Tuesday, November 27, 2007

#22 Audiobooks (or the end is in sight!)

The idea of providing online audio-books to library users in such a way that the subscription stops after the nominal end of the loan period and there is no fuss, no overdue notices and no fines sounds wonderful. I explored the various collections identified in this task and downloaded a Shakespeare sonnet from one site and some Rudyard Kipling from another site. They both downloaded swiftly, but I don't know how long a whole book would have taken. That is something to be explored at leisure.

I became particularly interested in the benefits of this sort of technology for users of languages other than English when I spotted sites for e-audio-books in Chinese, French, Portuguese and a multilingual site. These will all be good to explore further and obviously one of the many tasks I will need to set myself when I review this programme. One of the real challenges for libraries providing collections for our aging populations who speak a language other than English is that usually the populations of those languages do not support the same large print and talking book publishing industry as the English language does. So this was a real discovery for me. The success of our Chinese computer classes for older people indicates to me that for the Chinese community at least this could be a real goer.

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