Simpler, Quicker Way to Read Bookshare Books
Organize Books on a Bookshelf and Read with a Browser
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February 4, 2013 – Palo Alto, CA – Last week at the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) conference, Bookshare®, a global leader in providing copyrighted digital accessible books to people with print disabilities, introduced two innovative product additions: the Bookshare Web Reader and Bookshelf. These new tools received positive feedback from all conference attendees. The Web Reader will help Bookshare members directly open and read books with a browser, without requiring them to download the book or utilize separate software. The Bookshelf will greatly help members and sponsors organize reading for themselves or their students. For example, teachers can place books, such as NIMAC textbooks or other assigned reading, on a Bookshelf to be downloaded later, or give direct access to the book to students with individual memberships—they can log in and read using the Web Reader.
“These latest improvements to the Bookshare reading experience align with our long range vision to provide individuals with print disabilities equal access to content,” said Betsy Beaumon, Vice President and General Manager of the Literacy Program at Benetech. “We expect members will read more because they will access their books more quickly and have just one click to begin reading.”
“The Bookshelf makes it easy for teachers to download the year’s reading list for multiple students at once, thus saving time,” said Justin Kolbe, Assistive Technology Specialist. “It’s a good way of getting all the reading material organized in one place.”
With the new Bookshelf, individuals can organize Bookshelves by any system they want, such as by interest or author. Likewise, educators can also devise their own system and may choose to save books by subject, class, or student. Adding a book to a Bookshelf is extremely easy; when educators or members find a book, they simply select “Add to Bookshelf” instead of one of the download options. Books can be added to “My Favorites” or to multiple custom Bookshelves. For example, an educator can assign the same book to multiple students, with each individually fingerprinted in the background upon download.
The Bookshare Web Reader is currently optimized for members with learning disabilities, physical disabilities, or low vision. Compatible with Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and IE 9.0 and above, Web Reader allows readers to adjust font size, colors and display format. It takes advantage of new and exciting features in the Google Chrome browser which allow students to read books multi-modally, with word-by-word highlighting and text-to-speech.For further details about functionality, use with different browsers, and training, please visit this page. Three videos demonstrate how to use the new tools:
o Bookshelf for Organizations
o Bookshelf for Individuals
o Bookshare Web Reader
The Bookshare Web Reader and Bookshelf are free to Bookshare members.
Bookshare is the world’s largest online accessible library of copyrighted content for people with print disabilities. Through its technology initiatives and partnerships, Bookshare seeks to raise the floor on accessibility issues so that individuals with print disabilities have the same ease of access to print materials as people without disabilities. In 2007, Bookshare received a five-year award from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), to provide free access for all U.S. students with a qualified print disability. The Bookshare library now has over 175,000 books and serves more than 230,000 members. Bookshare is an initiative of Benetech, a Palo Alto, CA-based nonprofit which creates sustainable technology to solve pressing social needs.
To learn more about Bookshare, please visit www.bookshare.org.
The content of this press release was developed under a cooperative agreement, H327D110005, with the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.