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.




Friday, February 20, 2004

Diving Into Digital! CLS Workshop! Come one, come all!

Tom Peters, Peg Burnette, and I will be at Chicago Library System doing a workshop "Diving Into Digital!" on Monday, March 15. Join us and spend a dynamic day diving into digital! This workshop will include an overview of handheld devices and PDAs on the market and their capabilities and how different types of libraries are using them. Presenters will also discuss and demonstrate digital content in terms of electronic books in all formats that can be used on handheld devices; library digital content management systems; and what different types of libraries are doing in this area. The event will run from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. and should be a lot of fun. The CLS fee is $75.00 and you can register by going to http://www.chilibsys.org/myCMLS/ce_event_detail.asp?CorID=214&secid=384
For more information, contact Kathryn Deiss at deiss@chilibsys.org or Dan Telfer
at telfer@chilibsys.org. If you are interested you should register by February 27.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Ebookworm Features Cynthia Orr, Cleveland Public Library

The next eBookWorm discussion will be held on
Thursday, February 19, 2004 from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Central Time. eBookWorm is sponsored by the
Mid-Illinois Talking Book Center. Tom Peters of TAP
Information Services is the show host.

Cynthia Orr will be the featured guest. Ms. Orr is
Collection Manager for the Cleveland Public Library
where the 2003 annual budget for library materials was
over $10 million. Cindy has years of experience in the
areas of collection development, public service and
management. She was a co-founder of the web-based free
Readers Advisory resource called BookBrowser, which
was sold to Barnes & Noble.com in 2003.

April 7, 2003, marked the debut of another "first" for
the Cleveland Public Library, along with the 26 other
member libraries in the CLEVNET Consortium. On that
Monday morning in April, the library rolled out its
new eBook lending program. The program is the first
of its kind in the library world.

Satisfied patrons have let us know that they like the
ability to carry eBooks along with them while
traveling with their laptop or PDA, and find that it
is convenient to be able to check out a book without
physically visiting the library. In the first week of
the service, more than 300 different patrons checked
out more than 500 titles and placed another 200 titles
on reserve. Some of the most popular books in the
collection include fiction by Michael Crichton, Tim
LaHaye, Barbara Delinsky, Neil Gaiman, Elmore Leonard
and Tony Hillerman. The collection ranges from
children's books, Cliff's Notes, business and computer
titles, cookbooks and bestsellers.

The CLEVNET Digital Library Connection offers titles
for both Adobe Reader and Palm Reader, with MobiPocket
coming soon. No special hardware is needed to enjoy an
eBook. Free software is available and requires a
one-time download. To learn more about these formats
or to download the reader software, please click on
eBooks at the CPL web site: www.cpl.org.

Cindy Orr has spoken about book related topics at
conferences and workshops of many different
organizations, including the Ohio Library Council, the
Public Library Association, the American Library
Association, and BookExpo America. She teaches a
class on Readers' Advisory Services for Kent State
University's Graduate School of Library and
Information Science. She was on the committee
responsible for launching the first 24-hour-a-day
7-day-a-week live readers' advisory service on the
Web, and helped launch an ebook project for public
library patrons--the first such library service to
make it possible to check out eBooks and read them
offline on multiple platforms and devices.

To participate, go to
http://www.talkingcommunities.com/entrance.pl?31122688174,
enter your name, no password is necessary, click
enter, a small software applet will download on your
computer and allow you to enter the room. You do not
need a microphone but you do need an Internet
connection, sound card and speakers to participate. If
you have trouble or have questions, please contact Tom
Peters at tapinformation@yahoo.com or
lbell927@yahoo.com


Monday, February 02, 2004

Report on current digital talking book players on the market

TAP Information Services and Mid-Illinois Talking Book
Center have completed a critical analysis and
evaluation of portable audio devices intended
primarily for use by the print-impaired to access and
enjoy digital talking books.

Five devices were examined and reviewed: The Victor
Reader Classic Plus and the Victor Reader Vibe from
Visuaide, the Scholar from Telex Communications, the
BookCourier from Springer Design, and the Book Port
from the American Printing House for the Blind.

Among the five devices reviewed at least three
lineages are discernable. The Victor Reader Vibe and
the Telex Scholar are descendants of portable CD
players that have been on the consumer market for
years. Their hardware and software designs have been
enhanced to make them more accessible by and useful to
print-impaired users. The Book Port and BookCourier
are siblings in the large, raucous family of digital
playback devices that contain no moving parts and use
flash memory. The Victor Classic Plus, on the other
hand, seems to be designedly descended from the analog
audiocassette playback device used by print-impaired
users in the U.S. for decades.

All five devices were fairly easy to install and begin
using. Overall, the Book Port seemed to be a better
device than the BookCourier, and the Victor Vibe
seemed to be better than the Telex Scholar. Because
of the various design lineages, however, it is very
difficult to select a best device from the three
finalists: Victor Classic Plus, Victor Vibe, and Book
Port.

Recommendations include: the need to intermingle the
three design paradigms, perhaps incorporating more PDA
functionality as well; the need to standardize the
design of the keys a bit; and the need for greater
accessibility to more file formats on a single device,
including proprietary file formats.

The complete text of the report is available on the
MITBC website at
http://www.mitbc.org/projecthalfinal.doc.

The Mid-Illinois Talking Book Center (www.mitbc.org)
is a sub-regional library serving the blind and
physically challenged in central and northwest
Illinois. A talking book center provides library
services via toll-free telephone and U.S. mail. Books
and magazines in Braille and audiocassette formats are
available to readers enrolled in the program. MITBC
is part of a statewide network administered by the
Illinois State Library, a division of the Office of
the Illinois Secretary of State. The statewide
network is tied to a national network under the
administration of the National Library Service for the
Blind and Physically Handicapped, a division of the
Library of Congress.

TAP Information Services provides a wide variety of
services supporting libraries, consortia, government
agencies, museums, publishers, and other organizations
in the information industry. Services include:
support for projects, research reports, strategic
planning, workshops, writing and editing, conference
services, consortial negotiations and agreements, and
speeches.

For more information about this report, please contact
either Tom Peters at tapinformation@yahoo.com or Lori
Bell at lbell@alliancelibrarysystem.com.

Feburary ebookworm show

The next eBookWorm discussion will be held on Thursday, February 19, 2004 from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. Central Time. Cynthia Orr, Collection Manager for the Cleveland Public Library is the featured guest. eBookWorm is sponsored by the Mid-Illinois Talking Book Center. Tom Peters of TAP Information Services is the show host. To participate, all you need are an Internet connection, sound card and speakers. To enter the online conference room, go to http://www.talkingcommunities.com/entrance.pl?31122688174
type your name, no password is necessary and click enter. A small software applet will download to your computer as you enter the room.

Cynthia Orr is Collection Manager for the Cleveland Public Library where the 2003 annual budget for library materials was over $10 million. Cindy has years of experience in the areas of collection development, public service and management. She was a co-founder of the web-based free Readers Advisory resource called BookBrowser, which was sold to Barnes & Noble.com in 2003.

April 7, 2003, marked the debut of another "first" for the Cleveland Public Library, along with the 26 other member libraries in the CLEVNET Consortium. On that Monday morning in April, the library rolled out its new eBook lending program. The program is the first of its kind in the library world.

Satisfied patrons have let the library know that they like the ability to carry eBooks along with them while traveling with their laptop or PDA, and find that it is convenient to be able to check out a book without physically visiting the library. In the first week of the service, more than 300 different patrons checked out more than 500 titles and placed another 200 titles on reserve. Some of the most popular books in the collection include fiction by Michael Crichton, Tim LaHaye, Barbara Delinsky, Neil Gaiman, Elmore Leonard and Tony Hillerman. The collection ranges from children's books, Cliff's Notes, business and computer titles, cookbooks and bestsellers.

The CLEVNET Digital Library Connection offers titles for both Adobe Reader and Palm Reader, with MobiPocket coming soon. No special hardware is needed to enjoy an eBook. Free software is available and requires a one-time download. To learn more about these formats or to download the reader software, please click on eBooks at the CPL web site: www.cpl.org.

Cindy Orr has spoken about book related topics at conferences and workshops of many different organizations, including the Ohio Library Council, the Public Library Association, the American Library Association, and BookExpo America. She teaches a class on Readers' Advisory Services for Kent State University's Graduate School of Library and Information Science. She was on the committee responsible for launching the first 24-hour-a-day 7-day-a-week live readers' advisory service on the Web, and helped launch an ebook project for public library patrons--the first such library service to make it possible to check out eBooks and read them offline on multiple platforms and devices.