Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

(See the end of this page for subscribing via email, RSS, browsing articles by subject, blog archive, APH resources, writing for Fred's Head, and disclaimers.)

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Finding, Researching and Downloading Books, Dictionaries and Encyclopedias on the Net

As technology advances, we're seeing more and more libraries offering digital downloads of their catalogs. Online libraries of material have become more popular as sighted folks discover iPods and electronic book readers and search engines now offer the ability to search printed texts and even download electronic versions of the texts. Online dictionaries and encyclopedias are making it possible for people who are blind or visually impaired to independently search for reference material.

As a result, I am going to combine several Fred's Head records into one large resource document that will help you find and download books from a variety of search engines and websites. I encourage you to visit the Fred's Head Database or the Fred's Head Companion blog and search for the word "book" to see other resources. I will also reference many online dictionaries and encyclopedias that are free and accessible.

Louis Database of Accessible Materials for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Produced and maintained by the American Printing House for the Blind (APH), the Louis Database of Accessible Materials for People Who are Blind or Visually Impaired contains complete bibliographic and location information for more than 163,000 titles of accessible materials from over 200 agencies throughout the United States. These items include books in braille, large print, sound recording, and computer file; braille music; and American Printing House for the Blind (APH) products.

Louis is updated daily and is searchable free via the APH website. Persons without Internet access who require reference assistance can contact APH using its toll free number.

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

STEPP

The STudent E-rent Pilot Project (STEPP) is an eTextbook rental program offering cost-effective textbooks that "all" students can read.

  • Cost-Effective: Save an average of 50% or more off the retail cost of a new hardcopy textbook purchase.
  • Convenient: Access eTextbooks on almost any device, anytime, anywhere.
  • Conscious Choice: Practice environmental stewardship; save our trees.
  • Accessible textbooks for the blind and visually impaired.

STEPP was launched by the Alternative Media Access Center, in partnership with CourseSmart and the AccessText Network, through a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), U.S. Department of Education (DoEd). This program is designed to meet the textbook rental needs of any postsecondary student and aims to help improve low-cost access to higher education textbooks for all students, including those with print-related disabilities.

STEPP leverages the expertise of its three collaborative partners to offer a national solution to promote cost savings for students while eliminating traditional barriers to textbook access. Click this link to "STEPP" towards universal access: http://stepp.gatech.edu.

The Free Library

The Free Library offers full-text versions of classic literary works from hundreds of celebrated authors. It also includes a massive collection of periodicals from hundreds of leading publications covering many areas.

Click this link to visit http://www.thefreelibrary.com.

Search Your Library with WorldCat

I love discovering new ways to search the Internet. Not only is it entirely helpful in finding cool Websites to share with all of you, but I just love the developments that are being made to make searching more fun! Today, I found a search engine that allows you to search libraries near you for books, media, etc.

Simply type a title, subject or person into the search field and click the Search button. Want more options? Then click the Advanced Search link underneath the search field. In the advanced search, you have more options, such as looking by author, keyword, ISBN, ISSN or OCLC number. You can also limit your searches by language, format and publication date.

If you register for a free account, which took no time at all for me to do, you can make your own list of items the library has that you want to check out over time. You can also share these lists with friends or family.

To register, click the link at the top of the page and then fill out the following information: username, password, e-mail address, agree to the terms of use and then click "I Agree." Next, confirm that you requested the account in the verification email that comes to the email address you provided. Once you're logged in, you can use the sections under the My WorldCat tab, which will give you access to edit your profile, change your password, etc.

You also have the option to put WorldCat on your own Website so that others can discover it from your page. Or, you can add it to your browser's toolbar with an easy and quick download.

What other features do I love? Well, Ask a Librarian is a very nifty option. It allows you to get help from a librarian in your search results. You can also review materials and rate them. Or, you can get information on the Details section of an item in a Wiki type style.

I hope you'll get a lot of use out of this search engine. I mean, how else can you stay in touch with libraries all around you with the simple use of a search field? Enjoy it! Click this link to visit http://www.worldcat.org.

Finding eBooks On the Internet

In the last decade the Internet has rapidly become one of the most important ways of accessing information for people who are blind and visually impaired. As the Internet has grown in size and popularity, so has the availability of accessible electronic books in a number of different formats.

Today, we know that there are thousands of eBooks that can be accessed. but how do we go about finding specific titles? And once we find them, how do we download them? And how do we read the different formats?

Finding eBooks on the Internet tells you how. Finding eBooks on the Internet is a publication of the National Braille Press. This book shows you the step-by-step process of how to obtain public domain books from sources like Project Gutenberg and the eText Spider, how to acquire commercially available accessible books from companies like Baen, and how to go about getting books in accessible formats from sites like Web-Braille and Bookshare.org.

What makes this a unique book is that it is written by Anna Dresner, who uses assistive technology herself. The book includes keyboard commands for both JAWS and Window-Eyes. This publication is available in braille and large print.

Finding eBooks on the Internet by Anna Dresner
National Braille Press
Toll Free: 888-965-8965
Email: orders@nbp.org
Web: http://www.nbp.org

Etext Archives, Academic Resources, & Linguistic Links

Welcome to Camera Obscura's meta-index of academic and scholarly resources. All of the archives and resources indexed in this document are either easily navigatable with speech or have been extensively re-indexed so that the information they contain is easily and immediately accessible via speech-synthesis and/or text-based access. This document also contains speech-friendly submission forms for many standard reference works, as well as telephone and address directories and resources which are easily navigated using speech-synthesis and a text-based browser.

The purpose of this meta-index is to facillitate easy and immediate access to the wealth of etextual resources on the internet to blind and visually impaired individuals using speech-synthesis and/or refreshable braille.

Click this link to visit Camera Obscura's meta-index of academic and scholarly resources.

Find Books with Google

The Google Book Search is a feature you can use to search the Internet for copies of books. You can search among various subjects that interest you and when you're done, you can also find out where you can borrow them or even buy them. The book search works just like a search engine. You type your area of interest into the search box and in a matter of seconds, you will see lists and lists of books that fall under that category.

When you do a book search, you will see that under each listing, there is an "About this book" link. This gives you basic information on the book, including the title, author, publication date and the length. Some of the books also have some additional information, such as key terms, phrases, references, chapter titles and even a list of related books with the same subject.

It's important to note that not every book will come in the full text version. Each book is assigned a different preview length and these are displayed clearly for each listing in your book search. Each book will either have a full view, a limited view, a snippet view or there may be no preview available. The full view option is usually active when the book is out of its copyright date or if the publisher gave permission to allow viewers to read the book in its entirety. If this is the case, you can read it as many times as you'd like.

If the book is a limited view copy, you can only see certain parts of the book. With this feature, the publishers of the book has joined Google's Partner Program and they allow you to see a few of the pages from the book but there is a limit to what you can see online.

In the snippet view, you can do special searches for information within the book. >From those results, up to three snippets of the text will be shown. If the book you have found has no preview available, you won't be able to see any parts of the book, but you can read the information provided under the "About this book" link.

Every book you find with the Google Book Search has links included that will take you to places where you can buy or borrow the book. There will be listings for book sellers if you want to buy the book or you might be able to find it in a library. If you're really interested in a certain book, you'll definitely want to check that out. Now, you may be wondering where the books come from to make this search possible. Well, they mainly come from the book publishers and from libraries.

Click this link to start searching http://books.google.com.

Books Should Be Free

Books Should Be Free hosts hundreds of free audio books in a wide range of genres. All of the audio books in the collection are either public domain or Creative Commons works. All of the audio books can be downloaded directly from the website or from iTunes.

One of the aspects of Books Should Be Free that I think some students will really appreciate is the large display of book covers that they'll see when browsing by genre. It's true that we should teach students not to judge a book by its cover, yet at the same time a good cover might get students interested in books they would otherwise ignore.

If you have a student in need of an audio book to support their reading, Books Should Be Free could be a good place to start your search.

Click this link to visit http://www.BooksShouldBeFree.com.

New Free Books

Here's a website filled with links to free, legal, complete eBooks still covered by copyright. Novels, mystery, romance, saga, self-help, history, and more. They are legal, in most cases from the author's own website.

Click this link to visit http://newfreebooks.com.

Alex Catalogue of Electronic Texts

This site has about 14,000 classic public domain documents from American and English literature as well as Western philosophy.

Click this link to visit the Alex Catalogue of Electronic Texts.

The Etext Archives

Home to electronic texts of all kinds, from the sacred to the profane, from the political to the personal

Click this link to visit the The Etext Archives.

The Dusty Library

This website is filled with public domain books, poems and short stories. All books are screen reader friendly and the site's font size can be changed for people with low vision.

Click this link to visit the Dusty Library at http://www.dustylibrary.com.

500,000 Free E-Texts at the Internet Archive

The Internet Archive is home to more than one million digital resources. More than half of the digital resources on the Internet Archive are e-texts. There are seven sub-categories of e-texts. I spent some time exploring the "American Libraries" sub-category and found quite a few texts that could be used with a United States History class for example. I also found a number of resources that would be appropriate for use in an American Literature course.

The Internet Archive is a great place for students and teachers to find digital resources that can be used under a Creative Commons license. The e-texts are especially valuable as supplementary materials for a variety of courses. The e-texts are available as PDF files to save and use on your local computer. In the more than 500,000 e-texts in the Internet Archive there is bound to be something for almost everyone.

Click this link to visit the Text Archive section of the Archive website.

Find Books with Microsoft

Microsoft's version of a book search engine is called Live Search Books and they are going up against their competitor, Google. The concept of the book search goes along the same lines as the Windows Live Search in how it searches the Internet for information. The Live Search Books uses the same process when scanning the Internet for books.

This program goes hand-in-hand with Microsoft's book scanning project that they have been working on for some time now. Users can search for books by using a regular search engine. When someone performs a search, keywords are used to filter out the results. The search only includes the books that have been scanned via the scanning project.

Live Search Books has a feature called "Search inside a book," which gives the users the opportunity to search the full text of the books. Right now, the search includes books that have no copyright date and only books that have been scanned from the collections of the British Library, the University of California and the University of Toronto. Other locations, such as the New York Public Library, Cornell University and the American Museum of Veterinary Medicine, are said to be included in the very near future. Other copyright books from publishers who have given permission will also join the search soon.

The one big difference between Microsoft's and Google's book searches is that Microsoft only offers the full text of the books. They can be downloaded onto your computer in the PDF format, so if you would like to search for books yourself, be sure to have the Adobe Acrobat Reader installed before you begin.

Click this link to start searching with Microsoft.

Specific Sites for Books

The following is a list of independent company websites that offer books for download. These books may be text or audio.

Free Book Resources

The Story Home

notaland.com's The Story Home is a collection of classic and original children’s audio stories.  Every other week a new story is added by storyteller Alan.  All audio stories are FREE!! 

The stories can be listened to right from The Story Home website or by subscribing to The Story Home on iTunes podcast. Students will love listening to audio stories on The Story Home.  Set up a listening center in your classroom where students can listen to stories.  As they listen, they could practice various comprehension strategies. If you have an iPod program at your school, load up the iPods with stories that students can listen to at home.  Find stories that correspond with your classroom curriculum and introduce new concepts with an audio story.

Click this link to visit http://thestoryhome.com.

ReadPrint

The ReadPrint website is a free library of online books for students, teachers, and the classic enthusiast. Thousands of novels, poems, stories and easy to read books are online.

Click this link to visit http://www.readprint.com.

Fantastic Fiction

Fantastic Fiction allows the user to look up books by author, for example, and learn all the titles the person has written. It lists a series in chronological order. It also lists the author's book recommendations.

Click this link to visit http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk.

Learn Outloud

Here's another valuable source. They do sell books, but they also have a large collection of audio and video presentations for free download. Every Friday they provide a free downloadable book; and every month, they have a free book of the month. Each Wednesday, they recommend a free podcast.

Click this link to visit http://www.learnoutloud.com.

Repeat After Us

From the site:

"Created by a high school student, RepeatAfterUs is an award-winning online library with the best collection of copyright-free English texts and scripted recordings. Our free audio clips provide an excellent resource for students and literature lovers of all ages.

Click this link to visit Repeat After Us at http://www.repeatafterus.com.

Planet eBook

Planet eBook is a free service where teachers and students can find classic literature titles available as free downloads. Planet eBook adds new titles at regular intervals. Subscribe to the Planet eBook blog or newsletter to keep track of the latest additions to the collection. For browsing purposes, Planet eBook offers previews of titles through the Issuu pdf publishing service. Using the previews students can get an overview of a title without committing to downloading the entire ebook.

Click this link to visit http://www.PlanetEbook.com.
Classic Reader is another great site for free and accessible books: http://www.classicreader.com.

Literal Systems

Literal Systems is another great resource for free, downloadable audio books. You'll find that the navigation is simple with the menu on the right side of the page, for those of you with some vision. There you will find the following sections:

  • Download Audio: Here you will find the titles that are currently available to listen to on the site. Choose a title and you'll be taken to its page. There you will find the links you need in order to listen to it under the Download section. The credits for it are shown above it as well. There is only a small selection of titles at the moment, but I have every hope that the list will grow and grow as time goes by. These performances are truly enjoyable to listen to. I was impressed by the quality of sound and of the ability of those reading them.

  • Home Page: This will take you back to the main page of the website.

  • The People: Here you can learn about the people behind the recordings on both the technical and performance end. I think it is nice to be able to see the face behind the vocal talent, as well as, the people who make it all happen!

  • Contacting Us: You'll find contact information here with a phone number and an e-mail form.

  • Auditions: Here you can find information about the auditions they are holding. I'm guessing they're for voice talent.

  • Volunteers: Here you will find information on what they are looking for in volunteers to help make the site more interesting and keeping it up to date.

  • F.A.Q.: Here you will find the most frequently asked questions submitted to the site. I suggest checking it out if any questions pop into your head while you're visiting.

I truly enjoyed listening to the offerings here and I hope you will too. Check out Literal Systems by clicking this link: http://www.literalsystems.org/abooks.
Here's a site that they link to that may also have some audio files of interest: http://www.LoudLit.org.

Baen Books Offers Free Downloads

For several years, Baen Books: http://baen.com has provided fantasy and science fiction titles for download in unecrypted formats, including RTF, at reasonable prices. Now the company is offering all its electronic titles free to people who are blind, dyslexic, paralyzed, or are amputees. Disability must be documented. Read this article to learn more.

Talking Pages

Talking Pages is a non-profit web-based lending library that lends audio books to those who are blind or visually impaired.

You can select the audio books you want to borrow from their catalog. They will then ship you the audio books you select, along with a return label and postage. There is no fee for using the service; the costs are covered through donations.

Users of Talking Pages must sign up for library cards that permit users to borrow audio books and also check the status of what books they have currently on loan.

Please note that this service is available only to persons living in the United States.

Click this link to visit the Talking Pages website at http://www.talkingpages.org.

Listen To Spoken Word Internet Radio Station

I discovered a free radio station dedicated to broadcasting stories, drama, poetry and interviews. They broadcast popular audio books by best-selling authors, as well as promoting new and unsigned writers from around the world.

  • Easily listen to radio online from work or home
  • Free non-music entertainment for the more discerning listener
  • Listen to popular audio books narrated by professional actors
  • » View the week's programme schedule to see the great variety of choice offered

The Audio Book Radio Email Newsletter is a way to keep you up to date on programming information, news about the radio station and providing access to audio books free download clips of the latest audio books and forthcoming titles heard on the station.

Click this link to visit the Spoken Word Internet Radio Station: http://www.audiobookradio.net/index.php.

The Online Books Page

Aman Singer emailed Fred's Head with this site. Besides listing and searching Project Gutenberg, several government and religious sites, and a variety of other resources, this site provides direct links to smaller resources like The Calibration of Women Writers and Banned Books Online. The search and browse functionality are both excellent and the page as a whole lists over 25000 books on the web.

Click this link to visit The Online Books Page: http://digital.library.upenn.edu/books/.

Books for the Blind Online Library

In 2005, this service went live with a few dozen books in e-text format for reading by screen-reader or e-braille or screen-magnifier. It now has nearly a thousand titles. Recently, a lot of work has been done with the SpeakOn program to make it easy to get books and have the computer read them to you almost instantly.

A user said, "I've been playing with the system using an infra-red numeric keypad and can sit away from the PC and get a book in a few seconds. SpeakOn turns the computer into a sort of Talking Book machine - I'm using the Daniel voice which is pretty good".

Library membership is restricted to the visually impaired who are also UK or EU residents. Click this link to learn more about this online library for the blind: http://www.seeingear.org.

Read Free Full Text Books Online

Here's a site with thousands of books that are easy to read online, or save to your computer or portible reading device. The books are listed in alphabetical order and would be great if you're looking for something different, maybe for a book report?

Click this link to visit http://www.FullBooks.com.

World eBook Library Consortia

Housed in World eBook Library Multi-Terabyte server network is the world's largest digital archive of PDF eBooks and eDocuments. This collection hosts more than 250,000+ PDF eBooks and eDocuments. As a member you can have complete access to the entire collection. The collection is constantly growing.

  • More than 250,000+ unabridged original single file PDF eBooks by the original authors
  • Adobe PDF eBooks Included Software Reads Books To You
  • Fully Searchable, Quotable Text, & Bookmarking Capability
  • It's like having over 250,000+ Books in your living room
  • Enough for several Lifetime's Worth of Reading


Click this link to visit the World eBook Library Consortia: http://worldlibrary.net.

Legends

Growing up some of my favorite stories were those of Robin Hood, King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, not to mention pirates, fairy tales, and such. Now at Legends you can explore these stories that have not only lasted through time but have inspired people enough that we still enjoy them.

Explore Robin Hood, King Arthur, Beowulf, Pirates and Privateers, Ballads and Broadsides, Swashbucklers and Fops, Fairy Tales, Shakespeare's Stories, Sagas & Sea Kings, Paladins and Princes, Poets and Painters, and Erin and Alba.

I was so happy I found more stories that I could explore than I already knew. Like Sigurd the Dragon Slayer, old ballads, and poetry even.

Then you can also check out Legendary Resources, Search Legends, What's New, and Notes on the Illustrations.

"Search Legends" is a Google based search engine that will search both the site, and the World Wide Web if you want it to. It's a very nice search engine.

I found the Notes on the Illustrations section to be interesting and informative.

I hope you enjoy these adventures as much as I did. Click this link to visit the Legends web site: http://www.legends.dm.net/.

Wired For Books

In order to use this site you need to have RealPlayer which is a free download, you will find the link to download Real Player near the top of their page.

Why would you want to have Real Player for this site? Well because you get to listen to famous, and not so famous, people read works of literature.

In the "Kid's Corner" you can listen to the tale of Peter Rabbit, and right next door you could listen to Alice 's Adventure's in Wonderland. Not to forget great literary works like Macbeth, The Illiad or the The Aeneid.

There is also poetry from "classic English poems, including poetry by Blake, Burns, Byron, Donne, Herbert, Hunt, Keats, and Shakespeare," to the "Den of Lions" poems, and the poetry of Emily Dickinson.

Not to mention all the wonderful non-fiction and fiction that you can listen to! This site gets an A++ in my opinion for being so diverse, and for bringing so many wonderful poems, and stories together in one place for people to listen to.
Click this link to visit the Wired For Books website: http://wiredforbooks.org/

Free Classic AudioBooks

This site has MP3 and M4B files of books that are out of copyright, a great resource for struggling readers! Most titles are for secondary students, including Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, Picture of Dorian Gray, and Romeo and Juliet (the only Shakespeare title so far). Check back often for new titles.

Click this link to visit http://freeclassicaudiobooks.com.

Project Gutenberg

The philosophy of Project Gutenberg is to make information, books and other materials available to the general public in forms a vast majority of the computers, programs and people can easily read, use, quote, and search.

Included in the materials are U.S. Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the whole US Constitution, the Bible, Shakespeare, literature, reference resources and general works.



Click this link to visit the Project Gutenberg home page: http://www.gutenberg.net. Don't forget to check their section of books that have been converted to audio at http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/categories/2.

Another way to access the books in this library is to point your browser to manybooks.net: http://www.manybooks.net where books can be converted to other formats.

Audio Books From Librivox

Here's a worthwhile project you may wish to participate in: "LibriVox wants all books in the public domain to be available, for free, in audio format, on the internet. We ask volunteers to record chapters of books in the public domain, and release them into the public domain."

They also have books that you can receive through their podcasts, how cool is that?

Click this link to visit the LibriVox website: http://librivox.org.

Bibliomania - Free Online Literature and Study Guides
  • Free Online Literature with more than 2000 Classic Texts
  • Literature Book Notes, Author Biographies, Book Summaries and Reference Books
  • Read Classic Fiction, Drama, Poetry, Short Stories and Contemporary Articles and Interviews
  • Study Guides to the most read books and Help for Teachers
  • Research their Reference Books, Dictionaries, Quotations, Classic Non-fiction, Biographies and Religious Texts
  • Buy the books personally read and recommended by Bibliomania


Click this link to visit Bibliomania: http://www.bibliomania.com.

FREE computer books and Internet books online with hard copy buying options

Here's a great collection of computer ebooks for your reading pleasure.

Click this link to find hundreds of computer and technology related books: http://hogan-productions.com/books/webbooks.html.

Doctor Who E-Books

In the 1950s kids hid behind the sofa when Professor Bernard Quatermass battled aliens on the BBC whilst ITV gave us Pathfinders in Space - the brainchild of Canadian Sydney Newman.

Fast forward to 1962 and Newman, now promoted to Head of BBC Drama, needed a new Saturday night family series to fit snugly between Grandstand and Juke Box Jury.

Concepts pitched for the show included telepathy, flying saucers, scientific trouble-shooters from the future - and a time machine. We all know who won.

The main stars of the show would be a couple of school teachers - the square-jawed Ian Chesterton and the improbably bouffant Barbara Wright. The teen audience could identify with Susan Foreman, one of their pupils. Even if she was an alien.

Finally, a mysterious anti-hero in the mould of Conan-Doyle's Professor Challenger would complete the line-up. He would be known only as 'The Doctor'. Doctor Who?

Travelling in their time and space machine, the TARDIS, the Doctor and co. began their adventures on November 23rd 1963 by voyaging 100,000 years into Earth's past to help some slightly dim cavemen discover fire.

That's how it all began, and the series is still alive and well today. The BBC has created a site where you can read the continuing adventures of Doctor Who. All e-books feature brand new artwork and extensive notes by the original authors. If you are a fan of this cult classic show, this is the site for you.

Click here to visit the BBC Doctor Who page at http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/doctorwho/ebooks/index.shtml

Books in a Podcast

Here are some sites that podcast audiobooks:



Subscription Services

Bookshare.org

Even though braille and recorded books have existed for decades, supply is limited, production costs are high and using them can be cumbersome.

Many sight-impaired people use inexpensive scanners to prepare their own reading material for computer-synthesized speech. The page-by- page process often takes two to three hours per book.

The high-speed machine used by Bookshare.org can scan an entire book in 10 minutes. The technology can scan both sides of a page simultaneously after a book's binding has been removed.

With Bookshare.org, members submit their own scanned books for the collection and download as many as they like for use with Braille printers, computer-synthesized speech programs or other reading aids. Members pay a $25 initial setup fee and annual $50 dues.

To join Bookshare.org, members must send a letter from a doctor or other professional that attests to their disability. After paying the fees, they get a copy of Victor Reader Soft software that translates digital files into computer-synthesized speech.

Word about Bookshare.org has spread to students and teachers who prompted the organization to add a staff member dedicated to working with schools.

About 95 percent of Bookshare.org members are legally blind or dyslexic, while the remainder live with physical disabilities that prevent them from turning the pages of a book.

Driven by member submissions, the popular collection leans toward romance and science fiction. Volunteers search the files for errors and add titles, like the complete set of Pulitzer Prize winners or college reading lists.

Some Bookshare.org members even convert files to the MP3 format so they can load them onto an iPod.

The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Disabled, operated by the U.S. Library of Congress, has offered Braille and recorded books since the 1930s, but it often takes two to three years for a best-seller to be made available to the public via that service.

While the service distributes books to a network of libraries around the United States, users can face a months-long waiting list to receive a book. Bookshare.org offers quicker satisfaction.

Another advantage over recorded books is the ability to skip chapters or search for keywords, especially helpful with textbooks, news or nonfiction material.

The organization has appealed to publishers to donate digital copies to Bookshare.org when books are released, in keeping with the 1996 federal law that requires digital textbooks to be made available to disabled students at the same time as print versions.

Click this link to visit the bookshare.org website.

Diesel eBooks

Search and download over 35,000 titles, including 750 free downloads.

Click this link to visit the Diesel eBooks website: http://www.diesel-ebooks.com

Jiggerbug

jiggerbug.com an online audio book rental service, delivers their extensive collection of best-selling audio book titles to subscribers - digitally!

Based on the Netflix model, current Jiggerbug subscribers enjoy quick and simple mail service delivery of their favorite book titles on either CD-ROM or cassette tape. A newer service gives Jiggerbug subscribers the option to instantly download their favorite titles in an easy-to-use, take-it-with-you digital format. Powered by OverDrive technology, digital delivery is ideal for commuters, frequent gym goers or anyone who wants to create more time in their day by multitasking with an entertaining best-seller, self-help title or any of the thousands of book options available.

Growing time demands make it difficult for many to enjoy the latest "must-read" titles. To bridge the gap between time and desire, Jiggerbug's audio books offer a solution - allowing people to listen to their favorite book or subject during times that may otherwise be wasted ( lengthy bus commutes, gym time, etc. ). By freeing-up the hands, Jiggerbug is freeing-up time for busy executives, multitasking moms and housewives or anyone who wants to make more efficient use of their day. Audio books ( available on tape, CD or Instant Download ) are also the ideal answer for the elderly, beginning readers, or anyone with sight restrictions. With the Digital Download service option, ordering is as easy as:

  1. choose a title and checkout
  2. instantly download the title for immediate playback
  3. at the end of the loan, the title is automatically returned to the collection - with nothing more to do.

Powered by OverDrive, audio titles will be available in the industry standard WMA format for easy playback on your home computer or on hundreds of portable devices, including MP3 players. The OverDrive Audio Book technology contains advanced accessibility features that make it easy for blind and visually impaired listeners to enjoy titles. Users simply choose their favorite book from Jiggerbug's expansive collection of titles, download the book for instant, on-the-go playback using an audio device or listen offline on the subscribers PC.

For more information, click this link to visit www.jiggerbug.com.

Pay Per Listen: An Electronic Download Service of Audiobooks.com

PayPerListen, a service of Audiobooks.com delivers an extensive selection of audiobooks in an electronically downloadable format at approximately 75-80% less than the cost of typical CD's and cassettes.

The PayPerListen.comSM and MediaTunnel.com SM combined services employ state of the art electronic ordering, file transfer technology, and encrypted security to bring to you a downloaded title which is immediately available and there is no delay or additional cost for shipping regardless of where you may be throughout the world!

They call their titles "Electronically Downloadable Audiobooks," and the selection is great. There are also some helpful articles to help with the download process.

SoundsGood.com, a Consumer Shopping Service for Audio Entertainment

SoundsGood.com is a premier audio download and traditional media service providing consumers with an easy way to access thousands of best selling audio books, classic radio shows, theatre performances, and a growing collection of audio newspapers, magazines, lectures, self help and wellness courses, modern day radio shows and other spoken word entertainment.

SoundsGood.com is a unique one-stop shop that provides customers with both digital downloads for immediate listening as well as the ability to purchase CDs and audio cassettes for those more comfortable with traditional media.

SoundsGood supports digital downloads that are compatible with MP3 players, CD players, PCs and some high-end smart phones that support the Windows Media audio format.

SoundsGood offers a wide range of audiobook titles ranging from New York Times best-sellers to the obscure.

SoundsGood.com incorporates software designed by OverDrive, an audio playback technology designed for enhanced audiobook listening in combination with the Windows Media Player. Benefits of the OverDrive system include the ability to bookmark audio points, utilize visual chapter marks to more easily jump between chapters, and to audibly slow down or speed up the reader's pace of the story playback. Such features will allow the consumer to very simply mark where they are in an audiobook, find their way back to the point, and skip ahead or back if necessary. The system is also fully enabled to provide ease of use for the visually impaired and blind community.

Click this link to visit SoundsGood.com.

Ebooks in Spanish and German

Those looking for electronic books in Spanish, German and to a lesser degree in other languages can explore Tiflolibros, a growing library from Argentina. Their German collection is growing very rapidly! Here is the English information page, with links to the main page in Spanish.

Online Dictionaries and encyclopedias

The Internet is a rich source for dictionary and other reference materials. If you have screen access software and an Internet connection, there are a number of sites that you may want to check out.

Before we go too far, let me suggest that you take some time to read this great page called How to use Dictionaries.

Acronym Finder: http://www.acronymfinder.com has more than 480,000 human-edited entries, Acronym Finder is the world's largest and most comprehensive dictionary of acronyms, abbreviations, and initialisms. Combined with the Acronym Attic, Acronym Finder contains more than 3 million acronyms and abbreviations.

Do you need a dictionary in a foreign language? If so, then you need to search Dictionaries > By Language in the Yahoo! Directory: http://dir.yahoo.com/Reference/dictionaries/language/.

http://www.yourdictionary.com has links to over 500 dictionaries so you're sure to find what you're looking for!

Are you trying to keep up with the latest slang terms? If so, then you need to search Slang Dictionaries in the Yahoo! Directory: http://dir.yahoo.com/Reference/dictionaries/slang/.

“…translate and learn words in their original context.” The mission of lingro.com is to create an on-line environment that allows anyone learning a language to quickly look up and learn the vocabulary most important to them.” In addition to dictionaries in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Polish and Swedish, you can put in a URL and all the words on that page become clickable with definitions popping up everywhere!

Wikipedia is a multilingual, Web-based, free-content encyclopedia written collaboratively by volunteers and operated by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation based in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Wikipedia began as a complement to the expert-written Nupedia on January 15, 2001. It has steadily risen in popularity, and has since spawned several sister projects, such as Wiktionary, Wikibooks, and Wikinews. It is edited by volunteers with wiki software, meaning articles are subject to change by nearly anyone. Wikipedia's volunteers attempt to uphold a policy of "neutral point of view" under which views presented by notable persons or literature are summarized without an attempt to determine an objective truth. Due to its open nature, vandalism and inaccuracy are constant problems in Wikipedia.

Wiktionary is a sister project to Wikipedia, intended to be a free wiki dictionary (including thesaurus and lexicon) in every language. It was set up on December 12, 2002.

Bartleby.com: http://www.bartleby.com gives you access to the American Heritage Dictionary, the Columbia Encyclopedia, the Roget's Thesauri, Quotations, English Usage, Modern Usage, Strunk Style, Cambridge History, the King James Bible, Oxford Shakespeare, Gray's Anatomy, Farmer's Cook Book, Host Etiquette, Brewer's Phrase and Fable, and other interesting books.

The Merriam-Webster online Dictionary: http://www.m-w.com, gives you access to definitions from the Merriam-Webster Collegiate® Dictionary and Thesaurus. This Web site also features the "Word of the day," "Word games," and "Word for the Wise."

The Free Dictionary: http://www.thefreedictionary.com was featured in the Rvers Computer Help Newsletter. It has a dictionary and other related services.

Dictionary.com: http://www.dictionary.com is a unique site. When you type a word to be looked up, dictionary.com retrieves and displays definitions from different sources at once. For instance, the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, the Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, WordNet 1.6, and Acronym Finder.

The Internet is also a great resource for more specialized reference materials. To find these materials just go to your favorite search engine --Google, Yahoo, Altavista, etc. and do a search on the word "dictionary". You will find resources ranging from technical terminology like Webopedia.com: >http://www.webopedia.com, an on-line dictionary for computer and internet terms, to Dinodictionary.com: http://www.dinodictionary.com, the most complete dinosaur dictionary on the web. You can also find books for medical terminology, law, measurement conversion, foreign languages, biology, semantics and more.

Most Web reference materials are free and easy to use. Just type a word or words in an "Edit box" and do a search. The results will be displayed in an HTML format. The main disadvantage that free Web materials have over the commercially available software is the amount of unwanted information within the results page, such as advertisements and navigation links. If you plan to use these reference materials frequently, you will be better off purchasing the CD-ROM, or subscribing to their service in order to get a clean version and save time searching. However, if you just want to search these materials occasionally, take a look at your screen access manual. Your software should have useful tips and features that will allow you to navigate a Web page efficiently by skipping unwanted information.

The Encyclopedia Britannica

Since its first publication in 1768, The Encyclopædia Britannica has been considered the world's most comprehensive reference product. Unfortunately, for more than 200 years this reference material was not accessible in its entirety to people who were blind or visually impaired.

With the advances in the field of technology and the power of the Internet, this research tool is now available to blind computer users.

Encyclopedia Britannica Online includes the complete encyclopedia, the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and the Britannica Book of the Year. The Encyclopedia Britannica Online can be used to search an Internet directory that includes more than 130,000 links to Web sites selected, rated, and reviewed by Britannica editors.

Through this service, one can find more than 72,000 articles, updated and revised by EB editors and contributors. The Encyclopedia contains over 10,000 illustrations, including photographs, drawings, maps, and flags. The Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary contains more than 75,000 definitions, including pronunciation guides and word histories.

Encyclopedia Britannica Online offers different kinds of subscriptions to Individuals or families, and site license subscriptions to multi-user organizations. Including corporations, libraries, primary through secondary schools, colleges, and universities. Pricing varies by market and size of organization.

For more information contact:

Encyclopedia Britannica
Toll Free: 1-800-621-3900
Email: inquiries@eb.com
Web: http://www.eb.com

The Canadian Encyclopedia

Search or browse by broad topic for almost any aspect of Canadian history and culture. You can also explore a timeline of Canadian history, the 100 greatest events in Canadian history, interactive resources, or quizzes that test your knowledge of Canada. The site also includes the full text of the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada.

Click this link to visit the Canadian Encyclopedia: http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com.

Answers.com

Using Answers.com is fun, easy, and with free, instant access to reliable facts, definitions and information on over a million topics, it's sure to keep you coming back for more learning, not searching!

Click this link to visit http://www.teachers.answers.com.

Flags of the World

Want to learn about flags? If you answer yes this site is for you. I had no idea the number of flags found in the United States. Even cities have flags! You can also view maps of various places as well. Click this link to visit Flags of the World.

We got this comment on another article and I wanted to add it to this one because its another great resource.

Hello,,

While searching the web for ideas on what to do this 4th of July, I came across your blog, The Fred's Head Companion. I really liked your 4th of July post and I would like to share with you a site that I found helpful. Http://www.accessmylibrary.com is a free online searchable library with thousands of articles you only need a library card to access. I went there and searched for "4th of July" and came up with dozens of articles on 4th of July activities.

Click this link to search http://www.accessmylibrary.com. You may want to add it to your favorite links or mention it in your blog; I think your readers would find it very useful. Thank you for the blog and Happy 4th!

Sincerely,

Sarah Deak

SCIFIPEDIA

Welcome to Scifipedia! This is where you can find almost anything about the Science Fiction genre. And even better, if what you're looking for isn't here, you can easily add the information yourself.

I was absolutely thrilled by how much there was to explore. There are over 3,000 entries here and the collection is growing daily.

  • Today's Featured Article: The site features a different article about something in the genre.
  • This Day in SCI FI: Where you'll find out about the birth and deaths of people who've worked in the genre in some way or another.
  • Did You Know? Here you can get a dose of SCI FI trivia.
  • Hot Topics: These are some of the most popular topics on the site at the moment. When I was there, Fanguage was one of them. It explained some of the languages used by fans of SCI FI.
  • Editor's Journal: Here you can find an entry from one of the editors about something SCI FI.
  • Shout Outs: Here is where the editors thank fans for their hard work in making this site more complete. It is a big public thank you to the people who put forth their efforts.

Now, that's just the information on the main page. On the side menu, you will find links to the many different forms of media that Science Fiction has found a home in and the articles that fit into each category. You'll also find, if you scroll down a little bit, the most recent additions to the database, as well as, an FAQ section and a helpful Tutorial feature.

Click this link to visit SCIFIPEDIA at http://scifipedia.scifi.com/index.php/Main_Page.

Double Tongued Dictionary

Welcome to the Double Tongue Word Wrester Dictionary where you will find slang, jargon and less frequently used terms defined for you. For a full explanation of what is included in this dictionary, check out the About section, which is where you will also find information about the author of the site.

On the main page, you will find the newest entry defined near the top. You will also find a listing of the newest entries so you can easily check out what was recently added. You will also see that there is an Alpha Index on the side of the page and beneath the newest entries, a listing of newest citations.

There is a menu bar with these options: About, Categories, Citations, Cohort, Word-a-Day, Entries, Feeds, Login and Search. Let's look at each one of these options in more detail.

Categories: This is another way for you to browse the entries on the site. Only here, you'll do it by finding the words that relate to the name of the category. So, if you wanted to see advertising slang or jargon, you could do so by clicking on the Advertising link in the category section. You will also be able to check out Register, Language and Class as a way to view words just beneath the categories section. Register deals with certain types of words like colloquial, derogatory, euphemism, jargon, slang, etc. Language is where you can check out words from the many different languages around the world. Class is a section devoted to abbreviations, acronyms and eponyms.

Citations: Here you can check out the citation queue for recently added words. The most recent will be on this page to go back further. Either click the numbered links just under the citation queue area or click the Last link for the last page of entries.

Cohort: Here you will find links to sites in different languages and the option to nominate sites to be listed.

Word-a-Day: You can sign up to get the daily email from this site. It contains a definition or several definitions and comes directly to your Inbox each day. To find out more about it and how to sign up, check out this section.

Entries: This is another way for you to view the words that are added here. The newest entries are shown on this page, as well as the option to check out the ones that were added previously. It uses the same navigation system as the Citations section.

Feeds: If you are into RSS feeds (and who isn't) you can find four from this site that you can subscribe to. Entry Feed gives you the 10 most recent entries. Complete Feed gives you the 10 most recent dictionary entries. Citation Feed gives you the last 20 citations that haven't been fully developed yet and the last is a feed to the author's blog.

Search: Here you will find the search engine that offers you several ways to search the site. It even offers advanced search options to really help you find what you're looking for.

Click this link to learn some new words from the Double Tongued Dictionary: http://www.doubletongued.org.

Babiloo

Babiloo is a program developed to read offline dictionaries. Supports SDictionary and StarDict formats. HTML displaying for supported dictionaries. Download more dictionaries within the application.

Click this link to learn more about Babiloo: http://babiloo-project.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page.

eBooksRead.com

We found another site offering a large collection of electronic books. eBooksRead.com offers largely public domain books from nearly 100,000 authors. It's a bit cluttered with ads, but worth a visit, especially if you're looking for an obscure classic.

Click this link to visit http://www.eBooksRead.com.

How about that for research? If you know of any sites that I've left out, please click here to email me at fredshead@aph.org and tell me about them.

1 comment:

rajamaheswarg said...

EXCITING NOVELS WITH MUSIC AND SOUNDS


It is the easiest way to download audio books, audio books on CD, MP3 audio books. No clubs to join. There is no monthly fees and no software to install. For more information audio books

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