Stern's 
> autobiography "Private
> Parts," Andrew Weil's "The Natural Mind," and, perhaps most importantly, 
> her grandmother's
> cookbook.
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