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Stanford Alums Gather to Write Image Descriptions

2013 May 29
by Amaya Webster

Submitted by Alisa Moore, Volunteer Program Manager at Bookshare

Stanford Image Slam

Stanford Image Slam Volunteers

On Saturday, May 18, Stanford alumni from “Beyond the Farm” joined Bookshare staff in our Palo Alto office to write image descriptions for textbooks.  The volunteers, who came from a wide range of disciplines including publishing and engineering, chose Bookshare for their annual volunteer day project.  Volunteers wrote descriptions for images in a variety of high school textbooks using the DIAGRAM Center’s web-based, open-source image description tool called Poet.

With Poet, volunteers can easily attach descriptions to images in digital books (DAISY format).  Once the descriptions have been added to the book in Poet, the book is returned to the Bookshare library for use by Bookshare members.  So far, Bookshare volunteers have written over 25,000 descriptions, and more than 75 books have had their images described.

Although most Bookshare volunteers work from home, it’s always fun to get a group of people together in the same room to enjoy the camaraderie and to learn from one another.  One of the most heartwarming stories came from a volunteer who shared that her child has learning disabilities and it meant a lot to know that the work she and her fellow alum did, might one day benefit her own child.

Bookshare partners with organizations such as BYU, Mission College, Google, publishing companies, Cisco, fraternal and religious groups, and hundreds of individual volunteers from all over the country.  To learn more about this exciting volunteer activity, and how you or your organization can get involved, visit the Bookshare volunteer web page.

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