Friday, February 27, 2004

E-Books OPen Up the World of Print to Visually Impaired Readers

The Mid-Illinois Talking Book Center, TAP Information Services, and OverDrive, Inc. have won the ALA SIRSI Library Leader in Technology Grant for 2004. "E-Books Open Up the World of Print to Visually Impaired Readers" is the innovative project being recognized. The award will be presented at American Librry Association Conference in Orlando on June 29 at 5:45 p.m. The SIRSI grant is an annual award consisting of $10,000 and a 24k gold-framed citation of achievement given to encourage and enable continued advancements in quality library services for a project that makes creative or groundbreaking use of technology to deliver exceptional services to its community.

Beginning in July 2004 the Mid-Illinois Talking Book Center, OverDrive, Inc., and TAP Information Services will undertake a one-year project to explore how ebooks can increase access to--and the usability of--digital information for print-impaired users, including the blind, visually impaired, physically challenged, and dyslexic. The goal of the “E-Books Open Up the World of Print to Visually Impaired Readers” project is to create a rich collection of multi-format e-books that have been optimized for use by print-impaired library patrons. A project team from the collaborating organizations will select, organize, test, and evaluate a rich, robust e-book collection and supporting technologies. All technologies supporting accessible digital content will be included in the project, including software, systems, and hardware—playback devices. Digital talking books in various file formats, including recorded audio and text-to-speech technologies, will be included in the creation and use of the collection.

Tom Peters of TAP Information Services will serve as the Project Coordinator working with staff from the Mid-Illinois Talking Book Center and OverDrive, Inc.
The Mid-Illinois Talking Book Center(http://www.mitbc.org) is a subregional library for the blind and physically handicapped located in East Peoria and Quincy, Illinois and is administered by the Alliance Library System. The Center is part of a state network of libraries serving this population coordinated by the Illinois State Library Talking Book and Braille Service and a national network of libraries coordinated by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. TAP Information Services provides a wide variety of high quality
planning, consulting, research, and assessment services
supporting libraries, consortia, government agencies, museums, publishers, and other organizations in the information industry. OverDrive(http://www.overdrive.com) is the leading digital content solution provider for publishers, retailers, and libraries. For more information, please contact Tom Peters at tapinformation@yahoo.com; Lori Bell at lbell@alliancelibrarysystem.com; Steve Potash at spotash@overdrive.com; or Loree Potash at lpotash@overdrive.com.




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