[AI] MK Tata Learning Centre for Visually Challenged

rambabu adikesavalu rambabu_arb at yahoo.com
Fri May 2 10:08:53 EDT 2008

Dear Friends,
Tiss, is inaugurating the MK Tata Learning Centre for Visually Challenged on 7th May 2008 at 12 p.m.
I am pasting below a brief note prepared by our Librarian Dr. Muttayya listing all the details about the Centre to the M.K. Tata Trust as a jesture of gratitude.

Enabling visually challenged to access information.

The Tata Institute of Social Sciences, established in 1936, is one of the premier institute in the country in the field of social sciences and has been recognized as one of the progressive centers of learning. More than 200 faculty and about 600 students and research scholars are engaged in teaching and research activity. The institute has been viewed as the harbinger of positive social change and inclusive development where all are provided equal opportunity irrespective of status of physical disabilities, caste and gender. The Institute provides an inclusive environment for one all.

The Sir Dorabji Tata Memorial Library at TISS is a unique knowledge center, which offers essential, specialized information resources and personalized information services to its faculty and students. This library's main objective is developing user based resources, providing human and technologically moderated access to knowledge and facilitating users to identify, locate, evaluate and access information.

The daunting task for any library is to provide learning support to the visually challenged persons. Libraries have been collecting the learning resources essentially in the print format and now a days in electronic format. However, these two formats cannot be used for disseminating information to the visually challenged persons. When the number of visually challenged students increased, we saw how difficult it was for them to access the rich collection of resources.

However, TISS firmly believes that this obstacle can be over come by developing a special lab where the systems with specific speech software, scanners and audio accessories can make these print/ digital information sources easily accessible to visually challenged users also. This led to the establishment of M K Tata Memorial Learning Center for Visually Challenged. When we approached the M.K. Tata Trust with the proposal, they readily agreed for this noble cause and immediately sanctioned Rs. 20 lakhs needed for establishing the learning Centre for the Visually Challenged.
The Centre is ready and has the following infrastructure:

20 Pentium Computers with multi media, Scanners for reading all print books and journals
Prisma Magnification Device for students with low vision,
•    Kurzweil K1000 OCR Reading Software for reading any printed material
Zoom-Ex Instant Reader for Conversion of print material into digital format for creating an e-Library. A 200 page book can be converted into an e-book  in less than 10 minutes.
•    Basic D Braille Embosser for production of Books in Braille
100 mbps LAN with access to Internet having 2 mbps bandwidth Air conditioning and functional comfortable furniture

I Benefits of Learning Centre for Visually Challenged:

It provides for Independent Text Reading facility. Earlier, visually impaired students were dependent on a volunteer to read the books. Now, the software will take care of this aspect. If a student want any article to be printed, he can do so within no time using mini Braille printer. The Talking Typing Teacher Pro will provide tutorials with complete guidance and practice sessions for learning computer skills. JAWS Pro Talking software converts a normal PC into a talking PC to enable a blind person to operate it comfortably.

The students and faculty are very happy about this new service of the library. "Everyone has a universal right to read. And for this to happen, there has to be some supporting system to enable one to read. With this center, I can now take up a good book and enter the world of unlimited possibilities", says Dr. A.Rambabu, a visually challenged faculty member.

This centre has fulfilled one of the long standing needs of providing an enabling environment for all. This centre will also be useful to the visually challenged persons of other colleges and institutes who may not have this facility. We express our gratitude to M K Tata Trust for their generous financial support for establishing [this learning centre for visually challenged.

As it is mentioned by our librarian, these fascilities are not restricted to the Tiss students/faculty members alone. It is opened for all those who would like to make use of the available resources.
We are working on the procedures to accomodate the scholars from all over Mumbai as well as other parts of the country.
For further details: please contact me anytime.
With regards,
Mobile: 09969747312.

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