The DAISY Consortium's Newsletter - June 2015

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.

Publishers' Corner

EPUBZone Solutions Showcase now has over 100 EPUB tools and solutions featured, providing users with the ability to search and find the perfect solution for their needs. Accessibility Tools and Services are also listed.

Nominations are open until July 15th for Book Industry Study Group's 2015 Industry Awards.

Get Started with EDUPUB. Presenter: Paul Belfanti. BISG webcast on July 9th. This webcast is designed to help publishers of all types better understand and begin implementing EDUPUB, an EPUB 3 profile. EDUPUB aims to enable advanced digital educational content to be reliably distributed, consumed, and interchanged across a wide variety of devices and platforms. Register now.

The International Publishers Association (IPA) has released its position paper on Copyright Exceptions in Education. Download from the IPA website.

Improving Access to Information: Canada's Leadership

Today, approximately one million Canadians live with a print disability such as blindness or partial sight. Mobility issues prevent some Canadians from turning a page or pointing a cursor. For these Canadians, it can be difficult to obtain materials such as textbooks or online resources in a format that is both accessible and easy to use.

Industry Minister James Moore recently introduced new legislation in Canadian Parliament that will expand access to print materials in formats vital to individuals living with a print disability. The Support for Canadians with Print Disabilities Act will enable Canada to join the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled. More information is provided in the official press release.

With this legislation, Canada will become one of the first G7 countries to be able to implement the Marrakesh Treaty.

These measures will bring benefits to many different groups of Canadians with print disabilities including:

Schools, libraries and charitable organizations that work with Canadians who are print disabled will benefit from reduced duplication in the production of accessible works.

Eight countries have ratified the Marrakesh Treaty so far. The ratification of 20 countries is needed for the treaty to go into effect.

Additional reading and resources:

Quick facts and quotes on the Canadian government website.


"On behalf of the World Blind Union, I'd like to congratulate Canada on this important show of leadership. With this commitment to the Marrakesh Treaty, Canada will be one of the first major countries to ratify the Treaty, a hugely influential step that will encourage other countries around the world. This is a significant step to end the book famine for people who are blind and partially sighted." - Penny Hartin, CEO, World Blind Union

Write up by Varju Luceno

DAISY Board, Members and Friends Meet in Paris

During the second week of June, DAISY Consortium Board, several Member representatives and Friends gathered in Paris, France for meetings and special events.

Statue of Valentin Haüy in front of the National Institute for Blind Youth, Paris

A big thank you goes to our hosts in France for their hospitality.

A day before the DAISY Board Meeting, on June 8th, BrailleNet welcomed over 250 participants from 30 different countries to its 2015 European e-Accessibility Forum. This year's topic, e-Accessible Knowledge, was discussed and promoted by leading experts from a variety of fields.

1st Board Meeting of 2015: Highlights

Richard Orme, the new CEO of the DAISY Consortium (effective May 2015) shared his background and aspirations. Richard’s story is published in this issue of the DAISY Planet.

Another highlights of the DAISY Board Meeting included Andrew Furlong’s (Vision Australia) presentation introducing Version 2 of the DAISY Online Delivery Protocol.

The DAISY Consortium Board approved Version 2 on June 9th, 2015. The new version of the protocol includes several improvements for communication between reading systems and servers. More information will follow in coming weeks and will be added to the DAISY Online Delivery Protocol section of the DAISY Consortium website. Board Meeting Minutes will be made available soon.

Annual General Meeting

Stephen King

Jesper Klein

Current President Stephen King received recognition for his long-time commitment and contributions towards achieving DAISY Consortium’s vision. Jesper Klein from MTM was elected as the new President of the DAISY Consortium. Congratulations, Stephen and Jesper!

In 2009, DAISY Consortium made a major strategic change from mainly focusing on DAISY specific standards to the development of mainstream standards.

Avneesh Singh and George Kerscher

During their presentation, George Kerscher and Avneesh Singh provided compelling reasons for this strategic change within the DAISY Consortium. Their presentation included a discussion of the challenges this path has presented and an outline for accomplishing the DAISY Consortium mission. Among the questions answered were:

What is the strategy for DAISY Consortium to ensure accessibility in EPUB 3 and its successor?

The answer is to have strong involvement in both - W3C and IDPF technical working groups. This will ensure that the objective of ensuring accessibility in the EPUB specifications will be achieved no matter who owns the specifications in the future.

What does it mean for the DAISY Consortium in terms of planning and operations?

The DAISY Consortium needs to:

  1. Sustain and increase the technical competencies within the DAISY Consortium core team.
  2. Ensure that participation in the e-publishing domain working groups under both IDPF and W3C prioritizes accessibility.
  3. Institutionalize accessibility in both W3C and IDPF and encourage participation of DAISY representatives in their governance and working groups.
  4. Establish the DAISY Consortium as the authoritative body for accessible publishing in the publishing ecosystem. Drive and possibly own the key initiatives to establish the Consortium as a technical leader for accessible publishing and reading.

In addition to enjoying networking opportunities, DAISY Consortium Friends presented at the Annual General Meeting. We have received the following presentation slides:

Photo credits: Mattias Karlsson, Richard Orme

Accessibility Audit Leads to Workshop in Rwanda

A four-day training in Kigali, Rwanda focused on accessibility in mainstream publishing and provided hands on guidance for making websites accessible to all including persons with disabilities. It took place May 26-29, 2015 in College of Education, University of Rwanda.

The training was planned and coordinated by Dipendra Manocha, Developing Countries Coordinator, DAISY Consortium and Jaco du Toit, Adviser for Communication and Information, UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa. Trainers were Prashant Ranjan Verma (DAISY Consortium) and Amit Verma (both from New Delhi, India).

UNESCO had previously conducted a web accessibility audit of educational portals of the Ministry of Education, Rwanda Education Board and Workforce Development Agency. This audit identified several accessibility barriers and recommended changes for making the portals usable by all. A big part of developing accessible websites is making the documents (e.g. books, newsletters and reports) uploaded to the website accessible.

Hands-On Workshops Change Lives

With the help of trainers and tutorials, participants learned how small changes in the book production workflow can make mainstream publications accessible to persons who cannot read standard print due to visual or other impairments.

Trainer Assisting A Participant Who Uses a Computer

Trainers introduced:

Participants also learned to use the open source NVDA screen reading software to manually test websites from the point of view of visually impaired and mobility impaired users.

On the last day, trainees were requested to apply knowledge they had acquired to create an accessible eBook in EPUB 3 format and fix accessibility problems on a given webpage independently.

The training was well received. Here are a few comments from the evaluation forms:

“The training enabled me to understand challenges faced by people with disabilities.”

“I learned how to prepare materials for people living with disabilities (text, pictures and sound).”

Contact us if you are interested in receiving more information about inclusive publishing training in developing countries.

Prashant Ranjan Verma provided the report for this article.

e-Accessibility Forum: Making knowledge accessible to all

Written by Katie Durand. Photo credit: Romain Gresillon.

BrailleNet logo image

The 9th European e-Accessibility Forum, organised by BrailleNet and Universcience, was held at the Cité des Sciences in Paris on June 8, 2015. This year's event focused on e-Accessible Knowledge and was organised in conjunction with the DAISY Consortium Board Meeting.

Organisers welcomed over 250 delegates from over 30 different countries. Leading academics, IT professionals, publishers and disability specialists from the public and private sector discussed and exchanged best practices in the promotion of access to knowledge for all.

The event was opened by Claude Farge of Universcience and Dominique Burger of BrailleNet. The day was then split into four sessions, with a rich programme of workshops and demonstrations. Mini-conferences were offered during the extended lunch hour.

Aligning Legal, Technical and Scientific Systems

The first session provided a snapshot of the state of accessible knowledge today and outlined the legal, technical and scientific apparatus that, if used correctly, can ensure that knowledge is accessible to all. Recounting litigation efforts undertaken in the US on behalf of the National Federation of the Blind, US attorney Daniel Goldstein demonstrated that, when used creatively, legislation can make universities and content providers sit up, take note and - most importantly - take action to ensure their digital materials are accessible to all students.

George Kerscher, Daniel Goldstein, Dominique Burger and Edouard Gentaz

DAISY Consortium Secretary General George Kerscher made the case for setting a clearly defined baseline for accessible materials and working together with the publishing industry to ensure that content is born accessible and available to as wide an audience as possible. Edouard Gentaz of the University of Geneva concluded the session with a rich demonstration of the different learning mechanisms in place in humans from birth. He discussed the potential of multi-sensory approaches, some integrating new technologies, to help develop basic skills such as reading, writing and geometry.

In the second session, BrailleNet’s Alex Bernier gave a comprehensive overview of the barriers that must be overcome in order to grant equal access to scientific materials for the print-disabled. Betsy Beaumon of Benetch outlined the invaluable work taking place at the DIAGRAM Center. Neil Soiffer of Design Science and Volker Sorge of the University of Birmingham (UK) demonstrated that there are languages, tools and methodologies available to content producers and/or providers that, when used effectively, can enable print-disabled students to fully engage with complex STEM diagrams and equations.

Digital Learning Environments

Following an extensive roster of workshops and demonstrations exploring such topics as accessible MOOCs, innovative solutions for complex content, and audio-tactile learning materials, the afternoon kicked off with an engaging session on digital learning environments. All speakers put the onus on the need to adapt the learning environment to the very specific needs of each student rather than forcing the student to adapt to the constraints of a given learning environment. Neuroscientists Caroline Huron of the College de France and Hervé Glasel of the CERENE Schools, addressed the needs of pupils with mild to severe learning disabilities and argued that digital tools can facilitate the task of adapting classroom materials to the specific needs of individual students.

Paul Nisbet of CALL at the University of Edinburgh described the extensive take-up of digital papers in Scottish secondary school examinations which not only offer candidates with additional support needs a means to demonstrate their skills and abilities independently, but also saves the Scottish Qualifications Authority significant costs associated with human readers and scribes.

In the penultimate session, Riitta Vivolin-Karen of the Sign Language eLibrary of Finland and Jean-Philippe Moreux of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France described how the needs of print-disabled users were being factored into the digital strategies of national libraries. Across the board, libraries are investing more and more in the development of a digital reading offer, and robust tools and formats are now available to those institutions seeking to open their collections to all, regardless of language or ability.

Agreement to Ensure Accessibility

BrailleNet was very honoured to welcome the French Minister of Digital Affairs, Axelle Lemaire, to close the event in the concluding session. The Minister saluted the tireless efforts of some of the speakers present, and assured delegates that e-Accessibility is at the top of her agenda. She concluded by inviting BrailleNet and representatives from some of France’s Web industry schools to sign an agreement to ensure an e-Accessibility component is integrated into key courses for digital professionals.

Yet again, the Forum demonstrated that an e-Accessible world relies on the individual and collective efforts of the many people involved in producing, packaging and delivering digital content and services. All papers suggested that the ecosystem is approaching maturity with the necessary legal, technical and scientific apparatus in place, and so it falls on each of us to work together to ensure that knowledge is accessible to all.

Additional reading and resources:

Textalk Reader Delivers New Accessible Content Daily

Written by Fredrik Schill (Textalk)

The Textalk Reader app provides an intuitive and easy-to-learn user interface. The touch screen turns into a customized keyboard layout, by segmenting it into a set of areas/buttons, which provide direct access to all common reading functions. This makes it an easy and efficient tool for blind readers to navigate both newspapers and books.

Image of a Textalk Reader

Textalk Reader also comes with a launcher for Android. The launcher makes it possible to boot the Android device and directly enter the app. This launcher, together with the virtual keyboard layout, can effectively turn an ordinary off-the-shelf smartphone into a DAISY player, without requiring any additional knowledge from the user.

The Textalk Reader app supports the DAISY Online Delivery Protocol version 1.0. It also supports the upcoming new DAISY Online Delivery Protocol version 2.0. Textalk Reader has served as a reference app for the DAISY Online Working Group, while testing the new version of the protocol.

Different versions of the Textalk Reader have provided newspaper access to blind readers in Sweden, and other European countries for more than 30 years. Textalk has a long standing relationship with MTM, Swedish Agency for Accessible Media.

Today, more than 120 daily Swedish newspaper titles can be read with Textalk Reader. It is available for Windows Mobile and Android. Textalk will soon make it available for iOS.


I notice that Microsoft Windows comes with a few built-in TTS voices. Would I violate the copyright law if I publish my DAISY document with text-to-speech enabled on the internet?

Daniel C.


Dear Daniel:

eBooks and documents that you publish for your own use can definitely be created / read aloud with built-in text-to-speech.

If you are planning to sell your digital content or distribute your documents to wider audiences, licensing fees may apply. Always check the "fine print" or contact the developer / owner of text-to-speech voices you use.

Also, it is good to remember that due to author and publisher concerns over copyright infringement, some eBooks that you obtain from other sources are protected with Digital Rights Management (DRM), which can prevent text-to-speech software from accessing eBook content.

Bits & Pieces

M-Enabling Summit 2015 presentation Finding Accessible Apps for Reading has been added to the DAISY Consortium's Slideshare channel.

W3C MathML 3.0 Was Approved as ISO/IEC International Standard.

Upcoming Event: WLIC 2015 (August 15-21, Cape Town, South Africa). Open Session: The inclusive library - How to render inclusive library services to blind and visually impaired people. The preliminary list of papers to be presented (notice several DAISY Member representatives) has been posted to the IFLA website.

Tech Tips

Accessible Image Sample Book has been updated. The book is available to download in both EPUB and HTML formats.

  • Visit the GitHub page to download the Accessible Image Sample Book source files.
  • Sign up to be notified when new versions are posted by sending a request with the Contact Us form. Type “sample book alerts” in the subject line.
  • If you already have an EPUB reader installed on your computer, then the book may open automatically when you download the .epub file in the GitHub repository.
  • If you don’t have an EPUB reader, download one of the free readers (see a listing on the DIAGRAM Center e-book software guide) or download an e-reader extension for your browser, such as the Firefox extension or the Readium Chrome extension.
  • After you install the extension, save the Accessible Image Sample Book .epub file to your hard drive. Then drag it into your browser with the extension installed. It should open.

If you prefer, you can view the book in HTML format. Additional source files are also available.