Machines and Accessories Report No. 02-06 Date: June 28, 2002 Subject: National Audio Equipment Advisory Committee recommendations and NLS responses, 2002 Attached are the recommendations made by the National Audio Equipment Advisory Committee members at the annual meeting held April 3-5, 2002. Following each recommendation is a response by NLS. The following members attended the meeting: Consumer representatives American Council of the Blind Sharon Strzalkowski Blinded Veterans Association Norman Jones National Federation of the Blind Bruce Woodward North Region Darren Burton West Region Allan Peterson Network library representatives Midlands Region Mamie Grady Northern Region Christine Lisiecki Southern Region Richard Feindel Western Region John Brewster Telephone Pioneer representatives Midlands Region Jerry Adamson Northern Region Les Miller Southern Region Joseph Bernal Western Region Richard Iversen Elfun representative Robert Smith ____________________________________________________________ __National Audio Equipment Advisory Committee Consumers Recommendations__ __April 5, 2002__ 1. Keeping cost constraints in mind, we recommend that NLS require that magazine mailing envelopes be printed in a high black-and-white contrast. __NLS response (Production Control Section):__ NLS will investigate the cost of white envelopes with black print. 2. We recommend that the digital talking-book playback machine be resistant to moisture. __NLS response (Engineering):__ Reliability, including resistance to moisture, is a top priority for the DTB player. 3. We recommend that the digital talking-book playback machine be made compatible with emerging environmental control technologies usable by people with physical disabilities. __NLS response (Engineering):__ NLS will comply with item 6.2 of the DTB features list which requires that: The user interface allows control by all users including, for example, those who can only access the device with a breath switch and those who require an interface in a language other than English. Users with other types of interface requirements will be accommodated. 4. We recommend that NLS continue to pursue the possibility of conducting a survey of users to determine their capabilities and preferences for use of equipment and the overall service. __NLS response (Consumer Relations Officer):__ NLS is actively working with an organization knowledgeable in surveying a blind population in order to hire a contractor to conduct a survey of users to determine their skills, abilities, and preferences regarding NLS-produced playback equipment. 5. We recommend that NLS begin efforts to investigate the possibilities of online distribution of audio books and magazines when broadband becomes more affordable and more widely available. __NLS response (Engineering):__ This option remains open, and will be studied with our life cycle cost model. 6. We recommend that, by default, navigation keys on the NLS player be oriented in the book mode, i.e., more detail by going to the right, less detail going left; up toward the front of the book, and down toward the back. __NLS response (Engineering):__ Key functions can be changed under software control, so we will explore the recommended arrangement as well as others during usability studies. 7. We urge NLS not to forget that many documents will contain tables, and therefore players will need a table navigation feature. __NLS response (Engineering):__ The NISO Digital Talking Book specification provides for table navigation. 8. We recommend that NLS develop a software player as a permanent part of the program and that all cartridges for digital talking books be compatible with a PC and playable with this software. __NLS response (Engineering):__ We will do this. 9. We recommend that NLS make arrangements with a transportation company to expedite transportation between NLS, hotels, and airports. __NLS response (Engineering):__ We are looking for alternatives to conventional cabs and have at least one promising option. ____________________________________________________________ __National Audio Equipment Advisory Committee Librarian's Recommendations__ __April 5, 2002__ 1. We recommend that NLS provide information regarding companies that produce battery chargers and make the information available to the network. __NLS response (Engineering):__ Some information on battery chargers is available from the NLS Engineering Section. Please contact Raouf Amin, (202) 707-9324, e-mail <[log in to unmask]> or Kevin Watson, (202) 707- 9298, e-mail <[log in to unmask]>. 2. We recommend that NLS provide information regarding companies that produce rewinders and make the information available to the network. __NLS response (Engineering):__ Some information on rewinders is available from the NLS Engineering Section. Please contact Bill West, (202) 707- 0709, e-mail <[log in to unmask]>. 3. We recommend NLS provide the NAEAC with the results of the Solid State Memory briefings being held on April 18, 24, and 26, 2002. __NLS response (Research and Development Officer):__ NLS will provide this information. 4. We recommend that NLS provide the NAEAC with the results and pictures of the Digital Player Design Competition being judged in June 2002. __NLS response (Production Control):__ The results will be published on the web by IDSA, as well as in an 8-page article in the IDSA journal Innovation. NLS will publicize the results through our publications and web site. 5. We recommend that NLS provide the NAEAC with quarterly updates regarding changes and advances in the DTB initiative. E-mail is acceptable to the committee. __NLS response (Engineering):__ The status of the DTB initiative is continuously updated on the NLS web site, particularly <http://www.loc.gov/nls/dtbindex.html>. This provides a reasonably accurate, comprehensive, and timely account of progress. We recommend that the NAEAC use this resource to remain informed. Specific questions may always be directed to NLS staff individuals via e-mail or other means. 6. In light of programs such as BookShare and audio books in libraries, we recommend that NLS work with all due speed to introduce a new talking-book technology. If the current technology under consideration does not become feasible in a timely manner, NLS should consider an interim technology. __NLS response (Engineering):__ We plan to manage the risk of technological uncertainty by designing from a general-purpose perspective. This means that player hardware has an embedded, programmable technology-adaptive controller to run software. It also means that deliverable media will be in a package able to contain a variety of such technologies as flash memory, micro drive, optical media, holographic media, etc. We are also considering the feasibility of allowing PC-based access because it is less sensitive to technology change. 7. We recommend that the serial number plate on the digital audio book machine is at least 16-pt type and the serial and model number is audible. __NLS response (Engineering):__ We will make the print as big as possible, as much as 16 pt, provided it fits on the item to be identified. We will also use alternative ID technology such as a spoken serial number. 8. We recommend that the digital audio book machine be made stackable for easy storage and transportation. __NLS response (Engineering):__ We will strive to do this. The NLS Long-Term Planning Group, with its strong librarian representation, will be particularly attentive to this type of issue. 9. We commend the NLS staff, in particular Carolyn Proctor and Nancy Smith, for their hard work in preparing the NAEAC meeting. __NLS response (Engineering):__ Thank you. ____________________________________________________________ __National Audio Equipment Advisory Committee Volunteer Repair Recommendations__ __April 5, 2002__ We recommend that NLS - 1. (In that we have seen evidence that patrons are being charged First Class rates to mail Talking Book Machines (see attached examples)) - Change the printing on individual CBM boxes to include "Free Matter f/t Blind and Physically Handicapped" in the upper right hand corner of the face of the box. __NLS response (Engineering):__ We will sketch the change, have drawings made, and propose it to the NLS Engineering Change Control Board no later than September 2002. 2. Determine the existence of a purported postal regulation or requirement for return addresses on package mail; and if such a regulation/requirement does exist: Issue an M&A directing all parties involved in shipping machines to include a return address; and Require the address to be the actual sending agent, as opposed to NLS, to avoid logistics problems at NLS Or, if such a regulation/requirement does not exist; Establish an easy way to communicate post office problems for correction. __NLS response (Network Services):__ The Domestic Mail Manual of the United States Postal Service (USPS) does require that packages have return addresses as well as the recipients' addresses. This also applies to packages sent as Free Matter. A Machines & Accessories citing this will be distributed shortly. 3. To repeat last year's request: Please recognize that many repair shops do not have access to e-mail. We request that NLS establish a dedicated, organized technical publication separate from M&As to accelerate the dissemination of technical information. __NLS response (Equipment Repair Officer):__ If a CMLS address list can be structured to support mailing without excessive expense, we will consider this. 4. Send advance copies of the C-1 Service Manual to NAEAC Volunteer Repair Subcommittee members and Telephone Pioneer Regional Coordinators. __NLS response (Equipment Repair Officer):__ The first copies of the manual will be sent to the parties as requested. 5. NLS review the need to return battery disposal tickets to NLS and if still valid, update key information. __NLS response (Equipment Repair Officer):__ This will be done. 6. Acknowledge receipt of parts orders, including backorder and other status information. NLS response (Inventory Management):__ Inventory Management Section responds to acknowledge receipt of parts orders, including backorder and other status information, by e-mail and telephone. We will develop a more structured approach to notification and acknowledgment. 7. We wish to thank NLS for the production of the "Salute to the Telephone Pioneers of America" video, and offer congratulations for a job well done. __NLS response (Engineering):__ It is always our pleasure to acknowledge the good work done by volunteer repair persons. 8. We wish to thank Carolyn Proctor and Nancy Smith for all the hard work involved in coordinating another successful venture into our nation's capitol. __NLS response (Engineering):__ Thank you. 9. Thanks to Kevin Watson for working diligently over the years, providing us with needed parts. We anticipate this good service will continue. __NLS response (Engineering):__ Thank you.