[Athen] FW: [bksvol-discuss] Great news about Bookshare.org

Robert Martinengo accessible.text at gmail.com
Wed Oct 3 14:13:56 PDT 2007

There are three pages. The one on Chafee, a translation of that page
to French, and a page on the library for the blind report. I am not
using it 'blog-style' - its just a place to try out ideas.

It seems to me there is a lack of critical thinking about the access
issue, so I am saying what I think needs to be said. I don't claim to
have any special insights, but I admit it bothers me when people
uncritically accept what is basically PR, from whatever the source,
and don't consider the potential negative implications of something
like a $32 million grant from the government.

On 10/3/07, Berkowitz, Daniel J <djbrky at bu.edu> wrote:

> Bob -- I do wish to be disparaging -- but your entire blog seems to be one posting...is this correct?



> =========================

> Daniel Berkowitz - Assistant Director

> Boston University Office of Disability Services

> 19 Deerfield Street, 2nd floor

> Boston, MA 02215


> (617) 353-3658 (office)

> (617) 353-9646 (fax)

> djbrky at bu.edu <mailto:djbrky at bu.edu> (eMail)

> www.bu.edu/disability <https://xmsweb.bu.edu/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.bu.edu/disability>


> ________________________________


> From: athen-bounces at athenpro.org on behalf of Robert Martinengo

> Sent: Wed 10/3/2007 3:29 PM

> To: Access Technologists in Higher Education Network

> Subject: Re: [Athen] FW: [bksvol-discuss] Great news about Bookshare.org




> Jim,


> I think you are confounding the appropriate roles of libraries and

> 'alternate media publishers' (I wrote a little essay about this on my

> blog: http://accessiblemedia.wordpress.com/culture-vs-copyright-re-examining-barriers-to-books-for-the-blind/

> ). Libraries are wonderful places, but they are not free (its called

> taxation), and Bookshare is not a library.


> The DoE should have offered at least some money directly to publishers

> to make their electronic versions of textbooks accessible (you know,

> the ones we complain about on DSSHE for being inaccessible). You say

> the cost of converting a book is greater than the market value, well,

> the feds just provide $32 million in subsidies. The problem is, it all

> went to a middle-man.


> Its easy to paint the big publishers as the 'boogieman', but they are

> the source of the material we want so badly to be accessible. So,

> logically, if you really want equal access, you need to go to the

> source. The publisher can be held accountable for the quality of their

> product - Bookshare can't be, and trust me, they wont be (just like

> RFB&D isn't).


> Remember, RFB&D has been around for over 50 years, with a strong donor

> and volunteer base, and a staff of hard working, dedicated people.

> They had over 100,000 books in their catalog (until they went

> digital). Yet, they simply cant meet the demand. This DoE grant is a

> band-aid that will prolong the problem, not solve it.


> Cheers,

> Bob



> On 10/3/07, Marks, Jim <marks at mso.umt.edu> wrote:

> > Bob, I am surprised by your comments, and I would urge you to elaborate

> > some more in case I'm misunderstanding you. Shouldn't any library be

> > able to offer its holdings for free? Why should people with

> > disabilities be singled out with requirements like being forced to

> > purchase a print book we cannot use just to get a book we can read?

> > I've never understood this ethic well, especially when one considers

> > that the cost of converting a book to a truly usable format is almost

> > always far more expensive than the market value of the print book. I've

> > heard all the arguments that the proof of purchase bit is a good thing,

> > but it's at best a gesture. And it's a gesture that ought not keep

> > people from information solely because of a print disability. The

> > property rights boogieman is a tool of oppression. It's entirely

> > possible for civil rights and property rights to co-exist. I want to go

> > to my library and read it's materials for free. That's what most people

> > want from a library, print disabled or not.

> >

> > For whatever it's worth, I think the grant will create more

> > accessibility all across the nation. The money will drive the

> > improvements, and the Bookshare folks are well aware of the challenges

> > they face in stepping up their services. My office has been

> > contributing e-text to Bookshare for several years now. Our

> > contribution numbers are not huge, but this grant will entrench

> > Bookshare more deeply in the post-secondary world. I'll bet more

> > colleges will be contributing soon, and that publishers will be doing

> > the same. It's not going to be "the" answer by a long shot, but the

> > grant is pretty good news if you're a student with a print disability.

> >

> > Jim Marks

> > Director of Disability Services

> > University of Montana

> > jim.marks at umontana.edu

> > http://www.umt.edu/dss/

> >

> > -----Original Message-----

> > From: athen-bounces at athenpro.org [mailto:athen-bounces at athenpro.org] On

> > Behalf Of Robert Martinengo

> > Sent: Tuesday, October 02, 2007 3:00 PM

> > To: Access Technologists in Higher Education Network

> > Subject: Re: [Athen] FW: [bksvol-discuss] Great news about Bookshare.org

> >

> > I think this grant could finally wake up educational publishers to the

> > reality that the government is paying a middle-man to give away the

> > publishers intellectual property.

> >

> > There is no stipulation from Bookshare that students have to buy their

> > books in order to receive their services, so they will be getting their

> > materials free. Not a bad deal for students, but it will rankle

> > publishers.

> >

> >

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