The University of Novi Sad has launched a project called Central Audio Library of the University of Novi Sad (CALUNS) with the aim of providing all the students the facility to read texts automatically by the means of speech synthesizer and up-to-date information and communication technologies through the Central Library of the University of Novi Sad.
The speech synthesizer for the Serbian language, vocalizing text, was developed at the Faculty of Technical Sciences and the company AlfaNum in Novi Sad and it enables the automatic synthesis of audio editions of books in Serbian. The software transforms a given text in Serbian into clear speech very similar to natural human voice. The aim of the project is to create audio editions of the collections in the libraries and make them accessible for all students and the whole academic community of the University of Novi Sad and its Faculties, as well as for all other interested parties. Besides audio editions of course books, it will be possible for professors to provide the students with the presentations of their lectures, complemented by accompanying audio notes added to some of the slides.
Audio editions allow people with disabilities to have equal access to education together with other students. Not only do these books enable people with vision impairment to have faster, easier and more independent access to relevant reference books, but they also make the process of reading easier even for the people with other types of physical disabilities, as well as to people suffering from dyslexia and other types of learning disorders that prevent them from using texts in written form.
It is beyond doubt that audio editions of books will be used by all students who want to get adequate education and broaden their knowledge, while resting, driving, or doing any other type of activity, because this format enables them to listen to relevant reference books hands free.
The concept and the aims of the project will be promoted at the conferences “New Technologies in Learning”, TREND, 16-19.2. 2016 on Zlatibor, and “New Technologies in Educationˮ, British Council, 26-27.2.2016 in Belgrade.
If you are interested, you can have a look at the presentation with audio records of synthesized speech. More information about the project can be found in the section Developmental projects of the Central Library.