FW: USA: Online book-sharing service for the blind borrows a page from Napster

Janina Sajka janina at afb.net
Tue Mar 12 16:56:21 EST 2002

Well, Ann, I think the long long long application form is still there, but 
the MSIE message is gone gone gone, as best I can tell.

Also, they've stopped asking for Doctor's verification of disability. 
While their Chafee Amendment copyright exemption requires them to get some 
kind of disability authentication, they've wisely arranged with NLS to 
provide this service. So, if you're registered with NLS, that will serve 
at BookShare.

On Tue, 12 Mar 2002, Ann Parsons wrote:

> Hi Janina,
> Well, I found that it was virtually impossible to get at the site
> during the beta.  I found that the application was only a long, long,
> long, long, long agreement with several check boxes, but there was no
> place to add an address, a name of anything else!  I haven't been back
> there because it says on the top of the page that "this site is for
> users of MSIE5.5 or above."  I just didn't bother.  I figured that
> there was nothing I could do.  My Windows computer has been down for
> two months, and I want so much to download books and to join, but what
> can I do?  I have some books here I've scanned that I might
> conceivably want to upload there, but nobody deigned to say anything
> to me.  I'm on the beta list.  Nobody bothered to talk to me at all,
> find out *why* I was unhappy with the site, or what I was
> experiencing.  In fact, they just about ignored me cuz I use Linux.
> It was made very, very, very, very, very, very clear that I was just
> chopped liver and so I haven't bothered to even try to access the site
> in Lynx.  I figured that it would be virtually impossible, so I've
> been waiting for my Windows machine to get fixed, and now I discover I
> have to wait more time!
> Janina, I hate Windows, but I want to join Bookshare`!  I want to
> download books!  It won't do me any good to go there anyway in Lynx
> cuz the unpack tool is for Windows, or didn't you realize that?  Sure
> they're looking for somebody to write their program for Linux because
> they've finally awakened to the fact that maybe somebody ought to pay
> attention to another OS.  But what's the good of writing an unpack
> tool for Linux when the site is "only for MSIE5.5 or above"?  I mean
> if you're going to be *that* exclusive, what's the good, Janina?  What
> about people who only have MSIE4 or Netscape or PW-Webspeak or IBM web
> reader?  What about those peopoe, huh?  Do they know how snooty and
> exclusive that phrase sounds?  Do they realize how it looks?  Haven't
> we had enough of being shut out?  
> If my Windows machine isn't up yet, and if I only have Linux, then
> downloading an unpack tool for Windows isn't going to do me a hoot in
> Hell.  Maybe that's why everybody has been ignoring me, eh?  I'm
> sorry, Janina, but you asked me, and I'm telling you.  I feel shut
> out, ignored, and thrown away.  The site is for "MSIE5.5 or later", it
> says so right on the page, damn it!!!  It's supposed to be for the
> blind.  It's supposed to be so that we can access books!  It's
> supposed to be a tool to help us, and it's just another fanthom,
> supposedly accessible but only if you have the right equipment.
> <sigh>  What about people who use W3, what about them?  What about
> people who have shell accounts, there are some, you know.  They're
> limited to Lynx.  I'm sorry, Janina, but I'm disgusted and feeling
> angry and really quite upset.  I didn't realize how upset I was till
> you asked me how I was doing.
> Ann P.

				Janina Sajka, Director
				Technology Research and Development
				Governmental Relations Group
				American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)

Email: janina at afb.net		Phone: (202) 408-8175

Chair, Accessibility SIG
Open Electronic Book Forum (OEBF)

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