CNIB seeks $33 million to develop world’s first digital library – Disability – Canadian National Institute for the Blind

CNIB seeks $33 million to develop world’s first digital library – Disability – Canadian National Institute for the Blind – Brief Article

TORONTO — The Canadian National Institute for the Blind launched its $33 million “That all may read …” nationwide campaign to digitize its library of alternate format materials. Currently, only three per cent of published materials are available in a format that is accessible to those who are blind or visually impaired. By digitizing the library, CNIB clients will have access to tens of thousands of new books, over 40 newspapers and hundreds of magazines.

“What this project means is that after 31 years of blindness, I will be able to read a daily newspaper every morning, at the same time as everyone else,” said James Sanders, president of the CNIB. “Reading the paper before work is taken for granted in the sighted world, but such immediate access to published material hasn’t been a possibility for the blind until now.”

Currently, materials are available in braille or by listening to talking books on audio playback machines. These machines are obsolete, as are some of the library’s production facilities and must be updated in order to continue to serve library users.

Additional project goals include:

* Doubling the collection to more than 120,000 titles,

* Creating the world’s first Internet library portal for the blind,

* Housing one of Canada’s largest audio archives,

* Providing access to the CNIB catalogue, e-books and accessible websites, and newspapers and magazines available online/by phone.

In partnership with the CNIB, Microsoft Canada is designing the platform architecture to manage the digital library that will combine some of the world’s most complex and advanced digital access and storage systems.

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