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NLS Press Release

NLS Establishes Digital Audio Technology Committee

For Immediate Release:
September 9, 1998
Contact: Rober E. Fistick
(202) 707-9279 or

A committee to oversee the development of a new digital audio technology for America's talking-book program has been established by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), Library of Congress.

NLS director Frank Kurt Cylke announced the multi-year Digital Audio Development Project by naming Brad Kormann, chief, Materials Development Division, as project director and head of the executive committee. Other executive committee members will be John Cookson, head, Engineering Section, and Michael Moodie, Research and Development Officer. Providing communication support to the committee will be Robert Fistick, head, Publications and Media Section. A thirteen-member steering committee of technical, consumer, and NLS network library specialists has also been named.

"The Library of Congress now embarks upon its fourth major technological advance in the provision of reading materials for blind and physically handicapped people. The Library of Congress began its national service of providing specialized reading materials to Americans a century ago with the introduction of braille technology. This was followed by long-playing vinyl record technology in the 1930s and by audio tape technology in the 1960s. During the 1990s, the Library has been aggressively researching and developing its plans for the fourth technological advance--to digital audio technology. The digital talking book will be the Library's twenty-first century technology and this committee will lead the project," Cylke said in announcing the project and committee.

Brad Kormann, project director, said "It is important to remember that this new technology represents a complex and total replacement of an existing national infrastructure of playback equipment and recorded book collections valued at more than $200 million dollars. It is vital to the success of this cooperative federal, state, and local government program that appropriate attention be given to technological design that represents the broadest needs of program patrons. It was for this reason that NLS, two years ago, initiated the development of a national digital talking-book standard through the National Information Standards Organization (NISO), coordinated by Michael Moodie."

NLS issued a seventy-two page report in July 1998, Digital Talking Books: Planning for the Future, outlining both the scope of activity and steps required to develop a digital talking-book system. A series of seven articles outlines these details and discusses consumer involvement in technology planning and design. Additional copies of the report are available in braille, in large print, on recorded cassette, and on computer diskette from the Reference Section, National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress, Washington DC 20542, telephone (202) 707-5100, facsimile (202) 707-0712, e-mail:

Digital Audio Development Project

Executive Committee

Project Director: Brad Kormann, Chief, Materials Development Division

Steering Committee

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Posted on 2011-01-10