BULLETIN BOARD

A Newsletter of the Wisconsin Regional Library for the Blind & Physically Handicapped
(Autumn 2000, Volume 18, Number 2)

NLS Launches Braille Magazine Pilot Project on the Internet

Following the successful implementation of Web-Braille, The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) is now conducting a pilot project to make Braille magazines available through Web-Braille. These formatted grade 2 braille files will be similar to those for books and can be accessed and used in the same manner.
Initially the project will consist of a weekly posting of the Braille edition of the New York Times Large Type Weekly and an occasional posting of Braille sports schedules. Other magazines will be added over the next few months.
A link to the Braille magazine pilot project can be found on the Web-Braille site. All current subscribers to Web-Braille can access the magazines immediately. For further information contact: Judith M. Dixon, NLS Consumer Relations Officer, e-mail: jdix@loc.gov

ANNOUNCEMENTS

The National Center on Accessibility, one of the premiere training, technical assistance, and research centers in the United States focused on accessibility to parks, recreation and tourism, is moving to the Indiana University-Bloomington campus. NCA was established as a collaborative program of Indiana University and the National Park Service in 1992. Since then, the Center has been stationed at Bradford Woods, a 2,400 acre outdoor and leadership center of IU specializing in camping, environmental education, and challenge activities for youth and adults with and without disabilities. At Bradford Woods, NCA has been able to conduct numerous training programs and research studies including projects on trail surfaces, beaches and pool access. NCA's partnership with Bradford Woods also lead to the design and construction of a universally designed, state-of-the-art outdoor amphitheater featuring full wheelchair access to every seat in the house for concerts, plays and campfire songs. By moving to the Indiana University-Bloomington campus, NCA staff hope to utilize university resources to continue to develop the Center's programs, including research and distance learning projects. Their new address is:
National Center on Accessibility
Indiana University
2805 East 10th Street, Suite 190
Bloomington IN 47408-2698
Phone: 812-856-4422
TTY: 812-856-4421
Fax: 812-856-4480
E-mail: nca@indiana.edu
URL: http://www.ncaonline.org

The Milwaukee Repertory Theater's 2000/2001 season, currently underway, is live theater that everyone can see and hear. For the hearing-impaired, both the Stiemke and the Quadracci Powerhouse Theaters feature productions with an infrared listening system to provide clear sound with every performance, with American Sign Language interpreters available at scheduled performances. Again at scheduled performances, the Powerhouse Theater offers audio-described performances using radio transmitters with ear-pieces. Large-print programs are available in the lobby, and a script synopsis and/or audio-described tape can be sent out prior to each Powerhouse performance upon request to Annie Jurczyk at 414-290-5366.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General is seeking public input on how airlines are accommodating the needs of air travelers with disabilities and special needs. The Department's Office of Inspector General has been given specific legal authority under the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (Public Law 106-181) to review airline customer service. Each air carrier that provides scheduled passenger air transportation and is a member of the Air Transport Association has developed individual Customer Service Plans for matters such as canceled or delayed flights, on-time baggage delivery, ticket refunds, and accommodating the needs of air travelers with special needs or disabilities. The Inspector General is evaluating how each air carrier is meeting its commitments and recently issued an interim report available for review on the Inspector General Website. The Inspector General will issue a final report later this year. Electronic forms are now available on the Inspector General's website. Hard copies may be obtained by fax or mail by calling 1-800-884-9190. People who have airline-related service issues or complaints other than those being reviewed by the Inspector General may obtain information by contacting the Department's Aviation Consumer Protection Division.

The Wisconsin Academy's Center for the Book is participating for the eighth year in the "Letters About Literature" project, a national student writing contest co-sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and the Weekly Reader Corporation. Students in grades 4 through 12 are invited to enter, and the contest deadline is December 1, 2000. To participate, students must write a letter to an author--living or dead--explaining how his or her book changed the student's way of thinking about the world. There are two competition levels: Level 1 is open to students in grades 4 through 7; Level 2 is open to students in grades 8 through 12. Students who win first place nationally for each level will receive a $500 cash award. In addition, the Wisconsin Center for the Book will select the top essayist in the state for both levels, and first-place state winners will each receive a cash award of $100. Second-place runners-up will each receive a gift certificate from the Wisconsin Center for the Book, purchased from a local bookstore. An official entry coupon must accompany each essay. To receive a copy of the guidelines plus the coupon, contact the Wisconsin Center for the Book at the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters in Madison. Phone: 608-263-1692 or FAX: 608-265-3039.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has produced the first home page in the U.S. Senate that fully complies with new federal accessibility standards. Government Web sites are expected to comply with the federal standards by next spring. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act prohibits government agencies from using inaccessible technology, which means Web sites must be modified to meet the needs of users with disabilities. As Web designers include more graphic elements and Web pages become increasingly complex, it has become a challenge for those with disabilities--particularly those with vision and hearing impairments--to use the Web. The Leahy site includes a special link to the new companion site featuring a simpler design and text-only pages. Doug Wakefield of the U.S. Access Board, an independent federal agency that develops guidelines and provides technical assistance on accessibility, confirmed that the site meets Section 508 requirements. Leahy, whose Web site has consistently been named among the best on Capitol Hill, has made these improvements to his site a priority since he first became aware of the difficulties that persons with disabilities were having using the Internet. Sometimes called "the Cyber Senator" for his enthusiasm for and leadership on Internet issues, Leahy in 1995 became only the second senator to post a home page. The Vermont senator also has long been concerned with closing the so-called "digital divide." "The Internet is a marvelous tool that can make government more accountable and more useful to citizens," said Leahy. "We need to continually minimize the gap between the digital 'haves' and 'have-nots' as some citizens get left behind at the same lightning pace at which the Internet advances. As we mark the tenth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, it is important that we remain true to the goal of equal access where the Web is concerned. No one should be left behind in the Internet Revolution." The Web-based tool "Bobby" was used by Leahy's staff to evaluate the site's accessibility. Bobby is a free service provided by the Center for Applied Special Technology. [Note: as of October 2002, Bobby is no longer a free service.]

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) now requires all telecommunications carriers nationwide to implement three-digit, 711, dialing for access to all Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) by mid-2001. This new dialing arrangement will supplement existing systems in most states that require 7 or 10 digit numbers in order to initiate relay calls. TRS facilitates telephone conversations between people who do and those who do not have hearing or speech disabilities. In one type of TRS, a text telephone (TTY) user calls a voice telephone user through a TRS provider (or relay center), where a communications assistant places the call to the voice user, and then relays the conversation by transcribing spoken content for the TTY user and reading text aloud for the voice user. The new rule will eliminate the difficulties that individuals have with finding or remembering various relay numbers as they travel from state to state. Both voice and TRS users will be able to initiate a call from any telephone, anywhere in the United States, without having to remember and dial a 7 or 10-digit number. By reducing the number of digits needed for accessing relay services, nationwide implementation of 711 access to TRS will make relay access convenient, fast, and uncomplicated. As a result, it will improve access to TRS, and encourage and facilitate communication among individuals with hearing or speech disabilities and voice users. Besides providing easier communication for millions of Americans with disabilities, the FCC expects the new rules to spur greater demand for quality relay service by text and voice users. The greater demand may encourage the market entry of new TRS competitors, thereby increasing innovation, lowering prices, and enhancing the quality of relay services.

The National Council on Independent Living has a new web site where people will be able to rate restaurants throughout the country on accessibility. If the website is successful (this means that people will need to contribute to it!), it could be a very useful database for people with disabilities throughout the country.

RESOURCES

The Regional Library would like to remind our patrons that in addition to the recorded magazines listed in our NLS magazine catalog, we lend recorded copies of Guideposts, Choice and Boomerang to interested readers upon request.

Historical mysteries are enjoying a resurgence of interest. The National Library Service has recorded many such mysteries--far more than can be listed in our humble newsletter. Instead, we offer a subsection--mysteries set in ancient times. Here is our list of mysteries set in ancient times--no later than the second century A.D. Agatha Christie's classic occurs in 2000 BC, while Steven Saylor's mysteries featuring Gordianus the Finder are set in the last days of the Roman Republic, and Lindsey Davis's Marcus Didius Falco detects during the reign of the Emperor Vespasian.

RC 12900. Christie, Agatha. Death Comes at the End (Egypt).
RC 47471. Davis, Lindsey. A Dying Light in Corduba (Rome).
RC 41802. Davis, Lindsey. Poseidon's Gold (Rome).
RC 36464. Davis, Lindsay. Shadows in Bronze: a Marcus Didius Falco Mystery (Rome).
RCW 108. Davis, Lindsay. Silver Pigs: a Novel (Rome).
RC 46659. Davis, Lindsey. Time to Depart (Rome).
RC 35777. Davis, Lindsey. Venus in Copper: a Marcus Didius Falco Mystery (Rome).
RC 41404. Saylor, Steven. The Arms of Nemesis (Rome).
RC 39565. Saylor, Steven. Catalina's Riddle (Rome).
RC 46381. Saylor, Steven. The House of the Vestals (Rome).
RC 47844. Saylor, Steven. Murder on the Appian Way (Rome).
RC 36648. Saylor, Steven. Roman Blood (Rome).
RC 43363. Saylor, Steven. The Venus Throw (Rome).
RC 38609. Yarbro, Chelsea Quinn. Better in the Dark (Saxony).

The following website has many more references, covering many other historical periods:
http://members.tripod.com/~BrerFox/historicalmystery.html.
Or, you could just phone the Regional Library for suggestions.


BULLETIN BOARD is published four times a year by the Wisconsin Regional Library for the Blind & Physically Handicapped. It is available in large print, Braille, and audio-cassette editions. The Wisconsin Regional Library makes no recommendations or endorsements concerning any products or services which may appear in this publication.

Wisconsin Regional Library for the Blind & Physically Handicapped
813 West Wells Street
Milwaukee, WI 53233-1436
1-414-286-3045 (in Milwaukee)
1-800-242-8822 (in Wisconsin)
1-414-286-3548 (TDD)
1-414-286-3102 (FAX)
LBPH@mpl.org (e-mail)


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