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10 hour marathon to give blind a chance to read PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 30 November 2017 15:40

NEW DELHI: It was a marathon of a different kind; that of making books accessible to the visually challenged. Over a 100 students from classes VIII to X participated in a 10-hour 'digitisation marathon' to convert scanned books into a readable format that can be accessed by screen reading software or be used to create braille books.

This novel idea for promoting inclusiveness and accessibility of the visually challenged was given shape at south Delhi's Tagore International School. At the end of the day, students and teachers managed to convert six undergraduate-level books of DU in a first-of-a-kind event organized with the help of Sakhsam Foundation and National Association for the Blind (NAB).

Muskaan, a Class X student, said, "Preparations started before the session. We worked on several books during the year, but this is like a culmination of all our efforts. This becomes especially relevant as we are approaching World Disability Day."

Students were divided into five groups with each managing one book. They used Google docs to edit, proofread and compile the books in Microsoft Word format.

Explaining the process, Trisha Sodhi, a volunteer from Class XI, said, "We get scanned PDF files from Saksham and convert it into a text readable format. As the conversion is not perfect, a large number of mistakes and positioning anomalies are present so every single page has to be edited, proofread, headlines repositioned and pictures inserted by us. Once the pages are ready, they are sent to the quality check group and finally sent to the compilation team."

Rummi K Seth, founder trustee of Saksham, said that the overwhelming response has encouraged them to replicate the model at other institutes. "We hoped to convert three books, but the students doubled it," she added.

Commercial organisations charge Rs 40-50 per page for such conversion, the organisers claimed. The students managed to convert 1,369 pages by 6.30pm when the session ended.

Source: The Times of India Nov 30, 2017 edition

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