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October 10, 2002

Library of Congress Exhibit Featuring Prototype Machines for Digital Talking Books to Open Oct. 21

Opening Date Changed from Oct. 11 to Oct. 21

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington will open a Digital Talking Book exhibit with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, Oct. 21 at 1:45 p.m. in the Mumford Foyer, sixth floor James Madison Building. Sponsored by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in the Library of Congress (NLS), the exhibit titled "'Dook'—Digital Talking Books: Machine Design Competition Winners" will present the six winning entries of a competition to design a prototype playback machine for Digital Talking Books (DTB). Materials relating to the work of NLS will be on display in the Mumford Room, adjacent to the Mumford Foyer, from 1:00 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. on the day of the exhibit opening.

The centerpiece of the exhibit is the first-prize prototype DTB player 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 in cooperation with the Industrial Designers Society of America, the competition challenged student designers to create the next generation of digital playback machines to replace outmoded analog audio cassette players.

NLS is in the midst of full-scale transition from analog audio cassettes to DTBs, 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 audio cassette players available for use worldwide today and maintains an inventory of more than 23 million cassettes containing audio books and magazines that it circulates free of charge to blind and physically handicapped readers.

The exhibit will run through mid-December in the Mumford foyer. Exhibit hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

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PR 02-137
10/10/02
ISSN 0731-3527

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