Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Modest Complaint to Bookshare

Thanks to incredible work on the part of socially responsible publishers, our volunteers and the Bookshare team, we've been adding books at at incredible rate: more than 10,000 books in the last month. As a result, I recently received the following complaint letter from one of our long-term members, Chancey Fleet:

Jim,

I would like to register a complaint! Bookshare is piling on books faster than I can read the titles. Ever since I was a kid, I was a title glutton. I went through every catalog the NLS had and every Braille Book Review. I did the same later with Web Braille, and whole months have gone by during which I knew every book that hit the collection.

This was viable, maybe even adaptive behaviour in a climate of scarcity. I could pluck out a handful of the finite number of books on offer and leave the rest, and if I didn’t have absolute choice, I at least got to be sure I wasn’t missing anything.

Not. Anymore. Bookshare is adding so much content that favourite authors of mine are creeping into the collection without my noticing. I’m finding whole herds of books I thought would be too frivolous ever to scan but that I secretly wanted to read but that that *I* would never scan because I would look silly. (E.G. a compendium of fashion mistakes spotted in Brooklyn. An anthology of rejection letters. Something called Zen Computer that gives you a meditation for every function key on the keyboard (the @ reminds you to consider your position in the universe!))..)

Seriously, you guys rock. I love this new pace and all the variety. Feel free to share this with whoever’s responsible for the awesomeness.

Best,

Chancey


Thanks, Chancey. We take all complaints seriously!

Footnote: NLS stands for the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, part of the U.S. Library of Congress and the nation's number one provider of books for blind people. They also operate Web Braille, an online Braille ebook service with roughly ten thousand titles.

4 comments:

OpinionAddled said...

What a great complaint to get--you're giving a bookaholic a run for his money. Good job, Bookshare!

john_edwin said...

One of the reasons that books can be added to Bookshare.org at such a rapid pace is that -- at least as far as last reported by the NFB and BANA -- no US LOC Certified Bralle Transcriber edits the Braille volumes.

Jim Fruchterman said...

Our Braille display users are the most passionate Bookshare users, because they can have access to far more Braille content without the need for an expensive manual intervention. That was the point of the post: we're actually making Braille practical at scale. Publisher quality digital files going into digital Braille devices directly removes a large barrier to braille literacy!

john_edwin said...

It is certainly not practical for *every* book made available by Bookshare.org to be fully edited; some books based upon format, etc., need it more than others. Some books however become practically unreadable without manual intervention ... but the Braille reading audience is often faced with the options of un-edited Braille or nothing. None of the providers of digital Braille translation software suggest that their output is BANA or LOC compliant without manual intervention.