Friday, February 1, 2008

Multimedia and the Dybbuk

The Entertainer and the Dybbuk, this year's Sydney Taylor gold medalist in the Older Readers' Category, is getting a lot of techno-attention. Have you noticed the widget at the bottom of our right-hand menu bar? HarperCollins offers a "browse inside" widget for this title!

I also found a very funky audio review of this title at Revish, the book review site. Along with the text of a very nice review by RJ McGill (blogger at 3Rs Reading Den), there's a flash player that reads the review aloud. The thing is, I think it's a robot doing the reading. The words have that unconnected, pre-recorded sound to them, and "dybbuk" is incorrectly pronounced as "DIE-bock." (For the correct pronunciation, click here and then click "Hear it.") Even funkier, the robot has an accent that sounds sort of Scottish to me. And when I clicked on the player, which is provided by ReadSpeaker, it took me to a foreign-language page of the service that, in my ignorance, I'm guessing is a Scandinavian language.

I took a look at ReadSpeaker, and found that it is an online service for speech-enabling website content. What an interesting idea!
The Mission of ReadSpeaker is to make the "miracle of the Internet" accessible for dyslexics, people with learning disabilities, low literacy level, people with English as a second language, elderly with impaired vision and others that like to listen as well as read.
I thought that was pretty cool. Almost as cool as possession by a spirit of the dead!

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