EBSCO Publishing Extends TTS to School and Public Library Databases

EBSCO Publishing, a database aggregator offering a suite of nearly 300 full-text and secondary research databases offering content from tens of thousands of full-text journals, magazines, books, monographs, reports, and various other sources, has added text-to-speech (TTS) support to its EBSCOhost databases for schools and public libraries.

EBSCO will be embedding Texthelp Systems' SpeechStream toolbar 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.

TTS 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 TTS capabilities are highly valued, such as English language learners, users with low vision or slight physical and/or learning disabilities, as well as eBook and PDA users.

Recent studies have shown that students using Texthelp's literacy support tools demonstrated significant improvements in both reading comprehension and writing performance. Jack Dolan, president of Texthelp Systems, said 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," he said in a statement.

Using the text-to-speech feature via the EBSCOhost platform gives users 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 in U.S., U.K., or Australian English. These options also enable teachers and professionals to incorporate the features as a tool for teaching English and reading.

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