Wednesday, April 25, 2007

PDF Equalizer makes Google Books accessible

You’ve got to hand it to the folks at
Premiere Assistive Technology
as they’ve made inroads for accessibility once again.

According to a press release for PDF Equalizer, it is easy to understand the powerful functionality of this latest offering from Premiere Assistive Technology.

From the press release:
“PDF Equalizer is a tool that can open and read aloud PDF Files in their original format without any required file conversion. It is designed so that individuals who use electronic documents can have the true "equal access" to those who use the printed version, plus a few extras. PDF Equalizer allows individuals to select and control what is being read aloud as simply as using your mouse to select the text to be read. If listening to audio of the text is beneficial to you, PDF Equalizer can also turn a PDF Document into MP3 files that individuals can listen to on their MP3/MP4 players. PDF Equalizer can convert each PDF page into a separate MP3 file so it is easy to navigate or create a playlist of the pages you want to hear.”

“PDF Equalizer is a "must have" tool for those who take distant learning classes. The superior note taking capability in PDF Equalizer is unmatched. Notes are automatically synchronized with the PDF page to help keep them organized. At any time, the user can extract all notes into a single Microsoft Word document. If you have too much to read and need to condense the amount of material, use the powerful built-in "content summarization" feature. You can summarize a single topic or an entire book. If you can't find a publication in your native language, don't worry, the translation feature built into PDF Equalizer can translate text on the fly. You can also imbed hyperlinks for direct access to the Internet and there is an integrated dictionary that allows you to immediately lookup definitions.”

This useful piece of assistive technology does more than just make access to pdf documents easy. It also makes
Google Books
Accessible. This feature alone makes the PDF Equalizer's functionality stand out alone in the field of assistive technology. No other pdf reader on the market that I am aware of does this.

If you’re not already familiar with it, check out Google Books and see what a powerful research tool it can be for students.

Google Books has been around for a little while, letting users read passages of print books on their computers, yet also protecting the publisher’s copyrights by not allowing the screen to be printed. In the past, however, it has been completely inaccessible to those who could not read the picture of the text displayed on the screen.

Now, with PDF Equalizer, all those who have been previously excluded from this rich resource can now read the print material via the web…without having to purchase the whole book.

And, like so many other titles from Premiere Assistive, PDF Equalizer is available for free as a fully functional demo so you can try it out. I’m guessing that if you try it, you’ll make that purchase. The price, like so many others from Premiere Assistive, is also reasonable—only $89.95.

If you want more information on this product, check out the official
PDF Equalizer page
On Premiere Assistive’s web site.

Finally, also from that press release, I gleaned an interesting statistic from
the National Institute for Literacy--
nearly 42 million Americans struggle with literacy.

I’m just curious how many of these people are going to college and have a diagnosis of some type of disability. My guess would be a good number of them. Even if just one percent of these were college students, that is still more than 400,000 people. And, this is yet one more tool to help provide access to material which has been previously inaccessible.

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