Monday, January 12, 2009
A lot of people don't know that there are already accessibility features built into most Microsoft Windows operating systems. To access these features in Microsoft Windows XP first click on the Start menu, followed by "All Programs", followed by "Accessories", followed by "Accessibility" which will lead you to an Accessibility Wizard, Magnifier, Narrator, On Screen Keyboard and a Utility Manager. The Accessibility Wizard helps a user configure his or her computer via a set of options for those who are blind or have difficulty seeing things on the screen and those who have difficulty using the mouse or keyboard. The Magnifier option creates a viewing area at the top of the screen that magnifies the focus of the mouse pointer or keyboard as well as inverts the color scheme. The Narrator option operates like a screen reader for those who have trouble viewing the screen. The onscreen keyboard is set up exactly like a standard keyboard except the keys are selected by the mouse pointer. The Utilities Manager assists in using the accessibility features.
Monday, January 5, 2009
In early 2009 the Talking Book / Special Needs Library will begin a transition from books on cassette to digital books on flash cartridges. This new service will be first available to veterans of the United States Armed Forces, then to those customers 100 years of age and older, followed by the rest of our Talking Book eligible customers. The new Talking Book reader will be about 1/3 the size of the current tape player, weigh almost half as much and function much like a CD or MP3 player. The actual Talking Books will be recorded on a flash device that is about the size of a tape cassette. Most Talking Books will fit on one cartridge with only very few requiring an extra cartridge. During the digital transition Talking Books on cassette will still be available alongside what will be a small but growing digital Talking Book collection. We anticipate Talking Books on cassette being available for another 10 to 12 years. For more information on the Talking Book digital transition visit the following website: http://www.loc.gov/nls/newsletters/flash/.