This is a transcript of a video about digital talking book players that can be found in the online course Bridging the Gap.

Narrator: In this segment, we’re taking a look at players for digital talking books, commonly referred to as DTB players. DTB players are similar to books on tape, except that they’re recorded on CDs in the DAISY format. DAISY is an acronym for Digital Audio-based Information SYstem.

Books created in the DAISY format are electronic files that are often made available on CD but they can also be accessed by an ever widening variety of e-text readers. These books are smaller in physical size than books on tape and can significantly improve users’ reading speed and efficiency.

There are several companies producing these devices and they’re available as desktop models and portable models, which are similar to portable stereos. There are also software programs available for use on computers.

DTB players offer more flexibility for users who are blind or visually impaired. Any page can be accessed immediately by pressing a command key and entering the number of the desired page. There are more navigation options. Users can navigate through books by page, by section, or by chapter. The speed of playback can be increased with no degradation in sound quality or the pitch of the reader’s voice.

The software version offers even greater flexibility. Providing the original recording is coded and tagged properly, the software will enable users to navigate by paragraph, sentence, word, and character, as well as by page, section and chapter. The software will also spell out any word users wish and they can have each word highlighted on screen as it is spoken. In addition, users can change the font and point size of the text being displayed on screen.

The software version doesn’t require the use of a screen reading program and users need only minimal training to be able to manipulate it effectively.

Sample of digital recording: “To Love This Life, quotations by Helen Keller. Forward by Jimmy Carter. Narrated by Patty Duke. I am no a perfect being. I have more faults than I know what to do with, have a naughty temper. I am stubborn, impatient of hindrances and of stupidity.”

Hardware DBT players operate in a similar way to tape players and standard CD players. Users can press buttons to move forward or back, and adjust volume, rate, and pitch. They can also start and stop whenever they please, and jump to a specific page.

Portable models measure approximately 1.4 x 5.8 x 5.4 inches and weigh about 10 ounces. Desktop models are approximately 9 X 8 X 2 inches and weigh a little over two and a half pounds.

Portable models can be bought for around $300, while desktop models cost about $500. Software versions retail for around $400.

Manufacturers are continually developing higher standards for DAISY technology, so that they can create the most accessible books possible for people who are blind or visually impaired.