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Responses to the Report of the Educational Services Advisory Committee to the Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind for Fiscal Year 2006

The Committee recommends that APH:

    1. Identify and implement a comprehensive information/library management system that integrates the technology (hardware/software) needs of multiple departments, including APH database, LOUIS, ATIC, NIMAC, Website, E-Commerce System and allows search engine access. In addition, allocate resources (personnel and monies) to support the chosen system. Implementing such a system would allow for:
      1. Ability to search and identify appropriate textbooks in order to provide to students at the same time as sighted peers
      2. Increased outside sales for APH products by improving web exposure
      3. Improved web ordering system to facilitate the tracking and production of materials (ordering to delivery).
    2. Provide the necessary personnel, business practices, and funding to fully implement the system.
    3. Develop a system to quantify any benefits by measuring changes in productivity in outside sales and time to process/ship

    Status: Implementation in Progress

    Brief Clarification: The following activity indicates the beginning implementation of this recommendation:

    • In-house information databases continue to evolve
    • An in-house committee has interviewed venders regarding improving our ecommerce system (product ordering) for the website
    • An in-house committee contracted with an expert to study the Louis Database platform and develop, disseminate, and review a request for information (RFI) to national venders. The new platform would include the ability to complete federated searches between the NIMAC and Louis.
    • Web statistics show huge growth in visits to the APH website, presently averaging 150,000 "hits" per month.
    • An expert has been contracted to review our website and report on the visitor experience.
    • A plan is being developed by the Communications Department that targets structure and design of the website.

    Contacts: Myers, Jane Thompson, Edwin Shelton, Scott Blome

  1. Continue to provide mandatory EOT training at annual meetings and encourage increased attendance (>50%).

    Status: Ongoing Implementation

    Brief Clarification: Mandatory EOT training meetings will continue to be a part of the Annual Meeting each year. We are exploring ways to increase attendance through better communication with Ex Officio Trustees about the importance of Annual Meeting, stressing it as a responsibility of Ex Officio Trustees and providing further information and clarification about Annual Meeting for administrators and others who approve out of state travel for attendees.

    Contact: Janie Blome

  2. Increase the capacity of APH braille production (at least 50% by October 2008)
    1. Establish and implement performance measures for transcribing, production and delivery
    2. Allocate sufficient resources (personnel and monies) to support this project (in house and contracted)
    3. Include representation from all departments involved in braille production at all levels of planning

    Status: Implementation in Progress

    Brief Clarification: A Braille Initiative Team, made up of representatives from across the company and led by Vice President of Finance Bill Beavin, has developed and begun implementation of a plan for supervising, hiring, and training staff in the areas of transcription, tactile graphics, proof reading, and editing. The APH Production Department has purchased an interpoint 55 to increase output for textbooks, making a total for four high speed braille printers.

    An increase in textbook orders can only be determined by the number of orders received by customers. All textbook orders received are processed. The Accessible Textbook Department continues to contract with certified out-sources as needed to meet transcription needs.

    Contacts: Bill Beavin, Jane Thompson, Jack Decker, Tuck Tinsley, Bob Brasher

  3. New Direction for the Museum
    1. Explore a virtual tour of the museum
    2. Increase the exposure of the museum
    3. Increase the outreach opportunities
    4. Explore the online access to archival information

    Status: Implementation in Progress

    Brief Clarification: A full range of monthly public programs was implemented, resulting in an overall 33% increase in attendance, An online database was designed and tested, and we began a total redesign of our museum website. A federally funded assessment of the museum’s public dimension was completed, and that MAP report will be available for the committee to review and discuss.

    Contacts: Micheal Hudson/Gary Mudd

  4. Continue to encourage states to participate in Babies Count.

    Status: Ongoing Implementation

    Brief Clarification: Efforts to get more states and agencies participating in Babies Count are on-going. At the 2006 Annual Meeting, Dr. Arnall Patz co-presented with Babies Count Coordinator Burt Boyer to promote the Babies Count Project. In addition, Burt was given 15 minutes to answer questions from those attending.

    Florida, Alabama, Nevada, Overbrook School for the Blind (Pennsylvania), Wyoming, Montana, Kansas, and Washington have shown an interest in getting involved. Montana has begun to receive surveys that will be entered into the database.

    We believe schools for the blind can play a key role in moving this project forward and Burt will encourage COSB and the Outreach Directors to meet with him during the 2007 Annual Meeting.

    Contact: Burt Boyer

  5. Explore additional distant education technology such as video conferencing to encourage participation in training related to products.

    Status: Under Consideration

    Brief Clarification: In 2006, APH explored the possibility of using Video conferencing with the state of Washington. After careful review, APH decided that currently we do not have the necessary equipment nor the bandwidth to support video training.

    As APH increases its bandwidth capabilities, we will be able to participate in major developments for the webcast software we currently use to conduct training nationwide. The new version takes advantage of Desktop Sharing, Application Sharing, Whiteboard, and video conferencing.

    Contacts: Maria Delgado, Janie Blome