The nonprofit Internet Archive announced a new effort to more than double the number of books in its digital database that can be used by the visually impaired. The project, using funding from foundations, libraries, and the U.S. government, will involve hundreds of people scanning thousands of books into the Internet Archive in so they can be read by the software and devices blind people use to convert written pages into speech, according to founder Brewster Kahle, who says the goal is to initially make one million books available to the visually impaired.
Many of the digitized books sold commercially are expensive, abridged, or come in a format that is difficult to access by the visually impaired, Kahle says. The Internet Archive has 20 scanning centers in five countries, including one at the Library of Congress.
Getting access to books has been a big challenge for blind people, says National Federation for the Blind president Marc Maurer. The digitized books will be available for free to visually impaired people through Internet Archive's website.
From The Associated Press
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