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Business Plan 2006: Appendix 2

Business Plan 2006
Appendix 2

Key Requirements and Assumptions

This document was generated in May 2003 by NLS in conjunction with the Digital Long-Term Planning Group that is assisting NLS in preparing for its digital future. The requirements and assumptions listed are assumed to be valid over a five to fifteen year period, and would need to be revisited when considering a longer planning horizon.

System Basics

System is consumer-driven.
Basic service must be free to the user. Alternative services such as Web-Braille requiring that the user supply some equipment may be offered, but a free version of the same service component must be provided.
System must be affordable by both NLS and network libraries.
NLS primarily supplies materials and playback equipment and the network primarily supplies direct service (reader advisory) and circulation of items to patrons.


  • NLS must offer a stable player design that users and libraries can learn and become proficient with. A system where the player and its user interface changes frequently will not be successful, as the less adaptable patrons will be lost when the player changes, and libraries will have too many types of players to explain.
  • Similarly, since NLS is responsible for maintaining the players, the player must be either a throwaway or a stable design NLS can provide parts for and can easily maintain.
  • Player (and medium) must be based on open standards so that NLS can procure products competitively from a number of sources and so that the loss of a single company does not eliminate our only source of a product.
  • The player must be highly durable and easy to clean.
  • The user interface of the player must be able to accommodate users with physical disabilities (limited strength/dexterity, use of mouth stick/breath switch, etc.).
  • Player must be portable and operate off AC power and rechargeable batteries.
  • Player must produce high-quality sound.
  • Player should be able to play commercial audio books.
  • Player must support fast, flexible navigation through document, along with other functions identified in NISO feature sets.


  • Medium must be robust, withstanding rough handling by patrons, long-term storage in warehouse environment, and postal handling.
  • Medium must be designed to ensure good listening experience for each user, regardless of how many users have already read it.
  • Medium must be easy to manipulate by persons with limited dexterity and enable automated handling.

Distribution System

  • A large proportion of program users are technically unsophisticated and unable to handle complexity. A channel must exist that will reliably deliver books to such patrons in a manner that they understand and can manage.
  • System must provide distribution channel not based on physical medium (e.g., web-based delivery).
  • System must support timely access to current NLS-produced material and allow material to be selected by the user directly or via profile selection process.
  • System must deliver material to user at least as fast as current USPS-based system.
  • System must support duplication of copies at the network level.
  • System must deliver the main body of audio materials in human speech or in synthetic speech that is at least as good as human speech.
  • Materials distributed to patrons must be in a specialized format to protect copyrighted content.
  • System must support direct circulation of magazines to patrons.


  • Addition of titles to system should continue to be based on NLS collection building policy.
  • NLS-produced collection consists of unabridged titles.
  • The number of titles produced annually by NLS should not fall below current level.