Libraries for the Blind Launch Digital Audio Book Service

Jan 07, 2005


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State libraries for the blind in Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Oregon, along with the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), part of the Library of Congress, have partnered to launch a digital audiobook service for visually impaired users. Unabridged is designed to enable blind patrons to check out and download digital spoken word audio books directly to their computers. The digital audio books can then be played back on a PC, transferred to a portable MP3 playback device, or burned onto CDs. The first year of the program will serve as the pilot phase, with a limited number of users in each participating state.

Member Libraries include: Colorado Talking Book Library; Delaware Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped; Illinois Network of Libraries Serving the Blind and Physically Handicapped; National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped; New Hampshire State Library, Talking Books Program; and Oregon State Library, Talking Book & Braille Services.

Unabridged is powered by the new digital audio book system from OverDrive. The content is delivered as encrypted Windows Media Audio (WMA) files applying Digital Rights Management service (DRM). Playback on a personal computer is accomplished using the new OverDrive Media Console (OMC) software. OMC builds on the existing features of Windows Media Player to offer functions such as MediaMarkers, which allow non-linear navigation, bookmarks, and the ability to skip back 15 seconds in the digital audio book.
(www.overdrive.com; www.unabridged.info)