The National Association for the Blind, Delhi (NAB) has been successfully running a library service for the visually impaired for nearly 20 years now. Under this project NAB wants to upgrade the facilities to produce the books in International DAISY & EPUB3 standards. DAISY & EPUB3 books are most accessible for persons with disabilities, they provide rich navigation and a multi-sensory presentation. NAB also wants to provide eBook readers to visually impaired persons on a subsidized cost so that they can take full advantage of the features built into the new digital formats.
“LESS THAN 1% OF BOOKS ARE ACCESSIBLE TO THE BLIND”
Persons with visual impairments cannot read the standard print. They need the reading material (text books, magazines, newspapers etc.) in alternative accessibleformats like Braille, audio book, large print or accessible eBook.
The reading material required by visually impaired persons is converted into accessible formats mainly by NGOs working for the blind, like NAB. The process of conversion of standard print material into accessible formats is timeconsuming and expensive. Due to resource constraints less than 1% of the published information is converted to accessible formats. The persons with visual impairments are facing a “book famine” – there is a dearth of books they can read. The situation is so grim that school students do not even get all their text books in a format they can read, let alone leisure reading books like stories and novels.
Emergence of new alternative formats like DAISY & EPUB3 holds lot of promise for the print impaired community(anyone who cannot read standard print). Since these are digital books they are easy to duplicate and transmit. These formats contain features that provide a pleasant reading experience to people with print impairments.These formats have support for integrated audio, magnification, text-to-speech, image descriptions and much more.