Audio Books from RFB&D Are Now Accessible on the Mac

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A new software player for Mac and Windows users makes reading and educational content more accessible for people with learning differences.

With RFB&D ReadHear, students can download and enjoy their DAISY-formatted books within minutes.

Princeton, NJ (Vocus) November 29, 2010 -- Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic® (RFB&D®), the nation’s largest provider of educational audio textbooks, announced that its entire collection is now accessible on Mac as well as Windows operating systems through the introduction of RFB&D ReadHear, developed by gh, LLC in partnership with RFB&D.

“This is truly a milestone on our path to make educational content more accessible for those who need it most,” says Andrew Friedman, acting CEO of RFB&D. “Our individual and institutional members are eager to tap the spectrum of assistive technologies available today. While satisfying users who have been asking for access to our materials on the Mac, this dual-platform approach also provides an advanced solution for our large base of Windows users. We look forward to widening their range of accessibility even more in the coming year.”

Background:

  •     This long awaited development is the result of RFB&D’s extensive collaboration with gh, LLC, an assistive technology company specializing in access to information for people with visual, learning or physical disabilities.
  •     A new dual-platform software player developed by gh enables users to access the entire library of RFB&D DAISY-formatted content on both Mac and Windows systems. The new technology will also support RFB&D’s developing generation of content containing digital text and audio.
  •     Thanks to funding provided by the U.S. Department of Education, RFB&D will license the player to individual members for free (one copy per member, renewable after one year).
  •     A brief video product demonstration of the new RFB&D ReadHear solution is posted at http://www.rfbd.org/readhear . The page is a one-stop info hub for Mac OS and Windows users, featuring technical specifications, “How To” and “Quick Start” documents; and an FAQ.
  •     Institutional members (e.g. school systems) can obtain information and price quotes regarding licensing opportunities by contacting James Higgins, Vice President RFB&D Programs and Services at jhiggins(at)rfbd(at)org.

“This is a positive step forward for accessibility,” says Alexa Posny, Assistant Secretary in the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services at the U.S. Department of Education. “People with learning differences can thrive when their menu of technology options is open and diverse.”

““I found ReadHear very easy to download and set up, and it really streamlines the study process,” says Elizabeth Burns, a visually impaired graduate student in upstate New York who is pursuing her doctorate in American History. “I spend several hours reading and studying every day, using a few devices along with my computer. I was constantly shifting between devices to listen and take notes. Now by being able to access a recorded book and take notes on my computer, it’s a matter of just a few keystrokes between one program and the other, which is marvelous because it reduces the amount of physical effort.”

“gh has worked as the industry leader for many years on developing state-of-the-art software to support DAISY books on a variety of platforms,” adds Dave Schleppenbach, President of gh, LLC. “Our mission is to assist as many students as possible with cutting-edge technology to support their varied learning styles. Working with RFB&D is a tremendous opportunity to reach students across the country, hopefully changing lives for the better.”

About Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic®
Founded in 1948, RFB&D serves more than 270,000 K-12, college and graduate students, as well as veterans and lifelong learners – all of whom cannot read standard print due to blindness, visual impairment, dyslexia, or other disability. RFB&D's collection of more than 63,000 digitally recorded textbooks and literature titles – delivered through internet downloads, various assistive technology devices, and CD – is the largest of its kind in the world. More than 5,400 volunteers across the U.S. help to record and process the books, which students rely on to achieve educational success and entry into the workforce. RFB&D, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, is funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Education, state and local education programs, and the generous contributions of individuals, foundations and corporations. For more information, call (866) 732-3585 or visit http://www.rfbd.org .

About gh, LLC
gh, LLC is an award-winning assistive technology company providing access to information for people with a visual, learning or physical disability, whether they are reading a textbook, publication, standardized test, or website. Conversion services include Braille, tactile graphics, Digital Talking Books, and NIMAS formats. For more information on gh, LLC, click here.

Contact: Doug Sprei, Director of Media Relations
dsprei(at)rfbd(dot)org; (202) 684-8915

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