Category Archives: Accessibility

National Federation for the Blind sues over library eReader lending program

Read this news on a Teleread post from last week.  Libraries who are lending eReaders, what are you doing to accommodate visually impaired patrons?  Are you purchasing audiobooks or another type of device that allows text-to-speech functionality? Is that an acceptable solution for the NFB, to have the same content but in a different format?

Here’s more from the press release:

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (May 2, 2012): With the assistance of the National Federation of the Blind, four blind patrons of the Free Library of Philadelphia—Denice Brown, Karen Comorato, Patricia Grebloski, and Antoinette Whaley—have filed suit (case number: 12-2373) against the library because they cannot access one of the library’s programs for which they are eligible.   Continue reading

Bookshare celebrates 10 years of providing eBooks to those with print disabilities

March 12, 2012 – Palo Alto, CA – Bookshare, the global leader in providing digital accessible books to people with print disabilities, today announced its 10th anniversary. Throughout the last ten years, Bookshare has been at the forefront of the digital book revolution, applying Silicon Valley technology to pioneer an innovative new approach to a library for individuals with print disabilities.

Jim Fruchterman, the CEO and founder of the nonprofit Benetech, the parent organization of Bookshare, envisioned a library of eBooks formed by volunteers digitizing and legally sharing them over the Internet with others with qualified print disabilities (such as blindness, low vision, physical disabilities, or severe learning disabilities). A former rocket scientist and 2006 MacArthur Fellow, Fruchterman acted on his vision and launched Bookshare, introducing an innovative new approach to reading for an underserved population. Continue reading

Accessibility and eReaders: functional requirements

eReaders aren’t designed with accessibility in mind. Ken Petri, Director of the Web Accessibility Center at The Ohio State University, contributed a chapter about eBook accessibility to the forthcoming No Shelf Required 2:  Use and Management of Ebooks title from ALA Editions.  Due to the need for currency of this topic, Ken has posted some material on a website.  This information includes:

Ken was interviewed by No Shelf Required back in October of 2010. The post about the interview contains links to many resources.

No Shelf Required’s two new publications

No Shelf Required has been busy this past year exploring the many topics of eBooks and libraries.  Very soon, two new publications will be available from ALA Publishing which share the No Shelf Required name.  These new publications contain completely new content, expanding upon No Shelf Required: E-books in Libraries, ALA Editions, 2011. Details are below.  For a complete list of NSR publications, please visit our publications page.

The first publication will be the No Shelf Required Guide to E-Book Purchasing.  This guide will appear in the November/December (v. 47 n. 8)  issue of Library Technology Reports (direct URL coming soon).  Chapters and contributors in this double issue include: Continue reading

SciVerse adds text-to-speech application, iSpeech Audio Reader

Great news from Elsevier about the new iSpeech Audio Reader application which instantly converts  any full-text article within ScienceDirect into a natural sounding voice file.  We see a lot of these mp3 files used for auditory learners, students with disabilities, and foreign language learners at my institution. More from the press release below:

Elsevier, a world leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, today announced the availability of an audio reader application from iSpeech, provider of cloud-based speech technology and mobile apps, on SciVerse Applications beta. The iSpeech Audio Reader is the latest in a growing list of applications enhancing the use of SciVerse ScienceDirect content to improve researchers’ workflows.

The iSpeech Audio Reader text-to-speech application instantly converts any full-text article within SciVerse ScienceDirect, the world’s largest source of peer-reviewed scientific content containing more than 10 million articles, into a natural sounding voice file. It enables researchers to easily convert articles into MP3 audio files and listen to them on any MP3-friendly device. Continue reading

NISO publishes special ebook issue of Information Standards Quarterly, free download

The Spring 2011 issue of NISO’s Information Standards Quarterly (ISQ)
magazine has a special issue theme of Views of the E-book Renaissance. ISQ
Guest Content Editor, October Ivins of Ivins eContent Solutions has pulled
together a broad range of perspectives on what is happening today with
e-books and particularly with e-book standards. As she states in her
introductory letter: “Our goal for this issue of ISQ is to present an
overview of the status of e-books from multiple perspectives-publishers and
other content producers, librarians, and the many vendors who support their
creation, management, sales, and distribution. Not coincidentally, it also
illustrates the scope of the NISO community.”

In the first feature article, Bill Kasdorf (Apex Content Solutions) provides
an update on EPUB 3, the new generation of the EPUB specification just
issued by the IDPF, and likens it to opening a Pandora’s box, but where “all
the creatures bursting out can be made to behave in a civilized way.” This
is followed with answers by Marlie Wasserman (Rutgers University Press) to
10 questions on the state of e-book publishing for university presses. Continue reading

New Jersey eBook Summit Summary – part two

Please note that the part two blog post has now been added to the New Jersey eBook Summit Summary.

Today the NJ State Library, LinbraryLinkNJ- The NJ Library Cooperative, NJ Library Association and the NJLA Reference Section sponsored an E-book Summit in Eatontown, New Jersey.  The line-up of speakers included:

  • Eli Neiburger, Ann Arbor District Library
  • Sue Polanka, Wright State University Library & No Shelf Required
  • Robert Miller, Director of Books, Internet Archive
  • Mary Minow, Attorney, Consultant, and Former Librarian
  • Joseph Sanchez, University of Colorado – Denver Continue reading

ALA TechSource webinar series – Integrating E-Books and E-Readers into Your Library

ALA TechSource has just opened registration for the upcoming webinar series on e-books and e-readers.  I hope you can join us.

Integrating E-Books and E-Readers into Your Library
with Sue Polanka

Two 90-minute sessions
Thursdays 8/4/11 and 8/11/11
2:30 – 4:00 PM EDT | 1:30 – 3:00 PM CDT
12:30 – 2:00 PM MDT | 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM PDT

With the exploding popularity of e-books and e-reading devices, librarians are grappling with how to effectively integrate them into their services and collections. Sue Polanka is back by popular demand to present this two-session ALA TechSource workshop on how to go about it. With her practical guidance you will learn how to begin purchasing and lending e-books for your library, and how to purchase e-reading devices for patron use. Continue reading

ebrary launches use-triggered short-term loans

From an ebrary press release:  ebrary®, a leading provider of e-books and research technology, today announced the availability of usage-triggered Short-Term Loans.  Currently in beta, this groundbreaking model provides libraries with all of the benefits of traditional short-term loans with the added advantage of only paying if titles are used.

ebrary’s new Short-Term Loans can be a library’s standalone cost-saving service, or used in conjunction with ebrary’s Patron Driven Acquisition program to offer an additional layer of mediation before titles are triggered for purchase.  As YBP’s preferred e-book vendor, ebrary also makes Short-Term Loans available through YBP’s Demand Driven Acquisition service. Continue reading

The Ohio Digital Bookshelf, webinar summary

The Ohio Digital Bookshelf, Where will the 2nd Year Take Us?  A Webinar from the University System of Ohio TeachU, Presented by Stephen R. Acker, Research Director, The Ohio Digital Bookshelf

The slides for the webinar are available on slideshare and the webinar archive.

The following is a summary of my interpretation of the webinar.  My best efforts were made to ensure accuracy.

Affordability, engagement and preparedness are the 3 big factors that influence student success in college.  For many of higher education faculty, admistrators, and policy creators years ago, these were mutually reinforcing- “poverty” as a teaching associate led to more campus-based activity and greater preparedness through grading, lecturing, and the like. Now, higher costs for education and lack of related income-generating opportunities for students, drives students off campus and takes time they would better be spending on study. We need to concentrate on affordability if we’re to bring campus engagement and preparedness back into reasons for successrather than reasons for failure for today’s student, who lives in a much different world. Continue reading