[bksvol-discuss] Re: Are volunteers really that important anymore?

  • From: Cindy <popularplace@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 27 Aug 2009 15:40:27 -0700 (PDT)

I'm curious. Don't blind people use Daisy as well as or instead of Braille? I 
was under the  impression  (possibly the mis-impression) that that was how 
people  listened to the books on bookshare


Wish List (i.e., books wanted added to the collection) and books-being-scanned 
list available at sites below

Wish List: https://wiki.benetech.org/display/BSO/Bookshare+Wish+List

Books Being Scanned List: 

--- On Thu, 8/27/09, Denise Thompson <deniset@xxxxxxx> wrote:

From: Denise Thompson <deniset@xxxxxxx>
Subject: [bksvol-discuss] Re: Are volunteers really that important   anymore?
To: bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Date: Thursday, August 27, 2009, 2:37 PM


I'm behind the times. I didn't realize BS had broadened it's focus. I'm glad if 
it benefits you. I just don't want people who are blind to get lost in the 
process since that was the original reason for BS's existance. Right now all I 
know is that its getting harder for us to contribute. Probably we've gone about 
as far as we can with this discussion on the list. Hopefully BS staff are 
listening and will consider what has been said.


At 12:38 PM 8/27/2009, you wrote:
> Denise, you asked about who is benefiting from all the changes.  I can 
> certainly understand your frustration. smile
> I think that many of the the changes are coming about because Bookshare's 
> members are expanding to include more disabled individuals like myself who 
> are fully sighted but have other serious disabilities that prevent us from 
> reading printed books.
> A bookshare book that "sounds" fine to a blind individual is often virtually 
> unreadable to a sighted disabled person who relies on visually reading the 
> book from their computer screen.
> Imagine listening to a book where the narrator is randomly shouting one word, 
> whispering the next, or stopping in the middle of a sentence then starting 
> again as if it were a new sentence. It would be an unpleasant experience to 
> have to read books if this was the norm.
> That's the equivalent of what it's like to visually read a book that hasn't 
> had the formatting of a book cleaned up in the way that's now being 
> suggested. smile.
> Things in written text that don't make a difference to a blind reader make an 
> enormous difference to a sighted disabled reader.  For example, having the 
> chapter titles in larger fonts makes a huge difference in readability for 
> visual navigation, too, not just for DAISY navigation.
> One thing that doesn't make much difference to me at least, however, is the 
> inclusion of images in fiction books, as least those that are geared towards 
> a young adult or adult audience. They're nice to have, sort of like having a 
> narrator who can speak in different accents for different characters in a 
> book, but not necessary.  smile.  The same might be true of 
> mostly-picture-books for children, but I can't speak to that.
> I hope that gives at peek into why I believe some of the changes are 
> happening.  smile.
> Judy s.
> Denise Thompson wrote:
>> I think we have noticed it, but no one right now is prepared to deal with it 
>> since it was once the foundation of the organization itself. It was one of 
>> the big draws in the beginning which led to many news stories and funding.
>> The other issue for me is who is benefitting from all the changes. I mean 
>> the changes in terms of the correct preciseness of books scanned now. 
>> Certainly phe push to get rid of garbled text and scannos is wonderful and 
>> can easily be done today with impprooved OCR software. The other things 
>> though I wonder. It's true that I read in the Daisy format very seldom. 
>> Mostly I quickly convert my books to text and put them on my phone to read. 
>> When I'm listening to a book, it sounds exactly the same to me if it has 
>> paragraph marks at the end of each line or double paragraph marks for real 
>> paragraphs. It sounds the same if chapter titles are in 16 point font or in 
>> 12 point. The only real factor that affects me as a blind person listening 
>> to the book is the cleanness of the scan. I know that the other factors 
>> mentioned work better in a Daisy translation and create better divisions on 
>> a daisy player. Perhaps for text books this is more important, but for 
>> reading
 for pleasure, it makes no difference in listening, but makes a whole lot of 
difference in scanning, proofing and getting a book accepted into the library.
>> My last thought on this is a concern about pictures. I foresee a time when 
>> people who are blind will no longer be able to scan because it will become 
>> important that the pictures be included. Now I go through the new books and 
>> there is the added choice of downloading daisy with images. In the last book 
>> I scanned I was aware there were some pictures, but I'm not able to really 
>> deal with them because I can't tell how over all they are affecting the page 
>> lay out. I deleted them when I knew one was there. I knew one was there 
>> primarily by accident if it was at the top of the page as I checked for a 
>> paragraph mark I would be told a picture was there. I don't know if I got 
>> them all or if some still remained. The book was accepted, but I don't know 
>> what the proofer had to do in order to make that happened. I may not be 
>> expressing myself well, but its almost now as if we're creating books that 
>> would pass in the sighted world with all the same bells and
 whistles. It seems that maybe we're loosing sight of the mission a bit. But, 
again, I guess if the books can be done with all the bells and whistles more 
quickly without us and we still get the benefit of the greater numbers, maybe 
it doesn't matter.
>> Denise
>> At 10:36 AM 8/27/2009, you wrote:
>>> If I had a stack of those gay and lesbian books on hand I can imagine that 
>>> I might send them off to Bookshare and I might be out the postage and the 
>>> cost of the books if I had bought them, but I would also be out many hours 
>>> of volunteer labor to get them into the collection. I am not particularly 
>>> interested in children's picture books, so I have not downloaded any, but I 
>>> would think that outsourcers could handle them. I think that Pavi, in fact, 
>>> said that the more difficult books have priority for being outsourced. The 
>>> main thing I have noticed, though, is that the proportion of books added to 
>>> the collection by means other than volunteers is now considerably greater 
>>> than the proportion added by volunteers and that proportion is growing. 
>>> Also, a good many books already in the collection by means of volunteers 
>>> are being replaced by other means. Furthermore, the proportion that are 
>>> being added by volunteers could , in most cases, be done faster and just
 as easily or more easily, by those other means. No one has mentioned it. In 
fact, the Bookshare staff is proceeding away with more and more innovations for 
volunteers. What I was really wondering is whether volunteering is becoming 
obsolete and nobody has noticed it.
>>> "Can a nation be free if it oppresses other nations? It cannot." Vladimir 
>>> Lenin
>>>              The Militant: http://www.themilitant.com 
>>><http://wwww.themilitant.com>Pathfinder Press: http://www.pathfinderpress.com
>>> Granma International: http://granma.cu/ingles/index.html
>>>              _
>>> table with 2 columns and 6 rows
>>> Subj:Â
>>> [bksvol-discuss] Re: Are volunteers really that important anymore?  Â
>>> Date:Â
>>> 8/27/2009 4:25:38 AM Eastern Daylight Time Â
>>> From:Â
>>> rwiley@xxxxxxxxxxxxx Â
>>> Reply-to:Â
>>> bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx Â
>>> To:Â
>>> bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx Â
>>> Sent from the Internet
>>> (Details)Â
>>> table end
>>> Roger, this is an excellent summary of some of the things I have also been 
>>> thinking.Â
>>> When I first started with bookshare a couple of years ago, there were tons 
>>> of books whose rating was fair, and in most cases that designation was kind.
>>> But, the books were available, and for a group starving for reading 
>>> material, they were great to have. Â
>>> However, our tastes--and our tolerances--have improved. Where once we would 
>>> accept day-old bread because we were starving, we now want freshly baked 
>>> goods.
>>> (Wow, I must be hungry).Â
>>> So, I think your comments about the changing role of the volunteer are 
>>> right on target. There will always be a need for volunteers to do the 
>>> specialty books
>>> (such as children's books with pictures), and books of special interest. I 
>>> can't imagine NLS having a whole category of gay and lesbian books, nor can
>>> I imagine the department of education wanting their money going toward that 
>>> end. (I'm not being critical, just can't imagine it happening.) But, we 
>>> volunteers
>>> can make it happen. We can also put books in the collection from those 
>>> publishers who won't cooperate with us (after all, we have the law on our 
>>> side).Â
>>> In short, I see the role of the volunteer changing, but not going away any 
>>> time soon.Â
>>> There's an old Chinese proverb that says "may you live in interesting 
>>> times." I've always wondered whether that was a curse, challenge or a 
>>> blessing. Whatever
>>> it is, we live in very interesting times with bookshare.Â
>>> BobÂ
>>> “We know the future will outlast all of us, but I believe that all of us 
>>> will live on in the future we make,�
>>> Senator Edward M. Kennedy
>>> block quote
>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>> From:
>>> Rogerbailey81@xxxxxxx
>>> To:
>>> bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>> Sent: Wednesday, August 26, 2009 9:22 PM
>>> Subject: [bksvol-discuss] Are volunteers really that important anymore?
>>> I am not taking a position one way or another. I just thought I would 
>>> express some thoughts and questions that have been running through my mind. 
>>> I have
>>> been involved with Bookshare for just a little over a year now and have 
>>> seen some considerable changes. I have also surmised changes that came 
>>> about before
>>> I came along. As I understand it the name Bookshare was literal in the 
>>> beginning. That is, people posted the books they had scanned for themselves 
>>> and
>>> actually shared them with others who were posting books they had scanned 
>>> for themselves. That would have meant that the only source of books 
>>> Bookshare
>>> had for the most part was from the volunteers. Since then, though, 
>>> publishers have come to contribute large numbers of books. Bookshare is 
>>> acquiring books
>>> from donations or from buying them and scanning them in house or 
>>> outsourcing them. It actually appears that the number of books added to the 
>>> collection
>>> by means other than volunteers is considerably greater than those added by 
>>> the volunteers. I have noticed other things being done that volunteers do 
>>> that
>>> may be being done more prolifically by other means than by volunteers. On 
>>> more than one occasion now I have made a quality report for a book that 
>>> contained
>>> an error or errors. To my surprise the whole entire book was promptly 
>>> replaced by an outsourcer. That makes me wonder why we should bother with 
>>> scanning
>>> a BSO. Volunteers are more and more frequently finding that the books they 
>>> intend to scan are being added by outsourcers before the volunteer get a 
>>> chance
>>> to add it. Yes, that means that the volunteer can work on something else, 
>>> but it still remains that work that would have been done by a volunteer is 
>>> being
>>> done otherwise. We were asked for some suggestions about gaps in the 
>>> collection and I made a suggestion. As I scan the new books lists I see 
>>> that it appears,
>>> to my gratification, that my suggestions are being acted on. I am pleased, 
>>> but I cannot help noticing that it is being done without volunteers. If time
>>> is money I wonder if it might be more efficient to donate money to 
>>> Bookshare to buy books and pay outsourcers rather than donate our time. If 
>>> we want certain
>>> books in the collection I wonder if it might be faster and more efficient 
>>> to just donate the books rather than put so much of our own labor into them.
>>> As things change devices to accomplish our goals become obsolete when they 
>>> are replaced by better devices and certain jobs become obsolete when better
>>> and mor efficient ways are found to do things. I wonder if Bookshare 
>>> volunteering is a job that is becoming obsolete. Since we have not even 
>>> heard hints
>>> from Bookshare that new volunteers are no longer welcome or that volunteers 
>>> can give up on certain jobs I wonder if Bookshare volunteering is becoming
>>> obsolete and the folks at Bookshare do not even realize it yet. It does 
>>> seem that the volunteers are becoming less important to Bookshare and that 
>>> Bookshare
>>> could probably now do quite well without volunteers while still adding 
>>> books at a rapid rate. I am not saying that is good or bad. I am not saying 
>>> that
>>> I want it to be like that or that I don't want it to be like that. I am 
>>> just wondering and thinking. What do you guys think about what I have said?Â
>>>                   "Can a nation be free if it oppresses other 
>>> nations? It cannot." Vladimir Lenin   Â
>>>              The Militant:
>>> http://www.themilitant.com <http://www.themilitant.com/>
>>> Pathfinder Press:
>>> http://www.pathfinderpress.com <http://www.pathfinderpress.com/>
>>> Granma International:
>>> http://granma.cu/ingles/index.html
>>>              _
>>> block quote end
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