A number of disability services providers have requested more information about our system of text conversion that we have developed at Messiah College. The following is a list of the hardware and software that we use in our system, along with a brief step-by-step process that we use in our text conversion process.
The first step of our process is to have the book cut. A copy area on campus has equipment with the capability to do this on the spot for us. The book is then scanned. We use a Fujitsu M4097D VRS (Video interface) using Kofax Image Controls. It is a duplex scanner with automatic document feeder and flatbed. We use ABBYY FineReader 9.0 Professional to scan the document (both sides at once). The books are typically scanned in sections of about 100 pages. ABBYY FineReader then proofreads the document. When proofing is complete, the document is saved as a .pdf or MS Word document on the hard drive or zip drive. We store our converted texts on CDs.
It is difficult to determine an average time per book for the entire process. Obviously, it depends on the size and type of book. We have discovered that it is better to divide books into smaller parts to make the process go faster and smoother. Scanning generally takes anywhere from 10-30 minutes per book. Proofing takes a little longer, probably about 30 minutes per section of 70-100 pages. Burning the CD takes about 5 minutes/book.
A word about proofing: We are not always very thorough with the proofing process, and we have not experienced problems with this. We have scanned books without proofing, and students have still found them to be effective. Most books are proofread, and we find that most of the words questioned are correct as they appear.
Our students are enthusiastic about alternate text. They appreciate the ability to see the text on the screen as they listen to the text reader. We have developed a training system to help new students to navigate their alternate text with the screenreader, Learning Ally, and Bookshare.