Bookshare.org Supports Student ReadersBy Harrison, Ann; Closing the Gap, Vol. 26, No. 6
Publication Date: February/March 2008
Feature on Bookshare.org, an on-line digital library of accessible books. Founded in 2002 by the non-profit technology organization Benetech, the initially subscription-based service was recently awarded a government contract to expand its collection and provide free access to U.S. students with print disabilities. To comply with copyright law, subscribers must provide proof of a print disability such as blindness, low vision, mobility impairment or a reading disability. Bookshare.org published over 5,700 new digital books in 2006 alone; it has permission to distribute about 3,000 copyrighted titles worldwide and offers texts in both English and Spanish. Among its titles are books on the New York Times best-seller list and the Harry Potter series. Newspapers and magazines are available through the National Federation of the Blind’s NFB-NEWSLINE. Bookshare.org files can be converted to assistive technology such as large print, Braille, synthesized speech, CD, DVD and MP3 digital audio. A technical conversion process transforms scanned book files into the DAISY/NISO standard and the digital Braille (BRF) format. Benetech is working with technology companies, such as Adobe, Microsoft and Google, and publishers, such as O’Reilly Media and Scholastic, to gain access to digital content and expand Bookshare’s library.
Published by: Closing the Gap, Inc. (Website:http://www.closingthegap.com)