Bookshare wins Stockholm Challenge Award
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Palo Alto, CA, October 23, 2002: Bookshare®, an online accessible book service for people with visual and reading disabilities, won the education category on October 10 at the Stockholm Challenge, a prestigious international competition for socially motivated IT Projects held in Stockholm, Sweden. Bookshare is a project of Benetech®, a nonprofit based in Palo Alto, CA that develops technology projects for the disadvantaged.
“Bookshare provides an extensive online library of legally accessible digital books to people who are blind or have a significant reading disability. Reading-disabled people often wait many months for newly published books. Bookshare makes the books available within days on a PC with assistive technology, portable Braille devices, hard copy Braille or MP3 player. Thousands of Bookshare community members and volunteers scan books and submit them online. As more schools submit scanned books, the cost of providing accessible school texts to students should fall dramatically”, says Professor Alfonso Molina, Chairman of the Stockholm Challenge Jury.
In total, eight winners in six categories were awarded by the Mayor of Stockholm, Mr. Carl Cederschiöld, in the Stockholm City Hall, home of the annual Nobel Prize banquet. This year nearly 600 IT projects from 78 different countries throughout the world joined the Stockholm Challenge Award. 101 projects were selected for the Final Events. From the 71 submissions from the US, only Bookshare and Project Guttenberg Literary Archive Foundation (in the Culture category) won prizes.
Information on Bookshare and Benetech
Bookshare is an online library that offers accessible digital books to people in the US who are blind or have significant reading disabilities. By allowing users to legally share scanned books through a service that meets stringent copyright exemption requirements, Bookshare has already made more than 11,000 accessible books available to subscribers, helping to address the urgent problem that less than 5% of books are available to these individuals in accessible formats. Its February 2002 launch was covered in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today and Christian Science Monitor.
Benetech is an innovative Silicon Valley nonprofit that develops technology projects addressing major social problems in areas such as disability, human rights, literacy, education and the digital divide. Many technologies have compelling social applications that are not developed because such efforts do not meet investors' financial expectations. Benetech specifically pursues endeavors with a strong social, rather than financial, rate of return on investment, bringing commercial technology and private sector management techniques to bear in creating innovative, non-traditional solutions to such prevalent problems. Its current projects are Bookshare and the Martus Human Rights Bulletin System, a new technology tool to assist grassroots human rights workers worldwide to collect, safeguard and disseminate human rights violation information.
Information on The Stockholm Challenge
The Stockholm Challenge Award focuses on the positive effects of the information society, trying to bridge what is usually called the digital divide. The 28 person international jury seeks for good use of information technology that really has an impact on people’s lives. The Stockholm Challenge Award is a non-profit initiative of the City of Stockholm. Participating projects are private, public or academic
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