Audio Information Resources

People with visual or cognitive impairments can access materials in alternate formats such as large-print, braille and audio. Audio is a popular medium because it works with so many portable devices such as mp3 players, e-book readers, smartphones, and laptops. It's really a mainstream way of distributing content that people with disabilities are using, rather than a specialized channel.

Almost all types of content are available, although publishers may restrict access to some materials.

RoboBraille is a free web-based or email service that will convert digital text documents into mp3 audio files. Your file can be a .doc, .docx, .pdf, .txt, .xml, .html, .htm, .rtf, .epub, .mobi, etc..  The file they give back can be mp3 audio, DAISY Consortium.

">Daisy full text and audio, e-Book, document conversion, or Braille. You can choose 12 languages other than English, as well. 

Many newspapers and magazines can be read aloud on the website of the publisher using screen reader software. The National Federation of the Blind offers a service to persons with reading disabilities called NFB Newsline. Members of this service can receive newspapers and magazines via e-mail, on the web, or over the telephone. These publications and articles are formatted for easier reading than if a person were to go directly to the publisher's website.

The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) offers books and magazines on cassette, digital audio, large-print and braille. The braille publications can also be downloaded to a computer.

Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic (now called Learning Ally) offers books in audio format on CD and via download. These books are mostly college level textbooks and are read by volunteers.

Bookshare is another non-profit service that provides access to audio versions of school texts and general interest books.

There are other commercial services (like Audible) and  free sources (like Project Gutenberg), and the number is growing every day.

E-book readers like the iPad and Kindle offer some access to content in audio form. These and other devices like them will certainly continue to evolve their accessibility features, so stay tuned.

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