The DAISY Consortium's Newsletter - September 2012

From The Editor

There has been a great deal of activity around DAISY and EPUB 3 over the past month. Some of these activities are reported in this issue of our newsletter. There were three workshops that took place in September. I'd like to thank Avneesh Singh and Prashant Verma for providing me with the information about these workshops so that it can be shared with you.

Over the years the DAISY membership has supported the standards and tool development efforts of the Consortium through membership fees and additional financial support for projects. The list of our Members who have provided financial support for projects is long. Without this support, the Consortium would not have been able to bring the truly accessible and enhanced reading experience of DAISY to the world. This month the Finnish Library Association of the Visually Impaired (a member of the Finnish DAISY Consortium) has committed to giving a generous grant to the DAISY Consortium for DAISY Pipeline 2 development. In addition to financial contributions, the value of the development work contributed to DAISY Consortium projects by individuals working for DAISY Member organizations is quite remarkable. On behalf of the DAISY Consortium Board and staff team members, I'd like to thank you all. (I'd started to list the organizations that had contributed in some way, financial or human resources, but thought that if I'd missed any I would offend someone. Better to not list than to leave some out!)

Something I hope you will notice in this issue of the DAISY Planet is the new column: Publishers' Corner. A great many DAISY Members and Friends are "republishers" – making inaccessible print or digital publications accessible; several are publishers of original content. Regardless of an organization's or company's role in making content accessible, what's taking place in the world of digital publishing, EPUB 3 in particular, should be of interest. And, as these trends will affect accessible publication availability, the changes should also be of interest to those of you who read DAISY, braille and/or other accessible formats. Please let me know what you think of it.

In the article Inspiring, Surprising, Empowering! – IFLA World Congress 2012 from Varju Luceno, she mentions Anti Vuori, an enthusiastic 'DAISY book lover'. When she mentioned him to me shortly after IFLA, I felt the power of his point. What better way to illustrate the frustration someone who is blind encounters with any and every print book...might as well take an axe to it to try to open it, the results would be pretty much the same. Analogies such as this, and the rather ancient analogy of a print book to a roll of paper or scroll, may seem rather dated in a time when digital zeroes and ones are finally finding their place in the world of published content, but they still make the point nicely.

A number of people have contacted us regarding the InDAISY Reader app. We have learned from LevelWare, its developer, that they have pulled the app off the shelf for the time being. If you have any additional questions about InDAISY Reader, please contact Levelware directly.

This month's story is from John Gardner, President of ViewPlus Technologies Inc.. I'm sure many of you have met John at conferences over the years, but I hope that you will learn at least one or two new things about this incredible man when you read his story – I certainly did! Thank you for sharing your story with us John.

The story last month was about Christine Ha. Congratulations are in order, as she was the winner of the FOX television "MasterChef" program.

Thanks to each of you who contacted me about the DAISY Planet and to those who submitted content and ideas for articles. The DAISY Planet is read by people around the world – please remember that you can share news and information about activities, services, developments and awards with our readers by simply getting in touch with me directly by email or by using our Contact Us form. If you know someone who has a story to tell, please let me know.

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

Publishers' Corner

--------- NEW! ---------

• In the session "A New Market: Accessible e-Books in Mainstream Channels" on October 10 at the 2012 Frankfurt Book Fair, advances in inclusive publishing will be examined. Confirmed speakers and their topics are:
· Cristina Mussinelli (AIE) – the LIA project
· Daniel Weck (DAISY) – EPUB 3 and accessibility
· Robin Seaman (Benetch) – DIAGRAM
· Graham Bell (EDItEUR) – Metadata for accessible products
· Chris Rogers (Penguin) – Publisher's perspective

• On October 11, IDPF and Frankfurt Academy will host an in-depth technical workshop on practical opportunities and challenges for publishers for creating and delivering complex and enhanced eBooks via HTML5 and EPUB 3. The expert speakers at this in-depth technical workshop, HTML5 and EPUB 3: Digital Books Beyond Digitized Text, will include Hachette Livre Head of Digitization Luc Audrain, DAISY Consortium SW Architect Daniel Weck, and IDPF Executive Director Bill McCoy. Additional information about this workshop and "A New Market: Accessible e-Books in Mainstream Channels" is provided in the DAISY Consortium press release.

• In his blog post Portable Documents for the Open Web (Part 3) – EPUB 3: The future of digital publications on the O'Reilly TOC website, Bill McCoy, Executive Director of the IDPF discusses EPUB 3, publishing and accessibility: "EPUB 3 has been designed in close collaboration with the DAISY Consortium to ensure that requirements for accessibility to the blind and others with print disabilities become part of the mainstream digital publication format...the reflow-centric EPUB is in the process of being mandated as a standard format for education institutions, governments, and others. Arbitrary HTML5 websites and proprietary alternatives will be very unlikely to have EPUB 3's array of accessibility capabilities, and they won't have the critical mass of accessibility stakeholders who are converging on EPUB 3 as the means to make accessibility part of mainstream digital publications..."

• Digital Book World published the article Third of E-Book Publishers Now Seeing Double-Digit Digital Revenue earlier this month: "The proportion of publishers that now get at least 10% of their revenue from digital publishing is double what it was last year." Full details are in the online article.

• The article Booksellers eye large online sales, hurdles ahead in the Business section of The China Post looks at the issues and some of the drawbacks faced by publishers as they transition to digital media.

• Publisher Accessibility Newsletter is published online by the Accessibility Action Group. The current issue is Accessibility Newsletter Issue 15. The archive of previous issues is available on Publishers Content Forum.

What's new with EPUB? by Joe Wikert, Chair of the O'Reilly TOC Conference, is an audio interview with Bill McCoy (Executive Director of the IDPF). A text summary of the highlights precedes the audio interview which can be listened to online and downloaded.

Technology for Life

Tools for Inclusion Conference

Scottish Flag "Exploring the advances in digital technology and its potential to reach everyone". This was the theme of the Technology for Life – Tools for inclusion Conference held September 6 and 7 at the Glasgow Science Centre. The conference programme outlines the breadth and depth in the topics covered. Both Stephen King, President of the DAISY Consortium, and George Kerscher, Secretary General presented.

Digital Engagement: An International Perspective

The subtitle of Stephen King's presentation was "Can Scotland Lead The World In Digital Inclusion?" Stephen stressed that the DAISY Consortium is a global partnership, and then asked the question "How can we get to the root of the problem?" (which is the inaccessible publishing process).

The message that inclusive publishing is for all was reinforced throughout. Stephen projected that the next two to three years will transform the availability of books for everybody, giving examples of progress, lack of progress, and initiatives, in both large and small countries. Exemplars such as the employment initiatives in India, library services in the Scandinavian countries and Finland's online library services were identified.

King stressed the importance of collaboration and cooperation: "Working together works". He stated that there are opportunities for cost sharing and pooling resources to reach our goals and then said that Scotland has a great starting point. Examples of Scotland leading the world in some technological developments were given, including the fact that Scotland has always lead in the area of digital talking books (there are 10,000 hours of listening pleasure every day in Scotland).

Kevin Carey, Chair of the RNIB, addressing participants at the Conference Also briefly mentioned were Talking TV (in which the UK takes the lead), audio description and medical imaging. And, how could King not mention the recent Olympics in London which were the most inclusive and accessible ever. With one exception every event was audio described; it was marketed as a radio narration service available for anyone to purchase for 5 £s and available at no cost to people with a disability.

He explained that even though we are in the midst of a massive transformation as we move from paper books to eBooks we need to "Focus on what people want to do, not on the technology."

Inclusive Publishing – The Key to Accessible Digital Books

In his presentation George Kerscher provided a high level look at what's going on with inclusive publishing. He also gave a brief overview of the DAISY Consortium and its membership working together and pooling resources to solve the problems with access to information. The need for building accessibility into the fabric of publishing and into the fabric of reading systems was stressed.

Historically libraries for and of the blind have been producing digital books for 25 years, longer than any other group; commercial publishers are just beginning to get into it. Many understand the need for accessible publications, particularly in the education sector.

Kerscher also gave an overview of the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) and EPUB 3, and also briefly described the relationship between the DAISY Standard and EPUB 3. He explained the need for the DAISY community to integrate with the mainstream and the need to influence all sectors in the publishing chain, including distributors and reading system developers.

RNIB's Insight Radio recorded and has made available full coverage of the conference. Individual, downloadable recordings of the workshops, speeches, keynote addresses and breakout sessions are available on the Insight Radio website. The recordings can also be listened to online. Stephen King's slides and George Kerscher's slides, along with slides from other DAISY and related presentations are posted on the DAISY Consortium Slideshare page. They are also available to DAISY Members on DAISY website in the Media Repository.

Photo Credit

The photograph of Kevin Carey speaking at the Technology for Life Conference is courtesy of the RNIB which is a Full Member of the DAISY Consortium.

Mongolia Library Success Sparks Law Change

DAISY DTB Players Now Free

Republished from the article Mongolia library success sparks law change on the EIFL website.

All blind and visually impaired people in Mongolia now have the legal right to be issued with a free DAISY talking book player following a change in the law.

'This represents a huge opportunity for blind and visually impaired people to have equal access to the information and knowledge which they so desperately need to improve their lives,' said Mr. M. Tsengel, DAISY Expert at Ulaanbaatar Public Library (UPL).

The law change is a result of intensive advocacy by the Mongolian National Federation of the Blind (MNFB), and the success of UPL's DAISY Talking Books service. There are an estimated 300,000 blind and visually impaired people in Mongolia.

Learning to use DAISY readers at Ulaanbaatar Public Library With support from EIFL's Public Library Innovation Programme (EIFL-PLIP), UPL installed a digital recording studio and has recorded about 90 books into DAISY format. UPL also teaches people how to use DAISY players (readers). The MNFB is the library's main partner in implementing the service.

'Our task now is to get ready for the thousands of blind and visually impaired people who will be coming to our libraries and asking for digital talking books. Our digital talking book recording studio will be working full time!' said Mr. Tsengel.

'Our production of numerous books in DAISY format greatly influenced the legal adoption of DAISY players,' he added.

The Social Welfare Law of 2009 entitled blind and visually impaired people to receive a white cane, a Braille watch, other Braille devices like paper and a typewriter, and a tape recorder every five years. The amended law replaces the tape recorders with DAISY talking book players.

DAISY stands for Digital Accessible Information System. A DAISY book is a digital talking book that may contain both sound and text. The main advantage of DAISY is that the audio files are structured so that they can be navigated and used in a similar way to a printed book. For example, people using DAISY can add bookmarks and jump from page to page and chapter to chapter quickly and easily.

The new law came into force on July 1. To ensure that distribution of DAISY players is well organized, national and city government labour and social welfare departments will sign an agreement with several non-governmental organizations that serve blind and visually impaired people.

Read more about Ulaanbaatar Public Library and their successful talking books service.

A letter congratulating the Ulaanbaatar Public Library (UPL) and the Mongolian National Federation of the Blind (MNFB) for this outstanding achievement in guaranteeing that all blind and visually impaired people in Mongolia have the legal right to be issued a free DAISY talking book player has been sent from Stephen King, President of the DAISY Consortium.

Additional information about the efforts to introduce DAISY in Mongolia is provided in the August 2010 DAISY Planet article Mongolia Discovers DAISY and in the "Your Story" from Ms. Gerel Dondow published in October 2010.

The Mission of EIFL (Electronic Information for Libraries): Knowledge without boundaries is "EIFL enables access to knowledge through libraries in developing and transition countries to contribute to sustainable economic and social development." EIFL website content except where otherwise noted is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Under the terms of this license the work may be copied, distributed, transmitted and adapted with credit given to the original author.

SVG Software & 3D Printers for Tactile Graphics

National Braille Press logo National Braille Press (NBP) recently prepared the report Assessments of Raster-to-Vector (SVG) Conversion software and 3D Printers for Tactile Graphics for the DIAGRAM Center.

There were two components of the NBP subcontract with the DIAGRAM Center:

  1. To research and assess SVG conversion software to determine the best overall choice for DIAGRAM's future partners (content providers, publishers, authors, teachers and students). The goal was to identify a version that is affordable, and easy to use for publishers and individual content providers, so that they can incorporate SVGs at the beginning of the production cycle. The tool could be used for downstream accessibility providers to convert images to an SVG and produce tactile graphics.
  2. To provide an update on the potential use of 3D printers in the production of tactile graphics. These tools have the potential to be used for the development of tactile graphics for tests and textbooks. NBP researched the quality, speed and various materials that can be used effectively.

DIAGRAM, NPB & the Report

DIAGRAM subcontracted to National Braille Press for this report. The funding therefore was provided by DIAGRAM and the work was conducted by NBP. It is one of a number one subcontracts that DIAGRAM is funding for both research (such as this report) and software and development. This is one of the 5 DIAGRAM subcontracts in place for this year and is the first to be completed.

The report was researched and prepared by Brian MacDonald, President of National Braille Press, and Robert Hertig, a recent graduate of Northeastern University and an engineer (brief bios are provided at the end of this article). The testing which was begun in May was conducted by Hertig.

The subcontract with NBP was a natural fit – National Braille Press produces thousands of tactile graphs and diagrams for textbooks and standardized tests in the US. One of the challenges faced by NBP has been to make a tactile of complicated non-linear images (for example, maps or biology images of the brain). Through their Center for Braille Innovation (CBI), NBP wanted to explore less laborious production methods and technologies that could improve the accuracy and production output of tactile diagrams.

The key to solving this problem was to find a way to easily take a raster image (JPEG, TIF, etc.) from the print source and electronically convert it to a format that that could be edited and then printed as a tactile graphic.

The SVG research conducted for this report ties into NBP's interests in textbooks. Part of the research involved reviewing the most common and popular software and determine the quality of the resulting tactile image. MacDonald explains that this was a fairly straight forward process, but their interests were to cross reference what software was free and open source if possible (or at least low cost) to convince publishers and content providers that this is an easy step to add to their production processes. In addition, it was just as important to select an SVG conversion software that was easy to learn and use.

The Report

Assessments of Raster-to-Vector (SVG) Conversion software and 3D Printers for Tactile Graphics includes an "Executive Summary", "Introduction to SVG", "SVG Tool Descriptions", "Testing & Comparison", an Analysis of the five SVG tools that were tested and evaluated, and Recommendations. 3D Printer Research and Printing options follow. Overall conclusions and a section entitled "Engaging Publishers" complete the report.

The SVG conversion programs tested differ greatly in usability, capabilities, output quality and intended use. The following five SVG conversion programs were chosen for evaluation as the most effective for their availability, cost, and popularity: Autovector, Inkscape (Potrace), Scan2CAD, WinTopo, and RaveGrid. A description and comparison of these software tools and an analysis of the performance of each is provided in the Report.

Biographies in Brief

Brian MacDonald

Brian MacDonald joined National Braille Press as its President in May 2008. He is responsible for overall management, operations, production, and the NBF strategic plan. In October 2008 he founded the Center for Braille Innovation (CBI) – a R&D 'think tank' for NBP, which focuses on leveraging new technologies for production efficiencies, tactile graphic development, and affordable braille accessible products. In his position as President of NBP MacDonald has collaborated with numerous organizations and companies, both in the US and elsewhere. (Brian MacDonald's Story will be published in DAISY Planet later this year.)

MacDonald is also involved with education initiatives in the US, where NBP is one of the largest producers of standardized test assessments in braille. He is an advisory board member of DIAGRAM with Benetech , and a member of the World Blind Union.

Robert Hertig

Bob Hertig has been working with the National Braille Press as an engineering consultant for over a year, helping develop new production methods for tactile graphics. He graduated this year with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern University and has completed co-op assignments at Phillips Color Kinetics and Cisco Flip Video, where he worked with engineering teams to develop commercial and consumer products.

Hertig has experience with open-source 3D printing and enjoys integrating technology into solutions that help people. He is a founder of U-Turn Audio, a start-up company that is introducing an entry-level audiophile turntable in response to the resurgence in home-use of vinyl records.

Inspiring, Surprising, Empowering!

IFLA World Congress 2012

IFLA World Congress 2012 logo The well-organized annual IFLA World Library and Information Congress took place in the World Design Capital 2012, Helsinki. The Helsinki Exhibition & Convention Centre (Helsingin Messukeskus) is one of the leading congress centres in Northern Europe and the largest of its kind in Finland. All premises are equipped with the latest technology. The conference brought together information professionals from all over the world representing diverse interests and backgrounds. The conference theme, "Libraries Now! Inspiring, Surprising, Empowering!" rang true as connections were made and new ideas and best practices were shared.

The Finnish librarians demonstrated innovative services they are providing in their libraries during poster sessions, on the "library boulevard", and by showcasing large book mobiles parked outside the conference center. For some librarians the most exciting discovery at this conference was Börje, a therapeutic-reading dog from Finland's Leppävaara library. Börje's customers are mostly children who are struggling to read. Börje has a clear job description: to listen to children, helping them improve their literacy skills.

Library poster at IFLA World Congress 2012 IFLA's Libraries Serving Persons with Print Disabilities Section organized a session that was held Monday, August 13. Koen Krikhaar (Dedicon, Chair of the IFLA LPD Section) opened the session, greeting participants and sharing information about the history, activities and goals of the IFLA LPD Section.

Stephen King (President of the DAISY Consortium, RNIB) introduced the DAISY Consortium's newly refined Vision and Mission and explained how through collaborative efforts we can improve access to information and education as required by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPWD). He explained that the DAISY Consortium members are working together to support people with disabilities so that they can gain the skills, confidence and technologies they need to succeed. For people who are blind or partially sighted, eBooks offer far greater access to books than ever before. His presentation The e-Book Revolution: A Partnership Approach to Solving the Book Famine is available on Slideshare.

Graham Bell, EDItEUR, speaking at IFLA WC 2012 The next presenter, Graham Bell (Chief Data Architect, EDItEUR) explained how new e-book formats like EPUB 3 and improved metadata coverage of accessibility options can help make mainstream commercial eBooks suitable for blind, partially-sighted or otherwise print-disabled readers. He pointed out that EPUB 2 eBooks are fit for novels and publications that include text only, but EPUB 3 goes further – it can also be used for creating magazines, newspapers, journals as well as corporate publications when designed pages need a fixed layout to look impressive. Global language and Math ML support open new opportunities for publishers. Selling parts of a book – a new trend in publishing, is something publishers would like to continue doing, and the new structural tags in EPUB 3 make this practice easier. EPUB 3 books also allow better discoverability, as EPUB 3 supports SVG – diagram captions and labels included in the book can be searchable like the rest of the text, from within the book as well as via web services such as Google Play.

Helen Brazier, RNIB, speaking at IFLA WC 2012 Helen Brazier, (Head of National Library Service, RNIB Manchester, UK) shared RNIB's strategies to influence society and library practice, including investigation of the issues, collaborative solutions and reader case studies. Studies show that 76% of the UK's 1,000 top selling books are now available in all accessible formats including eBooks, a great improvement on the previous figure of 13%. The most popular brands of eBook readers in the UK are the Amazon Kindle, Apple devices, Sony Reader and Kobo. Prices of eBook readers and tablets are falling. Public libraries play an important role in providing accessible eBooks and in reaching and supporting print disabled readers, turning the "famine into a feast". Her paper Invitation to the Feast: Developing Accessible eBook Services in UK Public Libraries is available for download in PDF format from the IFLA World Congress 2012 website.

Displays showing state of the art technology used at IFLA WC 2012 Varju Luceno (Director of Communications for the DAISY Consortium) introduced different mobile apps and demonstrated how these applications can be used for reading accessible DAISY publications on Google Nexus 7 and iPad. Anti Vuori, a very enthusiastic blind book lover from Finland concluded the well attended session by swinging an axe and demonstrating how frustrated blind readers can be with books that are not accessible to them. He stated his admiration for DAISY, at the same time expressing his hope for the future when EPUB 3 publications allow readers with print disabilities to easily obtain accessible publications and to enjoy them on well designed, accessible mainstream reading systems.

Thanks go to Varju Luceno for writing this article for publication in the DAISY Planet.

"Gateway to New Developments"

Workshop Organized by the Swiss DAISY Consortium

This workshop which introduced Obi and Tobi, the open source DAISY Consortium production tools, was held at the Swiss Library for the Blind, Visually Impaired and Print Disabled (SBS), in Zürich on September 17 & 18. The purpose of this workshop was to familiarize the member organizations of Swiss DAISY Consortium (SDC) with the latest advancement in standards and tools, and at the same time gather information about their perspectives and expectations from DAISY technology.

The event was hosted by Swiss DAISY Consortium, which is made up of the following libraries for the blind in Switzerland:

The workshop was conducted by Avneesh Singh, Project Manager, Obi-Tobi Project, and, Daniel Weck, System Architect, Obi-Tobi Project. Following the workshop both Weck and Singh stated that it turned out to be an information exchange process for both workshop leaders and participants.

The training session was deemed to be a gateway to new developments by the participants, and at the same time it proved beneficial for the DAISY technical team in clarifying the actual needs of the organizations and understanding their priorities.


Participants introduced themselves and provided information about their current use of technology. The workshop leaders then presented the overall strategy of the DAISY Consortium, covering past developments and achievements and then looking to the promising future of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and accessible EPUB 3. The latest information about research in accessible publishing was shared. Participants' questions and curiosity about the process of creating image descriptions illustrated their excitement about these new advancements.

Obi Screenshot In the afternoon Obi was introduced. Production of DAISY books with Obi, including various quick navigation commands was introduced. This was followed by a demonstration of four main workflows of audio NCX (DAISY books with audio and structure) production. It was very encouraging that participants were able to comprehend the workflows easily and were producing DAISY books end-to-end in short time.

Some of the advanced features Obi were then introduced, including recording modes and the step-by-step procedure of creating skippable structures.


The second day of the workshop began with the basic features of Tobi, the DAISY and EPUB 3 full-text/full-audio production tool from the DAISY Consortium. Topics covered were:

  1. Layout of the user interface
  2. Components of UI enabling quick and easy navigation
  3. Introduction to waveforms and audio functionality
  4. Text editing feature for correcting typos
  5. Step by step procedure for recording audio synchronized with text

Tobi Screenshot The afternoon session concentrated on Tobi's advanced features, including advanced recording workflows, the innovative functionality for authoring DIAGRAM image descriptions, and support for EPUB 3 media overlays. Full-text, full-audio book production was very much of interest to the workshop participants most of whom have an audio book production background. They were particularly enthusiastic about Tobi support for generating image descriptions.


The representatives of the SDC member organizations stated that the two day workshop was a big step for them in gaining knowledge about new advancements such as STEM & accessible EPUB 3, which are the current ventures of DAISY Consortium. They also added that the workshop significantly increased their understanding of DAISY Consortium's open source DAISY authoring software tools (Obi and Tobi).

The workshop leaders from the DAISY Consortium saw this workshop as an opportunity to understand first hand what the actual production requirements are. They have taken note of the expectations of Swiss DAISY Consortium in order to incorporate the prioritized requirements in the project roadmap.

It is the view of the Obi-Tobi team that events such as this reduce communication gaps and increase DAISY member organization involvement. It was also very helpful in understanding the real-life production issues and expectations of the DAISY membership.

Editor's Note: Thanks go to Avneesh Singh for providing this report for publication in the DAISY Planet.

Training Focused on Organizational Requirements

Two training programs took place in India this month. Each focused on the needs of the organization whose team members participated in the sessions.

Training Program on Accessible eBook Creation at NIOS

NIOS logo The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) which is an autonomous organisation established by the Government of India provides vocational, life enrichment and community oriented courses. However it's primary function is to provide general and academic courses at the secondary and senior secondary level as well as offering elementary level courses through its Open Basic Education Programmes. NIOS is the world's largest open schooling system with a total intake for 2011-12 of 493,534. Of the almost half million people enrolled, 16,199 (3.28%) were had a disability. In response to the increasing number of students with disabilities NIOS has taken steps to improve the academic experience of this group of people.

NIOS training participants in the computer lab As a result of advocacy and communication efforts of Dipendra Manocha (Coordinator, Developing Countries and Lead of Training & Technical Support for the DAISY Consortium), NIOS made the decision to work with DAISY Consortium and DAISY Forum of India in order to provide all of their course materials in accessible digital formats. The training was requested by NIOS; the goal was to learn more about creating their original mainstream digital documents in a way that would eliminate the need for republishing digital documents to create accessible format publications.

The objective of this program which was attended by NIOS departmental heads was to provide an understanding of the accessibility requirements of the people with a print disability and the basic skills for creating accessible formats such as DAISY, EPUB and braille. Topics covered were:

  1. Why care about accessibility
  2. What is an Accessible format?
  3. Key guidelines for preparing accessible content
  4. Preparation of the source document
  5. Conversion into other accessible formats

The outcome was considered to be more than satisfactory by both the participants and organizers. Modifications in the NIOS reading material production workflow are expected. In addition authors are now expected to properly mark-up the structure of documents before handing them to the publishing department which will then generate HTML, EPUB and DAISY for distribution. A follow-up session is being planned to address issues that may arise specifically in Indian languages publishing.

Modern Techniques of Recording Digital Books

Group photo, Train the Trainers workshop, Dehradun, India A 'train the trainers' workshop was held at the National Institute for the Visually Handicapped in Dehradun, India, from August 27 to 31. The workshop was organized by Saksham Trust, and sponsored & hosted by NIVH (National Institute for the Visually Handicapped). The trainers for this workshop were Mr. Prashant Ranjan Verma (Consultant for the DAISY Consortium) and Ms. Anusuya Das. Twenty-one participants representing 9 organizations from different parts of the country attended. Mr. Rajender Singh Negi was in attendance as the Technical Assistant, along with Mr. Satyajeet Singh, the Coordinator for the workshop.

As this workshop was targeted to future trainers, it was the expected outcome that the participants would gain the knowledge and skills required for providing training and/or guidance in all subject areas related to DAISY. Those attending are expected to become resource persons in their respective regions.

A wide range of topics was covered. High level topics included:

Prashant Verma and a small group of workshop participants Production, conversion and validation tools were presented in-depth and with participants having the opportunity for hands-on experience. The use of Obi, Tobi and the DAISY Pipeline featured prominently. Information and support resources were identified. A number of the participants presented on specific topics, including PLEXTALK DAISY Player, ReadHear, Dolphin EasyReader, and the audio recording process.

Workshop participants The training program was judged by both presenters and participants to be a great success. Everyone contributed to the exchange of information. The venue also contributed to the success of the workshop, allowing participants to meet as a large single group as well as breaking into smaller groups.

Training Course Reports are posted on the DAISY website.

Editor's Note: Thanks go to Prashant Verma for providing the information and images for this article.

8th China Information Accessibility Forum

Stephen King speaking at the 8th China Information Accessibility Forum Stephen King, President of the DAISY Consortium, was invited to speak at the 8th China Information Accessibility Forum which was held in Beijing September 19 to 21. During his presentation he emphasized the importance of global partnerships working to end the "book famine" (less than 5% of books are currently available in any accessible format). The theme of this event which was organized by China Braille Press, the Civil Affairs Bureau, China Disabled Persons' Federation, the Internet Society of China and China Foundation for Disabled Persons was "Exploring possible cooperation projects and update on current developments in information accessibility." (Forum information sheet).

Speakers seated on the stage at the 8th China Information Accessibility Forum The encouraging uptake of eBooks and eBook technology was given as an example as Stephen explained that now more than ever is the time to engage with the global eBook industry, to create inclusive publishing and establish a better way of reading. As he described the crucial role of the DAISY Consortium, Stephen explained the need for assisting publishers and authors in creating accessible books that provide a wonderful reading experience for all, using eyes, ears or touch. He invited China to play an active role in this vision.

A report (in Chinese) on Stephen's presentation at the Forum is on Tencent Tech, one of the most important online media websites in China.

His presentation was very well received. The second DAISY Consortium Board meeting of 2013 will be held in Beijing, alongside the 9th China Information Accessibility Forum, where the focus will be on eBooks.

Letters to the Editor

Hello Lynn!

Thank you so much for the newsletter, it is always a tremendous resource.

I don't know if you are interested or not, but here is the link to the article Updated Talking Book Program Benefits Church Members with Disabilities about the efforts our Church has made to make DAISY materials available.

We have our DAISY files listed at: DAISY Files for LDS Content.

Thanks so much!

Christopher Phillips
Disability Services
(801) 240-8318 USA


Editor's Note: Information about the players, cartridges and magazine subscription is provided on the: LDS Talking Book Program page.


If you have ideas or suggestions as to how the DAISY Planet might be improved, please let me know. If there is an article that you find particularly helpful or that you disagree with for whatever reason, again, please let me know.


I have a user in Iceland who has his own recording studio, and records audio books, newspaper readings, and other things. He has delivered all of these as MP3 files, but of course he wants to switch over to DAISY.

What would be the best software for him to use, to create a DAISY book from the pre-recorded audio, create a reference or table of contents etc? I have always created DAISY files using MS Word, a Text-To-Speech engine and the Save As DAISY add-in – I have never gone into audio DAISY production myself.

I'd be happy to try it out myself and help him, but if you, or someone else who is doing similar things in the DAISY community and is blind or very visually impaired, could give me pointers or instructions on the most suitable software, and maybe a link to some instructions, it would be very much appreciated.

My colleague thinks that only mono MP3 files can be imported into Obi for DAISY production, and he thinks that is a problem. Is this correct, or is it possible to use stereo MP3 files with Obi?

Thanks very much, have a great day and keep up the good work.

Birkir Gunnarsson
Icelandic Library for the Blind


Dear Birkir,

From your description it sounds as if your associate will begin with MP3 audio files rather than DAISY XML. He should consider using Obi, the open source, free, 'DAISY plus structure' authoring tool developed by the DAISY Consortium. It is both easy to use and fully accessible.

Obi can import stereo MP3 files directly. You can also import mono MP3 and WAV files. The imported audio can then be edited and split into sections, pages etc. It is also possible to record in stereo if you want to do live recording.

Information about Obi and the download link are available in the Obi project area of the DAISY website. Obi can output both DAISY 2.02 and DAISY 3 content. A 2.5 beta release was made available recently, and although it is a beta, it does address some bugs and issues that were found in the 2.0 release last year. The Obi 2.5 beta is available for downloaded.

There is a DAISY Forum specifically for Obi questions and issues. If you or your associate have questions about Obi that are not answered in any of the documentation that is available in the Obi Project area you can post them to the Obi forum.

Bits & Pieces

• Haggeye, a forum for young people in Scotland who are blind or partially sighted, celebrated a key anniversary this month after an astonishingly successful first five years. The forum was established by RNIB Scotland for 12 to 25 year-olds with sight loss. Full details are in the press release.

• The dates for the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute conference on tactile graphics, as highlighted in the Bits & Pieces column (August DAISY Planet), have been moved to April 12 and 13, 2013.

• The article Software and Hardware: DAISY Players has very recently been added to DAISYpedia.

SuperNova version 13 by Dolphin Computer Access Ltd. was released September 11. This upgrade which is "transforming how people who are blind or partially sighted experience the web" is available in 15 languages, and represents the culmination of more than a year's work designing, developing and testing.

• Open Educational Resources (OER) are digital teaching materials that can be used freely by anyone. However, several OER publishers realizing that their files are not accessible have contributed the files to Bookshare. To make these accessible OER easy to find, Bookshare created a Special Collection which has 110 titles for K-12 and postsecondary courses on a wide range of subjects. Additional information and a link to this Special Collection are in the Bookshare Blog post Are You Using Open Educational Resources (OER)?

• Hiroshi Kawamura, Immediate Past President of the DAISY Consortium made two presentations illustrated DAISY technologies at the Fifth Session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the UN Headquarters in New York this month. Details are provided in the DAISY news entry on this topic. In addition Mr. Kawamura's demonstration, Monthian Buntan's intervention and Mr. Kawamura's answer to questions at the Round Table 1 are on the online UN Live Webcast . Note that the Round Table begins approximately 40 minutes into the webcast.

• Bookshare's Personnel Development Module was developed with funds from an award from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) called Leveraging Impact through Technology (LIT). The goal was to create a module of information about Bookshare that schools of education could use in their curriculum to teach special education teachers. The Personnel Development module is now complete and available on the Bookshare website.

• Two of the presentations given at the Inclusive Publishing Conference held in Baltimore in June are now available on YouTube: Born Digital, presented by George Kerscher, Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium and Accessible EPUB 3 presented by Markus Gylling, DAISY Consortium CTO, and Matt Garrish, a consultant for the DAISY Consortium.

Blank Digital Talking Book cartridges for use with the National Library Service (NLS) Digital Talking Book Player are available for purchase from APH.

Tech Tips

• Version 1.0 of the braille production modules for the DAISY Pipeline 2 is available for download. These modules provide support for the production of PEF (Portable Embosser Format) from DAISY AI (NISO Z39.98-2012 - Authoring and Interchange Framework for Adaptive XML Publishing) documents. Two alternative downloads are available. A working installation of the DAISY Pipeline 2 framework, version 1.3 is required. Detailed installation and usage instructions are provided in the Pipeline 2 User Guide.

This is new functionality. Feedback and comments are therefore most welcome via the DAISY Pipeline 2 Forum. Thanks and congratulations go to Bert Frees of SBS (Swiss Library for the Blind and Visually Impaired), who developed these modules for the Pipeline 2 project.

• A new release of MyStudio PC developed by Japanese Society for Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities (JSRPD) is now available. This release, MSPC Version , corrects two known issues. A license is required for MyStudio PC. DAISY Member organizations may request a license from JSRPD. Information about this DAISY authoring software, licenses and download links is on the DAISY website.

• A Comparison of Mac and PC on AppleVis Comparison of Mac and PC is clearly written, informational and unbiased. It is directed toward students with a visual disability who are in or going into post-secondary education, but the points are relevant for anyone interested in comparing the two.

• The Tobi website has been overhauled and is now much more user friendly. Both the Tobi front page and download page have been completely redesigned. Tobi is an open source authoring tool for DAISY and EPUB3 full-text and audio talking books developed by the DAISY Consortium.

• A new EPUB 2 export feature has been enabled on English Wikipedia. It can be used to collate a personal collection of Wikipedia articles and generate free eBooks which can be read on a broad range of devices, such mobile phones, tablets and eBook readers.

• In the Microsoft Save As DAISY add-in Translator the Language feature uses a paragraph as the smallest unit; the language may be set for a whole paragraph or multiple paragraphs. It cannot be set for a single sentence or word within a paragraph.