Digital libraries and the visually impaired

abstract | author | presentation | paper

Until recently, the visually impaired have had a very restricted access to information. The reason is that the production of formats readable to them (such as Braille and audio), is rather slow as well as expensive and thus only a minute amonut of published works has been made available in the adjusted formats. However, since digital formats have come into being, the situation has changed for the better, primarily because of the possibility to use speech synthesis software that reads aloud digital text from the computer. This enlables the visually impaired to access digital information at the same time as anyone else and at no additional cost.

Digital libraries and digital collections are of a particular importance in this context, both if they contain full-text documents or secondary information resources. A variety of digital libraries and collections would be discussed from the visually impaired user’s point of view, as well as taking into account accessibility issues from several aspects such as user interface and the role of metadata in using the information.

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