2001 Conference Proceedings

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APH Accessible Textbook Initiative and Collaboration and Book Works

Larry Skutchan
lskutchan@aph.org

Jane Lyons
jlyons@aph.org 
American Printing House for the Blind
PO Box 6085
Louisville, KY 40206

Getting textbooks to blind and visually impaired students has always been a tremendous problem. Not only is the task of preparing braille material a large one, but the situation is complicated when subjects like math and science are involved.

The U. S. congress attempted to remedy this situation in 1879 by specifying the American Printing House for the Blind as the official printing house and provided each blind and visually impaired student in the country with funds with which to purchase textbooks. While the printing house has been responsive to student needs, several factors in recent years have complicated the process of getting textbooks into student's hands in a timely manner. Among these problems are the increasing number of students, the increased focus on science and technology, and the tendency for states to adopt specialized regional textbooks.

Recognizing that traditional methods of producing textbooks falls further and further from the student's needs each year, the printing house has taken a multi-pronged approach to remedy this situation. The Accessible Textbook and Initiative Collaboration (ATIC) project combines legislative initiatives, increased personnel, widespread collaboration, and technology to help get the textbooks to the student when he or she needs it.

This presentation outlines some of the techniques ATIC uses and previews a new software package, Book Works, which is used to prepare and deliver textbook content in DAISY 3.0 format to the student in a wide variety of accessible media. The media supported by Book works includes hard copy and on screen large print, embossed and refreshable braille, synthesized speech, and digital audio.

The demonstration shows how a book marked up with the DAISY 3.0 Document Type Definition (DTD) can quickly and easily be prepared for reading any any or all of these formats. The demonstration shows a typical book that can be read in any size large print, synthesized speech, and uncontracted or contracted braille with a minimum of preparation time. It shows the steps necessary to improve the braille contraction process and debuts a new, interactive translation system to capitalize on the DAISY format to produce more accurate translation. The demonstration also shows the process of adding the digital audio component to the textbook.

There will be time at the end of the presentation to allow audience interaction by giving members the opportunity to let Book Works handle specific issues that may be unique to the participant.


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