The DAISY Consortium's Newsletter - December 2010
Season's Greetings

From The Editor

All month I have been expecting that this issue of the DAISY Planet would be rather 'light', that things would slow down somewhat as the year drew to a close. As you read the articles and columns in this month's newsletter you will see that this is not at all the case.

The first article this month is, as promised, the second part of the article DAISY = Accessibility, Will EPUB3 = Accessibility? published last month. DAISY 4/EPUB3: What Does It All Mean? addresses some of the questions about the development of the two standards and what if any impact there may be on the DAISY community as well as the commercial publishing industry. If you have questions about any of the points or information presented in either of these articles, please let me know and I will make every effort to provide further clarification. You can reach me directly by email or by using the Contact Us form, 'Newsletter' category.

As outlined in the article Obi-Tobi 2.0 Project Takes Off, your knowledge, expertise and commitment to accessible reading materials are needed by the Obi/Tobi development team. Please help us help you and others by participating in and contributing to this project.

There are two detailed news entries on the DAISY website News page that I'd like to draw to your attention: "Elsevier Enables its e-Books to Read Aloud, Increasing Information Access for People With Print Disabilities" (posted December 8) and "Human Rights Flagship Publication Now More Accessible to All" (posted December 4). Some of you will have read these already, but if you have not, I suggest that you take a minute to do so. I had hoped to be able to provide you with additional information about both in this issue of the DAISY Planet. An article on Elsevier and the publishing company's position on Universal Access is planned for the New Year.

Please be sure to read this month's Letter to the Editor. I sincerely hope that the efforts of the DAISY Consortium, with the support and collaboration of our Members, Friends and Supporters, enable children like Zach, making equitable information access and independent reading a reality for everyone, everywhere.

For those who have been following the progress of the proposed WIPO Treaty for Improved Access for Blind, Visually Impaired and other Reading Disabled Persons there are two publications that will be of interest: the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Day of General Discussion on "The Right to Accessibility", a "Paper by the World Blind Union on a WIPO Treaty for Improved Access for Blind, Visually Impaired and other Reading Disabled Persons" dated October 2010, and, the December 15 EDRi-gram newsletter - "ENDitorial: WIPO SCCR 21 session" which is a report on that meeting.

The Story this month is from Dr. Thomas Kahlisch, the Director of DZB Leipzig. Thomas's story is about hard work, achievement and success. He gives credit to his parents for instilling in him the love of reading. Thank you Thomas for sharing your story with us.

December is a time of reflection for some of us, a time when we are even more grateful for the love our families and friends share with us, a time when we open our hearts to others who may not be as fortunate as we are. It is a time for giving and for remembering those who are no longer with us or who are unable to be with us for whatever reason. I would like to send a special thank you and good wishes to all of my dear friends in the DAISY community, those people who I've known for many, many years, and who continue to share a special place in my heart.

On behalf of the Board of Directors and the DAISY Team, I wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous 2011!

Lynn Leith

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 DAISY Marketplace, in the DAISY Planet newsletter, on the DAISY homepage, and the complete Marketplace listing, is dedicated to providing information about new and upgraded tools and services from the DAISY membership. Please send information about your tools and/or services using the DAISY Contact Us form or email Varju Luceno at varju.luceno(at)gmail(dot)com.

DAISY 4/EPUB3: What Does It All Mean?


It has taken many years and a great deal of work to develop the DAISY Standards which ensure that digital content is not only accessible, but also provides a rich reading experience. In the article DAISY = Accessibility, Will EPUB3 = Accessibility? published in the November 2010 DAISY Planet, the relationship between the two standards, DAISY 4 and EPUB 3, was explained. The DAISY Consortium's ongoing advocacy for fully accessible, feature rich content was reinforced. But what might it mean for end users (those who require and 'consume' accessible content), for the DAISY membership, and for commercial publishers? In Part 2, the continuation of "DAISY = Accessibility, Will EPUB3 = Accessibility?" these and other questions will be addressed.

End Users/Consumers

Many end users who read DAISY books are limited by what is available to them from their library. They should be able to borrow or purchase accessible content from a wide variety of sources, just as most of the population does.

When more truly accessible publications become available commercially, the book famine that has plagued people who have a print disability for so long, will begin to be alleviated. The potential is there, but, as noted in Part 1 of this article, not all EPUB3 content will be created equal. Some books will likely have 'light navigation' (chapter navigation only). There will probably be quality differences between material that is 'born digitally' and that which is derived from paper publications (converted). The level of structure (and thus navigation) within a publication will be determined by the publisher (commercial or not-for-profit organization). Will commercial publishers include image descriptions in their EPUB books? Probably not, however alt-text will be required on all images in EPUB3 books which are produced to the standard. Image description may remain within the domain of specialized not-for-profit organizations.

Although EPUB is being adopted internationally, to date it has been most widely adopted in North America. Until it penetrates the international publishing community, access to EPUB content may vary from country to country.

DAISY Friends

Historically the market for DAISY Friends that develop reading systems has been people with disabilities who are served by libraries or other organizations which provide accessible books. When commercially available and accessible EPUB3 books are available, the market becomes much larger; their products have the potential to appeal to the entire population of people who want the best way to read – the DAISY reading experience. As EPUB3 becomes available and the reading systems developed by DAISY Friends support it, their market potentially explodes. We also know that many people with a print disability are not yet being served – we haven't yet reached them or they don't qualify for library services provided by the organization in their country – but they can't read print. This market opens up when accessible EPUB is readily available.

There are many mainstream devices that will present (play) EPUB books, and the reading needs of many may be met by mainstream products rather than a dedicated reading device developed for people who have a print disability. However mainstream devices may not be accessible or provide the navigation functions provided by dedicated DAISY players. The whole chain needs to be accessible – all components have to align and libraries serving people with a disability have continued to make certain that they do align. The DAISY Consortium expects to develop guidelines for reading system/player conformance in relation to accessibility and features.

There is also potential for greatly increased markets for DAISY Friends that provide content conversion services.

DAISY Members

How will the DAISY Consortium determine which types of EPUB are accessible and which provide the end user with the rich reading experience DAISY users have come to expect? As stated in Part 1 of this article, the DAISY Consortium will advocate for EPUB3 content which has the features and functions necessary to make the document fully accessible. The availability of EPUB3 publications will create partnership opportunities for DAISY Members; they have the expertise to evaluate both content and players for accessibility.

DAISY Member organizations will be able to acquire EPUB3 content from publishers and add value to the publications as needed (addition of diagram descriptions for example). As the creation of accessible content can be expensive, some organizations may choose to focus more on the traditional role of libraries: lending rather than content creation. However many will create single source DAISY AI XML masters to facilitate output in multiple formats, including braille, and use EPUB3 as the distribution format for their DAISY publications. (See DAISY = Accessibility, Will EPUB3 = Accessibility? in the November DAISY Planet for information about DAISY AI.) As EPUB3 adoption continues to expand there will be a greater variety of content creation and conversion tools available.

DAISY Members will be able to facilitate access to commercially available content for their library patrons/end users – many people who use the library services of DAISY Member organizations will not want to or will not be able to access commercial content suppliers or deal with a mainstream reading device. DAISY Members will continue to make the pleasure and knowledge that reading brings possible for people with print disabilities around the world.

The DAISY Consortium will continue to provide support and guidance to its membership worldwide.

Commercial Publishers

Publishers have had two standards to work with: DAISY and EPUB. For example in the USA, the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) is based on the DAISY Standard and is the legally mandated format for K–12 textbooks and supplementary material. Publishers in some countries will continue to have the legal requirement to provide braille and other accessible formatted textbooks, however with the release of the EPUB3 standard they will eventually be targeting one standard rather than two. A single standard will meet the information and reading needs of all consumers.

The digital revolution in publishing is causing all publishers and organizations providing accessible content library services to rethink their business plan models, their way of doing business and workflows. Publishers have stated that they are delighted that EPUB will meet accessibility requirements. The DAISY Consortium is hopeful that the collaboration between the DAISY Consortium and the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) (and the resulting EPUB3 standard) will provide publishers with an easier path to meet their social responsibilities and thus meet the reading needs of people unable to read print and inaccessible electronic formats.

Goals Align with Actions

There are seven major areas for goals and strategies which guide the work of the DAISY Consortium. The first, "Standards" and the third, "Advocacy, Awareness, and Worldwide Implementation" are in alignment with the Consortium's endorsement of accessible EPUB3 for distribution:

1. Standards

The DAISY Consortium will focus on standards that have the greatest possibility for worldwide adoption with a view to long term development and sustainability. It will ensure that the DAISY standards incorporate and/or take into full consideration, identified emerging technologies...

3. Advocacy, Awareness, and Worldwide Implementation

The DAISY Consortium will continue to promote the DAISY standards among organizations serving persons with print disabilities. We will demonstrate the effectiveness and promote the adoption and implementation of the open non-proprietary DAISY standards among mainstream publishers, governments, libraries and manufacturers of consumer hardware and software. We will advocate internationally for the adoption of policies that encourage publishers and all other providers of information to adopt accessible practices that support access to information which is a fundamental human right.

Belgian Newspapers in DAISY - Every Day

Two national newspapers, De Standaard and Het Nieuwsblad, are available in DAISY audio format to subscribers in Belgium – every day. They are produced in their entirety (without advertisements) in synthetic speech, and can be read online on a stand-alone DAISY reading device – the ORIONWebbox.

Solutions Radio logo Solutions Radio, developer of the ORIONWebbox and Friend of the DAISY Consortium, states that to the best of their knowledge, Belgium is the first to offer such a service – daily delivery of complete national newspapers to DAISY hardware players rather than to subscribers' computers.

ORIONWebbox by Solutions Radio Subscribers have the choice of receiving the newspapers every morning on CD or listening to them on the ORIONWebbox when they become available in the early, early morning. Very, very few people read every article in a newspaper, from front to back. Navigation through these DAISY newspapers is simple and straight forward, allowing readers to navigate from one the major section to the next (Foreign affairs, Sports or Arts, etc.). When a section is selected the audio of the first article in that section will begin to play. The cursor down button moves the reader to the next articles within the sections. The cursor up button returns the reader to the previous article/s.

A video demonstration of the ORIONWebbox video demonstration of the ORIONWebbox is available online.

Obi-Tobi 2.0 Project Takes Off

Time for Tobi Users (& Others) to Get Involved

The DAISY Consortium continues its commitment to open source software with the launch of the joint Obi-Tobi project development effort.

3-Fold Strategy

Reduce software maintenance costs

Obi logo Harmonization: The authoring tools, Obi and Tobi, already share a common framework, the Urakawa SDK (Software Development Kit). One important objective is to harmonize the source code at the core of the software architecture, while preserving the characteristics that define Obi and Tobi as distinct applications, each with its own dedicated user communities.

Support next-generation multimedia publication standards

Evolving Multimedia Standards: Develop support for evolving, next-generation, multimedia publication standards. Tobi is an authoring tool for full-text full-audio DAISY Digital Talking Books. Both the DAISY and EPUB standards are currently undergoing major revision, and the DAISY Consortium will advocate for EPUB3 content which has the features and functions necessary to make publications fully accessible. This provides tremendous potential for 'native' accessibility in mainstream multimedia electronic publications, and for tools such as Tobi to serve a broader audience as well as supporting the content creation and distribution efforts of the DAISY membership. (See the two part article about DAISY/EPUB: DAISY = Accessibility, Will EPUB3 = Accessibility? published in the November 2010 DAISY Planet, and DAISY 4/EPUB3: What Does It All Mean? in this issue of the Planet.)

Feature-set improvement

Tobi logo Priorities and Project Roadmap: There are a number of identified feature requests for Tobi, some of which have a higher priority on the project roadmap. One particular goal for the next development cycle is to implement an authoring workflow for accessible graphical content as part of the DIAGRAM project.

Participate & Contribute

The Board of Directors of the DAISY Consortium has approved this 3 fold strategy. As efforts get underway the Obi-Tobi development invites stakeholders, existing users, and other interested parties to participate. The development team is looking for feedback, testers, translations into other languages, and other contributions to the development efforts.

Although implementation of requests which are outside of the approved charter cannot be guaranteed, the development team asks that you please make your voice heard so that real-world needs can be tracked, and the team can hopefully address issues that matter to you.

Submitted by Avneesh Singh on behalf of the Obi-Tobi development team. Please contact Avneesh by email at asingh[at]daisy[dot]org or use the Contact Us form on the DAISY website to participate in this important project.

Simple DAISY Web Player from ABA

Thanks to Martin Mohnhaupt of Nice Data Systems for submitting the information about SDWP – a simple web based DAISY player – developed for the Association pour le Bien des Aveugles et malvoyants (ABA) a member of the Swiss DAISY Consortium.


ABA produces digital talking books based on the DAISY 2.02 Standard for people who are blind or visually impaired. The DAISY books are burned onto compact discs and sent to the Association's subscribers. To simplify the distribution of some public audio DAISY documents, ABA wanted to publish these documents on the web, with sound streaming and navigation capabilities.


This brief article describes what has been done to meet the challenge. Editor's Note: the original intended audience for this article was web masters/developers who are interested in open source options in addition to the DAISY Online Delivery Protocol and who want to make DAISY digital talking books available online. That information is quite technical and has been extracted from this article, but is presented in this month's Tech Tip column. Please note also that a more detailed technical article about the Simple Daisy Web Player will be published by Nice Data Systems in 2011.

Simple DAISY Web Player Development

Simple Daisy Web Player screenshot Early in November, ABA produced an instruction booklet for a Swiss Federal poll. This type of job is done by ABA on a regular basis, and usually the booklet is distributed on CD for use with hardware DAISY players. However in this instance ABA management asked Nice Data Systems if it was possible to stream DAISY books such as this on the web.

Before beginning the process the developers looked to the Internet for products which support DAISY navigation and streaming of DAISY books. Two products approached what they were looking for: DAISY Web player based on work by Wolfram Eberius Multimodale Erweiterung Und Distribution von Digital Talking Books , Diplomarbeit, TU Dresden, 2008; and, CLC Dandelion by Charles L. Cheng. Although very well done, the first product was not really adapted to ABA's needs, and the second one had not been maintained since 2008. Nevertheless, Cheng's code is Open Source, so the development work started from there.

The program Simple Daisy Web Player (SDWP) is on Sourceforge and is Open Source, released under the GNU General Public License. It is currently in beta. This software is intended for use by organizations, and consists of two files which must reside in a directory served by a web server.

Bookshare Partnership Brings Online Books to Kenyan Children

"so that every Kenyan student can realize their potential": Irene Mbari-Kirika, founder of inABLE. InABLE (previously Our Reading Spaces) is a not-for-profit organization which has the following mission: "to empower the blind and visually impaired in Africa through assistive technology." The InABLE Vision is "a world where Disability is NOT Inability. A community where individuals with disabilities have ACCESS to the same Educational, Technological, and Employment opportunities as the non-disabled."

"Bookshare has partnered with inABLE to provide access to over 10,000 books online, and to work with local schools in Kenya to make sure that required books are available via Bookshare. The first school that Bookshare is working with is Thika Primary School for the Blind, a school with 278 students. Within the next year 10 additional schools are scheduled to open, and Bookshare will be working with inABLE to make sure that every student at each school that is opened has access to the books they need." (More information is available on the Bookshare Blog)

The words on the sign in front of Thika School are: "Success is our major goal/Disability is not inability." Congratulations to Bookshare for establishing a partnership which will hopefully bring equitable information access to young students who previously could only dream that this might one day be possible.

O'Reilly TOC 2011 Media Partner

O'Reilly TOC 2011 Conference logo The DAISY Consortium is now one of the "O'Reilly TOC for Publishing 2011 Conference" Media Partners. The DAISY logo and a description of the Consortium are now displayed on the O'Reilly TOC 2011 Conference website in the extensive and impressive list of O'Reilly Media Partners.

Some of the benefits the DAISY Consortium receives as part of the media partnership are:

The new DAISY e-banner is currently displayed on the O'Reilly TOC 2011 Meet the Team page (the media partner banners are displayed and rotated at the bottom of the page).

In return the DAISY Consortium will promote the O'Reilly TOC Conference on our website, newsletter and Twitter feed.

If you are planning to attend the conference, enter the DAISY Media Partner discount code when you register on the conference website: 15% - toc11dai

There are also other discounts available which may be beneficial to some. The list of discount options is provided on the Conference registration page.

O'Reilly e-book bundles include books in DAISY format. Additional information is available at O'Reilly ebook bundles now include DAISY talking book format and O'Reilly Ebooks – Your bookshelf on your devices. Note that all O'Reilly ebooks are DRM-free.

Letters to the Editor

Hello Lynn,

I am glad for the help that Varju and DAISY have given to me. I have contacted Vision Australia as I was a bit confused as to what exactly DAISY entailed. I have a clearer picture now.

We are presently deciding between the Classmate Reader and the Intel Reader, which is all quite exciting.

My son Zach said to me "Mummy all I want to be able to do is to read a book on my own". This would not be a large request for a child without a learning disability but for a child with dyslexia it was, or so I thought until contact with DAISY.

After a couple of contacts with Varju I'd found out more than I had in many hours of reading, Googling and asking other experts. In this world of technology children with learning difficulties can be benefitted so much by technology.

Thanks again to DAISY and especially to Varju.

Kind regards
Jo Edmondstone,

Editor's Note: Jo submitted the Dear DAISY letter which was published in the November DAISY Planet. Varju Luceno is the Communications and Marketing Specialist for the DAISY Consortium.


My daughter has been given 3 CDs containing her textbooks, but we are not able to play them because we cannot find DAISY software to download for Mac OS X. In Norway we are told that they have to be played on PCs. Is there any software that we can use? I have searched the web with no results.

Thank you,


Dear KT

Most DAISY software players have been developed to work in a Windows environment. But now there are alternatives for Mac OS available as well.

Olearia is free, open source Macintosh based DAISY playback software under development at Curtin University Centre for Accessible Technology. Some of the features listed below are in the Olearia 1.1 beta, others will be included in future releases:

  • Playback of DAISY 2.02, DAISY/NISO 2002 and DAISY/NISO 2005 books
  • Playback of text-only DAISY digital talking books (for example, Bookshare and NIMAS)
  • Support for skippable content such as notes and sidebars
  • Support for MacOS X features such as VoiceOver, braille displays and Spotlight

A full list of the features in Olearia 1.0 and 1.1 is available on the Olearia Google Project page. A link to download Olearia is also provided on that same page. This software is designed to run under MacOS 10.5 and above.

You may also want to take a look at Emerson, a cross-platform open source DAISY reader. It does not currently support text-only DAISY DTBs; it supports only MP3 audio DTBs. The DAISY formats supported are DAISY 2.02 and DAISY 3 Version 2005 (officially ANSI/NISO Z39.86-2005).

ReadHear™ Mac, developed by gh, LLC, is the first commercially available DAISY player for Mac and it is the first fully-featured Mac DAISY Digital Talking Book player. ReadHear Mac is compatible with Leopard (Mac OSX v10.5) and above, and plays DAISY 2.02, DAISY 3, MathML, SVG images and other file formats, with support for EPUB planned for the near future.

You can purchase ReadHear Mac or download a free trial copy of the software from the gh, LLC website ReadHear™ Mac page.

Bits & Pieces

IDPF Executive Director Appointed: On December 14 the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) announced that publishing industry veteran, Bill McCoy, had been appointed to lead the organization as the new Executive Director. Bill will assume the responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the IDPF, the global trade and standards organization for digital publishing, on January 9, 2011.

"Digital publishing is rapidly becoming a major market force, and IDPF has a critical role to play as the global trade and standards organization...I'm delighted that Bill has agreed to serve the IDPF at this juncture - his vision and leadership will be critical to taking the organization to the next level of success." (George Kerscher, President of the IDPF and Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium).

Bill has served two terms on the IDPF Board of Directors. Additional information is available in the IDPF press release.

World Congress Braille21 Update: Early in January the following information and updates will be available on the Braille21 website:

  • Call for papers
  • Call for participation at the event "A Market of Opportunities" (Everyone will have an opportunity to present innovative ideas about braille at a small exhibition booth that is free of charge. Teaching methods, new types of products, etc. will be eligible; registration for this begins February 1)
  • Brochure for exhibitors (information about exhibition stands and all relevant details)

Registration for Braille21 participants begins April 1, 2011. Details will be provided on the Braille21 website closer to the registration date.

DAISY Pipeline 2 TTS Production Requirements Call for Review Deadline Extension: The deadline for reviews/comments on the DAISY Pipeline 2 TTS Production Requirements has been extended to the end of December, 2010. Comments, suggestions or amendments can be submitted either:

  • to the TTS WG mailing list (subscription required)
  • via a private email to Romain Deltour: rdeltour (at) gmail (dot) com

See the October DAISY Planet Tech Tips column for additional details.

YPSA Wins Manthan Award South Asia: Young Power in Social Action's Ship breaking portal has won the e-environment category award in the recent Manthan Award South Asia, held in New Delhi, India, on December 17 and 18. YPSA DAISY for All in Bangladesh received a special mention in the e-inclusion category. For information about YPSA and these projects please read the article YPSA Receives Top Prize for DAISY For All in the August 2010 DAISY Planet.

The Manthan Award South Asia was conceived in 2003. The purpose of the award is to "identify, assess, award, debate and encourage best practices in usage of the Internet and mobile technologies for grassroots socio-economic benefit." Finalists are listed on the Manthan Award website.

Dtb-talk: The list Discussion of Digital Talking Books is sponsored by the National Federation of the Blind and moderated by David Andrews of Minnesota. Topics of discussion often relate to issues of interest to the DAISY community. The page at this link includes subscription options and a link to the Dtb-talk archives.

Tools of Change for Publishing – Presentations Online: Approximately 400 participants from 35 countries attended this year's Tools of Change for Publishing Frankfurt conference. The conference presentations and full-length videos of keynotes and plenary sessions are on the TOC Frankfurt website.

Tech Tips

Simple Daisy Web Player (SDWP): Information for Developers


The concept of the Simple Daisy Web Player (SDWP) is simple and classical: an XHTML graphical user interface (GUI), styled through embedded CSS, and some JavaScript to do initialization tasks, handle user events, process streaming requests and perform AJAX dialogs with the media server.

To stream MP3 audio, Nice Data Systems uses the SoundManager2 (SM2) JavaScript Library for which a simple JS class was developed (Reference: SoundManager 2 makes it easier to play audio using JavaScript).

The SDWP software consists of 2 files which must reside in a directory served by a web server (e.g. Apache):

  • daisywp.html - The user interface (xhtml document) which contains the initialization code and the elements to display the DAISY document
  • daisywp.js - Engine (javascript) to deal with various duties like loading data via AJAX, handle user events, refresh the user interface, etc.

Since SDWP uses SoundManager 2, the SM2 javascript library must also be installed somewhere on the server (see SM2 installation documentation Get started with SoundManager 2), or referred to via the appropriate script tag in the HTML header. Finally, media files (DAISY talking books) must also reside somewhere on the web site.

To open a DAISY book, load the daisywp.html file with a parameter that tells where the main DAISY file (ncc.html) resides.

The ncc parameter holds the path to the DAISY book main file. Opening this URL will do all operations (load the needed javascripts, load the DAISY document, set up the user interface (text frame and navigation pane).


To set up SDWP it is necessary to edit the daisywp.html file. Specify where the SM2 is located by changing the specific soundmanager2.js <script> tag. No further changes need to be made to the file.

(For less technical background information about SDWP, please see the article Open Source Simple DAISY Web Player from ABA in this issue of the DAISY Planet. Thanks to Martin Mohnhaupt of Nice Data Systems for submitting the information about SDWP for the article and for this month's Tech Tips column. Martin is open to suggestions for improvements to the program and will be pleased to answer any questions. He can be reached via the Nice Data Contact Us form.)