The DAISY Consortium's Newsletter - June 2013

From The Editor

I've been in the information access business for 34 years now, and for me personally the only thing that even comes close to the adoption of the WIPO Treaty in terms of 'blowing me away by what it all means' was the first time I saw a prototype DAISY player in the mid 1990's. For more than four years I have reported on the WIPO SCCR meetings and related activities in the DAISY Planet with input from people like Chris Friend and, more recently, Dan Pescod. All of us owe a great deal to everyone who has fought long and hard to make this Treaty a reality, to improve access to published works for people around the world who are blind or have a visual or other print disability. The names Maryanne Diamond (immediate Past President of the WBU), Francisco Martínez Calvo, Stephen King (and of course Chris Friend) jump out at me, but there are many, many others who have worked very hard for this. Thank you all – your efforts will improve the lives of many, many millions of people around the world! It is a miracle indeed.

And now on to other topics covered in this issue of the DAISY Planet and several other points of interest. The article Connecting Diversity, Insights & Experiences on a Global Scale written by Varju Luceno. is about the Future Publishing and Accessibility Conference in Copenhagen. In addition to the conference, the DAISY Consortium's Annual General Meeting and first Board Meeting of 2013 were held in Copenhagen immediately prior to the conference. Daniel Weck, Romain Deltour and Avneesh Singh of the DAISY staff team closed the AGM with presentations on DAISY tools. Romain gave an overview of DAISY Pipeline 2 (the slides are online) and Daniel and Avneesh's presentation covered both Obi and Tobi (these slides are also online). A round table meeting of DAISY experts, administrators and others took place the day following the conference. They shared information, thoughts and questions about critical issues in these rapidly changing times; it was suggested following the meeting that similar open discussions be held every couple of years.

I received some sad news this week – Professor Wimal Weerakkody, the first professor in Sri Lanka with a visual disability, passed away on June 26. His efforts to improve the quality of life of those in Sri Lanka who are blind or have a visual disability are known by many around the world. Professor Weerakkody was a pioneer in introducing and implementing accessible technologies (including DAISY) in Sri Lanka and he served as the vice chairman of the DAISY Lanka Foundation until he passed away. I first 'met' Professor Weerakkody by email in 2005, and I am certain that this fine gentleman will be greatly missed by those who knew him personally. "My inspiration has always been my desire to help other persons with disabilities–I try to acquire skills that help them and then impart it to them." [Source: Of A Man Who 'Sees' No End (2011)]"

This month it is the Publishers' Corner column that is 'overflowing'. I'm reasonably certain that there is information in that section that will be of interest to many of you. Bits & Pieces on the other hand is relatively brief this month (there is balance in the universe!). I hope you will find many of the articles and columns of interest.

The story this month is about Professor Ronald McCallum. I came across the video of him speaking last month and was so moved I began reading and listening to everything I could find about him online. I have no doubt that you will find Ron as interesting, humorous and inspiring as I have.

Please note that the DAISY Planet is not published in July. The next time I will be in touch with another issue will be at the end of August. However, don't let that stop you from sending your suggestions for articles and stories to me over the next four or five weeks. I may not reply immediately as I'll be offline for a while, but I will get back to you.

Thanks to everyone who has written to me with ideas, articles and suggestions for this issue of the DAISY Planet. Your input helps me keep our community up to date on what is going on in the world of information, access and publishing. DAISY stories provide insight into the lives of people we might not otherwise have ever come to know. You can reach me by email (you will have my address if you receive the DAISY Planet email notice) or you can use the DAISY Contact Us Form (DAISY Planet Newsletter Category).

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

Enabling Technologies Framework Training for Publishers: The 3rd in a series of 6 interactive half-hour sessions has recently been released as part of a joint project between EDItEUR and JISC Techdis. These Web Training Modules are designed to help publishers understand the accessibility needs of people who have a print disability, and are designed to complement the Enabling Technologies Framework Guidelines, a joint project involving both EDItEUR and the DAISY Consortium. All of the first three modules are now available.

• A detailed report on this year's Annual Accessibility Seminar which was held at the London Book Fair 2013 is posted on the Publishers Licensing Society (PLS) website. The report, Great Expectations of eBooks: Are they accessible? An interactive e-book club session concludes with "However, there is only so much which the publishing industry on its own can do. The full engagement from the whole supply chain is required before there can be a fully accessible eBook reading experience for everyone." The event was organised by the Publishers Licensing Society (PLS), EDItEUR, the RNIB and the Right to Read Alliance, and supported by the Publishers Association.

• The Publishers Association (PA) has issued a Joint statement on accessibility & e-books: "The growing availability of ebooks provides a wonderful opportunity for people with print impairment – whether blind or partially sighted, dyslexic, or without sufficient dexterity to handle printed materials – to become customers for mainstream published products." PA is the leading trade organisation serving book, journal, audio and electronic publishers in the UK. Full details are provided in the Joint statement.

• The W3C Digital Publishing Activity and Interest Group Charter which have been approved by W3C members and management have very recently been launched:
"The mission of the Digital Publishing Interest Group…is to provide a forum for experts in the digital publishing ecosystem of electronic journals, magazines, news, or book publishing …for technical discussions, gathering use cases and requirements to align the existing formats and technologies…"
The third W3C Digital Publishing Workshop will take place September 16-17 in Paris, France.

• Liz Castro's slides and audio presentation entitled EPUB3 Now!, a re-enactment of her presentation given at the IDPF Digital Book World 2013 Conference in New York City, are posted on SlideShare. Liz Castro is a technology writer. Her blog posted May 31 is about that presentation.

• The response in the IDPF forum post ALT text for a cover page in EPUB3 provides clear answers and alternatives to the question "should I consider the cover image as "decorative" (and hence with empty alt text) or should I provide an alt text?"

Issue 16, June 2013, of the Publisher Accessibility Newsletter is available on the Publishers Licensing Society website in both Word and PDF formats. International, European, American (USA) and UK activities are featured. (There is a great deal of pertinent information in this easy-to-read newsletter.)

• The article HTML5, The Future – And Now – of Publishing on the Digital Book World website looks at both the current state of HTML 5 and the future of HTML 5 for publishing. "As it stands, all of the major ebook software companies (Amazon, Apple, B&N, Kobo, etc) will take EPUB3, which is HTML5 at its core…Amazon does not directly support EPUB or HTML5, but through the Kindlegen application (provided by Amazon), a valid EPUB file will be converted to Amazon's mobi format. Kobo has stated it will fully support EPUB3 by Q3 of 2013 and Sony already supports much of EPUB3."

Accessibility Metadata draft v.5 has been submitted to the W3C for the process. Links to the Accessibility Metadata Best Practices Guide Draft, other resources, examples and a link to live examples and discussion are available on the Accessibility Metadata website.

• In the TeleRead interview with Piotr Kowalczyk, Piotr describes the e-book and e-publishing situation in Central and Eastern Europe, specifically the situation in Poland. Issues such as limited availability of Polish language e-books, file format differences (EPUB and Mobi), and DRM are discussed. He notes that PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that the e-book market in Poland will be worth $86 million in 2015 (reference SlideShare: The Future of e-Books by PricewaterhouseCoopers).

Barnes and Noble Plans to Support EPUB 3 and Start Selling eBooks via iOS (June 21): "Barnes and Noble intends to update its iOS app to support EPUB 3 sometime this summer. The company hopes to leverage its existing library of kids books and enhanced ebooks and bring them over to a singular app. The company is also expected to begin selling ebooks on iOS." The article also looks at international sales.

We Have a WIPO Treaty! A Good One!

"…this is the beginning of changing the world for blind people." [Maryanne Diamond, Immediate Past President of the World Blind Union (WBU), Miracle In Marrakesh: "Historic" Treaty For Visually Impaired Agreed, Intellectual Property Watch, June 26]

This is a "First"

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Diplomatic Conference to Conclude a Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities brought together more than 600 negotiators from WIPO's 186 member states. This Treaty is the first of its kind as it focuses on ensuring access for users rather than on the rights of copyright holders. The purpose of the Conference was clearly laid out. From the opening of the WIPO Diplomatic Conference which was held in Marrakesh, Morocco, June 17 to 28:

"The objective of the Diplomatic Conference is a relatively simple and straightforward one – to alleviate the book famine that causes over 300 million visually impaired persons, the majority of them in developing countries, to be excluded from access to over 90% of published works…The aim of the diplomatic conference is to establish an enabling legal framework…by facilitating the production of accessible formats and their exchange across borders." [Opening Speech by Francis Gurry, Director General, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)]

In her opening statement (published in full on the WBU website) Maryanne Diamond brought attention to the need for the Treaty:

"…This treaty can make a huge difference in the lives of our members. Access to education, employment, culture, and recreational reading, gives people choice. Without it, those people are marginalised and for many this means they do not take their rightful place in their community.

Please remember the right to information is a human right!

I urge you to play your part in making a difference in the lives of these millions of people, by agreeing a treaty that is simple, usable and meaningful.…"

Ms. Diamond closed with this plea: "Ladies and gentlemen; these next few days you have a chance to create history and really do some good in the world for an often marginalised part of humanity. Please seize it with both hands and help us write a new chapter in the story of blind people's inclusion in society."

An Historic Moment, a "Miracle in Marrakesh"

On Reaching Agreement

Although the path to reach this point was long, complex and frustrating, agreement on the text of the WIPO Treaty, the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or otherwise Print Disabled was reached late into the night on Tuesday June 25. On Wednesday it went to the Drafting Committee to ensure that the six language versions were properly aligned. On Thursday, June 27, it was adopted by the Plenary:

"There are no winners and no losers, this is a treaty for everyone. Thanks to the blessing that is here in Marrakesh, which we call the city of the Seven Saints, and thanks to you all we were able to achieve what we can call a "Miracle in Marrakesh." [Morocco's Minister of Communications and Government Spokesperson Mustapha Khalfi (who banged the gavel to signify the treaty's adoption), WIPO press release, "Historic Treaty Adopted, Boosts Access to Books for Visually Impaired Persons Worldwide", June 27]

Agreement Reached on Books for Blind Treaty in Marrakesh (WIPO YouTube video on the night agreement was reached):

"Tonight the final negotiations took place on a proposed text for the treaty for the blind, visually impaired and print disabled that will provide for cross border transfer of accessible format works as well as national exceptions to benefit the blind and visually impaired by providing more books and access to printed materials." [Michelle Woods, Director WIPO Copyright Law Division]
"Main Committee I of the Diplomatic Conference has just adopted the substantive clauses of the treaty and that now paves the way for the whole Diplomatic Conference Meeting and Plenary to adopt the treaty. So effectively, agreement has been reached on a new treaty which is going to improve access to published works for persons who are blind, visually impaired and print disabled. It's a great result, It's a wonderful outcome and there has been really tremendous cooperation amongst all of the delegations to enable us to reach this point of total agreement. Not only did we get a treaty, we got a good treaty which arbitrates well between all of the various interests that surround publication and visual impairment." [Francis Gurry, WIPO Director General]

The Treaty is Signed!

Today, Friday June 28, the Treaty was open for signature and was signed by 51 countries:

"It is a great pleasure to be able to speak on this wonderful occasion of the signing of the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired or otherwise Print Disabled.

I speak for the whole staff of WIPO in saying that we are really proud to be part of, and to serve, an Organization whose members were able to conclude this Treaty. It is a very good Treaty that will have a positive and concrete impact on the problem that brought us all here to Marrakesh, the book famine that causes over 300 million visually impaired persons, the majority of them in developing countries, to be excluded from access to over 90% of published works. The Treaty provides a framework for addressing that problem which is simple, workable and effective, thereby responding to the desired characteristics that the beneficiaries of the Treaty, the visually impaired, sought and claimed throughout the whole process of the negotiations. Moreover, in providing that enabling framework, the Treaty respects the architecture of the international copyright system, thus achieving what so many of the delegations have described as a fair balance." [Closing Speech by Francis Gurry, Director General, World Intellectual Property Organization]

Stevie Wonder, US singer and songwriter, had spoken via video to the delegates at the beginning of the Conference, and had said he would come to Marrakesh and perform for the delegates if they signed the Treaty. A man of his word, Wonder is in Marrakesh now and will sing tonight. He spoke at the conference closing:

"Today my heart is at peace and my faith in humanity has been renewed…Today we all are brothers and sisters in the struggle to make this life and the future better, not for one, but for all…This victory is most significant for many reasons. Most obviously, the positive impact for the blind and the visually impaired. But also it sends a message to all world leaders, that it is possible to do business, and to do good at the same time. Compromise should be celebrated, and defined as the new world order for hope and peace…While the signing of this treaty is a historic and important step, I am respectfully and urgently asking all governments and states to prioritize ratification of this treaty so that it will become the law of the land in your respective states and countries." [Stevie Wonder speaks at the closing of the Diplomatic Conference, also available on the YouTube video: Stevie Wonder Speaks at Close of Marrakesh Treaty Negotiations]

Getting Here…

In addition to the advocacy efforts over the past more than four years, there have more recently been online petitions and support statements published. The DAISY Consortium is one of the many, many organizations and groups that advocated for the Treaty. In the Message from the DAISY Consortium Board of Directors to the Ministers and Delegates in support of an effective and simple copyright treaty for people with print disabilities it states:

"Our organisations have long called for a clarification of the legal provisions that govern cross border transactions of publications that have been enhanced to provide access to people with print disabilities. This is so we may improve the service we can provide people with print disabilities worldwide and provide a service which is more efficient and economic for governments and other funding agencies. We therefore applaud the initiative of WIPO member states to develop a new copyright treaty to facilitate access to published works by visually impaired persons and persons with print disabilities."

And it is not only organizations of or for the blind that have spoken out in support of this Treaty. In the International Publishers Association press release, IPA Supports WIPO Treaty Giving Equal Access to Visually Impaired Persons of April 29, IPA Secretary General Jens Bammel stated:

"Publishers want people with print disability to have equal and simultaneous access to books as anybody without disability. Together with libraries for the visually impaired, online booksellers and the vendors of smart phones and e-book readers, publishers are producing more and more books in the formats that visually impaired people (VIP) need. This new WIPO Treaty will further increase the number of books accessible to persons with print disabilities.
The IPA and the international publishing community wholeheartedly support a treaty that will enable the international exchange of works in accessible formats to ensure that every person who is blind or visually impaired will have access. In order to achieve this, negotiations should focus on the issues that must be changed in international copyright law to facilitate that international exchange…

What Happens Now?

Going forward, for the Treaty to actually benefit people unable to read print because of a disability, it must be ratified and implemented. In the WIPO YouTube announcement Agreement Reached on Books for Blind Treaty in Marrakesh Maryanne Diamond had made this earnest plea:

"Governments please, ratify the treaty and implement it as a matter of urgency. It will make a great difference in the lives of persons who are blind or have a print disability."

This is an important development in the history of the international copyright system, perhaps the single most important development. It also has the potential to be the single most important change in the lives of individuals who are blind, or have a visual or other print disability – and amazingly, it coincides with Helen Keller's birth date, June 27 (1880)!

And, after many years, many meetings and a simply incredible amount of advocacy around the world the WIPO Diplomatic Conference has brought the results that will potentially improve the lives of many, many millions of people, young and old alike.

The approved text of the Treaty which was signed today is available on the WIPO website in six languages, in Word and PDF formats. Links to videos, Francis Gurry's closing speech, press releases, photographs and more are on the WIPO website.

Diversity, Insights & Experiences on a Global Scale

This article was written for the DAISY Planet by Varju Luceno, the DAISY Consortium Director of Communications.

Hundreds of bicycles parked in Copenhagen

The June 2013 trip to the Future Publishing and Accessibility Conference in Copenhagen offered numerous opportunities for those who are passionate about sightseeing, history, reading, discovering new technologies, good conversations and bicycling. A three hour city tour, organized by Nota, the Danish National Library for Persons with Print Disabilities, provided a chance to peek into the history of the capital of Denmark. For many, Copenhagen is the bicycling capital of the world, where the likelihood of being hit by a fast moving bicyclist rather than a car is much greater for daydreamers than in most cities around the world.

The Future Publishing and Accessibility Conference reminded all participants that we live in an exciting, yet constantly changing digital publishing era. Books have become dynamic, evolving repositories of information. The main task of the global DAISY Community is to work towards solutions that assist with making this information accessible for all. The assignment of ending the "accessible book famine" for people who cannot access printed information is challenging for many reasons, including issues related to workflows, cultural and economic differences, formats and copyright.

Ray Kurzweil, in his keynote, predicted that we are going to literally expand the scope and scale of our neocortex – the part of our brains involved in "higher functions" such as sensory perception, generation of motor commands, spatial reasoning, conscious thought and language. Thinking powerful, ambitious thoughts will enable us to overcome the major challenges that our civilization faces.

We can of course also utilize the current brain extenders we have, ranging from mobile phones and other digital devices, to Google search engine and Wikipedia.

Jimmy Wales speaking at the Copenhagen ConferenceJimmy Wales, another Conference keynote speaker and the founder of Wikipedia, acknowledged that the accessibility of Wikipedia editing needs to be improved and encouraged volunteers from the accessibility communities to help. He shared information about the users and editors of Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia - available in approximately 285 languages with about 516 million visitors each month. Wikipedia success can be contributed to the following principles: clear point of view, openness, respect for copyright, civility, democracy, free licensing and consensus.

Attendees were exposed to different viewpoints and were given plenty of reasons to stretch their thinking, such as comments about living in the middle ages again where there is no unified approach to standards and publishers have to manually customize each publication in multiple formats. There was also a point made about accessibility advocates presenting a viable business case to publishers and spending less time in committee meetings. All discussions brought interest to the event. Keynote sessions, roundtable discussions and mini-presentations were well attended.

One of the conference speakers, Bill Rosenblatt ("It's Different This Time: How Digital Technology Is Changing Intellectual Property") wrote in his blog:

"It was also pointed out at the conference that the print disabled constitute an audience that expands the market for publishers by roughly 10%. All this adds up to a market for accessible content that's just too big to ignore.

As a result, the interests of the publishing industry and the accessibility community are aligning. Accessibility experts respect copyright because it helps preserve incentives for publishers to convert their products into versions for the print disabled. Although more and more accessibility conversion processes can be automated, manual effort is still necessary – particularly for complex works such as textbooks and scientific materials."

Gerald Leitner, Stephen King and Jimmy Wales presentingSeveral conversations revolved around digital book formats, in particular choosing HTML 5 over DAISY or EPUB 3. In reality, EPUB 3 is comprised of both HTML5 and CSS3. EPUB 3 utilizes XML-driven toolkits, and XHTML serialization is required, but supplementary XML vocabularies, such as MathML and SVG are added. EPUB 3 provides a variety of options for developing enhanced, born-digital publications. The main benefit for publishers is the ability to create fully accessible digital books that may also include video, audio, global language support, multi-column layout, support for vertical writing and embedded fonts. However, it is still the case that digital talking books conforming to the DAISY 2.02 standard continue to satisfy the reading and information needs of many print disabled users.

Iris Amelia Febres (eBook Developer with F+W Media), another vibrant conference speaker ("Accessibility in Today's Ebook Formats: KF8 versus EPUB3") said:

"What impressed/surprised me the most about the conference was the diversity of its attendees. I had never before been exposed to so many perspectives and experiences on such a scale. Meeting professionals from Kazakhstan, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark (and more) … was even a bit surreal to me. I already felt blessed to be invited to speak at the conference, but to be invited to participate in such an international discussion was an absolute honor.

I learned we are not alone in the struggle to provide the best accessible experience to readers. We all have to deal with the challenges technology presents us, but we're in the field for a reason: because we love reading and we want to share that with others. As someone who works for a publisher, it's a great feeling to know I have a hand in helping make that experience possible.

I think the DAISY community is a wonderful asset for publishers, and it should be utilized more often. Communication is key here – I know we have many opportunities to exchange ideas, and I think the conference was a great place to start."

The DAISY Digital Zone area which was largely for networking was well attended, with micro-presentations taking place in adjacent rooms.

The Conference audience The DAISY Consortium would like to thank Nota which hosted the Conference, the Danish Ministry of Culture, all sponsors, DAISY Consortium Members and Friends, media partners, exhibitors and presenters for making this event a success.

Good will, viable business cases, strong partnerships and shared interests will help make publications more accessible. Avid readers make better citizens and communities that are empowered by legislation can achieve more.

Slides for many of the Conference presentations are posted on a download page on the Conference website (presentation links are at the very bottom of the page). With the exception of the photograph of the bicycles which was taken by Varju Luceno, the photo credit goes to Nota for permission to include some of the conference pictures in this article. Links to additional photographs taken at the conference are available on the conference website. Videos will be added soon.

LIA Project: Official Launch

Project LIA logo The LIA (Libri Italiani Accessibili) service was launched on June 18 in Rome at the Italian Chamber of Deputies. This online catalogue of accessible eBooks offers equal access to commercially published works by individuals who are blind or have a visual disability. It is a reading and information access revolution for the more than 350,000 people who are blind and 1,500,000 people with a visual disability living in Italy (source: Istat – Italian Institute of Statistics, 2010).

The LIA Project is coordinated by the Italian Publishers' Association (AIE) Italian Publishers' Association (AIE), through its service company Ediser, and is funded by the Italian Ministry for Culture. There are many aspects to this project that make it unique and also make it stand as an exemplar for publishers' associations in other countries. AIE began by taking responsibility for producing books that are fully accessible and to then certify them as such. However there is much more to access than the eBooks themselves, and AIE therefore took the project much further. In order to ensure accessibility throughout the entire value chain of books they involved distributors, online book stores and payment systems and, they committed to regularly test reading software and devices, raising awareness in all the aspects of the chain. "Now it is fundamental this process does not stop here." [Marco Polillo, President of AIE, in the LIA press release, distributed by email June 25]

The LIA online catalogue of accessible eBooks hosts 2,500 titles (in Italian). It includes fiction and non-fiction titles and best sellers with books for all interests and age groups, including children's books. Popular recipe books, national literary prize winners as well as new titles from more than 40 Italian publishers are available.

Photograph of Cristina MussinelliCristina Mussinelli, scientific director of LIA, and Mario Barbuto, Cirector of the Istituto per Ciechi Francesco Cavazza, presented and demonstrated the service. George Kerscher, Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium, and President of the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) was the special guest speaker, providing an international overview of and perspective on the LIA Project. In a comment on the project following the launch, Kerscher said:

"The LIA project officially launched on June 18, 2013. Approximately 3,000 commercial titles have been published in the EPUB 3 format and are accessible to blind and low vision readers in Italy. The hallmark of this event is that it is publisher driven. It has been funded by the Ministry of Culture, but the project was initiated by the publishing community. Our hats are off to Cristina Mussinelli and the team working on this; we hope to see this type of project replicated throughout the world."

Information on the LIA website is available in both Italian ( and English ( Information and links to guidelines and best practices for publishers are provided. In addition, sample (test) accessible EPUB 3 eBooks with three different levels of DRM (digital rights management), including DRM-free, can be downloaded at no cost from the LIA website. (This portion of the website and the samples are in Italian.)

Assessing eReader Accessibility

Accessibility Screening Methodology Guidelines and Checklist has been developed by the DAISY Consortium in collaboration with Tech For All, Inc. to provide developers and the general public with current information about assessing eReaders and with guidance for discerning how eReaders will work most effectively for individuals who have a disability.

The Guidelines and Checklist which were recently presented at the DAISY Board Meeting and Annual General Meeting in Copenhagen and at the LIA Project Launch in Rome, provide a methodology for systematically assessing the accessibility of hardware and software-based reading systems. They were developed specifically for digital book reading systems. In addition, the document includes a structured checklist based on the guidelines (methodology) that will enable technically competent users to review an eReader's accessibility in a structured manner. The focus of the document is on determining the accessibility of the functions and features of eReaders from the user perspective. These Screening Guidelines provide a useful review, however they do not provide for a detailed evaluation.

The six functional tests used in an evaluation are each presented in a table that is to be filled in during the evaluation process. Those six tests address the following functionalities:

  1. File Management Tests
  2. Reading Tests
  3. Visual Adjustment Tests
  4. Navigation Tests
  5. Annotation
  6. Media (all media functions should be fully accessible)

A table for summarizing whether all of the essential requirements have been met follows the set of six functional test tables. Information about how to perform the tests is provided. A Factsheet on the Accessibility Screening Methodology Guidelines and Checklist is posted on the DAISY website.

The DAISY Consortium is initially looking for feedback on the Guidelines and Checklists and would also like to hear from people who conduct evaluations using this methodology. Please contact George Kerscher at kerscher[at]montana[dot]com with feedback and input.

Tech For All logoTech For All, Inc. is a consultancy firm whose mission is to help its clients provide equivalent or greater access to technology for people with disabilities.

UNESCO Bangkok: Educating Children with Disabilities of Their Rights

Autism Society Philippines logo The article Digital talking books: An alternative way of educating children with disabilities of their rights was written by Ranil Sorongon, Executive Director of the Autism Society Philippines (ASP), and published on the UNESCO Bangkok website. He begins by referencing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC) and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) and states that therefore children with disabilities "need to be educated of their rights in a way that recognizes their capacities and limitations."

"Believing in the potential of DAISY digital talking books in supporting CWDs' learning process in this area, the Autism Society Philippines (ASP) submitted an entry to the "Search for Innovative Philippine Human Rights Initiative" in 2011…The proposal entitled "Educating Children with Disabilities of Their Rights Using the Digital Books" emerged as one of the winners among the more than 200 entries.…"

Funding for the one-year project which began in May 2012 was provided by Australian Aid (AusAID), with a target of 500 recipients. At the end of the project this year 626 Children With Disabilities (CWDs) – with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down Syndrome, AD/HD, Intellectual Disability, Cerebral Palsy, deafness, and other disabilities – had learned of their right to a good education, the right to play and rest, and the right to be protected against verbal and physical abuse. In addition the project team oriented 1,004 parents, siblings, teachers, and service providers on the UN CRC to ensure ongoing education of CWDs regarding their rights. Twenty-seven special schools and therapy centers around the country agreed to become ASP's partners going forward.

Additional information is available in the UNESCO article.


I am a reading tutor on the South Coast NSW Australia and am trying to find out how to access books and also a list of books for children who have vision issues, learning difficulties and Dyslexia.

Any help would be appreciated.

Marcelle Rutter,


Dear Marcelle,

One of the DAISY Consortium members, Vision Australia assists people who have vision issues in your part of the world. More information can be found on the Vision Australia website.

They also have a service, i-access ® Online that allows Vision Australia library patrons to download a variety of audio and DAISY books, newspapers, magazines and podcasts directly to their computer desktops via the Internet, 24 hours a day.

Additional information is provided in the Vision Australia Children's Services area of their website. There is a Contact Us link at the bottom of that page.

Vision Australia provides training and resources that enable children who are blind, print disabled or have low vision to increase their choices and reach their full potential in life. They support families of children aged from birth right through to school-leaving age, providing services that facilitate the young person's development and access to education and independence. They may have some suggestions for you and they may know of other organizations that can assist you.

There is also an online Vision Australia Shop where assistive devices can be purchased.

Hope this helps.

Bits & Pieces

Hachette Book Group (HBG), a division of Hachette Livre, the second-largest trade and educational publisher in the world, recently announced that they will provide unabridged audiobook recordings to the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) free of charge. This new approach with NLS was the result of an NLS patron, a fan of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's Pendergast series, emailing Mr. Preston to find out if the newest book in the series would be available in audiobook format through the Talking Books program. HBG hopes to encourage others in the industry to provide content for the NLS program. By the end of 2013, HBG will begin making select backlist and new titles available, including new releases, through the NLS program. (source: HBG Press Release, May 28, 2013)

• The Accessibility of eBooks on the RNIB website provides an overview of the accessibility features of eBook readers and eBook apps for people who are blind or partially sighted.

• The online interview program Eyes On Success has received the 2012 International Association of Audio Information Services (IAAIS) Program of the Year Award in the Consumer Information Category. IAAIS represents over 140 services throughout the United States and in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Africa. The specific program which won the award was episode number 1242 10-17-12, "Downloading and Reading Books on a Smart Phone". (At that time the name of the program was ViewPoints.)

• The European Blind Union (EBU) office has moved. As of the end of this month (June, 2013) the new postal address of EBU is 6 rue Gager-Babillot 75015 Paris, France. It is expected that the telephone, fax, email and internet address will remain unchanged. The EBU offices will be closed from 24 June to 5 July as a result of the move. Service will be resumed on July 8.

California State University, Los Angeles (Cal State LA) has produced a video training series on the APH Book Port Plus. The 10 video clips demonstrate how to use the Book Port Plus and are intended to be used with the product in hand. There are two versions of each video: one with descriptive video services and closed captioning and one without. The Book Port Plus training videos are available on the Cal State LA website.

• The 8th European e-Accessibility Forum which will take place March 31, 2014. The article e-Accessibility Skills are Crucial in the DAISY Planet covers the highlights of the 7th European Accessibility Forum which was held in Paris, France this past March.

Tech Tips

• The EPUB 3 Support Grid has been updated four times since its initial publication last year (Tech Tips Column June 2012). This document which was published and is maintained by the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) was designed to be a reference to the enhancements and features of EPUB 3 which render correctly on devices, apps, and reading systems. It was created by industry experts representing leading publishers, service providers, and technology vendors.

• Kolibre has published software building blocks necessary for creating a talking publication player that supports the DAISY standard. The programs also support DAISY Online (for the transmission of talking publications on the Internet). The software is open source. Documentation has also been made available along with the source code. It is now possible to easily build a complete DAISY Online-client with the newly released components. Build scripts and better developer documentation have also been published on Github. Additional information is provided in the Kolibre press release.

• The F5 function key refreshes the content of the current pane (such as in a file explorer or web browser). Pressing CTRL+F5 changes the refresh in a web browser from a soft refresh (the browser reloads the page from the local cache) to a hard refresh (the browser completely reloads the page from the remote host). [Source: How-to Geek newsletter, May 30]. Also from 'How-to Geek': 10+ Useful System Tools Hidden in Windows

• A list of free security software is available on the Gizmo website. "Probably the Best Free Security List in the World" provides information about more than 20 security software tools.

15 System Tools You Don't Have To Install on Windows Anymore from How-To Geek lists and provides an overview of tools that are included in Windows 8 and many in Windows 7, including Anti-virus, Disk Cleanup, Back-up Tools and Disk Burning.