By: M Ahmad
Sugamya Pustakalaya (Library) is a joint effort by TCS (Tata Consultancy Services), Daisy Forum of India and NIEPVD (National Institute for Empowerment of Persons with Visual Disabilities) of the Government of India to end the book shortage faced by people with print disabilities . Users can access a collection of almost 07,000 books, maintain their individual reading shelves online and also download books in selected formats. SugamyaPustakalaya is a supportive platform for accessible content producers to collaborate on the production and delivery of accessible books for people with print disabilities.
SugamyaPustakalaya is the aggregator of accessible versions of books available in India. This library was created by the DAISY Forum of India to provide access to books for people with print disabilities. Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) is a technical standard for digital audio books, magazines and computerized texts.
DAISY is designed as a complete audio replacement for printed material and is specifically designed for use by people with “reading disabilities” including blind, low vision and dyslexia. Based on the MP3 and XML formats, the DAISY format has advanced features in addition to those of a conventional audio book. Users can search, bookmark, precisely navigate line by line, and regulate the speaking rate without distortion. DAISY also provides acoustically accessible tables, references and additional information. As a result, DAISY enables visually impaired listeners to navigate something as complex as an encyclopedia or textbook that would otherwise be impossible with traditional audio recordings. Libraries have been established in various states, but none in J&K.
The 46 categories of books, available in 40 languages including Kashmir, in this digital library include: Animals, Art and Architecture, Biographies and Memoirs, Economics and Finance, Children’s Books, Computers and Internet, Cooking, Food and Wine, Communications , Cooking, Current Affairs, Competitive Exams, Disability, Drama, Entertainment, Earth Sciences, Education, Food and Wine, Language Studies, Health, Mind and Body, History, Home and Garden, Horror, Humor, Health, Literature and Fiction, Law and Legal Topics and Ethics, Military, Mystery and Thriller, Math and Statistics, Medicine, Music, Mind and Body, Parenting and Family, Plays and Theater, Reference Books, Religion and Spirituality, Romance, Science, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Self Help, Sports, Teens, Textbooks, Travel
The DAISY Forum of India is a consortium of not for profit organizations from India engaged in the production and distribution of books and reading materials in accessible formats for people who are unable to print normally due to visual, cognitive or physical disabilities can read texts. DAISY is the information system recently developed as the international standard of the next generation of digital audiobooks replacing traditional analog cassettes, and is intended for blind or partially sighted people who have difficulty reading printed materials.
It is developed and promoted by the DAISY consortium and is headquartered in Switzerland, consisting of full membership organizations in 12 countries. DAISY Audiobooks allow users to jump from the content directly to specific paragraphs, sections and pages. They can contain more than 50 hours in just one CD using the latest compression technology such as MP3. In addition, permanent use and maintenance is also possible.
There are three DAISY format standards in use today, the oldest of which is the most widely used in the world and is referred to as DAISY 2.02. The National Library Service uses DAISY/NISO 2002 which, as the name suggests, was released in 2002. Work is underway to create the next version of the standard, DAISY 4, which will add support for multimedia and test administration tools.
It is poised to become the largest collection of books in accessible formats. A one-stop resource for the reading needs of anyone who cannot read standard print due to blindness, low vision, or some other disability. Bookshare, the largest international online library for people with print disabilities, is also integrated with SugamyaPustakalaya. All titles available in Bookshare library for India can be searched and downloaded via SugamyaPustakalaya. Note that people without disabilities are not authorized to use the books downloaded from SugamyaPustakalaya. Sharing or distributing content downloaded from SugamyaPustakalaya is prohibited and may result in legal penalties. The library has traveled many avenues to expand its readership and content
Building a library like SugamyaPustakalaya in a country like India is no easy task. India is the second largest country by world population, has 22 official languages that vary from state to state, and where the majority of people with disabilities live below the poverty line and most DPOs work with very limited resources. SP’s success to date in the print disabled community acts as a booster to expand and accelerate the growth and reach of this library to include all people with print disabilities both inside and outside of India. A key success factor in its development and promotion is the wonderful collaboration that has resulted from this project between government, industry and data protection authorities and has extended to libraries and universities. For effective and sustainable change to happen beyond the project, it should ignite collective thinking and commitment to removing barriers to entry and creating scalable, profitable and sustainable solutions. Therefore, such synergy is significant. The DFI team is constantly expanding in all areas, books, members and partners. The commitment and momentum created by DFI and its partners is an excellent example for the world to see and emulate. Almost 07,000 books are available for download contributed by DFI Member Organizations and Bookshare Total books in all libraries in Daisy India
India’s online accessible library “SugamyaPustakalaya” (SP) recently celebrated its sixth birthday on August 24, 2022. The library was a project of Daisy Forum of India in partnership with the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and supported by TCS Access Infinity has traveled many avenues to expand its readership and content. This blog looks at SP’s journey over the past three years and its achievements today. To date, nearly 80 libraries from across India are registered with SP with more than 31,000 downloads and 27,820 registered members with the library. In addition to providing access to more than 15,700 books from registered libraries, SugamyaPustakalaya also offers members any of the 29,000 books on the ABC Global Books Service and integrates search from more than 4,00,000 titles on Bookshare.
SugamyaPustakalaya stakeholders and beneficiaries include: People with print disabilities: You can access this library through any member organization of DAISY Forum of India. For the first time in India, these people can log onto the site, search for accessible format versions of books created anywhere in the country, and download them to start reading. Organizations that produce accessible content: These organizations can upload their book collection to SugamyaPustakalaya, reaching out to print disabled people across the country. You also get a robust mechanism for storing your books and maintaining membership and book distribution data. Organizations for the Print Disabled, Universities, Schools and Libraries: These organizations can become DAISY Forum of India Membership to be able to download books by SugamyaPustakalaya for their local members/students. They will be able to provide access to a massive amount of accessible material like never before. Publishers: Mainstream publishers can become a member of the DAISY Forum of India and directly contribute accessible versions of their publications.
The books about SugamyaPustakalaya are free. No money needs to be paid to download a book. However, the DAISY Forum of India and its affiliates may charge a fee for library membership. People with print disabilities need to follow the steps below to create an account on SugamyaPustakalaya with rights to download books. Open https://library.daisyindia.org/NALP/signupLink.action. Click Register as End User. Enter the required information. Please ensure that all information you submit here is correct and complete. Select the library you would like to send your membership application to. Your membership request will be sent to the DFI Member Organization you have selected. You will be notified via email/SMS when your membership request has been approved by the DFI Member Library. You can then log in, search and download books.
The library contact details are: SugamyaPustakalaya C/O The DAISY Forum of India, 486 Double Storey, New Rajinder Nagar, New Delhi – 110 060, India Tel: 1800 300 20469 (toll free) or 011-42411015 Email: [email protected]
(M Ahmad writes regularly for this newspaper and can be reached at [email protected])