|PratSam - The Internet Daisy System|
PratSam makes information
available to the print disabled
Everyone has the right to equal service in our
society. This also goes for information.
Up until now, most newspapers, libraries and sight disability organisations have provided the print disabled with audio cassettes, CDs or memory cards. This form of distribution is both limited and slow. PratSam improves and speeds up services for the visually impaired through the Internet and other modern technical aids.
The PratSam system- How does it work?
The PratSam system consists of a series of technical solutions for the production, distribution and playback of information for the visually impaired. PratSam makes it possible for a visually impaired person to subscribe to, for example, audio newspapers, audio magazines and audiobooks. The system can also be used for the distribution of member's reviews and other documents, i.e. publications in digital form. Although information is primarily distributed over the Internet, CDs and memory cards can also be used depending on the type of player the individual prefers.
Playback – what player is best for me?
There are several alternatives available for playback, such as a freestanding box that reads out the latest publications to a print disabled person automatically. Using a simple control panel, the user can navigate the material, move back and forth between chapters and articles or read older publications. Because the material is designed for the print disabled, the user can also adjust the reading tempo and place bookmarks.
If the user knows how to use a computer, there is a program that performs the same functions. Because the system supports the international Daisy (Digital Accessible International SYstem) standard publications (www.daisy.org), players from other manufacturers can also be used in the system.
Production – How are publications adapted?
Materials can be produced manually with PratSam's proprietary recording program or automatically using speech synthesis. Recordings can be made anywhere and uploaded to a server online. The recording program can be used with a user-friendly control panel specially designed to accommodate readers with little or no computer experience. Materials can be transferred via the Internet from other sources and imported to the system as well as converted, if necessary.
Distribution – How can I find what I want?
All materials are stored in digital form on a server, from which the subscriber can access the desired material whenever they want. The server provides an archive of the material and publishers can decide when the material will be available. A subscriber can have unlimited access to publications, which can even be arranged according to the subscriber's preferences.
Administration – Who's pulling the strings?
The system can be managed by several administrators, such as a support person, a publisher and an organisation for the visually impaired. Users, devices and publications are managed with a normal web browser. Authorisation levels for different functions are set according to the administrator's role. The system also makes it possible to monitor error reports as well as save usage logs and statistics.
A modern, future-proof system
The system was launched with the first audio newspaper in 2004. Today, PratSam is used by all Finland Swedish audio newspapers, thus replacing the formerly used cassette distribution. The system is also used by Federation of Swedish Speaking Visually Impaired in Finland and Celia – Library for the Visually Impaired. In Finland the system currently has some 800 users, both Swedish and Finnish speaking. The number of users is constantly growing, and the system will soon support Daisy Online, the international standard for the online distribution of digital accessible information.
The PratSam system has been under development by visually impaired organisation Norra Österbottens svenska synskadade r.f. (NÖSS) since 2002, when it and Jakobstads Tidning (now Österbottens Tidning) wanted to modernise the audio newspapers that were then distributed on cassettes. Since then, several new development projects have been carried out to improve the system.
NÖSS has several people working on the development project and works in co-operation with experts and companies to come up with new technical solutions to make the daily routines of the print disabled easier. The development project is primarily funded by Raha-automaattiyhdistys (Finland’s Slot Machine Association).
The PratSam project
c/o Daniel Ainasoja
mail: daniel pratsam org
Norra Österbottens Svenska Synskadade
The Federation of Swedish Speaking Visually Impaired in Finland
Finnish Federation of the Visually Impaired
Celia - Library for the Visually Impaired
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