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 Article of Interest - Blind & Dyslexic

The Switch From Audio Tape to Digital Creates Problem for Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic

from Recording For The Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D)


TROY, Mich., -- Recording For The Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D), a national non-profit educational resource enabling those with print disabilities to complete their educations, advance their careers, and gain self- esteem, is having its difficulties these days in its efforts to produce recorded textbooks and educational materials for over 8,000 students in Michigan. The audio textbooks are supplied free on loan along with reference and support services.


The cause of the problem is that RFB&D must equip their nine recording studio booths with all new digital recording equipment within the next few months. Books on CD are not only easier for students to use, but provide several features that make listening easier. For example, students can easily find a place in a book by using the digital format.  


Acquiring the new equipment is critical because no company currently manufactures the reel-to-reel recording equipment currently in use and parts are impossible to procure. Currently, RFB&D is cannibalizing old units in order to find parts to keep the nine studios in service.


According to Carla Reeb, Executive Director of the Michigan RFB&D unit in Troy, "This comes at a very bad time for us. We, like so many not-for-profit, United Fund recipients, have had to take budget cuts this year, because of the state of the economy."


"It will cost us about $15,000 dollars to equip and train operators for each of our nine recording studios and we are not able to afford much of the $135,000 it will cost.


Last year, more than 5,300 volunteers, working in RFB&D's 32 recording studios across the United States, contributed 396,703 hours of their time producing 4,160 new titles on tape, or computer disc (E-text) or CD. There are many volunteer opportunities throughout our nationwide locations. In California, units are in Los Angeles, Orange County, the Inland Empire, Santa Barbara and the Bay Area.  


When RFB&D's initial release culminates in full-scale national distribution, RFB&D's library of digital textbooks on CD-ROM will offer members unprecedented navigation and convenience. Utilizing synchronized electronic text and human voice, digital audio books can be played on standard multimedia personal computers or specialized players. The contents of a standard textbook can now be contained on a single CD that students can navigate by page, chapter or heading. Previously, a standard textbook required between eight and 12 cassette tapes that could only be navigated by forwarding or rewinding a four-track tape recorder through a series of page indicator beep tones.


For more information about RFB&D, visit it's website at


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