Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Four Helping Hands for Visual Disabilities

Digital libraries and e-books present special challenges to people with visual difficulties. Today I was happy to read about four initiatives going on which will help them gain better or full access to this technology.

China Digital Library for Visual Impairment, which began in October of 2008, is an online library with e-books, music and lectures. The library has incorporated screen-reading software, and is rapidly increasing its number of books available to its patrons. According to the article, "it is likely to set up similar libraries for the hearing impaired and for other people with disabilities in the future." 83 million people in China are disabled.

The team behind Kindle, Amazon's popular e-reader, are working on an "audible menuing system so blind and vision-impaired readers can easily navigate to books unassisted, in addition to listening to books as they can already do today with Read To Me." Larger font options will also be available. They project these features to be available in summer 2010.

Comments from the American Library Association to the Library of Congress' Copyright Office were filed on December 4th. The comments "called for a multilateral treaty to resolve issues of accessibility for the blind and visually impaired." They are offering "a framework that accommodates a range of ... solutions that will enable the world’s blind and visually impaired persons to read and access culture on an equal basis with other members of society."

Ebrary, an information disseminator for libraries, has shipped new features to assist people with physical disabilities. The upgrades will allow screen readers better access to the information, allow colors and font sizes to be changed, and the ability for users to incorporate their own accessibility help.

    2 comments:

    1. those are great! thanks for posting this info

      ReplyDelete
    2. Interesting post! I'm going to update my post on ebooks with a link to yours.

      ReplyDelete

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