Volume II Number 1, January 1995

Feature Articles

Developing an Accessible Online Public Access Catalog at the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library

Charles Hamilton, Public Access Catalog Program Coordinator

During 1993, the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL), formerly the Washington Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, undertook a project to develop an online public access catalog. Patrons can now search all titles in the collection, including old and new titles, and titles produced locally. Access is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day. From the comfort of their homes and at their leisure, patrons can use their personal computers with adaptive output devices to look at all titles by an author or within a particular subject area, or search for a specific title, and then request specific books, or leave other messages for the staff. WTBBL staff members process these requests the next working day, thus bypassing the delay in receiving mail requests. In addition, agencies such as public libraries have access to this online catalog, which enables them to enhance the service currently offered to members of their community.

Assistive Technology in the Science Laboratory: A Talking Laboratory Work Station for Visually Impaired Science Students

David Lunney
Department of Chemistry and Science
Institute for the Disabled
East Carolina University
Greenville NC

Much assistive technology for people with disabilities has been developed in the last ten years or so, but the developers of such technology usually quit as soon as they have provided access to computers. But to chemists, physicists, and engineers, that seems to be only half the job: computers are great laboratory tools, and if you connect a suitably adapted computer to instruments and sensors in a laboratory and provide it with suitable data acquisition and data analysis software, you have a great way to make careers in science and engineering more accessible to people with disabilities.

Book Review: The CD-ROM Advantage for Blind Users

Diane Croft, Deborah Kendrick and Albert Gayzagian
National Braille Press
Ann Parsons

"Why should a blind person care about CD-ROMs?" "What equipment do you need to use CD-ROM?" "Are drives expensive, and where do I buy them?" These questions and many more are answered clearly and concisely by The National Braille Press' new reference guide, The CD-ROM Advantage For Blind Users. This handy, one volume, starter manual, presents information about a new and fascinating technology. The pamphlet is meant for blind computer users who just beginning to learn about the enormous advantages of purchasing and using CD-ROM discs.

Call for Participation: Workshop on Developing AI Applications for the Disabled in Conjunction with The 14th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence

held in conjunction with The 14th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence

Although there is interest in applying AI techniques to systems that assist disabled people, the area is not yet a well-defined field of application. We expect many of our discussions to be exploratory, and will focus on the following points in particular:

  1. Description of AI techniques or methods that have proven useful in designing applications for the disabled.
  2. Characterization of applications in which AI techniques are likely to be of significant use.
  3. Analyses of novel interfaces that can be used by the disabled.
  4. Empirical studies of successes or failures, documenting the effect of AI techniques in designing applications.
  5. The applicability of already established work in other related areas (such as robotics, computational linguistics, speech generation, etc) to such applications.