DO-IT News * July 1996

Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology


Volume 4, Number 2

In This Issue:


Director's Digressions

By Dr. Sheryl Burgstahler

All aboard the DO-IT train! This year DO-IT traveled across the United States to recruit the 1996 Scholars. They are a creative and talented bunch, excited to meet others with common interests, challenges, and goals.

Joining us from State College, Pennsylvania is Zachary. Being blind hasn't quelled his fascination with computer programming, design, and operation. Zachary thinks DO-IT will provide a great opportunity to meet and correspond with other computer aficionados.

Another East-Coaster, Daniel of Clinton, Connecticut, excels in math. Daniel, who has impaired motor and verbal functioning, is currently learning a scripting language called Cross Talk. He's also excited to meet other DO-IT "techies."

Seattle local David is particularly interested in chemistry and plans to pursue his interests in general medicine and become a doctor. David, who has ADD, would like to fly an airplane someday.

Also coming from the Northwest is Susana of Vashon Island, Washington. She loves science and nature, especially learning about the atom. Susana has a learning disability and looks forward to meeting people who can understand her perspective.

After attending space camp and venturing to Central America, Travis from Dorchester, Nebraska has become a world traveler. He currently plans to be a computer programmer and analyst. Travis is blind and knows all about the Internet because he wrote a report on its history and use!

Cheri is leaning towards the medical profession and joins us from Larchwood, Iowa. Cheri is paraplegic and has set the all-time Iowa record in the 400 meters race. She has worked with a group to write and construct a World Wide Web home page. She loves to travel and is excited and honored to meet other people her age with similar interests and goals in life.

At his home in Independence, Iowa, Joshua designed a backyard pool with a waterfall. He can reach the water from his wheelchair (he has Spinal Muscular Atrophy), and the fish eat right out of his hand at feeding time! Joshua says he might study landscape design or horticulture in college.

David's true favorites are computer technologies and engineering. He lives in Elgin, Oregon, is a Mac technology consultant for his high school, and has created Web pages for an exhibit at the Oregon Museum in the Life Sciences Department. He has low vision and a health impairment, and one of his teachers told us David shows remarkable leadership skills.

Another Scholar joining us from Oregon is Luke, who attends La Grande High School. Luke, who has a hearing impairment, is particularly interested in the scientific study of the human body. Always finding a way to achieve his goals, Luke envisions himself as a successful doctor someday.

Chris, of Minot, Maryland, thinks science is pretty neat; he received third place in tower building at the Science Olympiad. Chris has a hearing impairment and is looking forward to sharing creative ideas for science and meeting other people with disabilities on the Internet.

Mike of Sabattus, Maine says he is driven to attend college. He has been a BBS administrator and help desk coordinator for his high school and is interested in a career in computer software programming or testing. Mike has a learning disability and a health impairment and has learned from his mom that "for every disability there can be a greater ability if someone wants to make one."

Maria is another Maine-iac. She's from Auburn, Maine and enjoys doing research to learn how things relate to one another. Being deaf, Maria is motivated to learn the latest developments in technology, and she wants to help deaf people. Currently she's interested in being a veterinarian or an oceanographer.

Also eager to experience the latest developments in technology is John from Rupert, Idaho. John has cerebral palsy and has always been interested in science--he especially likes learning about the human body and how it works.

Rebecca from San Marcos, California also has cerebral palsy and would like to try voice recognition software. An inventor, Rebecca is interested in the field of rehabilitation engineering. One of her recent inventions is an adaptation for her guitar!

Katrina of Salem, Oregon thinks biology is tops. Katrina is currently interested in being a pediatrician, veterinarian, or anatomical illustrator. Katrina has diabetes and knows sign language, and her life experiences have helped her understand special needs and what they can mean to a family.

Joining us from Lincoln, Nebraska is Kevin. He has always been fascinated with how science works and currently plans to major in astrophysics and make it his profession. Kevin is blind and is interested in how others with conditions similar to his own handle things.

Anh would like to attend M.I.T. and major in astronomy, architecture, or accounting. Anh lives in Sacramento, California and has Larsen Syndrome. He is fascinated with the universe, planets, and stars and looks forward to meeting people who share similar interests.

Calling all math whizzes! James of Poquoson, Virginia would like to meet others who love math! Math (especially Algebra) is his favorite subject, and James enjoys the challenge of solving long equations. James has cerebral palsy and is looking forward to experiencing the trials and tribulations of college dorm life.

Dana was born into a computer family: His dad worked at Digital and his mom at IBM! Dana hails from Concord, Massachusetts and is interested in mechanical design/engineering and biology. Dana has Dyslexia and ADD and wants to major in mechanical engineering or pre-med at Dartmouth.

"I want people to look beyond our disabilities and focus on our abilities," says Jodi of Filer, Idaho. Jodi has cerebral palsy and has always looked at her disability as a gift, not a curse. Jodi visits her local elementary school to give scientific demonstrations, and might want to become a physician. Jodi says, "Just because a person has a disability doesn't mean that he can't think for himself or make a difference in someone's life." We agree!

On behalf of the "old" Scholars, Ambassadors, Mentors, and staff, I would like to welcome these new Scholars to the DO-IT community!


In Memory of Andrew

by Sheryl Burgstahler, DO-IT Director

[Picture of Andrew] Many of you know Andrew as one of our '95 DO-IT Scholars ... bright, witty, upbeat, always ready for a new challenge.

Some of you may have only corresponded with him via electronic mail--you may recognize part of his e-mail signature:

Andrew :)
"Nobody said life would be easy.
They only said it would be worth it!"

I am sorry to have to tell you that on May 17 at 8:45 a.m. we lost our dear friend and DO-IT partner, Andrew. Andrew, who had Muscular Dystrophy, died of complications from pneumonia. He was sick for only a few days.

Chuck, Andrew's dad, wanted us to know that "DO-IT was one of the best things in Andrew's life."

I know I speak for all of us at DO-IT when I say Andrew will be missed and he will always be part of our DO-IT family. As we face this tremendous loss, I think Andrew would say to us:

"Nobody said life would be easy. They only said it would be worth it!"
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Dear Scholars, Ambassadors, Staff and Mentors.	

We want to thank all of you for making this past year of Andrew's life
so much more fulfilling, rewarding and adventurous.  He was so excited
by the vision that the DO-IT program offered him.  He was always
talking about how he was going to go to college and get a degree in
computer drafting and he was going to grab the tiger of life by the
tail.  He was going to set up his own business here at home and
conduct his business via all the latest in communication technology.
Unfortunately, his life energy ran a little short of his ambitions.

Chuck, Connie, Jennifer & Jackie (The Cassidy Family)

Stephen Hawking Visits with DO-IT Scholars Again

Picture of Stephen Hawking at the Pacific Science Center DO-IT Scholars and other students with disabilities had some special time with world-renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking at the Pacific Science Center on April 14. Hawking was in Seattle to deliver a public address on the possibilities of time travel.

The DO-IT program co-sponsored his appearance with The Institute for Science, Engineering, and Public Policy. Twenty students were treated to free tickets to the evening lecture. But Hawking also found space in his tight schedule to chat privately with DO-IT Scholars and other youths with disabilities for the second time in the last three years. The visit was highly publicized, garnering front page coverage in both major Seattle newspapers, stories on all three local network television news shows, and a mention on CNN, the national broadcast news network.

DO-IT Scholars who attended were impressed with Hawking as a scientist and a person. Hawking has the nerve disorder amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease), uses a wheelchair and travels with two nurses. He conversed with the students and delivered his evening address by using a computer-based voice synthsizer. He holds the same chair in physics at Cambridge University in England once held by Sir Isacc Newton and works from 11 a.m. to the early evening each day, correcting papers, seeing students, attending lectures, and writing. He is well-known for his dry wit and answered many questions with humor. He began his evening lecture with a limerick:

"There was a young lady of Wight,
Who traveled much faster than light.
She departed one day
In a relative way,
And arrived on the previous night."

DO-IT Scholar Todd asked Hawking about his personal life. Hawking replied that he is married and has three children, one of whom works at Microsoft and was present at the gathering. Matt, a DO-IT Scholar who is deaf, asked through an interpreter if Hawking has experience communicating with those with hearing impairments. Hawking answered that he uses the computer screen mounted on his wheelchair to communicate with his mother who cannot hear the synthesized voice.

Picture of Kids at the Hawking Lecture Priscilla, a DO-IT Scholar who also attended the event, shared her experiences with everyone on the DO-IT electronic mailing lists:

"Hi All, I had the pleasure of being one of the lucky ones to meet
with Stephen Hawking, plus got to hear him speak at his "Space & Time
Warps" lecture yesterday.  Let me tell you, I'm amazed at what he can
do and what he's accomplished, in spite of his challenge with ALS.
He's such a great role-model and a very inspirational person.  I don't
know what else to say, except that Dr. Hawking left me speechless...

See how special we all are to be part of DO-IT and get wonderful
opportunities like this?  After all, these things don't happen everyday.

Thanks DO-IT!"
*Priscilla*
<wongp@u.washington.edu>
Susanna, age 11, came all the way from Spokane to be part of the group. Her mother talks about the visit.

"She took the article from the newspaper back to her classroom at
Jefferson school in Spokane, Washington and used the information and
her impressions to educate a great number of students.

Susanna also was so pleased to meet the students there and to see that
there are many ways to succeed and to see the incredible attitude of
both Hawking and the students able to attend.  Susanna was able to
understand that in the long run the human spirit can overcome anything
if you continue to choose to.  She was proud and pleased to be able to
come.

Sue
SSweeney@gonzaga.edu

Technology Tips

By Dan Comden
Adaptive Technology Specialist, UW

Scholar Question:
I'm doing a report and a speech. I want to find certain information on a certain topic. I use WebCrawler all the time. But when I use WebCrawler, I get all this other stuff not even close to what I wanted. Suggestions?

Answer:
To do topic-specific hunting you need a relevant search engine. Search engines are offered at various Web sites. The two I use most often are MetaCrawler and Alta Vista. But no matter which engine you use, the trick to doing searches is learning how to phrase your search terms so that you get items you want and minimize the amount of "noise" or unwanted material.

Example: Using quote marks
Here's something you could try yourself at the Alta Vista search site at http://www.altavista.digital.com
Suppose you want to find out more about geology. If you just search on the term [geology], it's possible to get more than 100 K (that's 100,000) instances of the word "geology" with potentially relevant information. But who has time to go through all that? If you're really interested in the formation of horst and graben terrain, you could enter the phrase ["horst and graben"] (leaving the quotation marks in) and get fewer references ("hits").

Using quotation marks to delineate search terms will narrow your search results tremendously--down to 20 hits of your search term. It may also be helpful to have a dictionary or thesaurus on hand to come up with alternate terms to use for your search.

Advanced Queries
The Advanced Query feature on Alta Vista allows more elegant searching. You can use keywords like AND, NOT, and OR to restrict or expand your search criteria. Here's an example which demonstrates the difference between AND, NOT, and OR.

If you want to find articles or pages that have information about planetary geology and volcanism, your search might look a little more complicated: ["planetary geology" volcano] (make sure you use quote marks to indicate text you want to stay together).

This first search without any Boolean operators (that's what AND, NOT, and OR are really called) will yield about 76,000 hits where the phrase "planetary geology" and/or the word volcano appear in a document. Now let's try the Advanced Search. You can select it from the top of the Alta Vista page.

Use of AND operator
If you want to search for documents where the phrase "planetary geology" and the word volcano BOTH appear, it's a simple process. AND is a restrictive operator, in that in order for a location to be a hit, it must satisfy both sides of whatever is around the AND statement. For our example, in the advanced search box, if you enter ["planetary geology" and volcano] (leave out the brackets but put in the quotation marks), your search has been narrowed down to 85 or so hits or results". This makes things quite a bit easier.

Use of OR operator
OR is an inclusive operator and will help you collect more information. If you want to expand your search you could use "OR", but you would get *MANY* hits. In the example above, the advanced query ["planetary geology" OR volcano] yields about 30,000 hits matching the query terms. Quite a difference between using AND and OR, eh?

Use of NOT
This Boolean operator started out as a trendy phrase on Saturday Night Live NOT! Actually, it's been around quite a bit longer than that. The NOT operator allows you to completely restrict terms from your search and is often useful when combined with other operators. For our example, if you wanted information on planetary geology and volcanoes but wanted to ignore anything to do with the moon, you could construct a search with the terms: ["planetary geology" AND volcano AND NOT lunar]. Now you're down to about 56 hits.

As you can see, searching the Web can take a little practice, but once you get familiar with AND, NOT, and OR and use some creative search terms, you will find Web surfing quite a bit more enjoyable.


DO-IT Pals

by Sheryl Burgstahler

You've heard of the DO-IT Scholars. You've heard of the DO-IT Campers. You've heard of the DO-IT Mentors. Well, watch out for the DO-IT Pals! DO-IT Pals form an electronic community of pre-college students with disabilities from around the world, who support one another in their efforts to pursue college degrees and careers in science, engineering, mathematics, and technology. They communicate with each other, get advice from DO-IT Mentors, and participate in projects throughout the year. To become a DO-IT Pal, you must meet the following requirements:

Contact the DO-IT office for a DO-IT Pal application packet.

Off The Net: Summer Work Plans

by Sheryl Burgstahler, DO-IT Director

I asked the DO-IT Scholars and Ambassadors to share their current work experience, plans for work this summer, and advice for getting a job. Below are a few of the (slightly edited) responses they shared on our electronic discussion list.

Anna
I'm applying for a summer campus research job through the NASA Space Grant Program. But it will be awhile before I know anything.

Sherri
I might be working in Portland this summer. The Commission for the Blind where visually impaired students or totally blind students can work in Portland. I have done it for a couple of years. The first year I did data entry and two other years I watched children. I don't know what I will do this year if I get to go. On top of having a job I get paid for I will be a peer counselor too, because this will be my fourth year.

Eric
Hello. I don't know where I will be working this summer. I have skills in using the www, gopher, e-mail, unix commands, word perfect, pico, and I was an intern last year.

Daniel
I have a part time job at Dairy Queen. I have had this job for about nine months. I got the job when my mother told me that they were hiring. So I went down and got an application and filled it out and took it back and they called me to come in for an interview.

Anthony
I might not work this summer at Dakota Systems because I have other commitments to other businesses and other people based on speaking device technology. I will also get paid for my work and traveling. My bosses are very sad to lose me to biggger businesses, but they understand my goals in life. It will be cool working with guys like Berry Romich and Bruce Baker who are the main minds behind speaking devices.

I'll also do some work on a state task force about speaking devices, getting funding for people that need them. I don't know how that will mix with my work with PRC, because it will be like a one-sided issue but I will try to look at it as a person outside of the business.

Kris
Hey, OK, so I've been bad and haven't had much to say lately, so I'll just chime in here. I will be stepping down this summer as OSU's Adaptive Technology Coordinator. We are hiring someone who is full time and isn't a student (big plus!). I have plans to release several new products this summer (that is...Nexus Computer Systems does), so that should keep me pretty busy. I also demonstrated access to lab equipment in a DO-IT exhibit at the National Science Foundation conference in Washington D.C. in June and will be an intern at the DO-IT camp in Minnesota in July.

The only real advice I have to people looking for a job, is "get experience". If that means volunteering, then (no pun intended) do-it. Along with education, the thing I look at the most (probably more than education) is experience. Experience not only shows that the capability to perform a job is there, but they enjoy doing it. People don't tend to volunteer for things they don't enjoy. If you can find a way to get experience while getting paid, that's even better. My advice is do whatever it is you love most...don't let the money be your main focus, if you truly enjoy what you're doing then it will be worth it, and eventually may even pay off with real money. Good Luck!

Matt
I plan to work for King County this summer. I will be doing "beautification" AKA weed eating. All I had to do was send in an application and they called me and I was hired. And now this year they called me up and asked if I wanted to work there again. I learned that if you do a good job when you work for people during the summer they'll probably hire you back if they need someone.

Ryan
I am currently working at Bellevue Square mall in a clothing store called The Structure. However this summer I plan on working for either Costco, or a bank. I have found that if you really want something all you have to do is try. If at first you don't get something, go back and try until you do get what you want. Matt's also right about doing good work. If you do the company will really like you.

Rachel
Hello All! Well, I've worked at Battelle for the past two summers as an intern student. Fortunate for me all I had to do was turn in the application and I was accepted. But, what I'm learning right now, while looking for a job, is I have to be persistent and not give up. Plus, I must leave my options wide open. I can't be too picky on which job I want.

Travis
Seeing other messages reminded me that I hadn't told everyone what I'm planning on doing this next year. First I better tell you what I've been up to. I've been a Freshman at Utah State University studying computer science. College life is definitely different from high school -- I was no way prepared for the difference in high school and college. I'm finally adjusting to it. As many of you may know, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At age 19, worthy men can serve a two year proselytizing mission which is completely volunteer and paid for by the missionary. I had some doubts as to whether I would be able to serve because of my physical problems. I recently got a positive report from my doctors, so I'm proceeding on planning on leaving in August. I will be away from the Internet and computers for two years, so I'll miss you guys. (Since this message, Travis was assigned to the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma mission. He'll be leaving August 21.)

Sarah
Right now I'm working at Target, plus I'm going to college.

Randy
Well, seems everyone's said what their doing this summer but me. You all remember that government internship that DO-IT staff were talking about in December? Well, a few of us interviewed for it, and they put us all in a database that several departments (mainly Defense) of the national government look through. I said in my interview that I was interested in computers, networking, etc. About a week and a half ago I get a call from the 1115th (pronounced 1115th) Signal Division. They're based at Fort Louis Washington. Apparently, they got a flash from the Department of the Army, telling the 1115th to offer me a job. Needless to say (after all, summer classes are expensive) I accepted. So, I'll be doing networking stuff for the Army this summer. It's an internship, paid (Woohoo!), and it looks like a lot of fun.

These comments reflect only the "tip of the iceberg" when it comes to the many productive work experiences DO-IT Scholars and Ambassadors are pursuing. In addition, Anna and Lloyd have worked in the UW Adaptive Technology Lab, Lloyd and Kris will help out in the '96 DO-IT Summer Study session for new Scholars at the University of Washington in August, and the list goes on and on. When it comes to pursuing academic and work experiences, the DO-IT Scholars and Ambassadors jut do it!


Mentor Profile
Frank Cuta

My name is Frank Cuta. I am a blind research engineer and a mentor in the DO-IT program. I have worked for Battelle Labs in Eastern Washington for the past 21 years. My principle strength is my knowledge of sensors and transducers and how to integrate them with computers. My outside interests include the Washington Council of the Blind, the Radio Reading Service, folk music, sound recording, literature, philosophy, science fiction, sword collecting and poetry. But let's get away from the lists. Let me tell you a story that does a better job of covering the topic of Frank Cuta.

Several years ago (in the dark ages) when blind persons were kept in closets, I applied to attend space camp in Huntsville. This is the ultimate experience for anyone between 8 and 80 who wants to go into space but doesn't have a prayer of ever getting on the shuttle. Of course I was denied admission even though I attached a letter explaining that I was very independent and would need no accommodations other than the simple aids that I would bring with me. Through the efforts of Brock Adams (a senator that you may not remember), his counterpart in Alabama and the Alabama White Cane Law, I became the first blind person to break into this coveted playground of the space crazy. The days at space camp are filled with technical lectures, movies, tours and space rides. However, my unforgettable experiences have to include the hours that I got to spend on the actual simulators that were developed and used by the mercury and Apollo astronauts and my shuttle mission simulation. This mission is acted out second by second with all of the sound, vibrations, video and actions necessary to get you and your crew members into orbit and complete experiments in space.

I never did meet the administrators that tried to keep me out of the program. The instructors and other members of my team accepted me completely and I had a totally positive experience. At the end they gave me some kind of award they reserve for the top participant in each class. I think they were moved to select me not because of what I gave the program, but what I got out of it. No one even came close to yelling and whooping as much or as loud as I did. Yes, and I think I did a little jumping up and down too! Funny how you get carried away when you're having fun.


Mentor Profile
Gay Lloyd Pinder

My name is Gay Lloyd Pinder and I recently completed my Doctorate in Speech and Language at the UW. I am Deaf and have been Deaf for the past 11 or 12 years. I put down the telephone one day 11 or 12 years ago and decided that I was no longer hard of hearing when I couldn't hear anything out of that sweet little receiver ! It was time to start identifying myself as Deaf. Grin!

I have since learned sign language and now work with an interpreter full time at my job. I also used an interpreter all the way through the graduate program at the university. That was an education in itself!! Teaching the professors how to use an interpreter and going through the struggle of making appointments and then needing to find interpreters...on and on!! You all who use interpreters know the ins and outs. Then I discovered e-mail and it changed everything!! I began to "meet with my advisors" via e-mail and it was wonderful!! For me and for them...OK enough and on to where I am now.

I work south of Seattle in Kent, in a small Children's Therapy Center that four of us therapists started 17 years ago. It has grown to be a busy little clinic and we treat very young children with neuromuscular disorders such as cerebral palsy. I was hearing when we set up the center and have become Deaf while working there so we all learned together about Deafness, sign language, different ways to use a phone. etc. etc. etc. I love working there and learn every day from the families. In many ways the Deafness has broadened my perspective as a therapist...or for sure has put me on the other side of the fence! I bet I am the only Deaf speech therapist around! I have a wonderful poster on the wall that pictures a brain. The caption reads, "It works perfectly well without ears" and ain't it the truth!!


Join the DO-IT Campers

by Linda Baker
DO-IT Research Consultant

A camping we will go, a camping we will go, hi ho the derry-o, a camping we will go...

DO-IT is going to camp again this summer. The students at Camp Courage learned so much and had such a good time last summer that we're not only going back to Maple Lake, Minnesota this year, but coming to camps in Washington state as well.

Look for DO-IT at three Washington summer camps for disabled children and youth: Camp Laughalot, Camp Easter Seal West, and the Muscular Dystrophy Association Summer Camp at Camp Waskowitz. We'll be bringing computers and adaptive technology, setting up a local network, and connecting to the Internet so campers can learn the basics of electronic communication (electronic mail) and information gathering (World Wide Web). Campers will have time to learn, time to cruise the 'Net, and time to show off what they find. We'll also be talking with older campers about making the transition to college successful.

Picture of Camp Laughalot Computer Lab Camp Laughalot is a seven week summer day camp operated from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each weekday by the Pierce County Parks and Recreation Department. It serves about 80 people aged 6 to 21 years of all abilities, including those with cerebral palsy, Downs syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, autism, hearing and visual impairments, emotional and behavioral challenges, and attention deficit disorder. This year the camp will be using the facilities of Rogers High School on the South Hill of Puyallup for daily activities which promote self-esteem, sharing, cooperation, teamwork, friendship, fitness, sportsmanship, and...fun! DO-IT will be offering Internet sessions in the school computer lab during the morning activity period each day July 15-19 and July 29-August 2. DO-IT will also offer session on college transition.

Picture of Easter Seals Camp sign Camp Easter Seal West is a year-round residential camp located in Vaughn Bay, near Gig Harbor. It offers 5- to 7-day sessions for campers with disabilities of all kinds who are age 7 and above. About 450 people attend the summer program, which offers horseback riding, waterfront activities, swimming, arts & crafts, and sports. We'll be set up in the lodge classroom the first two weeks in July, offering Internet sessions twice a day during the morning and afternoon activity periods and a college transition workshop.

The Muscular Dystrophy Association offers a one-week residential summer camp at Camp Waskowitz in North Bend July 22-26. Each summer finds 100 kids with neuromuscular disease, ages 6-21, engaged in arts & crafts, swimming, singing, fishing, karaoke, and field events. They also attend dances and campfires. DO-IT will be offering Internet sessions during both the morning and afternoon activity sessions and a college transition workshop. Picture of Computer Lab at Camp Waskowitz

And we'll be at Camp Courage again July 7-16. The Camp Courage Internet and College Preview Camp is part of a partnership between the DO-IT project and Courage Center in Minnesota. This session offers intensive instruction to approximately 18 campers over a 10-day period, delving into Internet resources such as email, gopher, telnet, and the World Wide Web; and daily workshops on how to succeed in college and careers. Campers communicate via email with DO-IT Scholars and Mentors and take a day trip to St. Cloud State University. But there's still lots of time for typical activities such as horseback riding, overnight camping, fishing, swimming, parties, dances, and more.

College Preview Camp is open to any young person who has completed seventh grade or higher and has college potential. Although Camp Courage primarily serves Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota, participants from other states are welcome.

So bring the sunscreen and bug spray and become a DO-IT Camper--we'll see you there!

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Camp Contacts


DO-IT Heads For the Library!

by Beth Fraser, Library Project Coordinator

When was the last time you visited a library? If you haven't visited one lately, you might be surprised at what you see. You might not realize it, but the truth is, most libraries deal with computers and technology just as much as they deal with books and magazines. And libraries increasingly rely on computers to provide services that you can't get from books. People routinely visit museums in Paris, the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and untold other fascinating worlds all while sitting at a computer terminal in their local library.

Libraries have always played a pivotal role in providing information and entertainment in our society. And although a growing number of school and public libraries are providing connections to the Internet and other electronic resources, few are equipped to provide individuals with disabilities access to these resources. On the other hand, the development of adaptive technologies means that these resources could be made accessible. An exciting new project at DO-IT addresses this gap, seeking to open wider the doors of libraries and the world of information to disabled citizens.

The project, underway this summer, educates librarians about adaptive technology and universal access design features. Librarians like to share information, so we expect they will turn around and help make electronic resources in their libraries accessible to people with disabilities! Training materials and a video are currently being developed and will be available during the coming year. Funded by the Telecommunications Funding Partnership, and run by DO-IT with support from the University of Washington Libraries, the project represents a critical effort to integrate people with disabilities into American society with the help of one of our most important community institutions: the library.

As the librarian who coordinates this project, I would like to hear about your library experiences! You can reach me at the DO-IT office at 685-1849, or by e-mail at bamf@u.washington.edu.


Calendar of Events


More About DO-IT

DO-IT NEWS is published at the University of Washington with input from the staff, Scholars, Ambassadors, and Mentors of DO-IT. The College of Engineering and Computing & Communications coordinate the program. DO-IT is primarily funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. To request more information.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 9550003. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.