Home > Publications > NDL Newsletter > No. 199, April 2015

National Diet Library Newsletter

No. 199, April 2015

Collecting and transmitting data for persons with print disability

This article is a translation of the article in Japanese
in NDL Monthly Bulletin No. 646 (January 2015).


1. Introduction and Background

To support persons with print disability, the National Diet Library (NDL) is collecting and providing data including recorded books in Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) format, braille data, and others generated by public libraries throughout Japan. Such users can access those data through the Internet or their local libraries. Physically handicapped people who cannot turn over pages, and people diagnosed with dyslexia are also within the scope of this service.

For those users, the amendment of the Copyright Law that came into force in January 2010 expanded the scope of institutions allowed to convert visual information into audio information and transmit them through the Internet without any permission from the conventional braille libraries to the NDL and public libraries. In July 2011, the NDL settled on "Implementation Plan for Library Service for the Visually Disabled and Print Handicapped Users" that announced the transmitting service, and had continued its discussions with the institutions concerned until the launch in January 2014.

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2. About collecting

The NDL is collecting audio-only DAISY data and braille data from public libraries. After getting through a big part of public libraries' data, we will consider collecting from university libraries and others, as well as expanding DAISY data formats including text-only DAISY and multimedia (i.e. combination of text and sound) DAISY.

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3. About transmitting

<<A detailed search result example of NDL Search>>

These data are available through the "Material search for persons with disabilities" option in the NDL Search. Streaming and downloading are allowed for audio-only DAISY data. As for braille data, users can download them to a braille display, which is a type of physical display device with vertically up-and-down pins that form braille dots when in the up position.

<<Braille display>>

As of October 2014, 2,189 items in total are provided. The breakdown is as follows: 2,151 audio-only DAISY data (1,242 from public libraries and 909 from the NDL) and 38 braille data (25 from public libraries and 13 from the NDL).

<<Table: The breakdown by the Nippon Decimal Classification (NDC) (unit: items)>>

NDC audio-only DAISY data Braille data
0: General works 176 13
1: Philosophy 290 3
2: History 322 1
3: Social sciences 331 0
4: Natural science 383 0
5: Technology 35 2
6: Industry 20 2
7: Art 79 0
8: Language 30 2
9: Literature 485 15

Individuals who have user registrations as persons with print disabilities are allowed to use this service through the Internet at their places, although the registration procedure requires users to present themselves at the NDL Tokyo Main Library or Kansai-kan. We are considering how the procedure can be completed without visiting the library.

Without user registration, people can enjoy those data through member libraries including public, academic, school, and braille libraries. Some libraries provide users with computers to use those data in their facilities, while others send users CDs and USB storage media which contain downloaded data.

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4. Our tasks for the future

This collecting and transmitting project started with 900 sets of data provided by public libraries, and after a little under a year, we have doubled this total already. We will continue to collect more and provide more.

We do recognize many problems like the user registration procedure, the accessibility of the user interface for the searching option, and data collecting methods. To provide more data for people who need them, we will overcome such problems, and make progress. We really hope many people will become aware of this service and try to make the most of it.

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