[Athen] FW: House Subcommittee Vote Could End Books for theBlind.

John Gardner john.gardner at orst.edu
Fri Jun 8 23:56:16 PDT 2007

Perhaps somebody could point me to info about NLS developments. My
understanding is that they are developing a flash-based/downloadable
distribution system instead of CD's but otherwise are using standard DDAISY.
Is this wrong?


-----Original Message-----
From: athen-bounces at athenpro.org [mailto:athen-bounces at athenpro.org] On
Behalf Of Marks, Jim
Sent: Friday, June 08, 2007 3:32 PM
To: Access Technologists in Higher Education Network
Subject: Re: [Athen] FW: House Subcommittee Vote Could End Books for

There's a real danger that the National Library Service of the Library of
Congress will go away if it does not get funding to improve its technology
for talking books. However, like you, Ron, I share the feeling that the
current crisis is, at least in part, a self-inflicted wound due to the
technology development choices that NLS leaders made.
I wish NLS decided to work with the rest of the world in the development of
talking book technology. But they did not, and now we have a crisis on our
hands. Personally, I plan to support Congress's funding NLS fully, but I
wish we could get NLS to pursue more open technology than they have. It's a
real shame that it has come to this, and one can only hope that all will do
the right thing. Congress should fund NLS well, and NLS should get on board
with what other alternate format libraries are doing. It will be
interesting to see if these conditions can co-exist.

Jim Marks
Director of Disability Services
University of Montana
jim.marks at umontana.edu

-----Original Message-----
From: athen-bounces at athenpro.org [mailto:athen-bounces at athenpro.org] On
Behalf Of Ron Stewart
Sent: Friday, June 08, 2007 3:26 PM
To: 'Access Technologists in Higher Education Network'
Subject: [Athen] FW: House Subcommittee Vote Could End Books for the Blind.

I have a tendency to stick my foot into sticky things and I also know that
if I respond on any of the blindness lists I would be tarred and feathered.

Based on my understanding from a recent trip to Washigton DC and a couple of
conversations with legislative types, the number one issue for the funding
is the fact that the NLS did not use off the shelf technology or work with
any of the exsisting commercial solutions to build this reader. This has
been an issue throughout the development process on this reader, and to be
honest I am not surprised by this at all. It is becoming more and more of
an issues with federal funding of projects when the project goes off and
reinvents the wheel like this.

Anybody want to help me become better informed on the whys and werefores of

Ron Stewart

-----Original Message-----
From: blindnews-bounces at blindprogramming.com
[mailto:blindnews-bounces at blindprogramming.com] On Behalf Of BlindNews
Mailing List
Sent: Friday, June 08, 2007 4:43 PM
To: Blind News
Subject: House Subcommittee Vote Could End Books for the Blind.

House Subcommittee Vote Could End Books for the Blind.

Author : National Federation of the Blind Earthtimes.org - USA Thu, 07 Jun

On Wednesday, June 6, the House of Representatives Legislative Branch
Appropriations Subcommittee voted to substantially underfund the Books for
the Blind program of the Library of Congress.

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind,
"Since 1931, Congress has consistently supported on a bipartisan basis a
national program of audio and Braille books for the blind, operated by the
Library of Congress. The blind of America are shocked and disappointed that
a House subcommittee has callously disregarded our literacy needs since
literacy leads to independence. By appropriating only $7.5 million of the
$19.1 million needed for transition from antiquated analog cassette tape
technology to digital technology, the subcommittee has effectively voted to
shut down the only public library available to blind Americans. The audio
books produced by the Library of Congress will be useless unless the digital
playback technology is provided for readers. The Talking Book program is at
a crossroads because the analog tape used for the past thirty-six years has
become obsolete and must be replaced for the program to continue. Virtually,
all government programs, except Books for the Blind, have converted to
state-of-the-art digital communication technology at a cost of billions of
dollars to the taxpayers. Leaving the Books for the Blind program behind is
unconscionable. Since it is early in the appropriations process, however,
Congress still has time to correct this grievous error. We therefore
urgently appeal to the full House Appropriations Committee, the members of
the House of Representatives, and the United States Senate to provide the
full $19.1 million requested by the National Library Service for the Blind
and Physically Handicapped of the Library of Congress to begin production of
digital talking books and players."

The Talking Book program serves over 750,000 blind Americans, including
blind children and an ever-increasing number of older Americans who are
losing vision. The incidence of blindness is expected to increase as the
baby boom generation reaches retirement age. Therefore, the need for this
essential program will only increase.

CONTACT: John G. Pare Jr., Director of Public Relations of the National
Federation of the Blind, +1-410-659-9314, extension 2371, Cell:
+1-410-913-3912, jpare at nfb.org

Web site: http://www.nfb.org/


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