[Athen] FW: House Subcommittee Vote Could EndBooksfor the Blind.

Terri Hedgpeth terrih at asu.edu
Mon Jun 11 09:11:58 PDT 2007

I believe that NLS is not including page and chapter navigation, because
they are operating in the old mind think of anilog recording. I also
think that this came about by them alining themselves with one consumer
organization as their primary source of input rather then including
input from educators from k-12 and postsecondary institutions or
professionals in a formalized manner. Basically they don't seem to have
been thinking outside of the box. That is to bad, considering such a
time for transition would seem to be an optimal time for innovative and
forward thinking regarding access to books.


Dr. Terri Hedgpeth
Academic Research Professional
CUbiC #376, iCare
(480) 727-8133 V
(480) 965-1885 Fax

-----Original Message-----
From: athen-bounces at athenpro.org [mailto:athen-bounces at athenpro.org] On
Behalf Of Michael O'Brien
Sent: Monday, June 11, 2007 8:52 AM
To: 'Access Technologists in Higher Education Network'
Subject: Re: [Athen] FW: House Subcommittee Vote Could EndBooksfor the

Forgive me for my ignorance, but why should it cost
significantly more to ad page numbering and chapter headings? Text I
can understand, but all you'd need to do is type in a chapter or page
code as the book is recorded, to add these navigation features, right?


-----Original Message-----
From: athen-bounces at athenpro.org [mailto:athen-bounces at athenpro.org] On
Behalf Of Pratik Patel
Sent: Sunday, June 10, 2007 12:10 AM
To: 'Access Technologists in Higher Education Network'
Subject: Re: [Athen] FW: House Subcommittee Vote Could End Booksfor the

There is, sadly, blindness politics involved in the NLS development of
the digital delivery project. In all this, NLS has decided that it will
not support one of the most important feature of a DAISY/DTB book, page
numbering. I am beta testing the download service and it is certainly
lacking in that regard. None of the books will be accompanied by text
either. Unfortunately the design phase (or Frank Kert Cinke) determined
that adding page number navigation to newly developed DTB's would add
considerable cost to NLS's processes. This was partly a decision made
by one of the blindness organizations, which has a strong monitary
interest in the NLS digital development. the other organization lacks
leadership, the willingness, or the understanding to do anything about
it. I hope to change that soon. Forgive me for being so cynical but
there are some very odd political things going on in New york with the
Higher Ed textbook legislation and the political nature of this field is
becomming more and more evident to me. The more money is involved, the
more annoying this gets.

My apologies to those individuals who may belong to either of the
organizations. My inditement does not reflect on your personal ability
or beliefs.

NLS is using a DRM system developed by the National Institute of
The current beta test of the download delivery is taking place by using
an SD card and a modified Victor Classic desktop player. Supposedly,
NLS will be supporting manufacturers of other hardware players--notice I
do not say sofftware players--who wish to develop support for NLS's DRM
and proprietary flash-based cartredge. NLS has chosen not to support
software players as they fully expect the DRM to be broken in a short
time after it's released.
NLS wants to show no support for any such activity. I love governmental
agencies who are afraid of their own shadows! The players that NLS will
be supporting will not be able to playback DAISY material that does not
comply with the DRM technology. I certainly hope this doesn't remain
the case for too long. NLS plans to allow manufacturers to develop
resellable hardware cartredges for those individuals interested in the
digital download service.
The download service will work in a similar manner to the Web braille
service currently provided to the patrons.

If NLS receives the partial funding promised by the current atmosphere
in Congress, it will not be the end of NLS or the program. This funding
is to supplement what NLS already receives on an annual basis. The
move to digital will happen much more slowly than NLS predicted. I'm
not suggesting that NLS should not receive its full funding as it has
requested. But, certainly needs to explain some very important points
about their decisions and contracts. I'm doing my part to get people to
move on this issue as I do believe that the agency should be allowed to
put its plans into effect at this stage. ...

I could go on; but I know ya'all got better things to do than listen
to/read my rants.


-----Original Message-----
From: athen-bounces at athenpro.org [mailto:athen-bounces at athenpro.org] On
Behalf Of Ron Stewart
Sent: Saturday, June 09, 2007 11:52 AM
To: 'Access Technologists in Higher Education Network'
Subject: Re: [Athen] FW: House Subcommittee Vote Could End Books for the


Pullling out the soapbox here. You can substitute Distance Educaition
for print access in this conversation as well.

This is not just a blindness issue! And as long as it is presented as
only a VI/B issue it is never going to go anyplace. This is a VI/B,
ADD/ADHD, LD, Cognitive Processing, Dyslexic, Developmental Disability,
TBI, and Psyciatric disability issue. Did I miss any? I do not even
want to being talking about ESL and developmental Ed. From my
perspecitive, at its heart, it is another issue about inclusion and
acceptance of folks with disabilities in our global society. This is
not just about Blind Readers but the entire continuum of people with
disabilities related to their ability to effectively use print based
materials. If we look at all students who would benefit from more
accessible curriculum it could easily be as high as 25% of our students.
As long as the conversation remains a blind centric one the issues of
inclusion and success are going to remain on the margins of the
mainstream discussion.

This is true for all topics of educational and societal reform for all
groups that are living on the margins of mainstream society. In the
last few years I have now been involved in more conversations that I
care to count on this topic and often one of the first questions that
comes up is why can we not make any progress on this, and my typicall
response is until you start to include the other 75% of folks with print
related disabilities you will not. These other groups are not typically
as organized or as vocal as the VI/B groups and that contributes to the
problem. Often times the groups involved are so worried about protecting
their turf and closed agendas that it all gets lost in the real need of
the people we are dedicated to serving.

Being very involved in the whole Alt Format discussion on a global basis
this still does not effectively explain to me why the NLS felt it
necessary to go out and develop propriety closed market technology. I
was at a DAISY technical meeting this last week in Toronto and asked a
question about expansion beyond the focus on the special libraries to
include the educaitional space in the development of the specifications
and it was not a place anyone else at the table seemed to want to go.
This kind of thinking promotes the possible irrelevance of the DAISY
work as the mainstream technology moves beyond it. Don't get me wrong I
am a strong advocate for DAISY and its impact on our students, but that
is the result of closed technology development especially in the current
fluid and dymanic IT world.

The compliance with closed format and protection of intellection
property do not in any way require this kind of reader. Since they
published their original strategic plan this has been a topic of
conversation and concern.
The more they went down the closed technology route the more it came up.
Nor does it explain why other national libraries are doing some of the
same things, don't make questionable decisions unless your willing to
deal with the consiquences. If the various development communities, both
public and private, have good robust technologies in the marketspace
then that is the first place agencies should look for solution.
Especially when they are using public funds for the process.

The DAISY PTDB2 standard for DRM in DAISY books provides for a very good
set of protocols for insuring that Intellectual Property rights are
protected in the development and distribution of DAISY materials. With
my work in the AHEAD E-Text and NIMAS groups I have found that the
discussion about copyright is typically a slippery slope and straw man
argument. That is why we have made the decision to put it aside and
focus on pragmatic solutions to the issues at hand at least in the
AHEAD work. The topic does need to be revisited and the Chaffee
exemption brought into the information age, but no one wants to open up
the copyright law that is aware of all the competing issues most of
which are not even related to access and disability.

When the government is trying to cut funds at every turn, it does our
effort no good to shoot ourselves in the foot. Secondly the House
SubCommittee is not intending to End books for the blind they are doing
our job and asking some hard questions about the appropriate use of
public funds. Do I think they should spend their time looking at pork
elsewhere, of course, but when a government agency puts this kind of
target on their back what should they expect.


-----Original Message-----
From: athen-bounces at athenpro.org [mailto:athen-bounces at athenpro.org] On
Behalf Of Kestrell
Sent: Saturday, June 09, 2007 10:28 AM
To: Access Technologists in Higher Education Network
Subject: Re: [Athen] FW: House Subcommittee Vote Could End Books for the


I have spoken to a number of people involved in special librariaries for

blind, and all of them insist that their players, hardware as well as
software, must include DRM restrictions or the libraries will not be
able to

get the cooperations of publishers in distributing their work. My

is that the state of the technology is dictated by the libraries'
lawyers, and that perspective dictates the design of the technology, the

method, and everything else involved in the design and distribution of
the books and the players.

There are lots of blind readers who comprehend that this is not the most
efficient or most economically sound method for doing things, but those
dissenters seem tobe in the minority, or, at least, not on any of the
committees that make the decisions.

Ultimately, I find it sadly ironic that the same government which is
taking the NLS to task for insisting on the more expensive "special
formats" is the

same government that has contributed so much to the arcane nature of the
copyright laws which have left the special libraries so paranoid about

held accountable for any infringement that they feel compelled to go
design these special players (read the copyright declaration on any of
these NLS or

RFBD or even Bookshare books and you will get an idea of how the format
dictates the player and the distribution method, and even the
relationship witht he consumer).

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ron Stewart" <ron.stewart at dolphinusa.com>
To: "'Access Technologists in Higher Education Network'"
<athen at athenpro.org>
Sent: Friday, June 08, 2007 5:26 PM
Subject: [Athen] FW: House Subcommittee Vote Could End Books for the

>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




> 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 this.


> 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.



> PressRelease

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

> Jun 2007.



> 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



> CONTACT: John G. Pare Jr., Director of Public Relations of the

> National Federation of the Blind, +1-410-659-9314, extension 2371,


> +1-410-913-3912, jpare at nfb.org


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


> http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/news_press_release,118989.shtm

> l




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