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NLS-REPORTS  August 2006

NLS-REPORTS August 2006

Subject:

Machines and Accessories No. 06-03 (National Audio Equipment Advisory Committee recommendations and NLS responses, 2005)

From:

NLSBPH <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

NLS Documents for Network Libraries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 28 Aug 2006 12:50:20 -0400

Content-Type:

TEXT/PLAIN

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

TEXT/PLAIN (355 lines)

        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        Machines and Accessories No. 06-03
        
        Date: August 25, 2006
                                 
        
        Subject: National Audio Equipment Advisory Committee recommendations and NLS
        responses, 2005
        
        
        Attached are the recommendations made by the National Audio Equipment Advisory
        Committee (NAEAC) members at the annual meeting held September 14-16, 2005. 
        Following each recommendation is a response by NLS.
        
        Attachment
        
        For further information contact:   
        
        Michael G. Katzmann
        Head, Engineering Section
        [log in to unmask]
             
        ____________________________________________________________________
                                 




National Audio Equipment Advisory Committee
September 14-16, 2005


The following members attended the meeting:


Consumer representatives

American Council of the Blind                Christopher Gray
Blinded Veterans Association                 Ellsworth Sharpe
Access Board                                 David Baquis
National Federation of the Blind             Tami Jones
Northern Region                              Ray Wayne
Western Region                               Elaine Day

Network library representatives

Midlands Region                              William Graczyk
Northern Region                              Kim Charlson
Southern Region                              Fara Zaleski
Western Region                               Brian Pendergast

TelecomPioneer representatives

Midlands Region                              Jerry Adamson
Northern Region                              Darrel Teske
Southern Region                              Joseph Bernal
Western Region                               Stephen Austin

General Electric Elfun representative        Robert Davis



2005 National Audio Equipment Advisory Committee Recommendations from Consumer
Representatives and NLS Responses
                                
                                
1.   Since falling asleep while listening to talking-books is a significant problem for many
patrons, the NLS basic digital talking-book machine should have a sleep switch.

NLS response (Engineering):

This is a requirement for the basic player and will be included. 

2.   Since patrons have a wide range of cognitive processing skills and many could benefit
from listening to talking books at a faster or slower than normal speed, the basic digital talking-
book machine should include a variable speed function.

NLS response (Engineering):

Usability testing confirms this hypothesis.  The basic player will include speed scaling.

3.   The design of the new digital talking-book machine's cord storage should be such that the
cord cannot fall out while the machine is being carried by its handle, which is often a problem
with the current machine. 

NLS response (Engineering):

This is a problem that is recognized by NLS and the design team.  Cord retention was a factor in
the design of the new player.  The new design should prove fully acceptable.

4.   Mailing container design should take into account that containers are often left on
doorsteps and in other locations where they may be temporarily exposed to inclement weather. 

NLS response (Engineering):

Design requirements make clear that the environment experienced by the mailing containers can
be harsh.  Everything possible will be done to ensure that cartridges will survive journeys to and
from the patrons, while not presenting a challenge to remove. 


5.   The top surface of the basic digital talking book machine should include a molded tactile
line across the machine just behind the most important controls so that patrons needing the
simplest configuration can be told that the important controls are in front of the line closest to
the user. 

NLS response (Engineering):

This is an excellent idea and has been incorporated in the design.   


2005 National Audio Equipment Advisory Committee Recommendations from Consumer             
    
Representatives and NLS Responses
                                
6.   The digital talking-book machine should be supplied with cassette instructions in addition
to digital instructions because most patrons will still have a cassette machine that they already
know how to use. 

NLS response (Engineering):

Once again, this is a very helpful suggestion.

7.   The buttons of the digital talking-book machine should have crisp, tactile feedback when
pressed like the devices shown at this meeting. 

NLS response (Engineering):

The keypad on the digital talking book will be a membrane-style design.  This approach balances
feel, cost, and durability.  These buttons will have less tactile feedback than the buttons used in
the prototype.  The effect of the reduction in tactile feedback is offset by the use of audible
feedback. 

8.   A color-coding scheme for the operating controls of the digital talking-book machine
should be similar to the C-1, at least on the basic machine. 

NLS response (Engineering):

This is being considered, however there is not a one-to-one correspondence between C1 keys to
digital talking-book machine buttons.  (e.g., the two keys Play and Stop are replaced on the DTB
player by a single Play/Stop button).  Keys will be chosen for optimal visibility for low-vision
users. 

9.   The basic digital talking-book machine should include a mechanism for the user to
perform a controlled reset in case the machine gets into a state that the user doesn't understand. 
This should not be something that can be triggered accidentally.

NLS response (Engineering):    This will be implemented in the player design.

10.  For patrons who have difficulty finding items on their computers, the download system 
should include mechanisms to easily manage the target location of download materials. 

NLS response (Research and Development Officer):

NLS does not plan to issue client software to manage downloads at this time.  In order to attain
the widest possible compatibility, the download system will rely on the patron's web browser. 
Most browsers choose a default location for downloaded files, with the option for the user to
specify an alternate location.




2005 National Audio Equipment Advisory Committee Recommendations from Consumer
Representatives and NLS Responses

11.  The download system should allow patrons to cue more than one item for downloading so
that those with slower connections can have multiple items download overnight.

NLS response (Research and Development Officer):

This is an excellent suggestion.  The download system will rely on the abilities of desktop
operating systems and web browsers for downloading files.  There is no plan to issue client
software that would queue items for sequential download, but all modern browsers allow a user
to run multiple downloads in parallel, which would accomplish the same goal. 

12.  The download system should allow patrons to move downloaded items to portable
devices or to put them on NLS cartridges for playing on the NLS player.

NLS response (Research and Development Officer):

NLS intends to include this ability in its download system.      



2005 National Audio Equipment Advisory Committee Recommendations from Librarians 
and NLS Responses                        
                          
                        
                                
1.  We recommend that NLS provide the network libraries with overpack boxes for E1s.
 
NLS response (Equipment Control Officer):

Action will be started to include the E1 overpack carton into the MSCs' warehouse inventory
(stock # SH134).

2.   We recommend that NLS develop procedures to ensure that, when network libraries
receive shipments of E1 machines from MSCW, that those machines being shipped to libraries
be sent out in working order, with all inserts included and in good working condition for
reshipment to patrons. 

NLS response (Equipment Repair Officer):

All E1s are checked and, if necessary, repaired by contract repairers.  NLS contractual
requirements mandate that all machines meet operational specifications and are repacked with
inserts.  The NLS Quality Assurance Section monitors compliance.

3.   We recommend that NLS distribute copies of Flash to machine repair groups to keep
them informed about DTB developments.

NLS response (Digital Projects Coordinator):

This has been done. 

4.   We recommend that NLS digitize historic talking-book recordings, especially those
featured in the "Treasury of Talking Books," to fulfill patrons' requests for these unique and
interesting books.

NLS response (Collection Development):

NLS is currently focusing on digitally converting analog masters of talking books in the RC
format.  The digital conversion of RC titles is cost effective since master tapes are available.  For
titles in the older disk formats without masters (i.e., RD, TB, and 33-1/3 titles), it will likely be
more cost effective to rerecord them in the coming years rather than try to digitalize them. 
However, NLS will make a special effort to digitally remaster selected older disk recordings to
preserve and reclaim the popular narrators such as Alexander Scourby and the author narrators of
the "Treasury" books. 

2005 National Audio Equipment Advisory Committee Recommendations from Librarians 
and NLS Responses
                                
                                
5.   We recommend that NLS develop a contingency plan for ensuring the availability of
enough repaired C1s during the digital transition period, i.e., through volunteer
recruitment opportunities or outside contracts.

NLS response (Engineering):

Commercial repair is being increased this year, however this will still be only a small fraction of
the repairs done by volunteers.  The chief of MDD has made the recruitment of new volunteers a
priority and is working with the leadership of the current volunteer groups to bring new people
into the program.

6.    We recommend that NLS revise the guidelines and technical specifications for volunteer
and network studio programs for production of DTBs with digital markups. 

NLS response (Engineering):     

The Engineering Section recognizes the need for such guidance.  A revised draft is underway.

7.   We recommend that NLS develop specifications for digital duplication and equipment
recommendations for network libraries when feasible.

NLS response (Engineering):

The specifications for the cartridge will be released when the design is final.  This is a
prerequisite for the design of any duplicating equipment.  NLS will consult with potential
cartridge duplicator manufacturers to encourage the production of affordable duplicating
equipment. 


2005 National Audio Equipment Advisory Committee Recommendations from Volunteer
Repair Representatives and NLS Responses

1.   We recommend NLS perform a full-scale survey of all repair groups to ascertain the
number of groups, the number of members in the groups, and contact names (similar to the
survey done in 1995). 
NLS response (Equipment Repair Officer):

Some of this information is being collected via the new WOW system.  However, a formal
questionnaire will be written and circulated.  The questionnaire will be Web-based.

2.   We commend NLS for the progress made on the WOW system, and we want to reinforce
that a pictorial representation of the parts and parts list is a very desirable interface for parts
ordering and that it needs to be implemented as soon as possible.  Raouf Amin has prepared an
excellent example of this concept.

NLS response (Inventory Management):
While selecting parts to order directly from the circuit diagrams is an appealing approach, the
estimate of the NLS contractor is that its implementation is complex and costly.  In the
meantime, to make the information in the manuals consistently available, including the diagrams
and up-to-date parts list, we are posting copies of the manual with the diagrams and figures in
test mode for comment prior to posting them on the Parts web-site.We are hereby sharing the
test site  http://rs21.loc.gov:7776/pls/imsd/test_parts_pdf with the repair volunteers for comment. 
We appreciate Steve Austin's contribution in updating the part numbers accompanying the
diagrams.  We will update these lists to show changes in part numbers, and date the list each
time it is changed or updated. (It is expected that the part numbers will continue to change over
time).  Of course, changes in the part numbers will be made in the WOW "Order Parts" list as
well.

3.   In order to bring repaired C-1 batteries to specifications and to reliably test batteries, we
recommend that NLS equip repair shops with the "IQ5" chargers recommended by NLS.  This is
a critical but moderately priced piece of equipment and an excellent investment.
NLS response (Equipment Repair Officer):
     
NLS agrees that this will be an extremely useful tool in ensuring machine reliability. Chargers
will be made available in the coming years based on available funding.
     
4.   Due to the possibility of serious quality problems, we recommend that amplifier board
parts availability be strictly limited to repair groups established as being qualified.

NLS response (Equipment Repair Officer):

This is a valid concern.  This has been standard operating policy for more than ten years and the
people responsible for the parts order/inventory system have been notified of this requirement. 


2005 National Audio Equipment Advisory Committee Recommendations from Volunteer
Repair Representatives and NLS Responses

     
5.   We are extremely concerned with the quality problems reported on machines stored in
Multistate Center West.  We recommend NLS devise a way to utilize the screening pilot to
screen machines going into MSCW.  This would help identify previously anonymous groups that
are having quality issues. 

NLS response (Engineering Section/Equipment Repair Officer):

A pilot inspection program of machines leaving MSCW is being instituted.  This is to ensure that
the network libraries receive fully operational and complete machines and have confidence in the
equipment.  The provenance of machines arriving at MSCW is sometimes difficult to determine,
so it is important that the machine-lending agencies and  the repair groups themselves ensure the
high quality of repair.

 
6.   Our compliments on the DTB presentation it was clear and complete.  We are
encouraged by the progress achieved since last year's meeting.  We are encouraged by Mr.
Katzmann's mention of diagnostic tools being built into the machines.

NLS response (Engineering):

Since NLS is both a manufacturer and consumer of the players, we have a different perspective
than a commercial manufacturer of consumer products.  Long-term maintainability is of
paramount concern in the player design. 

7.   We recommend the next meeting be held in September. 

NLS response (Engineering):

The next meeting is scheduled for September 13-15, 2006.

8.   And, as usual, we wish to express our gratitude to Carolyn Proctor and Nancy Smith for
having been the true enabling power behind this year's meeting.

NLS response (Engineering):

The Engineering Section and NLS management concur. 

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