The Mashup App empowers you to create content for individuals with print disabilities. Since its initial release, The Mashup App has allowed you to generate text-to-speech audio files for any item in your personal database.
This blog entry will discuss how to use The Mashup App to create an e-book for individuals with diminished sight or who are blind. The examples used in this blog post include copyrighted content from a famous child's book. In the United States, Congress has enacted laws enabling the adaptation of copyrighted material for use by the disabled. So whether you choose to use The Mashup App to empower a blind child because you are a rights holder or just a good Samaritan, this blog post is dedicated to you :-)
The Basics of Adapting a Print Book
- Convert the book into individual pages. You can use a scanner or the built-in camera of your device. The pages can be saved in JPG or PNG format, but PNG is suggested. If you use a scanner, it is also suggested that you name each file in this format: "1_of_A_Book", "2_of_A_Book", etc so that you can easily identify the page.
- Copy the individual pages to your device. If the pages are on your computer, it is suggested that you use iTunes File Sharing to copy the images to The Mashup App as this will preserve the file names.
- Import each image representing a book page into your personal database. Select the "Use a picture" option found in the "Create a Mashup Item" section of the "Home" view of The Mashup App:
The Mashup App will display all of the images found in its protected area of your device's file system:
Since it is easy to forget which page you have adapted, The Mashup App allows you to peek at the file content before saving it into your personal database. To have a quick look, tap the info button of the corresponding item:
- Use the Rich Text Editor to provide a caption for each image. On the iPad, you can see the entire image without needing to resize.
On the iPhone or iPod Touch you will most likely need to resize the image using the editor's resize tool:
Type the caption:
On the iPhone or iPod Touch, it might be challenging to type the content even though a child's book only has a few sentences:
The Mashup App also allows you to use the speech-to-text dictation feature of the iPhone 4S. Audio dictation uses the same technology which Siri uses which accordingly requires an internet connection:
- Upon saving the image caption, The Mashup App will prompt you to save the image in an embedded format. This means that the image will be stored directly in the database with the caption and not as an external file. It is recommended that you save images in the embedded format:
- Tap on the "Details" button to provide additional information about this item:
- Since the default title for this item is "an image", we can have The Mashup App use the file name and pixel dimensions of the image:
Or, we can provide our own title such as "Page 1":
- Since this book is not a history book, we do not need to associate this image with a geolocation. For example, if you had an image or PDF of the US Constitution, you could annotate it with the latitude and longitude of Philidelphia so that kids could see a map along with the image of the document. Scroll down to the "Text-To-Speech" Section:
- The Mashup App has synchronized your edits with the text-to-speech content for this item. Tap to edit this content. The Text-To-Speech editor will be displayed:
- Since we have many items in our personal database, we should provide a memorable description so that we can group other pages of this book together and then have The Mashup App generate an e-book with the pages in the correct order:
- We can visualize the database content of this book:
- Optionally, we can generate an audio file for each page using the Text-To-Speech engine of The Mashup App:
- The Mashup App's built-in Audio Editor allows you to save the entire text-to-speech audio or just a segment. In this case we will save the entire clip:
To learn more about publishing audio and video segments, read this blog entry: "HTML5 Video, Time Indexes, and Permalinks".
We should save the audio content into the same Category as the page for which it represents:
Since the Text-To-Speech engine generates an audio file in WAV format, The Mashup App allows you to export it in the more modern MP4/M4A format:
- Refresh the Category view to see the audio clip added. Because the generated WAV file does not support artwork unlike audio podcasts, The Mashup App displays a default image:
- At this stage, you can have The Mashup App email your Quality Assurance team the page and text-to-speech audio or continue to adapt more book pages:
- In the next major release of The Mashup App, you will be able to export the Category of related pages as EPUB content:
- And then generate the accessible e-book: