The Library of Congress has begun to use text-to-speech technology on the website congress.gov. Website visitors can now listen to bill summaries. The Library of Congress’ choice to implement text to speech on its website increases accessibility to the text content. By providing an audio version of online content, the Library of Congress has:
- increased the accessibility of online content for citizens with visual impairments or reading difficulties.
- reached a larger percentage of the online population, including those with different native languages.
- made it easier for people to access online content on mobile devices.
- provide seniors with a more comfortable way to access online content.
- diminished the digital divide and increase citizen engagement by ensuring that your information is available in both written and audio format.
Diminishing the digital divide is of utmost importance to government agencies, who are required to present information in a wide variety of formats. In addition to speech-enabling bills and laws on the website of congress.gov, the Library of Congress also provides text to speech on the World Digital Library. The World Digital Library is an international digital library operated by both UNESCO and the Library of Congress. The World Digital Library aims to provide information about collections preserved by institutions, library and museums, free of charge and in a universally accessible form. The collections of the World Digital Library are presented in seven languages: Arabic, English, French, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. To further increase accessibility, an audio version of the collections is also available to all website visitors in each of these seven languages.