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Information & Communication | Education & Science | Library Conversion | PDF and Document Conversion | Text to Speech

Media Center Converts Published Works to Alternative Text Formats to Aid Those with Print Related Disabilities

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Media Center Converts Published Works to Alternative Text Formats to Aid Those with Print Related Disabilities

“ABBYY FineReader Professional is an extremely valuable and time-saving program that assists us with creating polished, professional PDFs. With ABBYY's easy-to-use interface, text recognition and conversion takes minimal effort and has a direct positive impact on our goals as a company and our bottom-line.”

Chris Smith,

Production Manager, AMAC



The mission of the Alternative Media Access Center (AMAC) is to improve system-wide services and remove social and academic barriers for students with print-related disabilities, including those who are blind, visually impaired, or who have a physical or learning disability. Operating under the Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute in Atlanta, AMAC recently expanded its services to all public and private postsecondary institutions and selected government agencies throughout the United States. The number of students with print related disabilities who attend college is growing; stretching the resources of those who provide them with much needed support. AMAC helps member institutions ensure that all individuals with print disabilities have equal and timely access to print materials at an affordable cost. 


AMAC uses cutting-edge tools to produce alternative text in formats that meet the needs of a wide variety of students, including specialty formats, such as braille, e-text, and audio. Detailed quality control processes ensure that customers get the highest quality files in the required formats. 

Critical Need

Turning existing publications into alternative text formats cost-effectively requires an optical character recognition (OCR) software that is fast, accurate, and easy-to-use—especially given the volume of work that AMAC produces annually. In 2010 alone, AMAC converted some 3.94 million pages of published works to alternative text files. That comes out to about 2,500 to 3,000 unique books per year.

According to Chris Smith, Production Manager for AMAC, “I rely on an internal staff of about 30 people to facilitate the conversion process as well as a small group of contract workers, so the ease-of-use component of any OCR software is extremely important. I need an application that I can bring someone up to speed on quickly.” 


ABBYY FineReader®, a comprehensive OCR software solution for creating editable and searchable files from scanned documents, PDFs, and digital camera images, meets AMAC’s need for speed, accuracy, and usability. “We’ve realized that, overall, FineReader is a superior product when it comes to scanning both simple and highly complex textbooks for both K-12 and postsecondary schools,” said Smith. “Of the nearly four million pages of printed text that we converted to alternative text files, over one million pages were scanned using FineReader.” A testament to the software’s easy-to-learn and use reputation is that students and contractors can process up to ten books per day per person when converting books with simple layouts.

Typically, AMAC uses FineReader to scan publisher files to create alternative text formats. When publisher files are not available, published materials are cut apart and scanned. AMAC also uses FineReader to set the criteria for scanning various parts of publications – page numbers, headers, captions, graphics, etc. Using established criteria allows AMAC to easily export the scans to multiple formats, such as PDF, HTML, Word, or a file format best suited to the publisher.

Although present demand is small, AMAC is increasingly relying on FineReader to convert text from Chinese, Spanish, and French publications to its desired alternative text formats. 


AMAC has continued to increase its use of ABBYY FineReader over the past five years. Multiple copies of FineReader have been installed on various stations located on the campus of Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute. Smith closed by saying that, “ABBYY FineReader consistently provides quality scans that make it easier to create and publish alternative text formats in less time and more cost effectively. It will continue to be an important part of our OCR solution moving forward.”


Company: Alternative Media Access Center


Location: Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Market: Publishing, alternative text formats

Product: ABBYY FineReader Professional

Results: Fast, accurate, and easy-to-use, FineReader is the OCR of choice at AMAC



Tel +1 866.463.7689

Fax +1 408.457.9778

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