Jueves, 01 de mayo de 2008

C:\ >English information about Tiflolibros

¿what is Tiflolibros?


     Tiflolibros is the first digital library for the blind and visually impaired Spanish-speaking.


     Established in 1999 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, by a group of blind and associated people with visual impairment, today has over 23,000 free books available to about 3,000 users in over 40 countries.

     In November 2003 Tiflolibros has won the international prize Betinho, APC (Association for Progressive Communications), in recognition of technology initiatives to serve the people in Latin America and the Caribbean.

     The experience of Tiflolibros, was filed under the World Summit on the Information Society (Tunis, 2005) at the invitation of Unesco.

     The pillars of the functioning of Tiflolibros are:

     a virtual community on issues of literature and use of technologies for the blind, which is the tool that facilitates the exchange and provision of information and digital books.

     A website to which users access from anywhere in the world, anytime, without charge, to download books that can then read on a computer program adapted to screen reader, can be converted into Audio recorded with synthetic speech, to be heard on CD players or MP3 Audio, or can be printed in Braille in an institution that has a Braille printer.


     A wide variety of activities and virtual presence, which facilitates the exchange and networking among individuals and institutions around the world, training for the maximum utilization of available technological resources, and development of visual disabled people in all spheres of society through access to information and technological tools.


     The project name comes from Greek mythology, Tiflos was an island where the blind people was vanished to survive alone. Thus, we decided to call Tiflolibros, a virtual island in which blind people we are, and we work together to no longer be excluded from reading, education and social life.

     Our project was growing day by day with to the contribution of each member. And so it went generating new ideas and opening horizonts. Today Tiflolibros works across the Tiflonexos civil association, which receives donations and administers complementary projects looking for funding the library and generate new initiatives related to access to information and technology for people with disabilities.


     The library of more than 23000 books in digital format is used exclusively and free for people whose disability not allows to have an access to reading through the traditional format of paper and ink. Access to the library is restricted. Only those who have can enter username and password, which is delivered upon receiving the information required for registration (personal data and documentation to verify disability) can enter our library.

     In addition to people in particular, institutions get acces in Tiflolibros. This institutions, bring books to blind people who can not access through its own resources and use digital files for printing in Braille or audio recording by synthetic voices, functioning as multipliers the scope of the project, while feeding with materials and information they produce.


     Tiflolibros is fed primarily from books scanned by the users themselves, scanned books in our headquarters, and works in digital ceded by major publishers and authors, and texts that more than 200 volunteers without visual empirements have typed and corrected.


How can a blind person achieves the digital readout?


     A blind access to the computer through screen readers, using a robotic voice reproduced by the speakers of the PC wich transmites information that appears visible on the monitor. With these programs can be used (as long as they meet certain standards of accessibility) all applications that run under Windows. Therefore, any digitaliced text can be read or heard by a person with visual impairment in a adapted computer.


     Access to information technology marked a great leap since it allows, for example, read the dayly newspaper using internet, something that until a few years ago was impossible; also allows reading a book using a scanner. The scanner takes an image of the role that it be placed and transferred to the computer. Then a program called OCR (Optical Character Recognition) processes the image and text becomes recognizable to word processors, and also for the screen readers.

     Thus, reading electronicly has become, in recent years, another important opportunity for access to texts in addition to Braille or recording texts on tapes.


     Tiflolibros today offers two ways of reading.


     Books to read in the computer.


     The books are text files that the user downloads from the site of the library and then reads using a screen reader program on hes own computer, or in an institution that has adapted computers.


     Books in mp3 audio Cd.


     Since 2005 we have launched a service that provides library books, MP3 audio files, recorded with the same voice programs that use screen readers. This service is especially useful for those who do not have a computer adapted, with an Internet connection, or are not use to a computer. It has a particular impact on older people and lower socioeconomic segments.


¿Who are the users of Tiflolibros?


     The mailing list or virtual community, central tool of communication between the library and its users, and users with each other, today consists of more than 3,000 members, mostly blind or visually severe declines. It also involved people with other disabilities as paralysis and cuadriplejy, and people who works in institutions where they are cared for blind or visually impaired people. 

     There are two options for subscription, according to which users are searching for involvement in the community generated around the library: in the discussion group, as well as access to the library, users are in contact by e-mail, sharing readings and information about disability issues, culture and literature, posing questions and providing solutions regarding the use of technological tools, etc.; in the news group, users only receive e-mails with news of new works incorporated, information about the library and other projects, and two weekly summaries with messages of the greatest interest group discussion.

     The exponential growth in the number of titles offered by the library Tiflolibros, is largely due to the approach of cooperation and participation has been sought since its birth:

     each member of the list brings the books to scan and / or corrected to make it available to all on the site of the Library.


     Tiflolibros currently involves people of the following countries: germany, Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Brasil, Bolivia, Canadá, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croacyia, Cuba, Danmarc, Ecuador, El Salvador, spain, Unites States, France, Guatemala, Haití, Holand, Honduras, Hungary, India, England, Irland, Izrael, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Nicaragua, México, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Checquian Republic, Rasha, Suece, Suitzerland, Uruguay, and Venezuela.


     Between 2006 and 2008 have been signed various agreements to facilitate access and registration form to Tiflolibros of local institutions of these countries: Chile, México, Paraguay, Perú, Dominican republic and Uruguay, and worked with schools Project Social Network of San Jose, Costa Rica and Caracas, Venezuela, significantly increasing the number of users of Tiflolibros in these countries.


     Much remains to be done. It is estimated that there are about six million people with visual impairments in Ibero america, and for most, reading, and thus access to education, culture and better opportunities are limited, and of-limits. With the new tools we use from Tiflolibros, we seek to expand the scope of the library with their own initiatives and strengthening the activities of other institutions.


What is the legal framework of Tiflolibros?


            When the project started in 1999 it was not clear the legal context, the possibility of making books for the blind in computer files so they can be accessible to users around the world. We investigated the copyright laws in different countries in which they operated, and with reference to the laws of Spain, Paraguay, Brazil and Portugal, which included exceptions to the Copyright books for the blind, and taking the practice of many years of lots of librarys for the blind in various countries of Latin america, we took legal format most commonly used: that the books were distributed only to people who have a disability credited not allowed to read in conventional media, and this distribution is made on a non-profit.


            Also we tried to work together with publishers and authors who support the work of Tiflolibros, both endorsing their service to make books accessible to the blind across the Internet, such as providing digital files of works, thereby saving work scanning and correction.

            This work with the same interest in the topic was very important and allowed us to have the support of major authors and publishers, including Group Alfaguara, South American Group, XXI century of  Mexico, Ecuador National Publishing Corporation, Eduardo Galeano and Mempo Giardinelli .


            Also we had taken all necessary security measures in the design and operation of the website, to ensure exclusive access to subscribers, with a verified disability.

            It was subsequently promoted amending the copyright law in Argentina, for inclusion in her books for the blind in all its formats and media, and that even books in Braille, which were printed since 1928 in the country were covered.

            Finally in August 2007 was passed in parliament Argentine law 26,285, driven from Tiflolibros with the support of Senator Rodolfo Terragno, which establishes the legal framework for books for the blind, saying that the books can be distributed without having to with permission of authors and publishers and without paying royalties, provided they are distributed by authorized entities, and are exclusively for those with a disability who is not allowed access to reading.


What impact has Tiflolibros?


     Some numbers speak for themselves:

     During 2007 over 3000 users conducted downloading 122,225 books, which means an average of 335 titles downloaded per day.

     The number of titles available in the library grows every day with a geometric expansion because the more people and institutions involved in the project are greater available resources.

     Between 2006 and 2007 joined the library 8759 new titles, remaining in these two years an average of incorporation of 12 new titles per day.

     Registrations of new users to Tiflolibros are also constant and growing. During the past two years have been incorporated 1016 new users, which means an average enrollment of 9 people per week.

     In addition, to be ever more institutions that have access to the library and participate in the project, is growing steadily the amount of indirect users, who receive books and the benefits of information and rapprochement between people around the world through organizations that serve either locally.

     Argentina and Spain are the countries that contained the greatest number of users of Tiflolibros, forming among users of both countries half of those accessing Tiflolibros. These are followed in quantities user countries such as Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile. In countries where there is less access to technological resources and has fewer users, is where we are prioritizing work with local institutions. So over the past two years we have achieved a significant growth in the participation of blind people in Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Dominican Republic, Venezuela

and El Salvador, taking the outstanding work of expanding access in Nicaragua and Honduras, Latin American countries today have fewer users, and we are looking at carrying out the corresponding joints to reverse this situation.

     Now a days, the website of Tiflolibros receives about 12000 monthly visits, with an average of approximately 50% of new visits. So we can project that in addition to being constantly adding new users and participants in this network, about 6000 new people per month are approaching the site and know about the possibilities of development that gives blind people to use new technologies.

     Tiflolibros Germany, the same project but on German-language, which began in 2006 a group of German users of Tiflolibros, students of translation and interpretation, has grown similarly in the past two years. Currently 1600 users uses library in German, the users are from Germany and other countries where people speak this language, and have 3800 titles available in German. The participation of German users is important, and users themselves have formed a task force to the administration of the project, its dissemination and expansion. In addition, there is a contact between Spanish-speaking and German-speaking, and there is a friendship and cooperation between people who are blind.



How is funded Tiflolibros?


     Since its birth in 1999, Tiflolibros was financed with own resources group's founders and coordinators, both in terms of physical equipment and places of work and financial resources necessary for the support and development of the Library.

     Since 2001, with the tremendous growth of the scope of service Tiflolibros and its international expansion, defined the need for a dedicated task force and headquarters activities, and therefore a formal financing.

     Since then, working on the generation of various revenue sources to ensure optimal performance of the services.

     One of the first sources of funds have been the voluntary contributions of users, who are asked to pay an annual fee voluntarily with a suggested amount equivalent to the value of two books in his country. These contributions are entirely voluntary and should not influence or not receiving services. Currently about 10% of users do this kind of input, generating an income of around U.S. $ 10,000 per year (20% of the basic operating budget of Tiflolibros).

     Another source of revenue is organizing events solidarity fund-raising, which is supported by individuals, businesses and institutions are generated funds essential to sustain the daily work of Tiflolibros.

     Other people consider the draft interest, as well as organizations and businesses can also support the maintenance of the library Tiflolibros, making small monthly contributions through automatic debit credit card.

     Another source of resources are self-financing various projects in which we work from Tiflonexos, with the aim of generating jobs for blind people and generate their own resources to sustain the development of Tiflolibros:


     Ø Service training in use, technical support and repair computers for the blind.


     Ø Sale "Ficciones para ciegos", donation book with stories and texts related blindness.

     Ø Service prints in Braille

Ø Sale of Braille printers and other equipment specifically for blind.


     Our objectives are:



Counting on the support of organizations, businesses and individuals, to help Tiflolibros to continue this innovative action that favors the development of Spanish-speaking blind people around the world.

     Further develop and expand the services and activities that allow us to self-financing at the same time more efficiently meet our mission and dispose of own resources needed to make freely available programs more efficient and further expand our scope.


Who do Tiflolibros?


     Currently working on the management team and technical work of the association Tiflonexos 8 people on a dedicated (between 5 and 9 hours per day). Also there is people from Córdoba and Bariloche in Argentina and Spain participating in this team performing different tasks.

     6 Of these 12 people are men and six women, all between 20 and 38 years and 8 have visual impairment and 4 do not have any disabilities.

     This is a multidisciplinary team with high technical preparation, we have university training in computer and programming, special education and new technologies, social communication and business administration.


Where are we going?


     Until the 2007 Tiflonexos was carried forward from a department of two environments in the neighborhood of Boedo, which limited the development of certain shares to the absence of sufficient physical space.

     From December 2007, and thanks to support from the Williams Foundation, began to operate in a wide house in the neighborhood of Once, in Buenos Aires, with much more suitable space, where in addition to the work that was being done so far, opening new possibilities of harnessing technological resources, involvement

of users and new services.

     Today we seek work in the following lines to sustain the development of services for the organization and better serve the needs of our beneficiaries:


     1. strengthening the core working Tiflonexos.

Currently working on a dedicated in different areas of the institution 8 persons of which 5 have visual impairment.

     While in recent years have been moving up to reach with this task force dedicated resources that are generated make the pay of these people is low (between

200 and 400 dollars a month for work between 5 and 8 hours ), And will have to work on an informal basis.

     This is a problem when recording the main strength of our institution is the highly skilled technical training of our team, and makes us lose significant

resources, to have some people who leave their tasks in the institution for work in a formal company, which corresponds to pay for their knowledge and skills.

     That is why we are working on the search for stable income and contributions that will enable us to sustain a more firm and fair wages and working, and then we’ll can give more strength and stability to all our services.


     2 production space of accessible reading materials

     We aim at shaping a service through scanners deal to digitalize books and other texts, with particular demand for students of middle and higher education, who today have less support in terms of their access to reading.

     Once a text has been digitalized with a scanner, it should be correct and prepare, and then can be distributed to users in four brackets:

     Electronic archive to be read with a computer screen reader program.

     MP3 audio files recorded with synthetic voice to be heard on any MP3 player.

     Braille (using a special printer that prints in this system in relief)

Macrotipes (for low vision).

     At the same time, a book that is scanned in this way, is placed in our library and is available to over 3000 users and the 120 institutions that now have access to the library, which can download and distribute in the same four brackets.

     we seek this service production to work in coordination with other services already exist in other countries, adding efforts and resources for a common goal: to form a network of production of reading materials accessible to students with visual impairment of latin America, which meets the local demands of materials as well as share resources produced globally.

     In this objective we are already working together with various institutions and universities of Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela, Costa Rica and Mexico.

     Currently we have some of the equipment necessary to provide this service, we are managing others, and we are looking to work with different partners who can provide what is necessary to mount the best service and sustaining human resources required to meet current demands.


     3. training of users and trainers and space for public access to technological resources. Today technology opens up tremendous opportunities for independent development of a person with visual impairment. Yet few are still people who can access them, and achieve maximizing the benefits. That is why we need a strong and quality in training users and trainers as they know the technological resources available, its uses and applications and

thus achieve better results with the implementation of technology.

     The team of our institution is currently in regards this issue in latin America, having already made various trainings in the country and abroad, aimed at optimizing the use of technical resources. That is why we seek the creation of a classroom  training and access to resources, which can provide specific training to blind people and professionals from different institutions, teachers, professors of computer science, etc., which are multipliers training, and must give access to public resources to those who today can not having their own teams.

     To do this we have the physical space and technical staff prepared and experienced. We seek to equip the classroom, and have the support necessary to finance and support training activities.

translated into English by ania miner, Tiflolibros's user from Spain  

Publicado por PablolTFL @ 21:08 | 0 Comentarios | Enviar