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September 3, 2002

Prototype Machines for Digital Talking Books to be Featured in Library of Congress Exhibition

The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) will present an exhibition of the six winning entries of a competition cosponsored with the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA). Titled "‘Dook’–Digital Talking Books: Machine Design Competition Winners," the exhibition will open Oct. 21 and run through mid-December in the foyer of the sixth floor of the Library’s James Madison Building. Exhibition hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

The centerpiece of the display is the first-prize prototype playback machine called "Dook," designed by Lachezar Tsvetanov, a senior at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut. Tsvetanov’s entry was one of 146 entries from 28 industrial design schools across the country. Launched in January, the goal of the design competition was to challenge student designers to create the next generation of digital playback machines to replace outmoded audio cassette players.

Winners were officially announced at the IDSA annual meeting in Monterey, Calif., July 20-23. Winning entries will be analyzed by the Digital Audio Development Committee to determine which features may be incorporated into the final design. NLS hopes to introduce the Library’s Digital Talking Book player in 2008.

NLS is in the midst of full-scale transition from analog to digital format audio technology, a project that will involve converting approximately 30,000 titles (about 10 percent of NLS’ collection) from analog tape recordings to master digital recordings and developing a digital playback device to replace the four-track tape player that has been in service for nearly three decades. NLS has approximately 730,000 analog cassette talking-book playback machines available for use worldwide today and maintains an inventory of more than 23 million copies of audio books and magazines that it circulates free of charge to blind and physically handicapped readers.

In addition to Tsvetanov’s "Dook," which earned him a $5,000 cash award, the following winning entries will be on display:

Second Place ($2,000)
Christopher Garnaas and Laura Hackbarth, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. Entry titled "Nero."

Second Place ($2,000)
Anna Mastriano, University of Bridgeport. Entry titled "Book Talk."

Third Place ($1,000)
Nicki Kuwahara, California State University, Long Beach. Entry titled "Digital Talking Book."

Third Place ($1,000)
Brian Potempa and Michael Matheau Potempa, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. Entry titled "Insight Personal Assistance Device."

Third Place ($1,000)
Emilie Williams, North Carolina State University. Entry titled "D1."

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PR 02-115
09/03/02
ISSN 0731-3527

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