Alternative Format Production at a New Zealand University

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This paper was presented at the 2010 conference of the Round Table on Information Access for People with Print Disabilities: http://www.printdisability.org. You can read the full paper and listen to the audio recording on the conference blog site: http://roundtable2010.wordpress.com/conference-proceedings/3b-alternative-format-production-at-a-new-zealand-university-by-john-lambert/

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Alternative Format Production at a New Zealand University

  1. 1. Alternative Format Production at a New Zealand University Thinking Globally, Acting Locally
  2. 2. John Lambert, Disability Resource Service, AUT University • Currently part-time Alternative Format Production Coordinator • Also part-time Adaptive Technology Coordinator • Formerly Disabled Student Resource Officer, Auckland University Students’ Association 1987-1997
  3. 3. 1980s • From card indexes to VDU search • From braille to text-to-speech • From volunteer readers to OCR assistance
  4. 4. Early 1990s Technology • Laptop computer • Text-to-speech • OCR with Kurzweill • Internet Support • RNZFB provided alternative format • Volunteers on campus
  5. 5. Late 1990s • CCTV • Laptop computers • BrailleNote • OCR • Flatbed scanner • Magnification software • Ring-fenced funding for (generalised) disabled student support (SSG) • Funding for individuals in work or education (Workbridge) • Rising demand on (underfunded) services by adults of RNZFB
  6. 6. Late 1990s Technology • CCTV • Laptop computers • BrailleNote • OCR • Flatbed scanner • Magnification software Support (and issues) • Ring-fenced funding for (generalised) disabled student support (SSG) • Funding for individuals in work or education (Workbridge) • Rising demand on (underfunded) services by adults of RNZFB
  7. 7. AUT University • 1998 Adaptive Technology Coordinator • Single licence magnification software • Single desktop OCR (OpenBook) and flatbed scanner • Single user voice-recognition software • Desktop computers • DRS in scattered locations
  8. 8. Ungrading software and hardware • Multiple licence for magnification software • Multiple licence for OCR (for blind) software • Dedicated Adaptive Technology room(s) • Dedicated Adaptive Technology computer(s)
  9. 9. Alternative Format Production • Started as individual student support (SSG) • Simple OCR and flatbed • Then upgraded OpenBook OCR and flatbed • Model on RNZFB producing plain text • Photocopy enlargements (A4 to A3)
  10. 10. 2000s • Look at disability support overseas • Familiarise with RNZFB functions • Model on RNZFB producing plain text • Upgrade photocopier to multifunction scanner
  11. 11. Funding changes • RNZFB provides AltFormat, no cost to TEI • 2002 Storm or Sea-change (Australia) • 2003 T.E.C funds TEI for AltFormat
  12. 12. Figure 1: AltFormat @AUT Year Students DRS Hours Outsourced 2004 12 404 $10,777 2005 14 705 $7,693 2007 14 730 $150 2008 15 780 2009 10 908 2010 13
  13. 13. Workloads and Workflows • Peaks, troughs and bottle-necks • Distributed task model • From plain text to structured Word • Guide for internal DRS use • Guide for wider distribution through ACHIEVE • RNZFB guidance and leadership
  14. 14. Publisher co-operation • At first just permission, scan from print, and OCR • Then some plain text and Word files, odd formatting • Now established procedures and commonly PDF files usable ‘as is’ by some • Future is accessible e-text
  15. 15. Future of AltFormat units • Niche transcription (maths, music, visual description) • Niche materials (braille, tactuals, audio, captions) • Facilitating access to accessible publisher material (DRM issues?)

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