Friday, October 19, 2012

Beyond Sight Exhibition in Delhi - October 2012

thats raised relief version of a beautiful pic. next to that is braille,
followed by audio.

here you can see the entire display - the picture, its story in english,
 the raised relief version so that the photographers are not
left out of experiencing their own pictures..
the braille description, and the audio mp3 player.

my favorite picture from the exhibition.

this pic stands out for this technical perfection. notice again
the raised relief version, english print, braille and audio description.
i was very impressed.

this little boy was too young to read ,
so he listened to the audio to understand the picture
 on his own. It WAS an experience.
And what a treat it was! so much to learn, so much to see!!

How to Organise a Read Fest - Part 2

Organising – Preparatory Work

1.      Take permission from IT and other relevant departments for the infrastructure requirement:

a.       Meeting rooms, with as little ambient noise as possible. These will be used as recording rooms. If you are choosing adjacent meeting rooms, it makes sense to leave one room empty between 2 recording rooms.

b.      Each meeting room needs a laptop / desktop with a working mic(internal or external mic is fine)  . This computer must have “Audacity” installed. Audacity is freely downloadable from Just search for Audacity and download. After this, try to save a test file as mp3 format. The system will prompt you to download a dll file by pressing a button. This button takes you to the dll file download site. It is safe. Please download dll and then save the file as mp3 once more. All Audacity computers should be able to save mp3 formats.

c.       Each recording room will also need water bottles / glass for the recording volunteer.

d.      You need to put up posters and also do some internal marketing to generate awareness about the event.

e.       Content: If you are a school / college, please request your teachers to contribute their papers / question banks for the Read Fest. They are an invaluable resource. If you are a student, please record your notes for all subjects if they are not already available in the catalog. If you are an office, record experiences of your profession so that other people can take a more informed career decision. The blind do not get career counselling or a chance to interact with professionals in this way. You can also record interview facing tips.

f.       All computers must be usb enabled. The content, once done, will be taken by the organiser in a pen drive.

g.      If any permission is required to send a pen drive / import a pen drive into office, please take such permissions.

h.      Arrange for visitor management to be approved if you are expecting any visitors – either from Esha or external for recording.

i.        All computers must also have unrestricted net access to Wikipedia, blogs and all other sites.

j.        If the requirement is of sample question papers and you have found some free ones offline, do save the link in favourites and ask the site administrator for permission. It is not always possible to find it last minute.

k.      Load the following documents on all machines:

                                                              i.      How to record for CLABIL (audacity user manual)

                                                            ii.      Read Fest FAQs

                                                          iii.      How to record (audio file)

l.        At some distance from the recording rooms, but close enough to be able to see them, is a control center. You need 3 volunteers are the control desk at all times. These volunteers will play the following roles:

                                                              i.      Content management – what has been recorded and what needs to be done yet. The content manager also does on the spot cataloguing as the files get recorded, or makes the catalog at the end of the read fest. But a record of what is being done by whom is kept by this person.

                                                            ii.      Queue management – who goes in in what order, who has practiced what they are going to record, who is ready to go in, how long is each one’s slot et al. The queue manager co-ordinates with the content manager to give content to volunteers and with the meeting room manager to send ppl when rooms get free.

                                                          iii.      Recording room management – This person is responsible for managing which meeting room is empty, guiding the volunteers to the meeting room, ensuring there is a glass of water there for them, then giving them a tutorial on audacity, explaining :

1.      How to record

2.      How to pause and resume recording

3.      How to stop and listen back if they doubt correct recording.

4.      How to check recording.

5.      How to correct by deleting the wrong parts.

6.      How to start a new segment.

7.      How to save as mp3 file and at what location.

8.      How to name the file for easy cataloguing.

9.      How to check your voice recording and correct before starting the final recording.

When the volunteer finishes, this person checks that the file has been saved correctly (mp3 format, naming convention, location of file) and then asks the queue manager for the next person who will come in.

All these 3 are full time roles with a lot of running around and 3 volunteers are mandatory for the control desk. Otherwise no one has a good experience.

2.      Complete the set up et al.

3.      Circulate a mail / communication asking for volunteers to pre register, with the Indian language that they can record in. This will help you prepare content.

Monday, October 15, 2012

How to convert your mobile phone recordings into mp3

If you are recording on your mobile phone for clabil, you will find that the voice quality is excellent, but the file type is usually .amr, not .mp3.

This might pose a problem to some users who dont have amr file readers.

Special thanks to Dadaji (Mr. Anil Bhagat, who has been a Friend of Esha for a few years now), for coming up with this site:

we now use this site to convert .amr files to mp3 and then upload them to the library.

Coming up next: How to organise a read fest (contd)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

How to organise a Read Fest - Part 1

Read Fests are lovely events that help everyone contribute to content creation for the blind, and also help us enrich the online library at one go.

This post is about conducting a Read Fest at a place near you - a school, college, office, residential community.. anywhere at all. No matter where the content is created, it can be uploaded and shared with everyone very quickly.

How to Conduct a Read Fest – Organiser’s Guide

This document is for all Friends of Esha who want to organise a Read Fest at a school, college, residential colony or office near them. This is the complete organiser’s guide, and we hope this will help make the Read Fest a complete event possible anywhere in India, or indeed, anywhere at all.

Requirement Gathering

People Required
At least 2.

Time Required

 2 weeks.

When should this be done

If you want to do a Read Fest to support a specific school, or a set of people who can be represented by the school. Or when you want to contribute to clabil but have no idea what kind of content should be picked up.


1.      Contact a blind school near you. Explain the concept to the principal / administrator.

2.      Request the principal to identify some intelligent and sincere students from the school – which grade they are from is not important.

3.      On a designated day, go to the school and meet these students. For breaking the ice, the following conversation starters are good:
                  a.       Have u read Braille books? In which all languages?

b.      Have u heard audio books? Through daisy or through mp3?

c.       How did you hear the audio books? In school library cd players? On ur cell phones? How?

d.      What do u want to be when you grow up?

e.       What is your favourite subject? Why?

f.       What do you like to do in your free time?

4.      After ice breaking, ask the students, one by one, what they would like more of in audio content. Make sure that as one person is asking, the other is taking down notes. If only one volunteer is going, pls carry a Dictaphone or use the voice recorder of ur smartphone, so that notes are not lost.

5.      Come back and chk the catalog to ensure that the content you want is not already there. If it is there, download and keep. (the catalog is online at and you can contact for the offline catalog which is usually bigger.

6.      After checking the catalog, start looking for content.

7.      Where you are taking content from an online blog, or other private sources, please write to them and take permission.
.. post to be continued..

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Blind With Camera exhibition finally at Delhi!

Partho Bhowmick has been doing some stellar work with photography for years now.

Blind with Camera is my personal favorite innovation that has sustained itself for years and is therefore, a strong proof of what belief in a concept can do.

Finally, the Blind with Camera exhibition is coming to Delhi. please do not miss this opportunity.

You are cordially invited to the opening and preview of “WIDE EYE OPEN” - Exhibition of photographs by the Visually Impaired on 

Friday 5th October 2012 at 6.30 pm at the Galerie Romain Rolland, Alliance Francaise de Delhi, 72, Lodi Estate, New Delhi - 110003.

The exhibition will be on view until Thursday 18th October 2012 from 11 am to 8 pm all days including Sunday.

 Looking forward to see you at the exhibition. 

If we dont go for this, we will miss something in life.