GTT National Conference Call Summary Notes, CELA Library Update May 13, 2020 with Link to the CCB Podcast Episode

Get Together with Technology (GTT)

Sponsored by the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB)

Summary Notes:

May 13, 2020

Theme: CELA Library Update, use this link for the CCB Podcast Episode.

Presenters: Rina Hadziev, Executive Director, CELA Library, assisted by her library service team.

In this regular monthly CCB-GTT National Zoom session guest, Rina Hadziev, provides a brief overview of her background and interests. Rina then gives a talk on the status of the CELA web site and services as of May 13, 2020. Rina explains that the CELA platform will continue to be updated with missing features from the old system such as personal search preferences. She also mentions exciting new functionality that will come soon resulting from the Marrakesh Treaty such as integration of NLS books from the United States into the CELA collection. Also, Rina informed us of another CELA project that will provide the ability to search and obtain books from within Voice Dream, Dolphin EasyReader, and Humanware devices eliminating the need to search for books using a computer or smartphone browser. The podcast comprises a 24 minute presentation by Rina followed by 42 minutes of Q&A.

For more information please contact your GTT Coordinators:

Albert Ruel                   or                        Kim Kilpatrick

1-877-304-0968,550                               1-877-304-0968,513      

CCB Backgrounder:

The CCB was founded in 1944 by a coalition of blind war veterans, schools of the blind and local chapters to create a national self-governing organization. The CCB was incorporated by Letters Patent on May 10, 1950 and is a registered charity under the provisions of the Income Tax Act (Canada).

The purpose of the CCB is to give people with vision loss a distinctive and unique perspective before governments.  CCB deals with the ongoing effects of vision loss by encouraging active living and rehabilitation through peer support and social and recreational activities.

CCB promotes measures to conserve sight, create a close relationship with the sighted community and provide employment opportunities.

The CCB recognizes that vision loss has no boundaries with respect to gender, income, ethnicity, culture, other disabilities or age.

The CCB understands in many instances vision loss is preventable and sometimes is symptomatic of other health issues.  For the 21st century, the CCB is committed to an integrated proactive health approach for early detection to improve the quality of life for all Canadians.

As the largest membership organization of the blind and partially sighted in Canada the CCB is the “Voice of the Blind™”.

GTT is an exciting initiative of the Canadian Council of the Blind, founded in Ottawa in 2011 by Kim Kilpatrick and Ellen Goodman.  GTT aims to help people who are blind or have low vision in their exploration of low vision and blindness related access technology.  Through involvement with GTT participants can learn from and discuss assistive technology with others walking the same path of discovery.

GTT is made up of blindness related assistive technology users, and those who have an interest in using assistive technology designed to help blind and vision impaired people level the playing field.  GTT groups interact through social media, and periodically meet in-person or by teleconference to share their passions for assistive technology and to learn what others can offer from their individual perspectives.

CCB National Office

100-20 James Street Ottawa ON  K2P 0T6

Toll Free: 1-877-304-0968 Email: URL:


GTT New Westminster Meeting Summary Notes, Library and Reading Apps for iOS, November 27, 2019

Get Together with Technology (GTT)

New Westminster Meeting

A Chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind

in partnership with

Blind Beginnings

Vancouver Community College


Canadian Assistive Technology

Summary Notes

November 27, 2019

Theme: Library and Reading Apps for iOS

Presenters: Ryan Fleury, and Albert Ruel,

Apps Demonstrated and Discussed:

Voice Dream Reader/Writer Download from the AppStore.

4 Apps in This Bundle

Voice Dream Reader: demonstrated how to download audiobooks from Dropbox, the Files App and CELA Library.

Voice Dream Writer: demonstrated how to create documents and save them to VDR and how to use it for following an agenda during meetings.

Voice Dream Scanner: not demonstrated, however mentioned in terms of scanning on the fly or downloading from previously scanned documents.

Voice Pack: US English

Safari Browser, CELA Search and Favourites: demonstrated how to search for and download audiobooks to iOS devices, and how to set the CELA Library to the Favourites list.

CELA Library, Daisy Zipped and Direct To Player: demonstrated how to search for and send audiobooks to the Direct To Player bookshelf.

Dolphin EasyReader, CELA Library Direct To Player Download from the AppStore: demonstrated how to download Direct To Player audiobooks to this app from the CELA Library website.

Reading app for Dyslexia & VI by Dolphin Computer Access Ltd demonstrated how to use the app to listen to purchased audiobooks from the user’s Library.

Google Play Books download from the AppStore: demonstrated how to use the app to listen to purchased audiobooks from the user’s Library.

Other Audiobook Listening Apps Mentioned:

Amazon Speakers

Google Speakers


Cloud Library




iBooks/Apple Books App


For more information please contact your GTT Coordinators:


Albert Ruel                   or                             Kim Kilpatrick

1-877-304-0968,550                                    1-877-304-0968,513         


CCB Backgrounder:


The CCB was founded in 1944 by a coalition of blind war veterans, schools of the blind and local chapters to create a national self-governing organization. The CCB was incorporated by Letters Patent on May 10, 1950 and is a registered charity under the provisions of the Income Tax Act (Canada).

The purpose of the CCB is to give people with vision loss a distinctive and unique perspective before governments.  CCB deals with the ongoing effects of vision loss by encouraging active living and rehabilitation through peer support and social and recreational activities.

CCB promotes measures to conserve sight, create a close relationship with the sighted community and provide employment opportunities.


The CCB recognizes that vision loss has no boundaries with respect to gender, income, ethnicity, culture, other disabilities or age.

The CCB understands in many instances vision loss is preventable and sometimes is symptomatic of other health issues.  For the 21st century, the CCB is committed to an integrated proactive health approach for early detection to improve the quality of life for all Canadians.

As the largest membership organization of the blind and partially sighted in Canada the CCB is the “Voice of the Blind™”.


CCB National Office

100-20 James Street Ottawa ON  K2P 0T6

Toll Free: 1-877-304-0968 Email: URL:


Announcement: BRF Version of the March 2020 Braille Literacy Canada Newsletter

Dear Braille Literacy Canada members,


Thanks to a partnership with CELA, it has been possible for quite some time now for members to request a hard copy version of the Braille Literacy Canada newsletter through the CELA library. As a result of a government directive, the production of DAISY CDs and physical braille through CELA are now on hold in an effort to combat Covid-19. Access to digital books, magazines and newspapers will continue. For more info please visit the CELA website:


For those who have access to a braille display, from this link you will be able to download a BRF copy of the March 2020 newsletter sent to members yesterday. We hope that this will be helpful to those who prefer reading each issue in braille. I would like to thank our Past President, Jen Goulden, for working so quickly on the braille transcription. We would also like to thank CELA for their continued partnership!


Happy reading!

Natalie Martiniello

President, Braille Literacy Canada



GTT Edmonton Meeting Notes, Edmonton Publick Library Accessible Services, March 9, 2020

Summary Notes

GTT Edmonton Meeting March 9, 2020


The most recent meeting of the Get Together with Technology (GTT) Edmonton Chapter was held March 9 at 7pm at Ascension Lutheran Church 8405 83 Street in Edmonton.

15 people attended.

Reading Tip: These summary notes apply HTML headings to help navigate the document. With screen readers, you may press the H key to jump forward or Shift H to jump backward from heading to heading. Read the Additional Resources section following the meeting notes to learn about our one on one telephone support, the National monthly teleconference, and the support email list.


March Topic –EPL Accessibility

Our guest was Vicky Varga, manager of the Castle Downs Branch of the Edmonton Public Library (EPL). Vicky presented on the topic of Edmonton Public Library accessible services and kindly provided the following extensive notes on these services. If you have any questions not answered in her notes, she is more than willing to get back to you. You can email her at:


Accessible materials at EPL

Large Print Books, including hardcover and lightweight softcover books. These are available at all Library locations.

DAISY Books are digital talking books used by blind and visually impaired customers and played on a special player. They are different from audiobooks in that the discs are large format and contain an entire book on one disc versus multiple discs as well as a hierarchical structure with marked up text to make navigation easier. Anyone with a library card can request DAISY books online or via a library staff member at any branch.

Descriptive Videos/DVDs (DVS) are movies which describe the visual elements for people who are blind or have low vision. They can be played on any DVD or Blu-ray player. Nowadays, most (if not all) DVDs released in Canada provide this as part of their options. Because of this, we don’t catalogue items separately anymore. The best way to confirm if an item has described video is to go to epl2you and scroll down to where there’s a catalogue link to described video OR search our catalogue for the following: “audio description available”

Assistive technology at EPL

Victor Stratus devices read DAISY disks. The device can also be used to play regular audio books and CDS. Large buttons with high contrast colours.

Victor Stream can have materials (audiobooks, audio magazines, etc.) loaded on to it OR, if connected to the internet, have items pushed directly to it by CELA. The Streams also have internet radio and can have any audio file loaded to them.

EPL has a few of each that can be loaned to customers to provide an opportunity to test the devices to determine if they would be a good fit and to fill the gap while customers acquire their own. If they qualify, CNIB can provide support and grants for purchasing VICTOR devices that will subsidize almost the entire cost.

Home Service:

EPL has provided home delivery since the 1970s!

If you’re unable to come to us at the library for three months or longer, we’ll come to you. We can deliver to your home, extended care facility or seniors’ lodge.

Staff will work with you to select the types of books, movies and/or CDSs you like so we can meet your needs OR you can select what you would like yourself on our website.

You can have a friend or family member pick up materials for you at the library OR we will match you with a carefully screened and trained volunteer who will deliver your items directly to you.




Extended Loans

For customers who can come in, but not too often (i.e. Depend on rides/DATS/weather and/or health often keeps them home)

Loan period is extended to 6 weeks for print items (DVDs remain at 3 weeks).

Talk to a library staff member if you’re interested in extended loans or home service


The Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA) is a national organization that supports public libraries in delivering equitable library service for their patrons with print disabilities.

CELA provides local library access to Canada’s largest collection of alternative format books and online resources for people who have difficulty reading print due to a visual, physical or learning disability.

CELA offers a collection of more than 500,000 books and more for people who have trouble reading print due to a learning, physical or visual disability. The collection includes:

  • Accessible books, magazines, and newspapers
  • Choose preferred format: audio, accessible e-text or braille
  • Full range of subjects, genres, best sellers and award winners for all ages

Access to the CELA collection is restricted to people with print disabilities living in Canada.

A print disability is a learning, physical or visual disability that prevents a person from reading conventional print.

More specifically, a print disability can be a:

  • Learning disability: An impairment relating to comprehension
  • Physical disability: The inability to hold or manipulate a book
  • Visual disability: Severe or total impairment of sight or the inability to focus or move one’s eyes

This definition of print disability is from the Canadian Copyright Act because it is this Act that lets CELA reproduce published materials in alternative formats for its collection. The term used in the Act is “perceptual disability”.

How to read CELA material

Download books to your mobile device and read with an accessible reading app like Dolphin EasyReader. Dolphin EasyReader is a FREE accessible reading app designed for readers with dyslexia, low vision or blindness. It’s what is recommended by CELA, but there are other apps that can be used including some paid apps.

Download or have books downloaded direct to a DAISY player over a wireless connection. Books can be chosen on the CELA website and downloaded to DAISY players, but CELA can  also push books directly to DAISY or Victor Stream devices if they’re connected to the internet.


Receive audio (DAISY) or braille by mail. DAISY disks and braille books can also be mailed via Canada Post directly to customers. Braille books and DAISY magazines and newspapers are theirs to keep, but books have a return mail label included and must be shipped back.

Bookshare via CELA

Bookshare is a US-based accessible online library for people with print disabilities. Bookshare offers more than 500,000 titles, including books for all ages, best sellers, and more. The books are available in e-text and e-braille. Audio versions are in synthetic speech.

Bookshare creates its accessible books by automatically converting book files provided by publishers. This automatic process makes large numbers of books available quickly and in a wide variety of accessible formats. However, because humans do not check the books, you may find errors in the synthetic audio or computer-generated braille. In addition, books which rely heavily on illustrations, charts, and graphs may not be usable because this material is generally presented by the publishers as images which cannot be converted automatically.

Proof of Disability: If you wish to access the Bookshare collection, you must provide a proof of disability, as required by Bookshare’s agreements with publishers. CELA manages the proof of disability process and ensures the privacy of your personal information. If you prefer not to submit a proof of disability, you will still have access to the CELA collection.

Signing up for CELA

Visit CELA Registration Page or contact the library for assistance.

What students/individuals need to register:

  • EPL library card
  • You must have a print disability to use CELA services, but proof of disability is not required

CELA Educator Access

If you’re an educator supporting a student with a print disability, receive free access to CELA’s entire collection including Bookshare!

How do you register? Get a free library card from Edmonton Public Library then complete the online Educator Access Program Registration Form:

CELA’s Client Access Support 

CELA’s Client Access Support program is designed for professionals who require access to CELA’s collection in order to assist individuals with print disabilities.

For example, if you work with students (being privately tutored), CNIB clients, residents of seniors’ residences or long-term care facilities, or those whose physical disabilities prevent them from manipulating a traditional book you could be eligible to access CELA’s alternate format collection on behalf of those you support.


What does CELA Client Access Support include?

The Client Access Support program provides access to CELA’s physical format collection including books on CD, braille books, descriptive video; our online formats such as downloadable DAISY audio or text; and electronic braille files available at

Bookshare? No… Access to Bookshare is limited to educational institutions and to individuals with print disabilities who are registered for CELA. If you are working with individuals with print disabilities who want access to Bookshare’s online resources, you can assist them in adding the Bookshare membership to their CELA account.

Client Access Support accounts are valid until October 1 of the next year. Accounts approved on or after October 1 will expire on Oct 15 of the following year. CELA will send you a renewal notice.

National Network for Equitable Library Access (NNELS)

NNELS is funded by 8 separate provincial governments and is sustained and run by public libraries. Their goals are:

  1. accessible public library service for everyone;
  2. accessible publishing and distribution so that separate collections like ours are no longer required for access to books and reading.

NNELS is an online public library of 10,000+ titles in accessible formats. The most common formats are DAISY, PDF and e-text.

NNELS not only provides access to existing accessible books, but it also supports the creation of accessible versions of titles.

NNELS is unique in that it works closely with publishers and distributors to promote accessible formats, but it also supports the creation of accessible versions of titles as needed. Sometimes this means supporting local libraries in creating their own accessible versions – Lac La Biche just finished recording an audio version of a local collection of stories. Many Indigenous and locally-written material is not available in an accessible format and NNELS is working to combat this issue

Signing up for NNELS

To register for NNELS, individuals only need to contact the library. Library staff will change their membership to include NNELS.

Your library card number and PIN can then be used to access the NNELS catalogue on their website:


Next Meeting (Monday April 13 at 7pm)

  • Topic TBA.
  • As always, for help with technology bring your devices and/or questions to the meeting.


Additional Resources

Telephone Support

Contact our GTT coordinators, Kim Kilpatrick in the East or Albert Ruel in the West to book one on one telephone support.

Kim: 877-304-0968 Ext. 513


Albert: 877-304-0968 Ext. 550



GTT Blog and Monthly Teleconference

CCB sponsors a national GTT monthly teleconference. You may subscribe to the GTT blog to get email notices of teleconferences, meeting notes from GTT chapters, and other information. To subscribe, activate the Follow link at the bottom of the blog web page to enter your email.

GTT Email Support List

CCB also sponsors a GTT email support list to provide help and support with technology for blind and low vision Canadians.  To subscribe to the email list, send an empty email to:


GTT Edmonton Overview

  • GTT Edmonton is a chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB).
  • GTT Edmonton promotes a self-help learning experience by holding monthly meetings to assist participants with assistive technology.
  • Each 2 hour meeting consists of a feature technology topic in the first hour and a general tech discussion in the second hour.


CCB Monthly National Newsletter, VISIONS – December 2019

The Canadian Council of the Blind’s National Visions Newsletter for December 2019 is now ready for consumption.


For more information or to get on the CCB Visions Newsletter email distribution list please contact Becky Goodwin as per below:

CCB National Office

100-20 James Street Ottawa ON  K2P 0T6

Toll Free: 1-877-304-0968

Email: URL:




GTT National Conference Call Summary Notes, How to Search and Download From the New CELA Website, September 11, 2019

GTT National Conference Call.


An Initiative of the Canadian Council of the Blind


Summary Notes

September 11, 2019



Please check out the presentation on the CCB Podcast below for more details.

08 GTT National Conference Call Summary Notes, How to Search and Download From the New CELA Website, September 11, 2019:



What is CELA:

  • The CELA accessible library service for print disabled Canadians provides many services including: downloadable recorded DAISY books, downloadable DAISY eBooks, downloadable Bookshare DAISY eBooks, DAISY books on CD mailed to your home, braille books mailed to your home, print-brailled books for kids, over 150 downloadable DAISY e-text magazines, recorded DAISY magazines by download or mail, and over 40 daily newspapers that can be read online.
  • In early 2019 CELA launched a new accessible website that brings together their collection and that of Bookshare searchable from one place.
  • Many will recognize these CELA services to be the same as those previously provided by the CNIB Library. CELA took over the CNIB Library in 2014 and now serves all print-disabled Canadians not just those who are blind or vision impaired.


The Players:

  • In addition to playing CD books the Victor Reader Stratus can also receive direct to player DAISY books over the Internet. The user chooses their book by logging into CELA online and once a book is chosen it is sent directly to the player. For non-computer users, CELA customer service or your local Librarian can set up a reader profile for you and then the CELA computer will choose your books and send them directly to the player or on CD mailed to your home.
  • It is also suggested some may prefer the pocket sized Victor Reader Stream which can accept the direct to player books and perform other online functions Such as getting Bookshare books and listening to podcasts and radio stations.
  • CELA Direct to Player audio books can also be played on your iPhone or Android phone using the free Dolphin EasyReader app.
  • CELA audio books can also be downloaded through Dropbox to iPhones and played using the Voice Dream Reader app.


How much does it cost:

  • There is no fee for CELA service or Bookshare service.



How do I find CELA:

  • Visit the CELA web site for information on all their services or call their customer service at 1-855-655-2273.


For more information please contact your GTT Coordinators:


Albert Ruel                   or                        Kim Kilpatrick

1-877-304-0968,550                      1-877-304-0968,513      


CCB Backgrounder:


The CCB was founded in 1944 by a coalition of blind war veterans, schools of the blind and local chapters to create a national self-governing organization. The CCB was incorporated by Letters Patent on May 10, 1950 and is a registered charity under the provisions of the Income Tax Act (Canada).

The purpose of the CCB is to give people with vision loss a distinctive and unique perspective before governments.  CCB deals with the ongoing effects of vision loss by encouraging active living and rehabilitation through peer support and social and recreational activities.

CCB promotes measures to conserve sight, create a close relationship with the sighted community and provide employment opportunities.


The CCB recognizes that vision loss has no boundaries with respect to gender, income, ethnicity, culture, other disabilities or age.

The CCB understands in many instances vision loss is preventable and sometimes is symptomatic of other health issues.  For the 21st century, the CCB is committed to an integrated proactive health approach for early detection to improve the quality of life for all Canadians.

As the largest membership organization of the blind and partially sighted in Canada the CCB is the “Voice of the Blind™”.


CCB National Office

100-20 James Street Ottawa ON  K2P 0T6

Toll Free: 1-877-304-0968 Email: URL:


GTT National Conference Call Summary Notes, CELA Library Update, May 8, 2019

GTT National Conference Call.


An Initiative of the Canadian Council of the Blind


Summary Notes


May  8, 2019


Theme: CELA Library Update


Michael Ciccone who is the executive director of CELA joined us to provide updates and answers to our questions.

Note: CELA is updating the web site continually so these notes may be out of date if you are reading them after May 2019.

On the main page of the CELA web site

you will find the latest updates, service alerts, and what they are working on now.

Michael thanked everyone for their patience and acknowledges that this has not been the smooth transition they would have wished for.

CELA continues to work on improving the searching feature.  At the time of the call, searching resulted in receiving way too many search results.  Michael assured us that by May 9, 2019 the searching feature would be greatly improved.  This was the case when Kim Kilpatrick tested it on Thursday May 9, 2019.  Fewer results came up and it was more accurate.

Michael is aware that the searching needs to improve and will include key words and other ways of searching as well.

People can now download books in daisy zip format and for the most part direct to player.  Some people are still having trouble with direct to player.

Cd’s and single use braille are being sent out as well.

People have access now to all CELA and bookshare titles for the most part.  New titles are being added.

Recently, the focus has been on improving the search functionality which they have heard a lot of complaints about.  Michael brought in someone to assist with this.  In order to fix the search issues, they had to re-index the entire collection which did take time.  Search filters and advanced search still needs to be implemented.

After the search is working well, the focus will be on improving the patron account information.  Implementing the history, the setting of preferences, manage holds lists and update account information.

Another priority is getting the daisy text magazines back.  They must build additional programming to do this.

CELA is hoping to have most of the site up and running by the summer.  However, many of the issues they have encountered have been issues they did not foresee.

There is a known issue with getting direct to player books on the plextalk players.  This is an issue with the company who makes plextalk.  Plextalk has done nothing about it.  Both CNIB and optilec have stopped selling their players for this reason.  Nevertheless, they are hoping to get a resolution for this issue.

CELA has been contacting the patrons they know use plextalk and giving them some alternatives.

There was an issue with voiceover (the screen reader for IOS) that has been resolved.

Some of the bookshare titles that appeared are titles we should not have access to in Canada.  And, another bookshare issue where duplicate titles are appearing.  This means that the bookshare title might not be able to be downloaded successfully.  Bookshare is working on this from their side too.  Once everything is fixed, this will be a great and very accessible system.

This system will give CELA room to grow and allow them to add other library systems as they become available.

Bookshare is already working with other blindness libraries to improve their product and interaction.  Michael is hoping that we continue to be patient (that is so appreciated) and continue to reach out and let CELA know our thoughts and ideas.  The pace at which issues are being fixed has picked up over the past few weeks.

People expressed their appreciation for the update progress e-mails that we have been getting regularly.

Someone liked that the site is easier to use on smart phones.

All formats being in one record are appreciated.

The mobile site works well.

The New titles section will be restored when CELA is able to add the filter for new titles.  That should happen within the next few weeks.

Michael will update us on this and any other major updates as they happen.

Michael will also investigate answers for the questions below and provide answers as he gets them.

Kim and Albert will share to the GTT list and blog.

  1. Will the bookshare new titles be updated as well as the cela titles?
  2. Michael will check.  We may have an option for filtering the new titles lists.

Comment. the dialogue box that comes up after you press get it for the book does not always pop up.

Michael has made this a high priority.

Sometimes bookshare has several versions of a book.  If you cannot download one, try downloading another one.


Comment. When you download a book into direct to player, there is no book description on the victor stream.

Michael will investigate.

Comment. There are some issues with bookshare download saying service error.  Bookshare was contacted and this seems to be a humanware issue.  There should be a victor stream software update in June which will correct this.

Michael suggested trying to download the bookshare books through CELA and see if this works better.

Publishers sign agreements with bookshare and they either say they will let international patrons have their books or not.  About 90 percent of publishers in bookshare let us have them.  May 8 Marrakesh treaty has passed so there may be an increase in books available.

Comment. The notification on the iPhone that says go to your downloads section, does not always show up or is not read automatically.  Someone suggested that this is a voiceover and screen reader focus issue on all platforms.

Comment Someone is having a problem with downloads not showing up in the download section.  Some people have also seen books that are much older in their list of holds or books on their shelf.

Michael wondered if It might be that the history feature once implemented will fix this.  This seems to happen with direct to player books in dolphin reader.

Comment.  Someone had an issue where CELA kept logging them out even when they were signed in.

Michael said that sometimes it is a personal account issue and you might have to call CELA help to fix your actual account.

Comment. Some people ended up downloading the same book 3 or 4 times because they did not get the notification.  The new system is a bit of a learning curve as there is one extra step to download a book.  Suggestion. Indicate all the known problems on the CELA front page?

Michael said that now, it would take a long time to get through the list of issues.  It was further suggested that any major issues be put on the front page.

Suggestion. Make a download sound for when a book is downloading like NVDA does when it is downloading a software update.

Comment Several people have not been able to download books from CELA onto their stream direct to player.

Michael will check if this is a known issue.

There will be filters for recently added and publication date.  Michael is waiting to see if both can be added for filters.

Question. Will CELA be added as a service under voicedream reader.

Michael would like to be able to do this.

Question Will we also be able to search more easily in voicedream reader and in dolphin easy reader?  This will hopefully happen, but it is not top of the list.  Michael will follow up on the voicedream search and adding as a service for voicedream.  This would cut out some steps and would make it easier for people.

After the search, putting the magazines back is a very high priority.  The magazines are ingested into bookshare and then they come back to CELA.

Suggestion Occasionally when you remove books from dolphin, it does not clear from site.  Can you have a button on the new site to clear books?

Michael believes this is planned but will follow up.  The staff from CELA are wanting to make sure we can do more ourselves.

Question Is easy reader good on android?

Maybe not as straight forward as on IOS but still works.

Question. Can we search for just bookshare books or just cela books?  Could that be a filter? Will it be described as a bookshare book if you search for just direct to player?  Nice to be able to tell within the record if it is direct to player bookshare or CELA.

Michael will investigate this.  It was pointed out that Daisy text is pretty much always bookshare.  Daisy audio is cela.

It was pointed out that Using the victor stream to search for bookshare books will go away once bookshare is integrated with CELA.  Is that right?  Bookshare is willing to let us stay with bookshare accounts until all is sorted out.

Once everything is working, can we still do a search through our victor stream?  Michael will check if this is on the development list.

It was suggested that we change the filter searches from check boxes to radio buttons.

Hopefully, in future when searching you can just type in a name, term, author, and the search will be smart and provide the most relevant results.

Michael will investigate what will be included in our preferences.  Now, each new search clears all preferences.

Suggestion when using screen readers and Screen navigation, raise the level of the heading for the search.  Make the search heading level 1 and the filters heading level 2.  Michael will pass this along.  Suggestion Will cela be in touch with humanware for people to search just on the stream because people find this a very easy way to search.  Now every search on the stream is now very streamlined and similar.  Michael will check on this as well.

Suggestion. Build an API with CELA to allow people to search on the stream.  Will CELA work with humanware to build an API for searching CELA with the stream?  Michael will check into this.

A similar API or the same one could work to add CELA to voicedream reader.

There are people who do not use their computer at all but just search on the stream.  That is a very important service to have.

CELA is Encouraging people to not get hard CD’s but to change to direct to player and downloading onto your stream and onto your easy reader app.  CELA can also designate someone or add a designate to help you load your shelf.  If it is all legal, that is okay.  If CELA has a designate name, then CELA can contact the designate if there is any issue.


GTT National Conference Call Overview

  • GTT National Conference Call is a monthly discussion group of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB).
  • GTT National Conference Calls promote a self-help learning experience by holding monthly meetings to present and discuss new and emerging assistive technology.
  • Each meeting consists of a feature technology topic, along with questions and answers about assistive technology.
  • Participants are encouraged to attend each meeting even if they are not interested in the feature topic because questions on any technology are welcome. The more participants the better able we will be equipped with the talent and experience to help each other.
  • There are GTT groups across Canada as well as an email distribution list where assistive technology questions are provided by participants. You may also subscribe to the National GTT blog to get email notices of teleconferences and notes from other GTT chapters. Visit:


There is a form at the bottom of that web page to enter your email.


National GTT Email Support List

CCB sponsors a GTT email support list to provide help and support with technology for blind and low vision Canadians.  To subscribe to the email list, send an empty email to:


[End of Document]


GTT Toronto Summary Notes, CSUN Assistive Tech Conference Summary, March 21, 2019

Summary Notes


GTT Toronto Adaptive Technology User Group

March 21, 2019


An Initiative of the Canadian Council of the Blind

In Partnership with the CNIB Foundation


The most recent meeting of the Get Together with Technology (GTT) Toronto Group was held on Thursday, March 21 at the CNIB Community Hub.


*Note: Reading Tip: These summary notes apply HTML headings to help navigate the document. With screen readers, you may press the H key to jump forward or Shift H to jump backward from heading to heading.


Theme: 2019 CSUN Assistive Tech Conference Summary


GTT Toronto Meeting Summary Notes can be found at this link:


Ian White (Facilatator, GTT)

Jason Fayre (Presenter)


Jason opened the meeting. He invited questions and input.


General Discussion:

A member raised the topic that AIRA is offering 3 months of free service. You’re eligible if you’ve never paid for AIRA before. The deal is on till March 29. You pay your first month at $29 U.S. and your next 3 months are free, 30 minutes per month. You don’t get glasses; you just use your phone. Another member described a device he had with him. Samsung has an in-house accessibility program. They offer a free, downloadable program that works with virtual reality glasses. The member passed the device around. It’s something wearable on your face, that holds your phone, and augments what the camera sees, in various ways. It’s a device for people with low vision. It’s a competitor to Iris Vision and New Eyes. It’s mainly for magnification and enhancement.

Another member raised a problem watching Netflix on his phone, and the controls get minimized Another member said she called Netflix, and they say it’s an iPhone issue. She recommends when the “show controls” button comes up, tap and hold. Netflix has an accessibility team; Twitter might be one way to find them. The first member said he now uses his Apple watch to control it. Someone else recommended that if you want to track down an accessibility person at a particular company, try finding them on LinkedIn.

Someone raised the question of what’s going on with CELA. When will their website be fixed. A member said that downloading and direct-to-player should now be working. They completely redesigned their site, and almost everything about how they operate. Things didn’t go as smoothly as they’d hope. Now, you can access CELA and Bookshare through the same site. It will really facilitate getting more titles from the U.S. soon.

Albert from GTT on the west coast contributed that someone from CELA will be on the national GTT call on May 8 to talk about the changes. The main site to find out about national GTT stuff is Many things are posted there. The national calls are always on the second Wednesday of each month, 7:00 P.M. eastern.

A member raised a problem in Jaws 2018 and Windows10, where demands by the computer to install upgrades, were causing Jaws to crash in Outlook. He said the Microsoft accessibility help desk was able to downgrade him to a previous version of something, which helped. Jason added that using Windows10 pretty much requires you to keep your Jaws completely updated. The Office version number is also relevant to the equation. NVDA is getting very good, so if anyone’s frustrated, it’s always an option.

A member raised a problem with Windows8 where turning on the computer seems to load many windows, which he has to close before he can continue. Jason recommended the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk. You can also use Be My Eyes, and call Microsoft through that. This allows you to point your camera at the screen for easier diagnostics.

A member asked about files that say, “empty document,” when you open them. Another member said this is likely because the document is a scanned image, or if the protection on the document is too high. Another member added that, in Adobe, there’s a setting under “reading” that will help to read the entire document verses reading only one page at a time. Try going under the view menu, then accessibility, for more options. PDFs are always challenging. One might work, one might not. Another member added that Jaws now has built in character recognition for PDF documents. Within Jaws 2019, press insert, space bar, O, then D, it will allow you to read some PDF’s. Also, you can do this by navigating to the file name without opening it, open your applications menu, and arrow down to, recognize with Jaws OCR.

Another member raised the question of how to use Outlook to make appointments consulting other peoples’ calendars. Jason replied that it’s possible but not simple, maybe too in-depth for the meeting. Jason volunteered that he has a document he wrote in another context, which explains how to do it. He offered to send it out to the group.

A member asked about how to fax from a printer. Jason answered that you’d have to call the printer company and ask if there’s a way to do it directly from the computer.

A member asked if it’s possible to combine all your calendars into one. Jason answered that if you attach all your calendars to your phone calendar, your phone will show everything. Everything will show in a unified list in the phone calendar ap.


CSUN Summary:

Jason then began talking about his experience at CSUN. This is an enormous assistive technology conference that occurs in California each year. It’s put on by the University of Southern California North Ridge. It’s the largest conference of its kind anywhere. It includes any kind of assistive tech, not just blindness-related stuff. Microsoft and Google have a large presence there. Apple attends too, but keeps a low profile.

There’s a large exhibit hall where companies set up tables to display the latest things. The other part of the conference is presentations on specific topics. Apple did have a table this year, but they didn’t present.

This year there wasn’t one defining great thing, or extraordinary trend. There were, however, some interesting new things.

Hymns released a new Q-Braille XL, which is a note taker and display that you can hook up to your phone or PC.

Another interesting element related to the hotel which hosted the conference. This was a new venue for the event. AIRA had set up a free access point for the hotel, so that if you had an AIRA account, you could use it there and not have to pay for your minutes.

The hotel had what you might call a “smart elevator.” This works by having a key pad on the wall at each elevator bank outside the elevator. You type in the floor you want into the keypad, then you’re directed to a specific elevator car. This is a system designed to streamline elevator use in very busy buildings, and it had a feature that allowed you to turn on speech. Jason then played a brief audio recording demonstrating use of the elevator.

It really is obvious when you spend any time in the U.S., how effective the ADA legislation has been in making things more accessible. Jason described getting into a cab for a very long cab ride. Facing him in the back seat, was a little display showing you dynamic details of your trip. When the trip started, a voice says, “to turn on voice accessibility, press the button in the corner.” Then, you’d get a verbal update of your fair and location. This proves that the technology exists.

Another highlight is always the networking. Jason got to meet with representatives from Microsoft and Google.

One exciting piece of tech that was being displayed was a set of Bows glasses called the Bows Frames. Both AIRA and Microsoft are planning to incorporate them into GPS aps. There are highly directional speakers in the arms of the glasses, that sit right behind your ears. Bone conducting headphones can slightly block your hearing and echo location, and this effect is lessened when the sound is coming from behind your ears. Jason connected them via Bluetooth to his phone, then sent them around the room. The sound is directed toward your ears, and he demonstrated how local the sound is, so that someone sitting next to you doesn’t hear a lot of sound bleeding out. Flipping them upside-down turns them off. The true innovation is that they have an inertial measurement unit in them. This means they can track your head movement for GPS and navigational purposes. They go for $200. Like bone-conducting headphones, this is mainstream technology. The Bows store near the hotel hosting the conference was swamped with people wanting them. The sound quality for someone on the other end of the call through the glasses is quite good.

Unless you’re moving, GPS can’t tell which way you’re facing. AIRA plans to integrate with these because the accelerometer lets them know that immediately.

A member raised the topic of looking a bit strange walking down the street apparently talking to yourself, using the glasses. Jason said that it’s getting less and less unusual as more sighted people start using Bluetooth devices. He described the experience of talking to his headset, and being misunderstood by people around him, and having them offer help. He was told that it’s a universal gesture to tap your ear, as a non-verbal sign to others that your engaged in a different conversation.

Albert reported that most announcements at CSUN were tweaks of things we already know about. One of the exceptions this year, a new exciting device, is the Canute, out of Britain. It’s a 9-line, 40-cell braille display. It’s portable but beefy. It shines for anything you’d want to see multiple lines of braille for, such as music or math. They’re hoping to launch by the end of this year, and CNIB is very interested in working with them. The target price is around 1500 pounds, maybe $2600 Canadian. Jason had a prototype with him, and demonstrated it. There’s storage, and you could store many books. The refresh rate is line by line, so you could time it to be at the bottom line by the time the top line is replaced. Braille readers at the conference were very excited about it. They described it as going back to paper braille. This is not a replacement for a note taker, it’s firmly a braille reader. It’s a stand-alone device. They hope to integrate it with Duxbury. This would allow paperless proof reading.

There’s another device in development that is a tactile graphics display, called Graffiti. It will be appropriate for diagrams rather than braille.

Jason described several workshops on the blind Maker movement that interested him.

He spent a lot of time at the conference asking, “When will we get this in Canada?” Amazon and Google both released new things, but not in Canada yet. If there are things you know about that aren’t available in Canada, express to companies that you want them; it might help.

Amazon Prime has all kinds of audio described content, that we can’t get at. Representatives talk a good talk, but are unwilling to commit themselves about times or reasons.

One new thing is a DAISY player from a company out of China. Unfortunately, their representative didn’t speak very good English. Jason got a contact for the U.S. that he’ll follow up on.

Albert, who was at CSUN for the first time, was impressed that it wasn’t just a group of assistive tech companies. All of the big players in technology were there. This wouldn’t have been true 10 years ago. The reason is that mainstream companies are increasingly taking accessibility more seriously over all.

Jason also discussed a company called Native Instruments, that’s very well known in the field of digital music. They’ve recently built accessibility in. One of their music keyboards that you can connect to a PC, has an accessibility mode. When you turn it on, all of its features talk, and so you have easy access to all the functions.

It’s a good idea to get yourself on to the GTT national email list. It’s high traffic, but it’s very diverse and helpful. Google GTT support to find out how to get on it. You can put it in digest mode. There’s also a GTT WhatsAp group.

A member raised a question about Google Docs. A few people said that they’ve used it, and it’s doable, with a stiff learning curve.


Upcoming Meetings:

  • Next Meeting: Thursday, April 18, 2019 at 6pm
  • Location: CNIB Community Hub space at 1525 Yonge Street, just 1 block north of St Clair on the east side of Yonge, just south of Heath.
  • Meetings are held on the third Thursday of the month at 6pm.


GTT Toronto Adaptive Technology User Group Overview:

  • GTT Toronto is a chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB).
  • GTT Toronto promotes a self-help learning experience by holding monthly meetings to assist participants with assistive technology.
  • Each meeting consists of a feature technology topic, questions and answers about technology, and one-on-one training where possible.
  • Participants are encouraged to come to each meeting even if they are not interested in the feature topic because questions on any technology are welcome. The more participants the better able we will be equipped with the talent and experience to help each other.
  • There are GTT groups across Canada as well as a national GTT monthly toll free teleconference. You may subscribe to the National GTT blog to get email notices of teleconferences and notes from other GTT chapters. Visit:


There is a form at the bottom of that web page to enter your email.




Press Release: The Canadian Council of the Blind Applauds the Federal Government’s Support of Canadians with Sight Loss in the Federal Budget 2019

CCB 75th Anniversary Logo 1Figure 122CCB 75th Anniversary Logo 3A square 75th Anniversary logo containing the word anniversary in English and French along with the numbers 1944 – 2019 across the bottom, and the words Canadian Council of the Blind across the top.



Federal Budget 2019:

The Canadian Council of the Blind Applauds the Federal Government’s Support of Canadians with Sight Loss


The Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB) is emboldened by the announcement of several measures in the 2019 Federal Budget that will greatly benefit Canada’s sight loss community.


A 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability, undertaken by Statistics Canada for Canadians 15 years of age and over, showed that 756,300 Canadians had “seeing disabilities.” In their more recent 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability, this number increased by over 100% (1,519,840 Canadians with a “seeing disability”). These numbers reflect the scope of the problem – now exasperated by an ever-aging population – which is why the measures announced in Budget 2019 are so important.


First, to address the challenges faced by Canadians with vision loss and print disabilities, we are pleased to see that Budget 2019 proposes to provide the Centre for Equitable Library Access with an investment of $3.0 million in 2019–20 to produce new accessible reading materials that will be available through public libraries across Canada. While this is a one-year allotment (hopefully to increase in the future), it is a good start for an initiative that is greatly appreciated by the sight loss and print disabilities community.


Second, the CCB supports and commends the government’s Budget proposal to invest $22.8 million over five years, starting in 2019–20, to provide Canada’s independent book publishing industry a much-needed assist in increasing their production of accessible books for persons with print disabilities. We will be waiting, with great anticipation, for materials provided to persons with print disabilities to exceed the 10% of books currently made available in accessible format.


Third, in support of independence of persons with disabilities, Budget 2019 also proposes to invest $0.5 million in 2019–20 towards finding ways to improve the accessibility of electronic payment terminals to enable persons with disabilities to conduct daily activities, such as paying for their groceries, without relying on others. Providing this type of accessibility with swift action on implementation will receive strong support from peoples with disabilities.


Fourth, the CCB is also pleased to see the mention of drug costs – which also affects many in our community. The budget included a section on pharmacare, with several announcements, including the introduction of the Canadian Drug Agency to improve prices and lower the cost of prescription drugs for Canadians by up to $3 billion per year in the long-term.


And finally, most notably to the CCB, the government is committed to improving employment opportunities for persons with sight loss. To this end, Budget 2019 proposes to provide $1.0 million in the next fiscal year to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind to connect persons with vision loss to small- and medium-sized employers. The CCB sees this as a top priority. With chronic unemployment in the sight loss community (according to our recent survey), the CCB looks forward to reviewing the plans, confirming what will be covered, and getting a handle on where people will find work. The CCB is looking forward to working with the government and stakeholders, in this first of many steps required, to put Canadians with vision loss on an equal footing with their fellow Canadians.


Employment is a top concern for the low-vision community in Canada. For this reason, the CCB has recently completed a national “Survey on Accessibility and Assistive Technology” to help Canadians with vision loss participate in the workforce. Over 450 members of Canada’s vision loss community participated in the survey. The CCB looks forward to sharing the results of this survey with its federal government partners in this initiative.


The CCB would like to extend its deepest gratitude to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, Carla Qualtrough, a true champion for Canadians with disabilities. The CCB offers its full support to Minister Qualtrough and looks forward to working to implement her broad vision for improving the lives of Canadians with sight loss and ensuring that this Budget 2019, when passed, contains these all-important measures.



Louise Gillis

National President

Canadian Council of the Blind


For more information, contact Becky Goodwin at CCB National: or 613-567-0311.

Guest Post: Braille Literacy Canada Newsletter, November 30, 2018

November 2018 Newsletter

In This Issue

  1. Message from the President (Natalie Martiniello, BLC President)
  2. Braille is …
  3. Helping Santa Deliver Braille Letters: A T-Base Tradition (Cassandra Peterson)
  4. Report on the 2018 CNIB Braille Conference (Kim Kilpatrick, BLC Secretary)
  5. CELA Braille Services Update (Lindsay Tyler, Senior Manager, CELA)
  6. Titres en impression relief et en braille français (Rebecca Blaevoet (BLC Director) and Emmanuel Blaevoet)
  7. Braille Transcription Free of Charge!(CNIB Brailleroom)
  8. UEB Christmas Trees? (Jen Goulden, Past President)
  9. Braille and Technology Together: Braille Screen Input in iOS (Ashley Eve Shaw Galbraith)
  10. Social Media News Links

Message from the President

By Natalie Martiniello, BLC President

Dear BLC friends,

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

This is a quote by Anne Frank that often comes to mind when I observe a gesture – even a small one – that has an impact on someone else. When a hundred small gestures take place at once, then each one contributes to the end result – which is positive change of some kind. And surprisingly, sometimes there are trickle down effects that end up having positive impacts in ways one could not have imagined.

I am a firm believer that few things are “impossible” if you dream big enough, remain committed, and collaborate with the talented and equally passionate people around you.

Just over four months ago, BLC embarked upon a quite ambitious goal for a small volunteer-run organization – Raise $6,500 by November 30th, and a private donor would match every dollar. With this amount in hand, we would have enough to establish a permanent endowment to offer the Edie Mourre scholarship on an annual basis to those pursuing careers as braille transcribers and educators.

Today, as that campaign draws to a close, we have not only met that goal, but have surpassed it. This is a reflection of what is possible when we come together. With $14,000, the Edie Mourre fund will be self-sustaining for the years to come. What a wonderful legacy to Edie Mourre who committed so much of her time to the braille community, and what a wonderful example of how many small gestures could lead to a lasting wave!

The BLC board would like to thank every individual, both within and outside the organization, who supported this initiative in different ways. We would also like to thank two of our corporate members – T-Base Communications for donating $300 and Crawford Technologies for donating $2,500, ensuring that we’d speed through that finish line with a great big triple dot six!

I mentioned trickle down effects. In addition to raising funds, the campaign served as a powerful public education tool. The events held as a consequence educated members of the general public who, beforehand, new little or absolutely nothing at all about blindness and braille. After our storytelling fundraiser in Montreal (performed by our fabulous board Secretary, Kim Kilpatrick) we received a letter from someone who had attended our show and said that they had learned so much about braille, equal access and literacy for people who are blind. These moments are great triumphs – because every time we tackle misconceptions, we are chipping away at the inaccuracies that may exist about blindness, and which sometimes lead to questions like “is braille really important, anyway?” A few more people out there can now answer – Yes, of course it is! Right alongside us.

So, as we approach the holidays, the BLC board would like to thank all of you for your commitment and dedication – and may this serve as a reminder of what is possible when we come together!

You will find many treasures in the coming pages. Among them, T-Base tells us about their partnership with Santa himself and how blind children can receive a letter in braille from Santa this holiday season. Tactile Vision Graphics shares with us their French braille resources for children. Jen Goulden, Past President, tackles another transcription conundrum. Kim Kilpatrick, Secretary, gives us a recap of the 2018 CNIB Braille Conference. Over the past month, we’ve asked members to tell us what words and thoughts come to mind when they hear the word “braille”. The collection of responses is found in this issue, and the power of literacy rings true in every word!

Finally, remember that BLC runs on a calendar year from January 1st to December 31st, which means it is soon time to renew your membership. To learn more about membership options (annual, lifetime and corporate) and member benefits, visit our website at or write to us at Members who are due for renewal can expect to receive an invoice from PayPal in the coming days to make the process easy and painless.

From the entire BLC board to you, happy holidays! Here’s to another year of endless possibilities.

Yours truly,
Natalie Martiniello
President, Braille Literacy Canada

Braille is …

We’ve asked BLC members and friends to complete the sentence “braille is…”. Here is what they had to say!

Braille is…

…Independence (Tammy, braille reader)

…An excellent tool (Walter, Low Vision Therapist/Researcher)

…Fun to read in the dark under the covers so I don’t get cold! (Steph, adult braille learner)

…A necessity (Chantal, braille reader)

…rough! (Albert, blind technology trainer)

…magical (Kim, braille reader)

…A true “feeling” of beauty (Veena, Low Vision Therapist)

…Literacy (Elizabeth, braille reader)

…fun! I like playing braille bingo and braille memory games! (Ainsley, Grade 3)

…The best way to teach and learn!


…The best way to help me learn

…Useful on elevators, money and medication (Ahmad, ESL student)

…Reading, writing and math



…Helping (Santiago, ESL Student)

…The best way for blind people to study

…An international language for blind people

…Like a secret code! (I think you’re smarter if you can read braille, because not everyone on the street can read Braille!) (Fatlum, ESL student)

…the gateway to Middle Earth, Narnia, Hogwarts, Regency England, Green Gables … and so much more! (Jen, lifelong braille reader: so many books, so little time!)

…a lifetime of memories of storybooks, campfires, bedtimes, make-believing and library adventures (Natalie, lifelong braille reader)

…what print is to you: a door and a window to everything!

…B – Believing
R – Reaching
A – Achieving
I – Imagining
L – Limitless
L – Learning
E – Empowering

Helping Santa Deliver Braille Letters: A T-Base Tradition

By Cassandra Peterson

Editor’s Note: T-Base is a corporate member of BLC and Jessica Blouin sits on the BLC board as our T-Base representative. This article is reprinted with permission and can be found on the T-Base website at

Cassie Peterson, Marketing Coordinator at T-Base Communications, sat down with Jessica Blouin, Manager of Transcription Services, to talk about an initiative near and dear to our hearts here at T-Base: the Santa Letter Program. Every year we help Santa deliver braille letters to children who are blind or have low vision.

C: How long has T-Base been participating in the Santa Letter Program?

J: T-Base has been participating in the Santa Letter Program for over a decade.

C: Please tell us about the process.

J: Every year in the fall we receive a call from Kris Kringle himself. He tells us how many children he needs to respond to in braille, plus how many of those need a response in English and how many need a response in French. Santa provides us with his print response to each child’s letter, and then our Transcription team gets to work! As is the case with all documents we transcribe into braille (or other alternate formats), Santa’s letters go through rigorous quality assurance checks to ensure nothing is amiss and that the transcribed documents meet Santa’s high expectations. Finally, we help pack up the letters for Santa to deliver.

C: By which date should children send their letter to Santa?

J: Children should send their letters to Santa by the 10th of December. (If you send one after, he might not have enough time to respond before the big day!)

C: What address should children send their letters to?

J: Children should send their letters to Santa Claus at his North Pole address:

Santa Claus
North Pole HOH OHO

C: Why is it important that T-Base participates in this program every year?

J: For children, receiving a letter from Santa Claus is a great joy during the holiday season, and it is one all children should have the opportunity to experience. I do remember how happy I was as a child receiving a letter back from Santa. Collaborating with Santa on this project is important to T-Base because we get to help ensure children who are blind or have low vision experience the same joy their sighted family members and friends experience. This is such a wonderful program.

C: What feedback have you received on this program?

J: T-Base has always received positive feedback on the Santa Letter Program. We have heard from both parents and teachers that children are always so happy and thankful to receive a braille letter from Santa in the mail.

C: In what other ways is T-Base committed to ensuring that people who are blind or low vision have access to information?

J: At T-Base, we believe that equal access to information is key to literacy and independent living, regardless of whether that information is in a simple letter from Santa Claus or a complex math textbook. Everyone has the same rights, and we are committed to ensuring that organizations have the resources they need to provide their customers who are blind or low vision with equal access to information. We produce statements, documents and textbooks in a wide range of alternate formats: accessible PDF, e-Text, audio, braille and reflowed large print. We also give $2,000 every year to one or two post-secondary students who are blind or low vision through the T-Base-AEBC Scholarship Program (in support of an accessible education).

C: What are some other holiday traditions at T-Base?

J: Typically, we host a potluck lunch at the office and Secret Santa gift exchange. This year we will have an ugly holiday sweater fashion show.

C: Wonderful! Thanks for letting our readers know about the program and T-Base’s involvement in it. Something else our readers might be interested in hearing about is your favourite memory from a T-Base holiday gathering.

J: My favourite memory from a T-Base holiday gathering is when Scott Bagshaw, Production Manager, dressed up as Santa Claus, sang karaoke and handed out candy canes to the team.

C: Before we wrap up, what is on your wish list this holiday season?

J: A puppy! Besides that, I know everyone here at T-Base wishes our readers a safe and happy holiday.

Report on the 2018 CNIB Braille Conference

By Kim Kilpatrick, BLC Secretary

The 2018 Braille conference took place for the first time at the Ontario Science Centre on October 18 and 19, 2018.

This was a wonderful venue and it was nice to have the braille conference in a public place where the many visitors saw people moving around with canes, guide dogs, and lots of braille in hand.

As usual, there were many workshops on a multitude of topics and several BLC board members presented on research, braille and technology, and more. Among these talks Past-President Jen Goulden and I (BLC Secretary) presented on the use of refreshable braille with iOS, President Natalie Martiniello presented the preliminary results from her qualitative study on the experiences of older adults who have learned braille, and director Rebecca Blaevoet presented on Tactile Vision Graphics. BLC board members also had the opportunity to circulate our new print-braille BLC bookmarks – available upon request!

The AMI Audio show Kelly and Companybroadcasted live from the conference on both days and several BLC members were featured on this show.

As usual, one highlight for me was hearing the winners of the braille creative writing contest for students in elementary and high schools from across Canada.

I was excited to touch for the first time, the first ever multi-line braille display (The Canute) which may be on the market within the next year or so.

As usual, it was wonderful and heart warming to be in a room filled with others who love braille as much as we all do.

CELA Braille Services Update

By Lindsay Tyler, Senior Manager, CELA

Braille readers who receive books from the Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA) are receiving books in a new way. Since April 2018, we emboss a fresh copy of each braille book we send. This procedure allows us to offer as many copies of each book as needed, so readers do not need to wait for others to return a book before they can receive it. Each copy we send is fresh and crisp.

Instead of sending braille books in a cloth bag, we send them in a cardboard box which can be recycled along with the book. Readers may choose to keep books, if they prefer.

Printbraille books (children’s picture books with braille added) are the exception to this new system; readers must continue to return them.

The formatting of the books is different, too. Newly transcribed books are formatted as a single volume with continuous page numbers. The title will appear in the header as well as at the beginning of the book. Previously transcribed books are split into parts of about 80 pages each.

Looking forward, CELA staff are planning a new website that will bring even more books to Canadian braille readers. The new website will bring together Bookshare’s braille offerings with CELA’s in a single, accessible site.

The new year will also bring the opportunity to exchange books with libraries for people with print disabilities in the United States and Europe, thanks to their recent ratifications of the Marrakesh Treaty. The goal of the Marrakesh Treaty is to remove barriers so that organizations like CELA can share accessible reading materials with other similar organizations in countries who have signed the Treaty.

As we work to improve our services and offer you greater access to books and information, we hope you will let us know how we are doing. Visit our website at, email us at or call 1-855-655-2273.

Those who are interested can also contact CELA to subscribe to the hard copy braille version of the BLC newsletter.

Titres en impression relief et en braille français

By Rebecca Blaevoet (BLC Director) and Emmanuel Blaevoet

Note: We’ve received several requests lately for information on where to purchase french print-braille books. In this article, Rebecca and Emmanuel from Tactile Vision Graphics describe their French collection. We will include an English translation of this article in the January issue.

Tactile Vision Graphics Inc. a toujours eu le but de produire toutes nos ressources et en Anglais et en Français. Notre entreprise est de très petite taille, donc nous n’avons pas encore été capables de produire en Français la totalité des titres qui existent en Anglais. Il nous a fallu faire des choix au départ. Il reste encore du travail.

Pour commencer, il nous a semblé que le domaine le plus important et celui par où il fallait commencer était les ressources pour le développement des concepts: la littératie et la numératie.

Chaque livre contient un peu de texte, en braille intégral, évidemment, et une image correspondante que les enfants peuvent toucher, (et même colorier) et discuter.

Les images tactiles enseignent des concepts importants:

  • Les formes de bases;
  • Accorder une image avec un mot qui le décrit;
  • L’orientation spatiale;
  • La directionalité;
  • La taille relative;
  • Le commencement de l’abstraction, qui est une connaissance critique pour le développement de l’enfant et la préparation à sa vie d’adulte;
  • Une représentation des choses qui sont plus difficiles à toucher en réalité (une maison par exemple)

Ainsi nous avons en catalogue un série de livres tactiles pour enfants, parmi eux « Mon Abécédaire », « Mon Livre des Chiffres » et « Discret Comme Une Souris: un Petit Livre des Similarités »

Au delà notre collection de livres pour enfants, nous avons aussi plusieurs cartes de vœux pour toutes les occasions et des livres à colorier avec les titres en impression relief et en braille français.

Nous vous invitons à visiter notre site web, chercher le “shop” et découvrir l’étendue de nos publications.

Vous pouvez aussi bien sûr nous appeler pour poser des questions ou pour placer une commande au (226) 221-8849

Braille Transcription Free of Charge!

By CNIB Brailleroom

We’re all familiar with the adage “Nothing in life is free”; but the CNIB Brailleroom can braille just about anything, free of charge, for CNIB clients and their families.

  • Letters and greeting cards
  • Household labels
  • Music scores
  • Course materials
  • Prescription/medical information

Note that this is not an exhaustive list.

Email your text in a Word document to:

Mail or drop off your printed materials:

CNIB Brailleroom (Room 104)
1929 Bayview Avenue, Toronto, ON M4G 3E8

UEB Christmas Trees?

By Jen Goulden, Past President

It is that time of year again, and it really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas where I live. You might be wondering how I could possibly make a connection between Christmas trees and UEB, but whether you prefer to decorate a pine, spruce or Douglas fir, they are all conifers … or coniferous.

So here’s the question for transcribers: Are they con-i-fer-ous or co-ni-fer-ous trees?

Section 10.6.1 of the UEB rule book states the following: Use the lower groupsign for “be”, “con” or “dis” when the letters it represents form the first syllable of a word (such as concept or control … or contraction). According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary the first syllable of both conifer and coniferous is “co”. This means that the “con” contraction cannot be used.

I think the main cause of the confusion is that DBT does use “con” in these words. Ironically, there was no “con” in conifer or coniferous before UEB either. This is just another example showing that not much has changed in literary braille with the update to UEB.

Of course, we could just avoid the co-nun-drum altogether by simply calling them evergreens!

Braille and Technology Together: Braille Screen Input in iOS

By Ashley Eve Shaw Galbraith

People often ask me if braille skills are still useful, given the recent development of technologically advanced accessibility solutions. There are many reasons why braille is still necessary, but some of my favorite examples are the ways in which braille and technology intersect. Braille screen input, for instance, provides touch screen users with a typing method that is both fast and efficient.

For users of Apple’s iOS, Braille Screen Input has been a standard feature of the screen reader VoiceOver for several years now. The option allows users to enter text by touching the screen with the combination of fingers associated with each Braille character, in either contracted or uncontracted Braille. Accessed through the Voiceover Rotor in any text field, this option allows Braille users to type much faster than with the touch screen’s qwerty keyboard. It also allows for a greater degree of discretion than the use of text dictation, and makes it possible to enter long passwords with ease and privacy. Since Unified English Braille is an available translation table, I’ve also been able to get a lot of practice with UEB whenever I use my iPhone.

Learning to use touch screen Braille takes a bit of initial effort. The user holds the device in landscape mode, either on a flat surface or with the screen facing outward. Touching and holding fingers on the screen will activate Explore Mode, and the device will report the corresponding combination of dots from the Braille cell. A single finger swipe to the right enters a space, a single swipe to the left erases the previous character, a two finger swipe to the left erases the previous word, and a two finger swipe to the right starts a new line. Swiping up and down after completing a word provides any alternative suggestions. After a bit of practice, the user will be able to type quickly and smoothly.

Before Braille screen input was available, I was stuck either carrying around a Bluetooth keyboard, or typing relatively slowly on the touch screen qwerty keyboard. Now I use Braille to type text messages, emails, web addresses and phone numbers. This is just one example of Braille’s versatility and efficiency when combined with technology.

Social Media News Links

Social Media Links

Here are just some of the gems posted on BLC social media platforms since the last issue: Follow us on twitter or like us on Facebook for more!

Time to celebrate – the United States ratifies the Marrakesh Treaty!

Brick-A-Braille teaching system – available for testing:

A story about introducing braille to sighted children:

Custom-made braille cards with your personalized messages – great for the holidays!

Is braille still relevant in the 21st century workplace? spoiler alert Like print, the answer is… YES!!

Tips for teaching braille to students with decreased tactile sensitivity:

French alphabet print-braille book available through Tactile Vision Graphics:

The SENSEsational Alphabet Book is back in stock at Seedlings! This popular book for ages 0-5 features the English alphabet in print, braille and sign language. Kids can press the buttons to hear each letter, as well as feel and smell pictures of items starting with each letter:

The Bank of Canada has announced that it will begin to phase out the bank note reader program. It has been determined “that there are more modern devices that can be used to denominate bank notes”. For example, did you know that all paper money in Canada has tactile markings to help blind and LowVision people identify each bill? For more information, visit:

A collection of high-interest short stories from National Braille Press for adults who are learning uncontracted braille! Visit:

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Notes from GTT Northern  Ontario  meeting all about CELA Library Services  (reading newspapers, search preferences, and more) 

Below find the notes for the last Northern Ontario GTT meeting. Thanks to Gerry chevalier for leading such an informative discussion. 


Northern Ontario GTT Meeting

February 18, 2016


Introductions were made with 10 people on the call. 

Guest Speaker:  Gerry Chevalier, Edmonton


Congratulations to Dorothy on her award from the Ontario Library Association for advocating for equitable library services for people with print disabilities for close to 20 years.


Gerry is our guest for this meeting and will be going into more detail about CELA services and audible books.  

Digital Audio Library Tutorial given by Gerry can be found on the CELA website:

You can find this tutorial by going to the Advanced Search and searching by author.



CELA Library

There was discussion about current CNIB Library patrons transferring over to CELA by the end of December 2016.  The information on the CELA website is laid out the same as on the CNIB Library’s portal.  The CELA customer number is the same as that for CNIB library service.  

What will happen to CNIB library clients in provinces or territories where library service is no longer being supported by CELA?  

Shane (who lives in Newfoundland) called CNIB library and was told that so far no part of Newfoundland is part of CELA yet.  Shane is happy to be the contact person for Newfoundland to find out more about CELA services and what might be happening.  


Direct to Player

Gerry explained that Direct to Player refers to a download DAISY audio book format available from CELA which will download from your holds list on the CELA computer direct to your book player device. To get a book on the CELA Direct to Player holds list you may use a computer or have CELA automatically put books on your holds list at regular intervals. Your book player device must be capable of supporting the Direct to Player download method. Such devices include Victor Reader Stream and Stratus from HumanWare and the Plextalk Lineo Pocket and PTX1. Also, there is a free iPhone app called Direct to Player which can be installed from the App Store.


Gerry explained that if your device is not downloading the Direct to Player books then you should check its settings to ensure that the device is configured for Internet access. For example, with the VR Stream, you press the Online button above key 2 to switch to online mode, then press menu key 7 to reach the wireless menu. Then press key 8 (down arrow) to find the option to scan for available networks and press the Confirm (pound) key. Then choose your network from the list of available networks and press Confirm again. You will be asked to enter the network password and an optional nickname for your network. This need only be done once and the Stream will now remember that network and connect to it anytime you press and hold the Online button.


You can call CELA tech support or the manufacturer’s tech support for additional help.



You can’t download newspapers. “Stream” means coming to you in real time like listening to the radio, directly from a website.  The item cannot be saved on a computer like a downloaded item.  


Newspapers on the CELA website are updated daily.

Log in to the CELA library site:  

(For those using JAWS or NVDA) and keystrokes:

Each time a web page loads, it tells you how many headings and how many links it has.  


Windows M for the desktop

Windows R to run dialogue  


InsertT reads the page title  

Insert f7 brings up links on page  

Arrow down to reach the item on the list you are interested in or

Jump to an item by typing its first letter (e.g.  N for newsstand)

Then press Enter  

This opens a web page with a list of 35 newspapers

Again press Insert f7

Arrow down the list of links to find your desired newspaper or pres the first letter to jump to that newspaper e.g. G for Globe and Mail)

Press Enter to open that newspaper’s index of sections.

Index of Sections

Enter to read article chosen

You can find the number of words in the article.

To find the next paragraph, press P

Insert down arrow for continuous read  


Shift P lets you backup and re-read previous paragraphs  


At the bottom of the articles in a section, you will find 3 links: return to the list of newspapers, the index of sections of the current newspaper, or return to the list of articles in the current section.


If ever in doubt where you are with Windows, use insertT to determine the Title.


Newspaper Apps for iPhones:


Canada News

CBC news app  


How would you get another newspaper represented on the CELA website?  Send CELA a request.


Library Search Preferences

On the home page of the CELA library site, go to M for “My Library” and then “Search Preferences”.


Press H to jump to headings.

The Loans link – list of your books on loan

​  – Loan History link shows books you have read

Holds – books you have requested which are on ​  ​hold ​

Reading lists – wish list, sort books by topic  Search preferences – use space bar to check or remove check

• choose language (English or French)

• show the formats you would like to read or not read (Direct to Player or DAISY CD)

• choose types of books (e.g. no children’s or young adult)


Audible book companies:

• – buy each book or $150/year subscription which includes 12 books

• – free

• Project Gutenberg Canada

• Internet Archive

• American Printing House for the Blind

• National Braille Press – cost for downloading books and text download

• gizmo’s freeware – listing of sites to find free downloadable books

 We discussed some of the challenges of downloading books from public libraries using Overdrive.

We also made people aware of the free podcasts and webinars at the Hadley School for the Blind.

The mac and the I devices can also be used to browse and read newspapers, select books for your holds, and change your preferences. If you need help with mac or Iphone Ipad Ipod touch, contact Kim at 


Next Meetings of the N ON Get Together with Technology (GTT) (and others who live where there is no face-to-face group are also welcome):

March 17  Topic:  Useful Apps for people with vision loss

## ​Speakers:  Kim Kilpatrick and Shane Wheeler- apps for Apple products

​Speakers:  Jeff Stark and Hedi Kment – apps for Android devices

April 21  Topic:  Useful Internet sites (specific urls)  for people with vision loss



Transferring CNIB/CELA library books on your IOS Device into voice dream reader. 

Several people have asked me for this information. 

By Kim Kilpatrick 

Putting a book from CNIB/CELA library into voice dream reader. 

Some people have found that the direct to player app which CNIB created for I Devices, is not working well and consistently. I have had many problems with it myself. 

It often suddenly declares a service error. And sometimes will only read part of a book. 

So, I still use voice dream reader to read CNIB/CELA library books. 

It has more features in my opinion and is much more stable. 

Voicedream reader can also do many other things. 

With it, you can link it directly to your dropbox and bookshare accounts and pocket or instipaper if you use those services. 

Voice dream reader also allows you to have very high quality text to speech voices. 

It is not a free app, usually costing about 10 dollars. 

Here is its link in the app store. 

Voice Dream Reader by Voice Dream LLC

There is also an app now called voice dream suite which gives you voice dream reader, voice dream writer (a word processing app) and two very high quality voices for 22 dollars. 

Several people have asked me how you get books directly into voice dream reader. 

I have tried several ways but, so far, this is the easiest one I have found. 

In your IOS app store, download the voice dream reader app listed above and also download the google chrome web browser. 

 Chrome – web browser by Google by Google, Inc.

Open chrome and in the address field put in the cnib or cela library address. 


Sign in to your library account. 

Search for the book you wish and make sure the format is daisy zip. 

Double tap on the get it link. 

Double tap on the download link. 

You will then see a page telling you the download size. 

Double tap on the download button and your download will start. 

Near the top of your screen just to the right of a button saying menu, it will tell you the percentage of download completed. 

When it is finished, you will find there download complete. 

It may not beep or make a noise so you need to keep checking that field. 

Now, near the bottom of your screen, you will notice install google drive. 

Just to the left of that is something that says open in. 

Double tap that and choose voice dream reader. 

Note: voice dream reader needs to be installed on your device before you try this. 

Now double tap that and it will open voice dream and put your book there. 

If anyone has other ways in which they move daisy books from cnib or cela library to voice dream, I’d love to know them. 

A few more tips about voice dream and daisy books, you can add bookmarks, you can also move around by headings or percentage. 

To turn on the sleep timer double tap and hold the play button and it will open. 

If you would like me to help you with this, call me at 1-877-304-0968 

Or email 

GTT Toronto notes all about CNIB/Cela library October 15, 2015. 

This is a great set of notes from the GTT Toronto group.Anyone who is using CNIB library/CELA library service can get something out of these. 



October 15, 2015.


Jason Fayre opened the meeting. He introduced the evening’s guest speaker, Lindsay Tylor, Manager of member services for CELA, Centre for Equitable Library Access. She proposed discussing what CELA is, and how it interacts with the CNIB library, then library services in general. She did a check-in with the group: most people use the CNIB library, a handful use things like Bookshare, commercial services and the public library. The Centre for Equitable Library Access is a non-profit created in April 2014 by Canadian public libraries so that they can offer services for people with print disabilities. Its origin is in the idea that it isn’t just for some to require the use of charitable dollars to access library services. The main point is that public libraries are increasingly accessible. This means that all libraries in Ontario should be able to offer an equal level of access to people with print disabilities. This is especially impactful for people in small communities. CELA also means that anyone with a print disability can access the large collection owned by CNIB, not just people with vision loss. The functional difference with CELA for the user is merely that they will be accessing their material through the public library system. Anyone coming to the CNIB as a new client will interact directly with the public library, and existing clients will be enrolled by CNIB staff.


The first goal of CELA is to recognize that one size doesn’t fit all users; one format won’t work for everyone, and people have a range of technical skills. The goal is for pleasure reading and life-long learning, not really academic material. In the publishing world at large, very little is available in alternative format, and there’s a recognized goal of not duplicating material that is already accessible. There are three formats, audio, etext and Braille. For each one there are different delivery methods. Audio is by far the most popular. All of the audio through CELA is in daisy format. This means the books highly structured, and can be accessed by page, heading, and other fine organizational ways. It’s used worldwide. There are two ways of downloading daisy books. The first is daisy zip, which is a bunch of mp3 files with some data files that dictate the organization of the audio. These come in a zipped folder that can be downloaded, then transferred to a portable device. The process of unzipping a file is built into windows. Internet access is required. For those who don’t have internet, daisy books are made available on CD. Most users currently use CDs. You can play the files on the computer itself if you prefer. The second method, the newest, and most convenient, is the direct to player method. There are specialized players Victor Reader Stream and Plextalk are the two main portable daisy players. They come internet enabled, and you can configure them to your internet connection. The player will download books directly from the library site to your player without having to use CDs or zip files. It’s easy.


When you get a player, you need to sign up through the public library to access the service, or you call the CNIB or CELA help line and they will walk you through configuring your player with your library account. A technician can send you an SD card which will configure the device for you, or they can walk you through it over the phone. A long standing CNIB library user can call 1-800-268-8818. A CELA user can call 1-855-655-2273. Your local library should have this CELA number. The website is Players sold in the last 2 years will connect to the internet; an older player may not.


Since the spring, aps for Apple and Android devices will do the same thing as downloading with a dedicated daisy player. This can be a cheaper option. Lindsay did a demonstration of the Apple ap. You can peruse the website yourself, or instruct the service to choose books from particular genres and download them. The ap is called Direct to Player, and is available in the Apple App store for Apple devices, and in the Google Play Store for Android. It’s easy to delete books if you’re sent books from your chosen genre that you decide you don’t want. There’s a generous lone period, but eventually the books may disappear from your device because of licensing agreements. You can simultaneously choose particular books, and receive books from your chosen genre. Lindsay demonstrated playing a title off of her phone. There are features for bookmarks, sleep timer etc.. The ap features work very much like those on a dedicated player. Lindsay was asked whether there’s a plan to put a search feature directly into the ap. Lindsay replied that this is one of the most common requests, and that she thinks it’s coming. The ap is free. You have the option to stream or download. At this stage the ap is strictly for audio, not Braille for a Braille display. The first time you open the ap you must enter your library number. The ap is used by both the CELA and CNIB systems.


Newspapers are one of the most popular services offered. It’s available online, and it’s simple. Sign into CNIB or CELA, go to the link called News Stand, and over 50 national and international newspapers are listed. Enter on the link, and plain text articles are offered. It’s electronic text. Newspaper specific sites can be difficult to navigate, but this service is much easier, and updated daily.


Bookshare is an American service, the world’s largest online library of its kind. 260,000 titles. They work closely with publishers, and have titles that aren’t always easy to find. They’re made available at the same time as the print editions. The books are all etext or synthetic speech, or electronic Braille. Not all titles are available to Canadians because of licensing agreements. Joining on your own is $75 the first year and $50 each subsequent year, but CNIB and CELA members have free access. At, you must go through a membership process. Scanning your CNIB id card and sending it will qualify as proof of disability. If you don’t have a card you need a signature by a professional. They have their own built in web reader, and Apple ap called read to go which you pay for. There’s an Android ap that’s free. The ap has options around font size for low vision readers. Voice Dream Reader was proposed as a better and cheaper ap option. The voices offered through Voice Dream are outstanding. Voice Dream also works with CNIB and CELA titles. Voice Dream is $13.20. Direct to Player and Read to go are similar. All titles appear on your bookshelf. In Read to Go, you can search Bookshare from within the ap. Lindsay demonstrated the Read to Go ap with its own synthetic voices. It allows you to control the speed of the voice or the size of the font.


The topic of DVS movies was raised. Some DVDs are produced with DVS, but many aren’t. CELA does buy DVDs they can find that have it. The CELA DVD collection is popular and well used.


It was proposed that links to books in the Digital Times e-newsletter should be made into direct download links. Lindsay agreed this would be very useful, but might be technically difficult to arrange.

It was also suggested that Braille downloads should be in zip files, not downloadable one volume at a time. Lindsay said she would bring this suggestion to others in her department.

In answer to a question on the topic, Lindsay explained that the library’s content comes from local production, international agreements with libraries around the world, and a growing relationship with commercial audio book producers, Particularly Recorded Books. She explained that patrons can request a book either through an online form on the CNIB library website, or by contacting the help line. She said that some priority is given to blind authors who’ve written on the topic of vision loss, but that there isn’t currently a focus on producing works by blind authors in other genres.


In closing, Ian White encouraged anyone who isn’t already on the mailing list, to email in order to begin receiving communications from the GTT list. There are movements towards creating a Facebook page, and a voicemail line to disseminate information. He announced that the next meeting will be on November 19th, and that Brian Moore will be presenting on the topic of GPS solutions.