The DAISY Consortium's Newsletter - July 2008

From The Editor

First, I'd like to thank our guest editor for the special June issue of the DAISY Planet. Kathy K., one of the Planet Editorial Team members, did a terrific job relaying her experiences at the three conferences she had recently attended in Beijing China.

In May and June the DAISY Consortium received three awards in recognition of its work in the development and promotion of international standards and technologies which enable equal access to information and knowledge. Full details about these awards (ITU World Telecommunication and Information Society Award, the Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award, and Dr. Roland Wagner Award) are available in the DAISY Consortium Press Releases. Such incredible recognition of the Consortium's work in such a short timeframe provides inspiration and energizes everyone in the DAISY Community.

Issues surrounding copyright exceptions and exemptions along with exchange of accessible materials are gaining momentum within the DAISY Community and in the world of 'rights' generally (reference this month's Feature Article Copyright in the Knowledge Economy). At the recent DAISY Board meeting in Oslo (reference this month's Feature Article DAISY

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 announcements of recently updated DAISY Products and Services from our Members and Friends. Marketplace entries also appear on our home page.

The DAISY Marketplace

DAISY - the Best Way to Read:

Conference on Accessible Literature

On June 10 the Norwegian DAISY Consortium hosted a resoundingly successful DAISY Conference in Oslo. More than 150 participants from Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Japan, Belgium, the USA, the United Kingdom, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, the Netherlands, and Canada participated in this bilingual event (in the afternoon participants were given the option of attending presentations in English or in Norwegian). George kerscher presents at oslo conference on accessible literatureThe first speaker, Atle Lunde, General Secretary of the Norwegian Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted, provided the audience with an insightful look at his life experiences and the importance of reading (and DAISY) in his life. George Kerscher, Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium and the Key Note speaker for the Conference, presented a detailed overview of the Consortium's Core Messages. The program included speakers with widely varied backgrounds and professional affiliations. The papers are expected to be available on the Conference on Accessible Literature Web site in August.

The DAISY Board Meeting and General Meeting, June 8 - 9 and 11 respectively, were also hosted in Oslo. Two new Full Members officially joined the Consortium, Vision Australia and the Finnish DAISY Consortium. Vision Australia (VA) has been a part of the Full Member ANZAIG (Australia New Zealand Accessible Information Group) since ANZAIG's formation in the late 1990's. VA, once again demonstrating its commitment to the DAISY Consortium, is now a Full Member in its own right. Two of the members of the Finnish DAISY Consortium were previously Associate Members. Both the Finnish DAISY Consortium and Vision Australia were warmly welcomed.

Øyvind Engh, Director of the Norwegian Library of Talking Books and Braille (NLB), opened the DAISY Annual General Meeting held June 11, with a welcome message that is meaningful for all Members, Friends and Supporters of the DAISY Consortium. For those unable to attend (and with Øyvind's permission) the highlights from his welcome message are as follows:

Welcome to Oslo! It is a great honor and pleasure for us at the Norwegian DAISY Consortium to have the opportunity to host this General Meeting of the DAISY Consortium here at the Norwegian Library of Talking Books and Braille.

The current members of the Norwegian DAISY Consortium (NDK) are Huseby Resource Center, Tambartun Resource Center, a center for accessibility at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the Christian Association of Visually impaired in Norway, The Norwegian Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted and the Norwegian Library of Talking Books and Braille. At the moment we know of two more applications in the pipeline from organizations that are eager to join the Norwegian DAISY Consortium, so we expect to grow. The members and prospective members are organizations with a lot of differences, but the concern for making material available for the print disabled is a strong common denominator between us.

...This year the NLB plan is to produce 540 titles of narrated leisure reading books in our own studios and in addition convert about 140 titles from commercial audio books to DAISY books. We will produce between 350 and 400 titles of text books, about half of these with synthetic speech, we will continue to produce a daily newspaper and some magazines with synthetic speech and we will have about 200 new titles available in Braille, and I'm glad to say that we are ahead of our plan in all aspects. In addition to this come the contributions from the other NDK members. Our patrons are borrowing ever more books and when we get a new agreement with the rights holders in place, we can expect even further increased demand.

The contributions from the Norwegian DAISY Consortium member organizations to the print disabled population in Norway would not have been nearly as efficient without us being able to benefit from the joint efforts of the DAISY Consortium. Arne [Kyrkjebø], myself and other NLB and NDK representatives are using every opportunity we have to point out that international collaboration is very important to organizations of our kind.

Having said this, we are also aware of the fact that at least the NLB has up until now been more on the receiving end in collaborative relations within the DC. We have some time ago become a Full Member of the Consortium, and we have now managed to contribute some to the DAISY 'Pipeline Online' project and our ambition is of course to be able to continue to contribute to the DAISY Community.

Other main issues for us at the moment are to get in place an improved Norwegian TTS, where we hope to be able to cooperate with the TPB. We have the feeling that we are close to getting somewhere when it comes to getting access to files in relevant formats from the publishers, but we will of course not release the pressure on them before everything is in place. Aligned with this we can place our efforts to get a DTBook-based production line in place with on-demand printing of Braille, increased production of synthetic speech talking books and to use DAISY 'Pipeline Online' to create a seamless interface with our universities. The initiatives to make exchanges of books and files between different countries easier are of course also interlinked to all of the above. We are certainly not running out of things to do

Copyright in the Knowledge Economy

European Commission Green Paper

The Green Paper, Copyright in the Knowledge Economy published by the Commission on July 16, is aimed at fostering a debate on how knowledge for research, science and education can best be disseminated in the online environment (it is however not limited to scientific and education material) and at setting out a number of issues connected with the role of copyright in the knowledge economy. EU logoIn short, it is aimed at reviewing copyright legislation in the European Union. Access to information by individuals with a disability is included in the lists of issues and many of the issues relating to accessibility are recognized in the document.

This document, important to everyone in the European Union concerned with access to information, is also important to people everywhere who believe that information access is a fundamental human right because it sets the stage for similar reviews and possible positive change in other parts of the world.

The Green Paper is composed of two parts: one dealing with the general issues regarding exceptions to exclusive rights; the other dealing with specific issues related to exceptions and limitations, in particular for people with a disability, and if these exceptions and limitations should be altered to be more in line with digital information and its dissemination.

The 'public' addressed in this Green Paper comprises scientists, researchers, students and also disabled people or the general public who want to advance their knowledge and educational levels by using the Internet. Wider dissemination of knowledge contributes to more inclusive and cohesive societies, fostering equality of opportunities in line with the priorities of the forthcoming renewed Social Agenda. The Green Paper is a welcome sign that the Commission recognizes the value of the dissemination of knowledge in building a more inclusive society and links this consultation with its proposals under the new Social Agenda which contains a proposal for a directive on anti-discrimination.

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), leading on behalf of the European Blind Union, has long been advocating for a revision of the exceptions contained in European copyright legislation for people with a disability, in order to ensure harmonization of exceptions across the EU, improve accessible publishing and facilitate the cross-border transfer of accessible material. RNIB has also been working with the Federation of European Publishers on accessibility issues and recently jointly called on the Commission to establish a working group to resolve accessibility issues.

Questions asked in the Green Paper

Note: In the questions presented 'users' means everyone who uses the exceptions or limitations outlined in the copyright legislation: libraries and archives, people with disabilities, people who use material for teaching and research purposes etc.; that is, all those listed under article 5.3 of Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, 22 May 2001, also known as the EU Copyright Directive (EUCD) or the Information Society Directive (Infosoc). (See also the overview provided in Wikipedia.)

Part 1

On general issues with exceptions and limitations:

  1. Should there be encouragement or guidelines for contractual arrangements between rights holders and users for the implementation of copyright exceptions?
  2. Should there be encouragement, guidelines or model licenses for contractual arrangements between rights holders and users on other aspects not covered by copyright exceptions?
  3. Is an approach based on a list of non-mandatory exceptions adequate in the light of evolving Internet technologies and the prevalent economic and social expectations?
  4. Should certain categories of exceptions be made mandatory to ensure more legal certainty and better protection of the beneficiaries of exceptions?
  5. If so, which ones?

Part 2

On specific issues with exceptions, and in particular exceptions for people with disabilities:

The Green Paper highlights the benefits of the knowledge economy to people with a disability - and therefore the need for them not only to be able to access premises but also to be able to access works (content) in formats adapted to their needs (for example, braille, large print, audio books and accessible electronic books).

The document points to several problems regarding the exceptions:

At the same time, the Green Paper recognizes the publishers' need to protect against piracy and misuse, especially when it concerns the delivery of digital formats, which can be more easily reproduced and instantly disseminated over the Internet.

It therefore asks the following questions:

To ensure the best possible outcome of the review of the Green Paper, a coordinated response is planned for maximum impact. DAISY Consortium Members are asked to participate and it is hoped that IFLA and European Blind Union members will also be involved. RNIB is taking a lead role in the coordination of the response. A draft response for consultation is planned. There will be several stages in the process to allow for responses and input. The deadline for responses is November 30. Both separate responses and a joint response highlighting joint efforts and coordination are planned, indicating how those involved would like the Commission to take it forward.

The Green Paper, Copyright in the Knowledge Economy, and the opportunity to submit a coordinated response, provide the DAISY community and everyone who is concerned about information access in today's electronic world with an important opportunity. For additional information or to provide comments for the response, please contact Anne Spinali, European Campaigns Officer at RNIB at +44 207 391 2087, or, use the Contact Us form on the DAISY Web site selecting the Other category, and indicating in the first line of the message that it is in relation to this Green Paper. All inquiries and input regarding Copyright in the Knowledge Economy will be forwarded to Ms. Spinali.

Jubilee in Germany

North German Library of Talking BooksOn June 27 the North German Library of Talking Books celebrated its 50th anniversary in Hamburg. One hundred invited guests - friends, colleagues, representatives of the Association of the Blind and representatives of the local government - enjoyed a two hour program. Narrators and staff members offered a mix of music, readings and information about the work of a talking book library yesterday and today. 

North German Library studio as it was 'way back whenThe talking book program in Germany began in the mid 1950's with the development of open reel tape machines. At that time several Braille book libraries existed in East and West Germany, and the new talking book service was established. The local governments provided funding to build studios and buy tapes. The governments still support the work of these libraries. The second big sponsor of these services is the postal company, providing the free postal service to deliver library materials for those who are blind. 

the studio now

Later, in the 1970's the two-track cassette was adopted and today DAISY is the technology we are all glad to use. In the digital multimedia future there is still a need for our service making books, information and other materials accessible to those who have no access to printed versions.

No Limits 2 Learning: DAISY Posts

Lon Thornburg has a blog, No Limits 2 Learning. He is an educator and an assistive technology specialist and trainer. On June 10 he posted an article called A List of Top Accessibility Tech Tools for Learning. In the article he noted And a new one: The Save As: DAISY format add-on. It's not much of a mention, but on June 12 he followed with Adventures in Using Free Tools to Convert DAISY Files from MS Word. His frustration level was clear. Save Lon closed with My summary of the experience? We are getting there - but it is NOT a simple task to just get all these tools to work together. I am confident we will have this figured out. In spite of his rather frustrating experience, he had closed on a reasonably positive note.

The next day Romain Deltour, one of the Consortium's developers, posted a comment on Lon's blog and in the post on June 14 Lon wrote: He shared that they will work on making it easier (more user friendly) and gave some ideas on how to work around the issues I had. Thank you Romain!...I am impressed with any company that seeks bloggers out after a post to share or give feedback. I think that is good marketing and smart policy... So, DAISY, I commend you for your great response time and want everyone to know about it. Pipeline With that kind of response, I feel we are in good hands as you continue to develop these great print disability tools. Not long after, Lon had the DAISY Pipeline up and running.

In addition to his blog, Lon has an Internet live streamed talk radio show, No Limits 2 Learning Live.

Letters to the Editor

Thanks for this info... always really useful and I have asked our internal communications manager to put a promo paragraph on the DAISY Planet in the next CEO's brief to staff, as well as the RNIB staff/volunteer magazine, Connect. If you get a slight increase in folk subscribing from RNIB, this might explain it.
Kind regards,
Caroline Woodward
Royal National Institute of Blind People

The May issue was a great edition of DAISY Planet. Keep up the good work. Thanks.
Andrew Furlong
Vision Australia


Congratulations on another fantastic DAISY Planet! [June issue]
Best regards from sunny Hamburg
Elke Dittmer [DAISY Board representative for MediBuS]

As noted above



I'm interested in DAISY projects, because I think it is the moment to distribute this technology that would be useful not only for people who are blind but for all people. I'm working at astronomy department of Padua University. I'm blind and I'm telephone operator, and there are some students who are interested in my way of reading.

I would like to know whether the first thing that I have to do in case I would like create some audio book is to involve a publishing house; in practice I would like to know how to address copyright problems.


Many Thanks,   
E.D. (Italy)

Dear E.D.

There is a WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) study that you may find helpful. To find information specific to Italy, the easiest approach is simply to search for Italy (there are numerous references and quite a bit of information). The document is Study on Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for the Visually Impaired. The main WIPO page may also be helpful.

There is also information specific to the European Union on (Electronic Information for Libraries) on the page Blind and Visually Impaired People and Copyright.

Another source of information is the INDICARE Web site: Digital rights management and people with sight loss and Editorial of INDICARE Monitor Vol. 2, No 11.

Please also see the article on Copyright in the Knowledge Economy in this issue of the DAISY Planet.

Tech Tips

Bug Reporting/Issues Tracking: The DAISY Consortium, the Maintenance Agency for the Standard, has set up a tracking system for issues (bugs) related to the Standard, to the DAISY Structure Guidelines, to samples or modular extensions (e.g. the MathML in DAISY specification).

The DAISY 3 Standard, officially, the ANSI/NISO Z39.86 Specifications for the Digital Talking Book, is on the DAISY Web site. The Issues Tracking link is in the sidebar on that page.

The tracker has been in place for several years and should be used for the submission of all DAISY Standard related issues.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This system is not for reporting bugs or problems with playback systems or authoring tools.