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New Bookshare Online Introduction to Accessible Formats

by Paul Nisbet

on Tue May 04, 2010

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Bookshare has a new online learning module for people who want to learn more about accessible digital books and resources. It has a US focus, but has good examples, with video and audio clips, of why some pupils need books in accessible digital formats and why it makes a difference to their education.

Bookshare is a huge US database of over 70,000 titles in Daisy 3 and BRF (Braille) formats: it shows what you can do with $32 million over 5 years of federal money. Memo to Victoria Quay: any chance of similar funding for the Books for All Scotland Database?

About 5,000 of the Bookshare titles are available to readers and schools outside the USA - see the Bookshare UK and International Membership pages. Most of the books are fiction titles and so it's worth doing a search on the database (use the Advanced Search button and look for "Books available worldwide") to see if there are books which you want. If there are, you might want to join Bookshare. The cost of international membership is $25 initially plus a $75 annual fee; organisations such as schools and libraries and I think also local authority services can pay for individual pupils (at the individual membership rate), or by the number of books you want to download (30 books for $300, 60 books for $450, 100 books for $600). 

Membership also gives you free access to software for reading the Daisy books - Victor Reader Soft, which is probably best for readers with visual impairment, and Read OutLoud Bookshare Edition, which is designed more with dyslexia or reading difficulties in mind. With the BRF files, you can print out Braille copies.

Tags: Books for All, accessible formats, Bookshare, dyslexia, literacy, visual impairment, print disability

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