Volume IV Number 1, April 1997

Featured Articles

The Multi-disability Workstation for Small Libraries

Dick Banks, Adaptive Technologist
Steve Noble, Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic

This presentation is designed to assist those who need to know how to make their library computing environment as accessible as possible, while at the same time trying to work with a small budget. The presenters will focus on workable solutions to today's library access problems.

Talking Books: Toward a Digital Model

John Cookson, Lloyd Rasmussen, George Stockton
National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped

We propose to develop performance criteria for next-generation digital talking books (DTB) by using the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) standardization process. This process entails soliciting advice from all interested parties including users, consumer organizations, and manufacturers, then seeking consensus on the characteristics of the contemplated product. NISO is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to develop and maintain technical standards for information services, libraries, publishers, and others involved in the business of creation, storage, preservation, sharing, accession, and dissemination of data.

World Wide Access: Focus on Libraries

Sheryl Burgstahler, Ph D
Dan Comden
University of Washington

The dramatic growth of both electronic information sources and adaptive technology make it possible for libraries to serve visitors with disabilities as never before! Libraries can play a key role in increasing the independence, participation, and productivity of people with disabilities. Besides providing access to adaptive technology, they can help assure that their electronic resources are accessible when using that technology. This paper summarizes guidelines that can be employed to make electronic resources in libraries easier to use by patrons with a diverse set of characteristics. World Wide Web access issues are highlighted.

The Virtual Library: Collaborative Data Exchange and Electronic Text Delivery

Steve Noble, Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic

Though the proper usage of the term "virtual library" is still being debated, this expression usually refers to libraries that exist primarily in an electronic environment, and ultimately to the future convergence of all computer accessible information via the Internet. During the 1970s we began to see the first explicit references to the "electronic library," though the underlying concept of libraries utilizing digitally stored information had earlier roots. Most historians of modern library systems are quick to point to statements made in 1961 by the mathematician John Kemeny, who predicted that the library of the year 2000 would consist primarily of terminal connections to distant computer sites holding text materials in central locations across the world.

The Law and Library Access for Patrons with Disabilities

Sarah Hawthorne
U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights

Jeffrey Senge
California State University, Fullerton

Norman Coombs
EASI (Equal Access to Software and Information)

The Architectural Barriers Act mandated physical access to buildings. Now disabled patrons are also insisting on access to the information in those buildings. Educational institutions understood that the 1973 Rehabilitation Act required provision of access to educational materials. Traditionally, this meant providing either reader services or audio taped materials. Now this must be expanded to mean access to information technology. The Americans with Disabilities Act, besides reinforcing the schools' obligation to make information technology accessible with alternate computer technology, makes this same obligation apply to public libraries.

Book Review

Anne Pemberton reviews Marcia J. Scherer's book Living in the State of Stuck: How Technology Impacts the Lives of Persons with Disabilities (Cambridge, Mass.: Brookline Books, 1996).

The title of this book caught my attention. What is a "state of stuck"? My experience as a special education teacher led me to envision lives caught in the web of harsh reality, halted by accident or accident of birth from realization of their full potential; I wondered further what could be said about the glass ceiling that hadn't been said before by others.