Feedback on Revealweb

[2004] [2005]

Revealweb has been in operation since its launch in September 2003. Feedback from individual users, awards and a House of Commons Select Committee report all show the value of this service to the visually impaired community. Below is a selection of comments.


Another award for Revealweb

Revealweb received a Getting the Message Across Award from the National Information Forum (NIF) on the 19th October 2005 at the Law Society, London. The awards acknowledge excellence and imagination in the provision of information to disabled people and others severely disabled by lack of appropriate information. The citation noted that "the selection panel were impressed by the innovatory aspect of the service, the fact that it is free and the sheer scale of the resource".

A family member comments

"A note to let you know that your service has made a huge difference to my Grandmother. She is 90yrs old and has virtually no sight left in her eyes. The local library bring books on tape to her every month but due to her decreasing sight and increasing arthritis she cannot operate the tape machine very well and has become increasing reliant on someone changing the tapes over etc."

"Through your website we found the RNIB talking books service and can now order any of her favourite authors so easily on DAISY format, which means she can keep listening to a story instead of 40 minute bursts between tape sides. Whilst the local library were fantastic there were only so many titles available and sometimes she would get a story she had already had. Through your site we can identify any other books available by an author she has liked and pick certain types of books etc." [email to Revealweb 27 July 2005]

Award for Revealweb

At the Jodi Mattes Award ceremony held on Tuesday 12th April 2005, Revealweb received a Commendation of Widening Access to Information. The Awards are for a museum, gallery, library, archive or heritage website in England which demonstrates active commitment to meeting web accessibility standards, involves users and develops practical and imaginative ways of making cultural and learning resources accessible to disabled people. The judges said:

"This library catalogue, for which there was a compelling need, is an initiative of the voluntary sector. A number of organisations working for visually impaired people, such as RNIB and NLB, have joined forces to bring together for the first time in an accessible library catalogue more than 100,000 materials in accessible formats, such as Braille, large-print and audio. The catalogue lists specialist library collections from the voluntary sector as well as commercial producers. Extensive partnership work forms the basis of its success. It can be used by visually impaired users as well as librarians. It makes finding out about reading materials and obtaining them considerably easier for visually impaired people."

MPs praise for Revealweb

Revealweb was singled out for praise in the recent House of Commons Select Committee report on public libraries. It notes:

'Revealweb is an important resource which serves as a national database of materials in accessible formats. This is a multi-functional, state of the art, web-based, freely accessible service which is the cornerstone of an integrated network of services for visually disabled people and is part funded by MLA.'

However, the Select Committee report noted concern that funding was only guaranteed up to March 2006, and recommended that:

' funding is made available for the maintenance and development of Revealweb over the longer term.' [March 2005]'

A user comments

Many of our users also take the time to let us know how pleased they are with Revealweb. These comments are particularly important when we are seeking more funding. Here are some we have received recently:

"I have been using speech output computers for the last 15 years. I see so much potential in this form of communication but until now we have just had to put up with adapted systems that always fall very short of being ideal. You have simply produced a very v.i.p friendly system that I feel should be a model for future developments in communication systems for people with sight loss.

"Keep up the good work, being able to search for what I want rather than how someone else has decided to categorise it is wonderful!" [The Revealweb Bulletin - No 5 - March 2005]


A user comments

At a recent meeting of the Revealweb Joint Management Group, [there was] a glowing report of Revealweb from John Godber, the RNIB's representative. Here is John's experience as a visually impaired user:

"Lying in bed with my laptop PC, wirelessly connected to a BBC internet 'listen again' page, I was enjoying a play about a 19th century Scottish detective called James McLevy. The play was based on a book. Using the same wireless connection, I visited [ and used the keyword search to find 'McLevy'. A book record was found with a Braille book at NLB. I used the email link for NLB, pasted in the book author and title details from the search page and added "please send me the following title".

Three days later, I came home and my daughter said: "Two funny big green bags came for you. I put them in the study". It was my McLevy book. It couldn't be easier. No more wondering if you've got the strength to ask for and wade through catalogues from various organisations; no more having to make several phone calls. It's now easier for me as a blind person to borrow a book than it is for a sighted person. I don't have to wait for the library to open. Revealweb is 24/7". [The Revealweb Bulletin - No 4 - September 2004]

Revealweb on the road

Revealweb has been out and about over the last few months at various exhibitions. ... Although everyone had their own individual needs, they were all pleased to see something that could help them get reading material. From the computer whiz who was quite happy to play around with Revealweb, to an elderly lady who had just lost the sight in her remaining good eye and was going to go to her local library and get them to search Revealweb for her. ... Teachers and parents who [also] thought Revealweb would make life easier in tracking down leisure reading and study material. [The Revealweb Bulletin - No 3 - May 2004]

National Blind Children's Society

The National Blind Children's Society is a regular contributor of data to Revealweb. One of the services that NBCS offers is CustomEyes, which produces large print books made to order, in the size and style of print that suits each child's needs. Julia Elsworth, CustomEyes' Book Manager [said] "Revealweb complements our service as national point of information about what's available in various accessible formats. ... Before Revealweb we were always being asked if titles were available now we can refer them to the web site and people are free to browse for themselves and, importantly, we are able to give more time to producing new books. ... "Revealweb has a double benefit to us as a provider of information to existing and potential customers and a provider of information to our selves, helping us to plan the expansion of our service to meet the needs of our clients without duplication of books that are already available." [The Revealweb Bulletin - No 3 - May 2004]

A support worker comments

Recently Revealweb received this glowing endorsement "I think Revealweb is fantastic! I work with a young man who is needs large print resources and who is starting his GCSEs next year. So far I have found Revealweb to be extremely helpful and if it continues to be added to it will be an excellent source for future years." [The Revealweb Bulletin - No 3 - May 2004]

A user comments

Chris Tattersall lost his sight around 10 years ago. Since then he has learnt both Braille and Moon, and computer skills through Adult Learners classes at Bolton College. He is a fully qualified Braillist, a certified teacher (Cert Ed), and a competent computer user. He was also NIACE Adult Learner of the Year and Bolton College's Student of the Year for 2000. Prior to loosing his sight Chris was an avid reader, and he is keen to revisit some of the books he read when he was sighted and enjoy them again.

Before Revealweb his wife would read out lists of book titles to him from the RNIB catalogue. He also uses his public library in Clitheroe where the helpful staff there are always prepared to spend time reading out the back covers of audio books he thinks he might be interested in. Chris has found Revealweb fairly easy to use and says "Nothing can beat the thrill of being able to access information without needing someone else's help. Revealweb gives me the ability to search for the books I want to read independently without having to spend hours with my poor wife reading through lists."

Chris is a member of both RNIB's Talking Book Service and NLB's Braille library but sometimes a book he wants to read is not available from either of these organisations. Chris explains how Revealweb helps. "Revealweb opens up a world of choice to me. If one organisation doesn't have the book I want to read, Revealweb allows me to easily find out if someone else has it." [The Revealweb Bulletin - No 3 - May 2004]

Content by: Ann Chapman of UKOLN.
Page last revised on: 05-Sep-2006
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