Your Free Virtual Library Card
By Judith Maginnis Kuster
Depending on where you live and how large a library there is in your community, you may discover that the "virtual library" on the Internet is much larger! It may not have current best sellers, but it does have many newspapers and magazines as well as classics, reference works, some interesting professional books, videos, music, as well as hundreds of children's books that can be adapted for treatment. This column will point the way to freely available books, magazines, and newspapers in this virtual library that might provide appropriate materials for adults in your caseload. A future column will feature books and magazines for children.
Textbooks on these sites can be "read" with text-to-speech software, which may be on your computer or can be installed. You can search for software appropriate to your computer with the keywords "text to speech" in any standard search engine. ReadPlease (www.microsoft.com/reader/developers/downloads/tts.asp/) is an example of a free text-to-speech program for Windows that even allows the user to adjust speed of narration. Narrator by Dejal Systems (http://www.dejal.com/) is an example of a shareware text-to-speech program for Macintosh. Texthelp's Read & Write (www.texthelp.com) has a Macintosh and Windows version. With a text-to-speech reader, electronic books (eBooks) can potentially fill leisure hours through listening to favorite books or providing practice by reading along with the computer-generated narrator and the written text on the computer. Or, if you prefer, VoyCabulary (www.VoyCabulary.com/) links every word on any HTML Web page to an online dictionary. By simply clicking on the written words, you or your client will be able to read the definition.
- Project Gutenberg (www.gutenberg.net/index.shtml) was begun in 1971 by Michael Hart, and is the first and largest single collection of free eBooks. The eventual goal of this project is to provide public domain eText editions a short time after the copyright has expired. There are many treasures in this resource, including text editions as well as some human- and computer-narrated books. Project Gutenberg features "light literature" such as "Alice in Wonderland," "Peter Pan," and "Aesop's Fables;" "heavy literature" such as the Bible, Shakespeare, and "Moby Dick;" and reference works such as dictionaries, almanacs, and Roget's Thesaurus.
Exploring Project Gutenberg, I discovered an interesting eText, "Stammering, Its Cause and Cure" by Benjamin Nathaniel Bogue, Indianapolis September, 1929 (www.gutenberg.net/etext03/stamm10.txt). Bogue ran one of the early "stuttering schools" in the United States, which was attended by several looking for a cure, including Charles Van Riper. (For those interested in listening to personal accounts about the Bogue school, Van Riper and Florence Yost both relate their experience on Voices: Past and Present (www.mnsu.edu/comdis/voices/voices.html).
- Bartleby's Great Books Online (www.bartleby.com/) claims to be "the most comprehensive reference publisher on the web, meeting the needs of students, educators, and the intellectually curious." The site includes Anatomy of the Human Body (Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger, 1918) by Henry Gray, illustrated HTML (www.bartleby.com/107). There is also a section on free eBooks (www.bartleby.com/ebook/) with options for using Microsoft eBook Reader for Windows, Adobe Acrobat eBook Reader for Windows or Macintosh and AportisDoc Mobile Edition for handheld devices.
- The Great Books Index (http://books.mirror.org/gb.home.html) is a nicely organized, personal project by Ken Roberts to guide readers to available online books. The site also provides a "Great Books Cafe" (http://cafes.mirror.org/gbcafe2.cgi) for online discussion.
- The Online Books (http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu) site from the University of Pennsylvania links to over 20,000 free books on the Web,
- The Digital Book Index (www.digitalbookindex.com/) provides links to more than 88,000 titles from commercial and non-commercial publishers, universities, and various private sites. About 49,900 of these books, texts, and documents are available free, while many others are available at very modest cost.
Newspapers, Magazines, and Journals
- Newslink (http://newslink.org/) includes links to over 4000 U.S. online newspapers (http://newslink.org/news.html) as well as magazines (http://newslink.org/mag.html) and news/talk radio stations (http://newslink.org/rneradi.html).
- Onlinenewspapers (www.onlinenewspapers.com) links to thousands of world newspapers.
- An important reminder - ASHA Journals (AJA, AJSLP, JSLHR, LSHSS) are also online and freely available to members (www.asha.org/members/deskref-journals/journals/default). Top news and feature articles from The ASHA Leader are available to anyone (www.asha.org/about/publications/leader-online) and all past Internet columns are hyperlinked at (www.mnsu.edu/comdis/kuster4/leader.html)
Judith Kuster is in the department of speech, hearing, and rehabilitation services at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. All of Kusters Internet columns are on the ASHA Web site in HTML format with active links http://professional.asha.org/news/news.cfm, although URLs change and there is no guarantee that links from previous articles are still functional.
Kuster, JM, Your Free Virtual Library Card, ASHA Leader, April 13, 2004, p. 24