Obi: DAISY/Accessible EPUB 3 production tool

New release! .. Obi 4.1

Obi is an open source audio book production tool that produces digital talking books (DTBs) conforming to DAISY 3 (officially, the ANSI/NISO Z39.86), Accessible EPUB 3 & DAISY 2.02 standards.

Slide show of Obi screen shots & users

Obi is easy to learn, highly accessible, and powerful navigable audio book production tool that enables anybody to produce accessible and rich DAISY/EPUB 3 content with minimal amount of training.

Obi is designed for diverse range of users, from the large scale production houses to the home users. It is one of the preferred tools of the new generation distributed production systems, which are build on vast network of volunteers who record at their homes & offices using the cutting edge technologies.

Obi is distributed absolutely free to maximize the dissemination of benefits of the DAISY & accessible EPUB 3 technology. It is released under the LGPL (open source) license which means that not only the tool comes for free, but its source code is available for anyone to run, modify and redistribute.

In fact Obi is much more than a production tool, it builds on the following vision.

Project vision

Empower individuals and organizations across the globe to create accessible and feature-rich content overcoming diversities like language, cost constraints & accessibility needs.

  • Equip the world wide DAISY community with a free, localizable tool to enable accessible content production based on the latest specification, with minimum training and with complete independence.
  • Provide the reference implementation for exemplifying the benefits of the latest specification & open-source code base to facilitate further customization.
World map showing Obi usage in Europe, Asia, Australia, America & Africa..
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Latest release

The latest release is Obi 4.1, released on December 14, 2017. It is an incremental release that implements the first set of features collected from Obi-Tobi survey 2017, such as import of audio files in existing structure of sections, calculation of total duration of audio content in a set of Contiguous phrases, enhancements to multi-phrase operations and multi-sections operations dialog, updates to French and German language packs, along with other improvements. The 4.0 release upgraded Obi to .NET framework 4.0, provided reference implementation for EPUB 3 Media Overlays navigation doc, introduced automated generation of pages along with other features requested by the DAISY members.

Benefits and features

Enables production of audio books, with exceptionally rich structure, conforming to various DAISY standards & EPUB 3 specifications

  • Produces digital talking books (DTBs) conforming to the latest accessible EPUB 3 standard as well as DAISY 3 and DAISY 2.02 standards. The support of multiple standards also enables Obi users to Convert the publications from one accessible standard to another.
  • Provides comprehensive functionality for creating and modifying skippable structures like footnote, annotation, etc. This feature makes Obi a rare DAISY audio-ncx book production tool eliminating a subtle but vital difference between digital talking book and physical book.

Offers highly efficient mechanism for converting existing content to a structured audio DAISY/accessible EPUB 3 book

  • Generates a navigable DAISY/EPUB 3 book from pre-recorded MP3, MP4 & WAV files by importing the complete structure and audio of the book; an automated process that presents a very efficient technique for converting your existing MP3/MP4/WAV books to DAISY/EPUB 3 formats.
  • Enables creation and modification of DAISY/EPUB 3 publications by importing structure and/or audio from the existing resources as follows:
    • Structure & audio from full text full audio books: epub 3 Media Overlays, & DAISY 3/2.02 full-text full-audio
    • Structure & audio from audio only books: EPUB 3 navigable audio-only, DAISY 3 audio-ncx, & DAISY 2.02 audio-ncc
    • Structure from text only content: EPUB 3 text-only, DTBook, XHTML, CSV, and delimited text file

Empowers people with special needs to produce the books with the same fluency as their sighted counterparts.

  • Full accessibility (keyboard navigation, magnification of text and graphics, audio clues and support for screen readers, even for the less sophisticated open source screen readers).
  • Carefully designed user interface to suit the requirements of both the sighted as well as non-visual users.
  • Allowance of further customization to personalize the look and feel of Obi by modifying the colors of the graphical elements and keyboard shortcuts.

Ability to use Obi in native language enables non-English speaking volunteers & production staff to work in Obi with equal ease

  • Supports internationalization - can be easily localized into various languages. In fact Obi is already available in English, German, French, Portuguese, Chinese-Simplified, Chinese-Traditional, Spanish, Finnish, Japanese, Arabic, Tamil & Hindi.

Convenient integration with the existing workflows & production management software of the production houses

  • Enables the communication with the production management software through the configuration file, which allows even the production management software on distinct platforms to communicate with Obi, and thus facilitates the integration of Obi in the existing production management systems also.
  • Offers a wide range of configuration options. Furthermore, makes the configuration very easy with the ability to preserve preferences, which can be ported across workstations and Obi versions in a single step.
  • Provides efficient quick cleanup command and the option to record in local drive that improve the efficiency and robustness of Obi on network based deployment.

Efficient and flexible workflows, with recording process that can be configured for both expert & moderately skilled users

  • Ability to merge multiple Obi projects, which allows the users to distribute a publication among several workstations for parallel book production, and then merge them back into a single complete project.
  • Zoomed Waveform view, an alternate of Content view, enables rapid and enormous magnification of a single waveform empowering the users to perform quick and accurate audio editing.
  • Meticulously devised recording process catering to the needs of both beginners and advanced users; main attractions being advanced recording mode to gear up the recording process and slim recording toolbar enabling audio narration and execution of recording commands concurrently.
  • One-click configuration of recording and playback modes from Transport Bar and Recording Toolbar that enable the users to instantaneously switch to the audio profile suitable for their workflow.
  • Live waveform creation while recording empowers you to monitor the audio being recorded graphically as well as mark phrases/pages or delete a portion of audio on the fly. Additionally, you can choose to perform on the fly phrase detection that will automatically split the recorded audio when recording ends.
  • Ability to save the current metadata as default, and use it across the projects by just a click of a button.

Minimal learning curve

  • Simple and comprehensive GUI with logical grouping of menu items and self-explanatory dialog boxes make Obi easy to learn.
  • Quick and relevant assistance on any UI component, via the context-sensitive help, reduces the learning curve even further.

Tolerant to mistakes, so that you can work with confidence and without stress

  • Supports complete undo and redo operations to revert to a desired state.
  • Provides facility to mark the erroneous phrase as Todo on the fly both while recording and audio editing.
  • Automated project recovery that reduces the probability of losing important data to bare minimum.

Quick and easy execution of in-built post-production operations, like validation and fileset renaming

  • Seamless & transparent integration with embedded Pipeline-Lite & EPUB Check backend further empowers Obi with various post production operations, like DAISY & EPUB 3 validation & auxiliary DTB refinements, and that too through the user friendly interface of Obi

Can be further customized for encompassing special requirements

  • Open-source license allows reuse of the code base, enabling anyone to modify Obi according to their requirements.

Obi uses Urakawa SDK 2.0 and its satellite assemblies as backend. Urakawa SDK 2.0 is the outcome of the merger of code bases of Obi & Tobi incorporating the advantages of both the tools to evolve Urakawa SDK as a powerful backend for multi-application use.

System requirements

  • Runs on Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 & Windows 10
  • Uses .NET Framework 4.0 and DirectX 9c
  • Uses Java Runtime Environment 6.0+ for Pipeline-lite & EPUB Check



"By allowing local production directly in Daisy format, Obi provides save a lot of time working, increases productivity... Obi is open source, it’s supported by the DAISY Consortium and it benefits from regular updates is also major benefits that we never fail to report and which are appreciated by the French public... we strongly hope that the many other francophone countries found in Obi a cost-effective product for the widest possible diffusion of DTB adapted to their users."
Association Valentin Haüy – Paris, FranceAVH logo

"The user friendly interface and ease of use of Obi has made it very easy for new volunteers to learn the software in a short time... The number of errors and troubleshooting problems has reduced considerably, as compared to Sigtuna, which we were using earlier. In some rare instances, when we got stuck, we got instant support from the technical support team and development team of DAISY Consortium... We would like to congratulate and thank DAISY Consortium for their continued endeavor in providing quality open source production tools, which has boosted production of DAISY books by many fold."
Mitra Jyothi – Bangalore, IndiaMitra Jyothi Logo

"Besides reading, all the other task of DAISY production at chakshumathi is done by persons with blindness or low vision. This was made possible due to complete accessibility and usability of Obi with screen readers... The low learning curve of Obi enables even children to start DAISY production, Chakshumathi team trained a 12 year boy in Obi, he became the youngest DAISY producer of the world... The open source licensing of Obi & Tobi enables their wide spread use in educational institutes. It has already been included in curriculum of 2 such courses."
Chakshumathi Assistive Technology and Empowerment Centre – Kerala, IndiaChakshumathi Logo

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Project roadmap

Obi has already established a landmark in the direction of the project vision. It has a key role in sustaining DAISY Consortium members’ activities, and the outreach pursuits. In addition, it is the driver of the Navigable Audio-Only EPUB 3 profile, which is the successor of the DAISY 3 specifications for audio-only books.
After the merger of the code base of Obi & Tobi in 2011, both the tools are progressing collectively and are simultaneously being empowered by the implementation of new advancements in their common backend.

The combined project charter 2016 - 17, defining development plan for Obi and Tobi in 2016 – 2017 was approved by DAISY Consortium board in November 2015, Milan board meeting. The roadmap of the project is defined to contribute to the implementation of DAISY Consortium’s strategy of inclusive publishing, and serve the members as per their priorities.