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Weekly News Digest

August 30, 2010 — In addition to this week's NewsBreak(s), the editors have compiled the Weekly News Digest, featuring stories from the week just past that you should know about. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today.

CLICK HERE to view all of this week's Weekly News Digest items.

Text-to-Speech Support Added to All EBSCOhost Databases

EBSCO Publishing has added text-to-speech (read aloud) support to EBSCOhost databases, including its major school and public library databases, by embedding Texthelp Systems’ SpeechStream toolbar—a valuable benefit provided at no additional cost to the user. Users will be able to take advantage of this new feature with any full-text articles available in HTML.

Text-to-speech support, already featured in EBSCO’s English Language Learner Reference Center, allows users to read along while a human-sounding voice speaks the text on the screen. The support toolbar provides significant assistance to those for whom text-to-speech capabilities are highly valued such as English Language Learners, users with low vision, slight physical and/or learning disabilities, as well as ebook and PDA users.

Texthelp Systems is a provider of literacy and language support technology for online learning. Recent studies have shown that students using Texthelp’s literacy support tools demonstrated significant improvements in both reading comprehension and writing performance. The president of Texthelp Systems, Jack Dolan, says SpeechStream delivers high quality reading support via the web to improve access to information. “With the ever increasing demand to provide all users access to electronic resources when and where they need them, our partnership with EBSCO allows us to deliver the literacy support tools these users require.”

Utilizing the text-to-speech feature via the EBSCOhost platform provides many advantages. Users have the ability to read-aloud by selected text, sentence, paragraph, or continuous reading with dual color synchronous highlighting (highlighting of the passage being read with a second color highlighting the specific word being read aloud at that moment). User control of read-aloud personalizes the learning experience for each user. Users can control reading speed as well as select between three different high-quality voices—American, British, or Australian. These options also enable teachers and professionals to incorporate the features as a tool for teaching English and reading.

Source: EBSCO Publishing

Send correspondence concerning the Weekly News Digest to NewsBreaks Editor Brandi Scardilli
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