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Volume 44, Issue 1 and 2

Current Literature, Volume 44, Issue 1 and 2


The following titles have been selected from materials that were added to the NLS reference collections from September 2017 through March 2018. Entries are arranged alphabetically, according to subject headings developed and used by the NLS Reference Section for its collections.

Americans with Disabilities Act, P.L. 101-336

Debonis, Mike. “House Passes Changes to Americans with Disabilities Act over Activists’ Objections.” Washington Post, February 15, 2018. External.

Discusses a measure passed in the U.S. House of Representatives aimed at curbing unscrupulous ADA litigation. Also discusses opposition to the measure and fears among disability activists that the law would allow for businesses to avoid making public accommodations for people with disabilities.

Assistive Technology

Belanger, Karl. “Review of Freedom Scientific’s ElBraille.” Voice of the Nation’s Blind Blog, November 27, 2017. External.

The ElBrailleis a computerized carrying case for the Focus 14 Braille Display. The ElBraille essentially transforms the Focus 14 from a braille display, used with a desktop computer or mobile device, into a portable braille notetaker. This is a review of the device for the National Federation of the Blind.

Monegain, Bernie. “This Georgia Tech Professor Is Building Robots to Improve the Health of Children with Disabilities.” Healthcare IT News, October 30, 2017. External.

Ayanna Howard co-founded a robotics venture capital firm which develops emotional support devices   for children with disabilities, including cerebral palsy.

Salvini, Kenny. “Todd Stabelfeldt: Titan of Tech.” New Mobility, October 2017. External.

The article profiles a technologist who is a paraplegic. It details an accessible switch system, augmented with wheelchair controls, that allows users with limited or no dexterity to type on their smartphones.

Zaidi, Deena. “AI is Transforming Medical Diagnosis, Prosthetics, and Vision Aids.” Venture Beat, October 30, 2017. External.

While the greater implications of artificial intelligence (AI) are not fully known, developers in the field are experimenting with solutions for people with disabilities. This article discusses several of these experiments, including apps for people with visual disabilities and for people with limited, or no, use of their extremities.

Assistive Technology Products

“One Gadget to Rule Them All: Why an iPhone MakesSense as an Assistive Tool for the Blind.” Apple Vis(blog), October 4, 2017. External.

Compares the features and prices of various assistive technology devices to the iPhone.

Assistive Technology Products for People with Visual Impairments—Mobility

Moore, John. “Indoor Navigation System Transforms Working Conditions for the Blind.” TechTarget, November 2017. External.

Discusses an indoor navigation system a company has installed for employees who are blind..

Assistive Technology Products for People with Disabilities—Reading

“New Research Shows That Apps, Technology, and Modern Teaching Skills Work for Children with Reading Disabilities.” MedicalXpress, November 28, 2017. External.

Discusses the benefits assistive technology provides to students with reading disabilities and details the ways that using assistive technology also helps students’ mental health.

Blindness in Literature

Green, Steff. “The Magical Erasure of Disabled Characters in Fantasy Fiction.” Spinoff, October 31, 2017. External.

The author, a writer who is legally blind, surveys the common stereotypes of blind characters in fantasy fiction and argues that they are often depicted as overused archetypes.


“Are Leading Global Causes of Blindness Preventable?” Medical News Bulletin, November 27, 2017. External.

Summarizes an international study that analyzed the common causes of blindness around the world and found that many are largely preventable.

Blindness—Statistics—Foreign Countries

Grover, Natalie. “Where Socioeconomic Development Lags, Vision Problems are More Common.” Reuters, October 31, 2017. External.

Summarizes the findings from a study that analyzed the correlation between lower socioeconomic status and blindness.


Benetech. “Benetech Secures U.S. Department of Education Award to Enable All Students to Read.”  Nasdaq Globe Newswire, November 1, 2017.

Press release from Benetech discusses an award from the U.S. Department of Education to make accessible reading material available to people with print disabilities.


Redman, Jamie. “Bitcoin Accessibility from a Blind Person’s Perspective.”, October 25, 2017. External.

The Bitcoin white paper braille project is working with the American Printing House for the Blind to distribute free braille copies of the document that originally explained Bitcoin to anyone who is visually impaired.


Donnelly, Laura. “Stop Rationing Cataracts until Patients Are Nearly Blind, NHS Warned.” The Telegraph, October 26, 2017. External.

RNIB has found that UK citizens using the National Health Service wait fifteen months for cataract operations.

Copyright and Library Services to the Blind—Foreign Countries

LaBarre, Scott. “A Worldwide Revolution: The Marrakesh Treaty, the Accessible Books Consortium, and Global Literacy for the Blind.” Braille Monitor, October 2017. External.

The Marrakesh treaty allows for the sharing of accessible reading material for people with disabilities across international borders. This is the transcription of a speech highlighting the history of the treaty as advocacy for U.S. ratification.

Education For Blind Children—Residential Schools

“Just curious: Why is the Georgia Academy for the Blind Located in Macon?” WMAZ, October 26, 2017. External.

A history of the Georgia Academy for the Blind.

Employment of People with Disabilities

Lindsay, Sally, Elaine Cagliostro, Mikhaela Albarico, Neda Mortaji, and Leora Karon.“A Systematic Review of the Benefits of Hiring People with Disabilities.” Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation (February  2018): 1–22. External.

A literature review of scholarly publications which discuss the benefits of hiring people with disabilities.

Mobile Apps for People with Visual Impairments

Sonokids. “About Sonokids.”Accessed April 17, 2018. External.

Sonokidsis company that develops mobile learning apps for children with disabilities, including blindness and low-vision.

Refreshable Braille Displays

Chong, Curtis. “The Orbit Reader 20: The Most Inexpensive Braille Display.” Braille Monitor, October 2017. External.

A review in the National Federation of the Blind’s monthly publication of the Orbit 20, a braille display designed to be an affordable option for consumers.

Sports for People with Visual Impairments

McGraw, Eliza. “They Can’t See, But Blind Hockey Players Can Pass, Shoot and Score.” Washington Post, February 6, 2018. External.

A feature about the Washington Wheelers Blind Hockey Club. Discusses the adaptations made to hockey pucks and how people who are blind participate in the sport.

Tactile Writing Systems

Miller, Meg. “The Complicated Quest to Redesign Braille.” Fast Company, September 28, 2017. External.

Questions whether ELIA Frames, a new tactile reading system that claims to be easier to learn than braille, is necessary.

Television for People with Visual Impairments

American Foundation for the Blind. “Survey from Comcast, American Foundation for Blind Gauges TV-Watching Behaviors, Awareness of Accessible Technologies.” Targeted News Service, February 15, 2018. External.

Report on how people who are blind or visually impaired consume television and what technologies they use to aid them.

Travel for People with Visual Impairments

Kenny, Tiernan. “How We’re Enabling Independent Travel for the World’s 285 Million Blind People.” HuffPost, October 25, 2017. External.

Wayfindr, an app developed in partnership with the Royal Society for Blind Children, works with organizations across the UK, Europe, and the United States to deploy accessible audio wayfinding solutions. External.


United States Government Accountability Office. “Voters with Disabilities: Observations on Polling Place Accessibility and Related Federal Guidance.” Washington, DC: United States Government Accountability Office, October 2017. External.

Federal report analyzes the accessibility of polling places during the 2016 election. Includes data on the accessibility of voting stations for people who are blind or have a visual disability.

Web Accessibility

Lind, Martin. “3 Easy Steps to City Website Accessibility for WCAG 2.0 AA.”EfficientGov, November 27, 2017. External.

A primer for government agencies looking to comply with web accessibility guidelines.

“Rethinking Web Accessibility on Windows.” Marco’s Accessibility Blog, September 29, 2017. External.

Discusses the history of screen readers on Internet platforms and argues for several adaptations to keep pace with an evolving web.

White Canes

Parsons, Gail. “Students Learn Independence Using a White Cane.”, October 26, 2017. External.

Fifth-grader Tavi Mayden and high school junior Dillon Tarn spoke on learning orientation and mobility during White Cane Day.