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

Marks, Jim marks at mso.umt.edu
Mon Jun 11 10:00:10 PDT 2007

My understanding of what NLS plans, and this could be incorrect, is that
NLS will use media and players that are proprietary and non-commercial
in nature. So, instead of being able to go out and buy a player of
choice, NLS patrons will be stuck with whatever NLS provides us. It may
well be that a market will respond after NLS does its thing. NLS is
using Daisy, though. Unfortunately, the navigation levels in the
proposed NLS talking books will be very poor. NLS is trying to serve
the lowest common denominator, and they offer a system that pretty much
rules out the functionality many of us have come to value as vital in
our print alternative books. My main issue with NLS is that it did not
collaborate very much with organizations like Recording for the Blind
and Dyslexic and other libraries of alternate formats, including those
provided by countries other than the US. When the half-speed,
four-sided tape cassette technology came out, all the libraries
cooperated to deliver products that were similar enough to make them
standard and highly functional as a result. Now we face some serious
chaos in how to read talking books and e-text. I just wish NLS had
taken the time to work within the existing structures already in place
out there. Even so, we ought to support NLS funding so that its
resources do not go away. For me, it's like NLS is an old friend who
has done something stupid enough to warrant criticism, but one would not
turn away from that friend in a crisis. The funding issue is indeed a

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 John Gardner
Sent: Saturday, June 09, 2007 12:56 AM
To: 'Access Technologists in Higher Education Network'
Subject: Re: [Athen] FW: House Subcommittee Vote Could End Books

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
Is this wrong?


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