Bookshare Launches Institutional Access
A new way for schools to provide accessible digital books to their students
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Palo Alto, CA, February 17, 2004: Bookshare® now offers Institutional Access, allowing schools and groups to provide accessible digital books directly to students or other individuals they serve who have disabilities.
The new Institutional Access option enables a school or group’s staff to purchase a pre-set number of books to be downloaded as needed by staff on behalf of qualifying students. Institutional Access is ideal for schools favoring staff control over book downloads, as well as schools with younger students or students who may not have individual access to the Internet.
This new offering does not replace the existing capability to purchase sponsored subscriptions for independent access to the Bookshare collection by students. The existing Multiple Subscription option is ideal for schools that want to encourage independent student access to our entire library of books.
Both of these options are now available through a Bookshare School or Group Account.
“Schools have asked for Institutional Access, and we are excited to be able to offer it. Now schools have a choice of downloading the books themselves to deliver to qualifying students or offering independent student access to the collection by sponsoring subscriptions,” says Alison Lingane, Bookshare Senior Product Manager.
Under this new offering, schools pre-purchase the number of books that they expect to download over the next 12-month period, but do not need to choose the actual book titles until they are ready to download the book(s). Then, schools sign up each student who will receive books by providing proof of disability and signed member agreements. When downloading a book, the school indicates which student will receive the book, then delivers the book directly and only to that student.
More detail can be found at: www.bookshare.org/institutions.
Books from Bookshare contain etext: the full text of the book that can be read with the adaptive technology of the reader's choice, including text-to-speech software or hardware devices, or refreshable Braille devices. Books can also be sent to a Braille embosser. Books are available for download in DAISY or contracted digital Braille formats. Flexible use meets the diverse needs of diverse students.
Easy navigation, full text search, and bookmarking capability are all possible with DAISY format books using the talking software that is provided with membership. The Victor Reader Soft, Bookshare Edition software can be installed at school and at home, providing students with one ready-to-use option for reading the Bookshare books.
This new Institutional Access offering was designed in consultation with the Association of American Publishers, and continues to provide users of Bookshare with flexible options while respecting the rights of copyright holders under the law.
Jim Fruchterman, President of Benetech®, says, “Bookshare was founded, in part, to help address the dramatic need that students and schools have for accessible books. Many schools spend incredible resources to produce books by scanning because they aren’t available in accessible formats, and Bookshare helps reduce their costs by providing access to this growing repository of scanned books.”
Bookshare offers a collection of 17,000 accessible digital books to its members. The books are protected by a comprehensive digital rights management plan, which features extensive controls, including file encryption, watermarks, fingerprinting and a security watch program. Bookshare builds on 15 years of work in the adaptive technology field, originally under the Arkenstone name.
The Benetech Initiative is a Silicon Valley nonprofit that develops sustainable, technology-based solutions to address pressing social challenges in areas such as disability, human rights, education and literacy. Many beneficial technologies have compelling social applications that are not developed because such efforts do not meet for-profit 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 challenging social issues. More information on Benetech and its projects can be found at www.benetech.org or by calling (650) 644-3400.
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