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.)

Search

Loading...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

What happened to the recorded World Book Encyclopedia?




Every so often, we receive interesting questions from visitors that we would like to share with everyone. This question, concerning the recorded World Book Encyclopedia, and its answer, give a great overview of a part of APH history. 

"Hi, I was hoping you could tell me what became of the recorded version of the World Book Encyclopedia. I remember using it in school, as best as I can remember it was the 1980 edition or thereabouts. It needed a special kind of player to use it, not a regular talking book cassette player. You looked up in the index (which was a couple dozen fat braile volumes with cassettes in the front and back) and when you put the cassette in the machine you had a couple of dials to turn to the right number/letter combination to find the article you wanted on the four tracks of the cassette. The machine was big and heavy like the books of the index.

I realize that with the internet this talking encyclopedia is obsolete or close to it, but I remember how much I liked using it when I was growing up and I wondered whatever happened to it, whether any later versions were recorded, etc. I cannot find a single bit of information online about it, so that's why I'm writing to you.
Thanks!"

 The answer provided by our Museum Director, Mike Hudson:

You've got the date spot-on.  The recorded version of the 1980 World Book came out in 1981 from APH, and it used a special player that allowed you to use the encyclopedia's indexing features.  It was a major project here at APH for several years.  As far as I know, it was the only attempt ever to record an entire encyclopedia in the U.S.  APH put out annual yearbooks, which in the old days was the way that you kept your encyclopedia up to date, until 1985.  At that point, sales had declined, and the product was discontinued.  Although there has been occasional interest in reviving the concept of a recorded encyclopedia, the accessibility of the electronic versions of the various encyclopedias has improved to the point where a narrated version might never happen again.  We have copies of the cassettes and players on display in our museum, and perhaps in the future we may post a sample of the audio on our website.  Good question!

No comments:

Subscribe to receive posts via email

* indicates required

Browse Articles by Subject

Follow us on Twitter

Archives

Write for us

Your input and support in the evolution of Fred's Head are invaluable! Contact us about contributing original writing or for suggestions for updating existing articles. Email us at fredshead@aph.org.

Disclaimers

The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) makes every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the Fred's Head articles; however, APH makes no warranty, guarantee, or promise, expressed or implied, concerning the content or accuracy of the information provided in Fred's Head. APH does not endorse any technique, product, device, service, organization, or other information presented in Fred's Head, other than products and services directly offered by APH.



The products produced by the American Printing House for the Blind are instructional/teaching materials and are intended to be used by trained professionals, parents, and other adults with children who are blind and visually impaired. These materials are not intended as toys for use by children in unstructured play or in an unsupervised environment.





The information and techniques contained in Fred's Head are provided without legal consideration (free-of-charge) and are not warranted by APH to be safe or effective. All users of this service assume the risk of any injury or damage that may result from the use of the information provided.





Information in Fred's Head is not intended as a substitute for professional advice or treatment. Consult your physician before utilizing information regarding your health that may be presented on this site. Consult other professionals as appropriate for legal, financial, and related advice.





Fred's Head articles may contain links to other websites. APH is not responsible for the content of these sites.





Fred's Head articles created by APH staff are (C) copyright American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. You must request permission from APH to reprint these articles. Email fredshead@aph.org to request permission.





Any submissions to Fred's Head should be free of copyright restrictions and should be the intellectual property of the submitter. By submitting information to Fred's Head, you are granting APH permission to publish this information.





Fair Use Notice: This website may contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright holder(s). This site is operated on the assumption that using this information constitutes 'fair use' of said copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law.





Opinions appearing in Fred's Head records are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Printing House for the Blind.