Dolphin Newsletter - May 2005
- Version 6.51 Language Releases.
- New Maps released.
- BLISTA uses Dolphin products to create accessible contents.
- QAC Sight Village 2005.
- Staff News.
Supernova, Hal, Lunar and LunarPlus version 6.51 have now been released in UK English, US English, Arabic, Swedish, Dutch, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Danish, Czech and Norwegian. All these languages are available to order in standard PC edition and also the new Dolphin Pen edition.
Other languages are expected to be released over the coming weeks.
The latest set of new and updated maps for versions 6.01, 6.02, 6.50 and 6.51 software are now available via the Internet Updater. They can also be obtained from the Dolphin website.
12 new maps and 6 updated maps are available for update from the Internet updater this month. These include:
- Ventrilo v1
- Adobe Acrobat 7 v1.02
- Adobe Acrobat 5 v1.04
- Internet Explorer 6 v2.03
- Windows XP Explorer v1.15
- Explorer v1.07
- PowerPoint 97, 2000 Deutsch v1.01
- EasePublisher 2 v1
- Microsoft Excel XP Italiano
- Microsoft Outlook XP Italiano
- Microsoft Word XP Italiano
- Microsoft Excel 2000
- Microsoft Excel XP
- Microsoft Word 2000 Swedish
- Microsoft Word XP Swedish
- Microsoft Works Suite
- Sage Line 50
Blista is a German Library for the Blind and Visually Impaired which operates within the Carl Strehl School in the Hessen region. It is a nationally recognised special school and a super-regional consulting and promotional centre for the blind and visually impaired. Blista was the first German 'hearing' library and was set up in 1954. Using EasePublisher from Dolphin Audio Publishing, Blista as a member of MEDIBUS has been creating DAISY books for over 12 months, and has now completed nearly 400 digital talking books. In the medium term, MEDIBUS aims to create a pool of DAISY books for all libraries for the blind and visually impaired in Germany and ultimately they want to see all books in every library, being available in DAISY format.
Dolphin Audio Publishing is known for its world leading software solutions that allow for the creation and playback of accessible, interactive digital materials. Dolphin's EaseReader player is widely regarded as the most advanced Digital Talking Book (DTB) player in the world, and it's now even better.
Electronic text is today being used significantly to enhance the delivery and access to information, however, digital audio is used to a lesser extent. EasePublisher and EaseReader from Dolphin Audio Publishing, allows users to combine text, images and digital audio content in the form of an interactive Digital Talking Book. By combining and synchronising audio and visual information, totally accessible information is available at everyone's fingertips, instantly. DTBs are proven to be beneficial for people who are blind or have vision impairments, as well as those with print impairments, however, recent trials using DTBs within education, also demonstrated benefits for improving literacy, language learning and offering an enhanced learning experience across the whole class. They are regarded as one of the key learning tools of the future and have been extensively featured in publications such as The Times Education Supplement and The Sunday Times.
Blista has three recording studios producing DAISY 2.02 content using EasePublisher, each using paid narrators to create the content.
Many libraries for the blind and visually impaired around the world have large catalogues of analogue talking books (i.e., audio cassette tapes) and Blista is no exception, however they are currently updating their archive into digital format using EasePublisher.
Stefan Grimmeisen from Blista comments; "We find EasePublisher both efficient and easy to use. Because it is so simple to understand it makes it easy to train operators, and this is enabling us update our archives very effectively. A lot of our records date back to the 1950's, so we are very pleased that EasePublisher gives us the means to update all of these books for the 21 st Century."
At some point in the future, Blista also intend to use EasePublisher for text books to assist pupils in schools and those who use libraries for revision and research work.
Blista are a non profit making organisation and do not undertake any commercial recording, their activities are funded by the German government as well as charitable donations. All of the talking books produced by Blista are available free of charge to anyone who is blind or has a vision impairment, they do not currently produce any content for the commercial market.
An exchange system is used, just as in most normal libraries, but using DAISY digital talking books MEDIBUS is able to offer far more books on CD. Previously analogue tapes would contain 90 minutes of playback per tape, now using EasePublisher to create DAISY books on CD, Blista has found that they produce up to (and sometimes in excess of) 30 hours of playback on a single CD.
Stefan Grimmeisen continues; "Waiting lists for books no longer exist, by using EasePublisher to create digital content, it is very inexpensive to produce numerous copies of a book onto CD from the original on the hard disk."
Narrators are used by Blista to produce a master copy from start to finish which means they are required to learn and understand EasePublisher - their oldest narrator is 83 years old and it took her just 3 weeks to learn it and start producing books on CD. So age is definitely not an obstacle to learning this software. The narrators are only given their project once they are in the recording studio, where they familiarise themselves with the project and then commence the recording, which is a digital recording directly onto hard disk. From this the CD's are created.
Blista is currently producing between 80 and 100 books per month.
So far the longest book they have recorded was 1,000 pages and this has also been translated into English. It runs for just over 43 hours on one CD. The book is called 'Schwarm' by Frank Schaetzing. Blista also manage smaller projects, and are happy to produce single page narration books.
An ever growing number of enlightened organisations, such as Blista, have discovered that using EasePublisher to create multi-media DAISY content means that they can create digital materials quickly and easily. Reproducing and updating existing materials in a totally accessible format, with a quality that will not diminish through use or the passage of time.
The next major show that Dolphin will be exhibiting at is QAC Sight Village, which runs from July 19th - 21st. The exhibition venue is the Clarendon Suites on the Hagley Road, Birmingham, near to the Queen Alexandra College. Dolphin will be demonstrating all the latest features within version 6.51, including the new Dolphin Pen, as well as demonstrating their latest DAISY audio publishing tools.
Admission to the exhibition and conference is free. If you are planning to visit QAC Sight Village 2005 then please pop along and visit the Dolphin team on the Dolphin stand, in Hall C and experience all the new features in the latest version 6.51 release.
Dolphin would like to welcome back Helen Duggan, after the birth of her baby daughter in March. Helen will resume her responsibilities as the Operations Manager for Dolphin Computer Access Inc., based in the U.S. office in San Mateo.
Dolphin also welcomes Lisa McBride back to work, following the birth of her son Jack last year. Lisa will resume her responsibilities within the Accounts department in the Worcester office.
Everyone at Dolphin would also like to congratulate Diana Hiorth-Persson on the birth of her baby daughter. Baby Ebba was born on Monday 2nd May, and is Diana's and Magnus' first child. Diana, who is the Software Development Manager at Dolphin's Audio Publishing headquarters in Sweden, is currently on maternity leave. Congratulations and best wishes also go to Lyn Sheffield who got married on Tuesday 17th May, at Pershore Abbey. Lyn is the PA to Steve Palmer, Dolphin's CEO. Lyn and her husband Nigel are currently enjoying a honeymoon in Majorca.