2006 Conference General Sessions

Presenter #1
Ivan Lagace
HumanWare Canada
447 Parc-Industriel Street
04H 3V6
Country: Canada
Day Phone: 819-471—4818
Fax: 819—471—4828 I/L
Email: christine.fortier@humanware.com

This presentation will give a brief overview of the DAISY talking book format and demonstrate how the new version 2.0 of Victor Reader Soft provides a much improved DAISY reading experience for both low vision and learning disabled readers.
Complete Paper: Although the DAISY digital talking book standard for navigable digital talking books was conceived and first implemented by libraries for the blind, its usefulness to the learning disabled community quickly became evident. The presentation will offer a brief introduction to the DAISY standard for digital talking books and comment on its advantages to blind, low vision, and learning disabled readers. This will be followed by a demonstration of reading a DAISY CD talking book using Victor Reader Soft on a PC.
The demonstration will show how both recorded audio and the equivalent electronic text of the book content can be listened to and read in parallel. It will demonstrate the advantages of DAISY navigation which allows the user to move freely between chapters, sections, and pages of the book. These are significant benefits to both low vision and learning disabled people who previously relied on slow sequential navigation of cassette talking books.
Earlier versions of Victor Reader Soft provided a keyboard only user interface. This is optimal for blind people who benefit from a simple menu structure and keyboard shortcuts to read their DAISY books. However, the interest in Victor Reader Soft by learning disabled people underscored the importance of also providing a graphical user interface. Learning disabled people are impeded by the keyboard interface which requires reading menus and memorizing keyboard sequences. Learning disabled readers are better served by a graphical user interface that allows simple point and click activation of navigation and command functions.
The new graphical interface will have a media player look and feel with clickable buttons for DAISY navigation arrows, Play/Stop, and Fast Forward/Rewind. There will be slidebars for setting volume and speed. A status bar will give a graphical representation of book position. For learning disabled readers, these graphical representation of book position and navigation are easier to comprehend than audio messages and keyboard commands. However, the latter are still available for blind and low vision readers.
The presentation will demonstrate the new interface and highlight other features of this release including an improved open book dialog, improved global navigation window, a new export feature for text notes, and support of the NISO book format. NISO is an extension to the DAISY format and is being introduced by some libraries. DAISY NISO will also be the format of the new digital talking books from NLS (National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress)
Victor Reader Soft 2.0 will maximize the reading flexibility of advanced DAISY NISO books that include both text and recorded audio. The user will be able to toggle quickly between three reading modes: access the recorded audio with DAISY navigation, access the book text through text—to--speech and DAISY navigation, or access to the book text through text-to-speech with Windows style navigation.
The new Victor Reader Soft is also available for MAC OSX computers. All of the new functionality is now available for either Windows PC or MAC users.
The session will be interactive and offer an opportunity for the audience to learn about the new Victor Reader Soft features and offer their input for future upgrades.

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