The DAISY Consortium's Newsletter - September 2007

From The Editor

We hope you read and enjoyed the August issue of The DAISY Planet. This month's issue includes, for the first time, Your Story and the DAISY Marketplace. Our top feature article Harry Potter and the Global Library (the first in a two part series) includes a short audio clip from the book. We'd like to thank both Ann Saunders and Greg Kearney (Your Story) for their input and for the time they spent talking with us.

Help us to keep The DAISY Planet interesting - use the Contact Us form to send comments, articles, or suggestions for future issues of the best newsletter on The DAISY Planet.

September's Quiz:

In 1996, six organizations joined forces to create the DAISY Consortium. How many organizations, companies, and individuals make up the membership of the DAISY Consortium today?

More than 100

Catch the answer in next month's issue of The DAISY Planet.

August 2007 Quiz Results:

The August Quiz Question was: How many DAISY players are in use around the world?

The answer is more than 100,000. In fact, the DAISY 2.02 Specification is the most broadly adopted access technology ever created. It is twice as popular as screen readers. There are approximately 100,000 screen readers and over 200,000 DAISY reading systems (players) in the world today.

Your answers were:

  • 9% - 5,000
  • 9% - 50,000
  • 32% - 100,000
  • 50% - more than 100,000

Kudos to those who had the correct response.

DAISY Marketplace

The following links are to new or recently updated DAISY Products and Services from our Members and Friends. Marketplace entries also appear on our home page.

The following links are to recently updated DAISY product entries on the DAISY Web site. Marketplace entries also appear on our home page.

Your Stories

Greg Kearney
Greg Kearney: DAISY for Adult Readers with Dyslexia

"Dyslexics and blind readers are kissing cousins in terms of their needs for processing information. Slightly different but we can learn from each other."

Harry Potter and the Global Library (Part 1)

(Part 1 of 2)

On July 20, children and adults around the globe eagerly crowded into their local bookstores waiting to purchase a copy of the last book in the Harry Potter series. In addition to their love of the Potter books, all of these people have another thing in common: they are able to read the printed word.

At the very same time, there was another group of people around the world patiently awaiting a copy of that same book, but they would have to wait somewhat longer. They were waiting for an accessible version. How many organizations around the world have produced "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" and earlier "Potters" in DAISY format so that people with a print disability could read them?

One such organization is CNIB, and one very special person who volunteers in the CNIB Library Recording Studio has narrated all but one of the Potter books in DAISY format. Ann Saunders who has been a Studio volunteer for 16 years has become the "Voice of Potter" to CNIB patrons. For the DAISY Potter books, Ann increased her standard three shifts to a full 40 hour week. She narrated the first in the series in 1997 in under a week, and was presented with a wizard gift box filled with "magic" treats such as "every flavour beans" and a wand. Ann's commitment is exceptional, but it reflects the dedication and commitment of the many thousands of people around the world involved in making print publications accessible for those who can not read print.

In a recent interview, Ann provided some insight into her commitment and why she thinks DAISY is changing the way people around the world read.

  • Q: How do you think DAISY books have changed the way folks who use accessible books read and access information?
  • A: It is infinitely more accessible. The players are sleek and easier to use, and there are more options for navigating from chapter to chapter or page to page. It surprised me that CNIB's version was on one CD. My grandkids bought a commercial CD set of the "Deathly Hallows" and it is contained on 20 CDs. This difference is amazing and especially important for students with textbooks, and definitely more accessible.
  • Q: What do you get most out of the volunteer work you do for CNIB?
  • A: I love to read. I recorded a book on cassette for a friend who was losing her sight and found it tremendously satisfying. That was the start of my volunteer commitment, of making books accessible. If I'm narrating a kid's book, I feel like I'm reading to my grandsons; if I'm narrating an adult book, it's like I'm reading to a friend. When a book is finally published after multiple edits and reviews, it is in itself a remarkable achievement. It is a huge responsibility creating an accessible version of published works and a lot of fun as well. I want to make the reader feel involved in the book, to feel the emotion - sadness, happiness.
  • Q: What do you think open, international sharing of DAISY books around the world would mean to the people who read these books?
  • A: I can't believe it would be anything but hugely beneficial.
  • Q: What do you think about the fact that the Harry Potter series has been produced by many different organizations around the world?
  • A: This book was very unusual in terms of hype and release date. All organizations must have been under pressure to get their DAISY production of these out as quickly as possible. It would be wonderful if these organizations could get access to the book prior to the print release. If international exchange of DAISY books would mean avoiding duplication of effort, which would mean more DAISY books could be produced, it has to be wonderful.
  • Q: Is there a message you would like to send to the readers of "The DAISY Planet" about DAISY books, about international sharing of DAISY books, about international copyright law?
  • A: Yes. We have the technology to be a global village. This is a tremendous opportunity for spoken word to get out world wide. There should not be any barriers to this. In the best of all possible worlds there will be access to everything that is published.

AnnAnn had tears in her eyes when she stepped out of the recording booth after several emotional "retakes" to get through the final few sentences of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows". "This book" said Ann, "was hugely emotional because all of the readers knew the series was coming to an end. J. K. Rowling did a superb job, one of the best. She caught the imagination of millions of children and adults all over the world."

The DAISY Consortium would like to thank Ann for giving this interview, and thank both Ann and CNIB for providing a short audio clip from Ann's narration of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows".  A superb job Ann!

See the CNIB news release about "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" and Ann Saunders.

Did your organization produce "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" in DAISY format? Please let us know using the Contact Us form ("Newsletter" category) on the DAISY Web site.

Be sure to read Part II of "Harry Potter and the Global Library" in next month's "DAISY Planet".

Techshare/DAISY Conference

This joint conference will be held October 4 and 5 in London, England. We hope to see many of you there from all parts of the globe. The number of paper submissions was exceptionally large and the selection committee had a difficult challenge. The program with session descriptions is now available on the Techshare Web site. The Techshare/DAISY Conference highlights the role of technology in the lives of people with disabilities. A significant number of the presentations will deal directly or indirectly with DAISY, with DAISY tools, and the DAISY Standard. Participants will have a wonderful opportunity to meet and talk with many other "DAISY-focused" folks. If you haven't yet registered, you should do so soon. See you there!

Libraries for the Blind Section, IFLA Preconference

Hiroshi Kawamura, Chairman of the DAISY Consortium and Urakawa Project Manager, and Margaret McGrory, Vice President of CNIB and DAISY Board Member, attended the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), Libraries for the Blind Section meeting held prior to the World Library and Information Congress: 73rd IFLA General Conference and Council "Libraries for the future: Progress, Development and Partnerships". The Preconference was held in Grahamstown, South Africa, August 14 and 15, 2007. The 73rd IFLA Conference was held August 19-23 in Durban, South Africa.

Margaret has provided a short summary of each of the sessions held at the IFLA Libraries for the Blind Section Preconference. The session titles and presenters are listed here. Details are provided in the IFLA PreConference Summary Report.

  • International Research on Funding and Governance of Libraries for the Blind, Margaret McGrory, CNIB Library
  • The Current Situation in Southern Africa, Dr. William Rowland, President of the WBU and Chair Blindlib Board
  • User Perspectives, Judge Zak Yacoob, Judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa
  • Copyright – Are people with sensory disabilities getting a fair deal?, Denise Rosemary Nicholson, Copyright Service Librarian, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
  • Integrated library service for the blind in public libraries – Digital minilibs, Wendy Ling and Melton Kivitts, Blindlib, South Africa
  • Cataloguing DAISY, Marcus Westlind, Cataloguer, Swedish Library of Talking Books and Braille (TPB)
  • DAISY Consortium, Hiroshi Kawamura, Chairman of the DAISY Consortium, DC Board Member
  • Assistive Technology and DAISY Developments in Africa – towards making the world accessible to blind and partially sighted people, Chris Friend, Chair of WBU Copyright and Right to Read Working Group
  • DAISY for All and the Urakawa Project, Hiroshi Kawamura, Project Manager, DAISY for All and the Urakawa Project, Japan
  • Production of Accessible Reading Materials, Jesper Klein, Swedish Library of Talking Books and Braille, (TPB) Sweden
  • The Danish Net Library ("E17"), Bente Dahl Rathje, Danish National Library for the Blind (DBB). Information provided at the Danish Virtual Library site.
  • Keeping Connected: How could future developments in audio library services increase reading uptake among print-disabled people, Melanie Brebner, Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind
  • A national digital distribution system, Jesper Klein, Swedish Library of Talking Books and Braille (TPB)
  • Country Reports presented from South Africa, Kenya, Zambia and Sierra Leone
  • Ulverscroft Foundation, presentation by Helen Brazier RNIB

Letters to the Editor

Thanks to everyone who took a few minutes to comment on our first issue. The Letters to the Editor column can not exist without your letters! Please send us your thoughts on important or controversial issues, exciting implementation stories, or DAISY related issues you would like to tell the DAISY world about. Send your letters to the editor using our Contact Us Form.

Editor's Response: The DAISY Planet was tested for accessibility prior to distribution. We also inquired with another experienced screen reader after we received your comments, and this was her response: I had no idea at all that it was in a column layout. Jaws version 8.0.2173U had no problem at all. The layout is designed to resemble a printed newspaper, which is in silly little columns, just like The DAISY Planet!

Thank you for the August 2007 DAISY Planet newsletter. It is interesting to hear of DAISY news. I should like to comment, if I may, on the newsletter itself as I feel the format is currently less than optimal... The problem is that for most of the newsletter, the text does not fill the whole width of the screen in my browser... I use a screen reader to read and this makes reading the newsletter very choppy, impairing the enjoyability of reading your document... I was using standard Internet Explorer 6... I hope this is helpful and look forward to further newsletters in the future.
the U.K.

Just a quick note - excellent, enjoyable, easy to read, thank you... I was quite amazed by the quiz in the middle, complete with radio buttons for the answer and a submit button. I have never seen that in a newsletter before.
New Zealand

Thank you ever so much.




My nan (grandmother) has purchased the device called a DAISY Victor Classic. She uses it to listen to CDs and has had much enjoyment from doing so. However, I have tried to create a CD for her to listen to and it will not play. All it says is Unsupported format. I have made the CD as an Audio CD with about 20 MP3 files on it. They will play on my MP3 player. Could you help, by explaining what sort of format the files on the CD need to be in order for them to play. I assumed that it would pl

Many Thanks,   
Jonathan (U.K.)

Dear Jonathan

Many DAISY players, including the one you have bought play both CD audio files and MP3 files, however, saving MP3 files as CD audio format is not the best approach for this situation. Try saving the MP3 files selecting data format rather than CD audio format, then try the CD in your DAISY player.