First online audio book library of Sri Lanka launched in the USJ

First ever online audio book library of Sri Lanka “ABLE (Audio Book Library E-service) Audio Library” launched in the USJ with the help of DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) Lanka Foundation focusing on establishing an accessible and reliable online library platform for the people with print impairments.

The online library system was inaugurated by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Sudantha Liyanage, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (FHSS), Prof. Shirantha Heenkenda, representative from the DAISY Lanka Foundation and members of the faculty Equal Opportunity Cell (EOC) on 29 September 2022 commemorating the Faculty Publication Day and re-named as ABLE (Audio Book Library E-service) Audio Library.

This Audio Book Project, which enables online audio-book library facilities for any visually impaired personnel in the country, disregard of their profession and age, was initiated at the FHSS on 3 October 2016, named as ‘Vinivida’ under the guidance and financial support extended by Ven. Prof. Medagoda Abhayathissa Thero with personal funding. In 2019, the Equal Opportunity Cell (EOC) was established by Prof. Shirantha Heenkenda, Dean of FHSS to continue the Audio-Book project with the patronage of the university.

In 2020, this project has been taken over by the University and has been conducting with the University funds since then.  Currently about 2500 books are available to access under Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) as recorded audio books with the contribution of student assistants and student volunteers. The University recently signed an MoU with DAISY Lanka Foundation to get approximately 2000 audio books to enhance the collection to make an online library system for the visually impaired community as a CSR project.

The DAISY Lanka Foundation is an organization with a mission to achieve full economic, educational, cultural, vocational and social inclusion and to integrate people with print disabilities by the provision of information in alternative accessible formats. By entering into a partnership with the DAISY Lanka Foundation, this online library will be facilitated with a digital format enabling print-impaired persons to access information. EchonLabs (Pvt) Ltd is providing the technical assistance for the online library that was given to the university as a CSR project of their company. EchonLabs has developed an automated system to upload the audio files to the server within shorter time.

Any person who is unable to refer to printed media, can easily register to the e-library service via the website and then use the facilities. The ABLE library facility can be accessed through the link, or via the website of Equal Opportunity Cell of University of Sri Jayewardenepura.

Lecturer Samitha Nanayakkara, who had been highly engaged in developing the serve for this e-library service with the help and guidance of Senior Professor in Computer Science, R.G.N. Meegama, Sathya Nirmani (Project Coordinator), Dr. Nelum Kanthilatha of Department of Anthropology, and Prof. Indira Mawella from the Department of English and Linguistics has worked closely with this project.

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