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Wednesday 2 November 2011

Power to print disabled people #lianza11 #p25

Mariann Kraack, Wendy Nasmith
Power to print disabled people through passion for information

Most popular RNZFB service is braille and talking book library. By the end of this year all audio will be sent on CDs. Door to mailbox service. Issues continues to increase: July 2010-2011 324,000 audio items; estimate 576,000 next year.

Only 5% of print material is in an accessible format. In their experience the more material is available, the more people borrow.

DAISY - Digital Accessible Information SYstem. international standard for structuring digital audio content, makes it more accessible to readers. Made up of mp3, html (may have text or just navigation) and SMILE (synchronises audio and text) files. Tries to keep it as usable for a print-disabled reader as print is for others. Playback software can be downloaded from DAISY website for free.

RNZFB DAISY player is the Plextor PTX1 Pro designed in Japan. From any place in the book can tell reader what page they're on, how far from end of book. Create and remember bookmarks. Sleep timer. Synthetic voice, can read from SD card or memory stick. Internet capable for downloadable books.

"Burn on demand" service. A CD can hold up to 40 hours of listening - 6 books (so less time for things to be delivered) or 20 magazines. Reduction in cost of postage despite more books being issued. Player is lent to members. Personalised CDs are burnt with borrowers' individual book requests and posted out. When it's returned, a new one is sent out. Borrowers can choose which day they want to receive magazines. No missing or damaged items to replace, no waiting lists, digital recordings have better audio quality.

6000 items available in DAISY format. Producing 100 new titles a year including NZ titles. Purchase titles from overseas. Only add unabridged titles, all structured according to standard. Digitising old titles and adding DAISY structure. 20 magazine titles (eg Women's Weekly, National Geographic, Mana) recorded in DAISY audio. Braille titles also distributed and want to digitise these in future.

New title and subject bibliographies are produced weekly and distributed by email listserv and by Telephone Information Service. TIS also delivers newspapers, government and regional news, and uploads of book reviews by staff and readers, and audio extracts. Library magazine produced thrice yearly. Expensive to produce as printed large-print. Can search on accessible OPAC. Need to upgrade.

What readers like about it
They like the quality; getting more content in a more timely manner. Less handling of physical items. Easy to use player - Mr H thought he'd have to get help setting up but could use instructions all himself. Audio testimonials from supremely happy users.

Creating partnerships
Public libraries have increasingly more content in CDs or Overdrive. "Tea with Tales" event at some public libraries where library staff read extracts to both sighted and blind people. Simple to organise and very successful. Book groups: old cassette system was awkward but new digital services let print-disabled people participate. Can advertise events held by local public libraries to

Christchurch Public Library with JAWS software. APNK includes software as part of its standard suite (having listened to a single customer). Infrastructure is in place but do people know it's available and do staff know how to teach people how to use them? Want to hear success stories to share with members, which would make it easier for them to visit library.

Have worked with Wellington to help people using Overdrive. Worked with Auckland on making website accessible.

In future want to collaborate with public libraries. Small steps. Advancements of technology open up world of communication. Huge range of levels of expertise among users - not always related to age. Increasing numbers using email, OPAC, asking about other material online. But older members prefer to use DAISY; younger members more technosavvy. Can't provide all info needed to members on their own - there's too much.

Hopefully in future will use internet. Want to create partnerships to help provide information to all.

Charity, funded by public donation. Operates under Section 69 - print-disability - blind, visual impairment, can't manipulate books, can't move/focus eyes, has a handicap re visual perception. Add copyright statements to recordings.

Now distribution is easier may be able to offer services to stroke/arthritis sufferers, people with dyslexia or neurological conditions, but currently funds earmarked for blind/partially-blind people.

Can provide awareness training on adaptive technology and physical spaces. Simple things like the design of a form contribute. Many public libraries provide database access, but members may need support to start using them. Would like to work with public libraries - needs awareness of how technology is used. Ebook readers available have different levels of accessibility. Some have text-to-speech capability, but not all titles have it enabled. Books can't usually be navigated - touchscreen unhelpful. Some devices use same button for different functions depending what mode you're in. Emerging technology and features will improve in time. YouTube video about ebooks for blind/partially-sighted

Q: A couple of years ago had trouble getting DAISY readers to members - how's progress?
A: Should get them to all members by end of week. Very need-based - old technology was breaking down.

Q: Are your members better informed than other NZers?
A: Many members not working; for many it's one of the main things they can do. Desire to read is strong.

Q: Plexitor is internet-capable - is that currently in use?
A: This is the next step, to send books by internet. DAISY protocol is being finalised. One site is using it, streaming to player. The dream is getting closer.

Q: Work with dyslexic kids - can we tell them to go to RNZFB.
A: Yes. Just need something to prove they meet print-disabled requirements of the Copyright Act. Used to be hard to serve all people with cassettes, now able to serve a bigger group. There is a funding dilemma re device so they may have to meet those costs to get the DAISY player.

Q: Recorded or text-to-speech?
A: Send out human-narrated books.

[demo of DAISY player]

Q: [Re databases]
A: Someone went to library to get help using databases, but miscommunications re technology, and trying to solve over the phone was awkward!