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Machines and Accessories Report No. 00-11

Date: August 11, 2000

Subject: Recommendations by the National Audio Equipment
Advisory Committee Members



Attached are the recommendations made by the National Audio
Equipment Advisory Committee members at the annual meeting
held April 5-7, 2000.  Following each recommendation is a
response by NLS.

The following members attended the meeting:

Consumer representatives

American Council of the Blind           Sharon Stralkowski
Blinded Veterans Association            Elsworth Sharpe
National Federation of the Blind        Samuel Gleese
Midlands Region                         Robert Haag
Southern Region                         Doug Hall

Network library  representatives

Midlands Region                         Ronald Rose
Northern Region                         Christine Lisiecki
Southern Region                         Rebecca Sherrill
Western Region                          John Brewster

Telephone Pioneer representatives

Midlands Region                         Jerry Adamson
Northern Region                         Carl Gingrich
Southern Region                         Joseph Bernal
Western Region                          Richard Iversen

Elfun representative                    Robert Smith


__National Audio Equipment Advisory Committee
Consumers' Recommendations
April 7, 2000__


1.   Consumers recommend that NLS include braille labels on
TBT/BBR diskettes.

NLS response (Engineering):

We will draft a change to NLS specifications
implementing this suggestion, submit it to the NLS
Engineering Change Control Board during September 2000 and
if adoption is recommended, request funding support for FY
2001.  If funding is approved, the change would be
implemented when the TBT contract is renewed in March 2001.


2.   Consumers recommend that each cassette of an NLS-
produced cassette magazine include a braille label
indicating side number and number of cassettes in the
magazine as is done with books.

NLS response (Consumer Relations Officer, Engineering):

We will draft a change to NLS specifications
implementing this suggestion, submit it to the NLS
Engineering Change Control Board during September 2000 and
if adoption is recommended, request funding support for FY
2001.  If funding is approved, the change would be
implemented when magazine contracts are awarded during FY
2001.

3.   Consumers recommend that the narration time for
articles in magazines on cassette be indicated in the table
of contents and at the beginning of each article.

NLS response (Engineering):

We will draft a change to NLS specifications
implementing this suggestion, submit it to the NLS
Engineering Change Control Board during September 2000 and
if adoption is recommended, request funding support for FY
2001.  If funding is approved, the change would be
implemented when magazine contracts are awarded during FY
2001.

4.   With regard to the proposed digital playback machine, a
single player should be developed that could be viewed as a
simple or more complex machine via some method such as
covering up some controls.

NLS response (Engineering):

We agree.  Adjusting the complexity of the user
interface to individual needs of user or group profiles is
certainly one of the options we will be exploring.


5.   Consumers recommend that emphasis be placed on software
development for digital accessible books, leading toward the
deployment of prototype hardware devices suitable for field
testing.

NLS response (Engineering):

We plan to begin writing simulation software for DTB
interface development following completion of the NISO
standard.

__National Audio Equipment Advisory Committee
The Telephone Pioneers and Elfuns' Recommendations
April 7, 2000__

1.   The newer series of amplifier boards (-002 and up) have
traces that are too thin to withstand the heat
encountered during repair operations.
NLS should direct Telex to increase the width of the
traces as much as possible to return the boards to a more
maintainable design

 NLS response (Engineering):

This will be a consideration in the ongoing design of a
new amplifier board.

2.   That NLS hold a national-level conference of expert
amplifier board repair technicians for the purpose of
establishing standardized repair procedures and
performance standards.

NLS response (Equipment and Materials Maintenance
Coordinator):

The EMMC will implement this suggestion in the draft
management plan due September 2000.  The same plan will
request the required funding .  If approved, the conference
will be scheduled during the second quarter of calendar year
2001.

3.   Substantial volunteer repair efforts are directed
towards NLS equipment other than cassette book
machines, much of it specialized, but there is no
specialized recognition for these operations.

That NLS add emphasis for recognition for repair
efforts other than cassette book machine reconditioning such
as cassette tapes, amplifier boards, etc.

That NLS add amplifier board repair statistics to its
annual repair survey.

NLS response (Equipment and Materials Maintenance
Coordinator):

We agree and we will solicit information from the
volunteers and libraries so that the appropriate recognition
and statistics will be included in next year's report.

4.   Color coding heads and drive kits when they are changed
is a good idea and should aid in tracking their age.
NLS should issue an M&A directing technicians to do
this and should use the easy-to-read color format for
the convenience of volunteers.

NLS response (Equipment and Materials Maintenance
Coordinator):

This M&A is being developed.

5.   That NLS issue an M&A report to clarify the use of
multiple washers as shims in the pressure roller, fast
forward roller, and other assemblies.


NLS response (Equipment and Materials Maintenance
Coordinator):

"These washers are primarily used as shims to limit the
vertical slack in these assemblies."   Please see the
attached copy of Machines and Accessories Report 00-08 of
June 9, 2000.

6.   That NLS establish a uniform battery charging policy
and have libraries distribute that instead of the
myriad variations now in use.

NLS response (Engineering):

Please see Machines & Accessories Report 97-03 of June
13, 1997 (copy attached).  Note particularly: "To ease
patron concern and inconvenience while accepting a small
decrease in performance, the CBM may be left continuously
connected to a wall outlet."

7.   That NLS be more expansive in responses to these
answers so that they are comprehensive; clearly
understandable; and, if a date is involved (such as
'action items'), state it in order to 'close the loop.'
Responses incorporating references to M&A reports
should include a copy of the report or a pertinent
quote from it.

NLS response (Engineering):

This will be done.

8.   That NLS support expansion of the running hour-meter
project initiated by the Cincinnati Elfuns.  This
project can finally start the much-needed acquisition
of data to establish MTBF.

NLS response (Equipment and Materials Maintenance
Coordinator):

We thank the Elfuns for developing this much needed
research tool.  NLS will issue a purchase request for the
required parts to build three hundred units as soon as
possible.

9.   Tape on the overpack boxes is plain paper and is
frequently broken after reuse, and during initial shipment
as well.  This results in lost and damaged machines, or
causes machine shipments to be misdirected.
That NLS either have Telex use more durable tape to
seal the boxes or encourage libraries to do so.

NLS response (Engineering):

We are testing an alternative, stronger tape.


10.  That NLS investigate the viability of making
individual CBM boxes resealable (without tape) to increase
their useful life.

NLS response (Engineering):

We will investigate the cost of designing, purchasing,
and deploying new CBM boxes while observing that CBM
technology is approaching the end of its life cycle.

11.  It seems that more machines are being returned for
correction of sound quality problems that turn out to
need head realignment.  These are heads that have been
aligned and sealed during reconditioning.

That NLS reevaluate the nail polish issued to seal head
screws and take corrective action if needed.

NLS response (Equipment and Materials Maintenance
Coordinator):

The nail polish has been reevaluated and found to be
adequate to seal head screws.  Evaluators noted that polish
sometimes separates during storage, so for best results,
thoroughly agitate it before application.

12.  We compliment the efforts of Brad Kormann, Kevin Buck,
Kevin Watson, Bob Fistick, and all the other NLS staff
involved in the recognition of the contributions of repair
volunteers and recommend that this work continue.

NLS response (Engineering):

Thank you.  Subject to availability of funds, we plan
to continue this recognition program.

13.  While it is interesting, the depth of the digital
system presentations exceeded some members' limit of
interest and involvement.

Make the in-depth (but not overview update)
presentations of upcoming digital technology an optional
part of the agenda.

NLS response (Engineering):

We will consider this recommendation as we plan next
year's committee meeting.  As we move closer and closer to
deployment of digital talking-book playback equipment and
materials, the relevance of these presentations to all
committee members will increase.

__National Audio Equipment
Advisory Committee
Librarians' Recommendation
April 7, 2000__


1.   Prior to the machine audit, it is recommended that NLS
prepare and e-mail a sample form letter to the network
libraries. This letter should be sent on the network
library's letterhead to advise the patrons that an
auditor may be contacting them.

NLS response (Network Division):

This is a good idea and will be considered when it is
determined how the audit will be conducted.   Once we know
how the audit will be pursued, this idea can be refined to
alert patrons without having to notify all of them of
something that will not occur.  If the auditors were to
select 100 machines at each machine-lending agency and ALL
of them were in the hands of patrons (unlikely), that would
still be only 6,000 patrons out of the more than half a
million using the service.

2.   We recommend that the machine auditors send out their
letters in large print and if possible make a braille
letter available to those who read braille.

NLS response (Network Division):

This has been and will continue to be brought up with
the Inspector General's (IG) office as it plans for the
audit.

3.   NLS should make the machine auditors aware that
multiple machines can be found at institutions.  It is
therefore recommended that the auditors should ask
institutions for serial numbers of all machines at that
institution.

NLS response (Network Division):

This has been done.  However, there is the corollary
concern that institutions asked for multiple machine numbers
may choose not to respond at all.  The IG's staff is aware
of this concern and it will be addressed.

4.   The 800 phone number that is included in the letter
sent out by the machine auditors should be staffed
during the hours indicated.

NLS response (Network Division):

The IG's office is also aware of this, and the concern
will be addressed if an 800 number is initiated.

5.   We recommend that NLS implement the following
recommendations of the NISO committee for the digital
audio book device :
-- smart (multivoltage) power supply
-- battery saver
-- low battery indicator
-- ability to accept standard batteries
-- easy to clean

NLS response (Engineering):

These are all mentioned in the NISO DTB features list
and will be implemented.

6.   We recommend that the new devices for the digital audio
book should include a voice-activated multifunction
remote control for navigation and volume control.

NLS response (Engineering):

We will continue to look into speech-recognition for
DTB control.  This is an excellent way to manage complexity,
and the remote concept allows control to be independent of
player implementation.  The need for hand-and eyes-free
control in cars is stimulating a market that will produce
robust and affordable technology.

7.   We recommend that NLS provide annual funding for
headphone purchases.

NLS response (Materials Development Division):

A contract for headphones will be awarded in July 2000.
This contract has two option years which will be exercised
if funding permits.

8.   NLS should provide adequate supplies of headphones in a
timely manner to patrons who could not otherwise use the
service.

NLS response (Materials Development Division):

We will do this per the contract cited above.

9.   Network libraries should be encouraged to locate
alternate sources to purchase lightweight headphones.

NLS response (Reference):

Monaural headphones compatible with NLS machines are
available from: American Printing House for the Blind; Ann
Morris; Innovative Rehabilitation Technology, Inc.; LS&S
Group, Inc.; National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
Materials Center; and Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic.
Monaural headphones are also available from local Radio
Shack stores and electronic outlets that sell Telex
products.

American Printing House for the Blind (APH)
Marketing Department
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Louisville, KY 40206-0085
(502) 895-2405 800-223-1839
(502) 899-2274 fax
e-mail: [log in to unmask]
web site: www.aph.org

Ann Morris Enterprises, Inc.
551 Hosner Mountain Road
Stormville, NY 12582
(914) 227-9659
800-454-3175
(914) 226-2793 fax
e-mail: [log in to unmask]
web site: www.annmorris.com

10.  We recommend that the Equipment and Materials
Maintenance Coordinator review all back orders more than six
months old and contact the person who has ordered the parts
to see if they are still needed.

NLS response (Equipment and Materials Maintenance
Coordinator):

We will do this for orders no older than January 2000.

11.  We recommend that NLS make information such as Machines
& Accessories reports available on the Network Library
Services (PICS) section of the web site for access by repair
volunteers and network staff.  Volunteers would be given
individual ID and passwords.  Internet access is much easier
than the fax-on-demand program. The ease of use will be
increased by the implementation of the computers that will
be distributed to repair volunteers.

NLS response (Equipment and Materials Maintenance
Coordinator, Network Division):

This can be done.  NLS is in the process of appointing
a web manager.  We will include in tasks for this position a
requirement to work out the procedures for making Machines &
Accessories reports available on the web.

12.  We recommend that the EMMC send an annual list of the
repair contacts they maintain for update by the machine-
lending agenices.

NLS response (Equipment and Materials Maintenance
Coordinator):

An annual update by the MLAs is unnecessary because the
EMMC deals directly with each repair group on a regular
basis.

13.  We commend NLS for the progress they have made on the
transition to digital audio book.

NLS response (Engineering):

Thank you.

14.  We commend the NLS staff, in particular Sheryl Smith
and Nancy Smith, for their hard work in coordinating the
National Audio Equipment Advisory Committee meeting.

NLS response (Engineering):

Thank you.