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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.