Current DAISY News items are posted below . A list of Archived News items is also available.
Vashkar Bhattacharjee of Young Power in Social Action (YPSA) in Bangladesh has been awarded by Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as a person with disability for his outstanding contributions and support to the activities of inclusive ICTs. His contributions include the production of digital talking books and making the relevant skills and technology available for the people with disabilities. More information is provided on the YPSA website.
The ABC is inviting nominations for the 2017 Accessible Books Consortium International Excellence Award for Accessible Publishing. This award recognizes outstanding leadership and achievements in advancing the accessibility of commercial e-books or other digital publications for persons who are print disabled. Detailed information is available on the ABC website.
Deadline: December 15th, 2016
Event: Better Together
Focus: Working together towards accessible information for people with low vision.
When and where?: Wednesday, June 28th, 2017 (The Hague - The Netherlands).
If specialists and experts tap into their combined potential, they can produce something that's greater than the sum of the parts. This is Dedicon's inspiration and goal for the Better Together Conference.
Advances in technology and media are making a significant contribution to realizing this mission. But which solutions offer the best potential? This is why the Better Together Conference will have three tracks, in which together we’ll explore developments now, tomorrow and in the future. Read more and submit your abstract today.
Join DIAGRAM Center's newest webinar, Accessibility Metadata for EPUB and the Web, and hear about the latest in accessibility metadata which can help people search and find accessible content.
- Title: Accessibility Metadata for EPUB and the Web
- Date: December 12, 2016
- Time: 12-1pm Pacific Time
- Presenter: Madeleine Rothberg, WGBH NCAM
- Cost: Free
Link to register: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/g25n9c1ix56t&eom.
The Japan DAISY Consortium, in collaboration with Japanese Society for Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities and The Nippon Foundation, will co-host an international symposium on Digital Textbooks Accessibility to learn about international trends and discuss how we can ensure access to inclusive education in Japan.
- Date and time: November 18th, 13:30 to 16:30
- Venue: The Nippon Foundation Headquarters
- Language: English and Japanese (Simultaneous Interpretation)
- Information Support: Japanese Sign Language, Japanese Captions and English Captions
Hosting Organizations: Japanese Society for Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities, The Nippon Foundation and Japan DAISY Consortium.
For registrations in English, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For Japanese registration, please visit: http://kokucheese.com/event/index/429614/
Draft Program (will be updated)
13:30 - Opening
Moderator: Misako Nomura, Chief of The Secretariat, Japan DAISY Consortium
Yasunobu Ishii, Senior Program Director, Disability and Child Welfare Team - Social Innovation Program Division, The Nippon Foundation; Junji Fukumo, Executive Director, Japanese Society for Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities.
13:45-14:00: Keynote by Hiroshi Kawamura, Steering Committee Chairman, Japan DAISY Consortium/Vice President, Assistive Technology Development Organization
14:00-14:30: “How to achieve ‘born accessibility’ of digital textbooks. The Dutch model.” Maarten Verboom, Chief Executive Officer, Dedicon, the Netherlands
14:30-15:00: “Providing Educational Content Today, Tomorrow, and in the Future." Brad Turner, Vice President, Global Literacy, Benetech /Bookshare, USA
15:10-15:30: "EPUB Accessibility Conformance and Discovery Specification: The Baseline for Educational Publishing." George Kerscher, Chief Innovation Officer, DAISY Consortium/President of IDPF, USA
15:30-16:25: Panel Discussion - Learn from the approach in England, Norway and India.
- Richard Orme, Chief Executive Officer, DAISY Consortium, UK
- Arne Kyrkjebø, Head of Development Department, Norwegian Library of Talking Books and Braille, Norway
- Avneesh Singh, Chief Operating Officer, DAISY Consortium / Co-Chair, EPUB 3 accessibility working group, India
16:25-16:30 Closing by Hiroshi Kawamura
6:30-17:30 Business Card and Information Exchange
More information is provided on the event website.
- Event: EPUB Accessibility Symposium
- Date: Nov 17th (Thursday)
- Time: 15:00-17:30
- Venue: Asukanoma, Japan Education Center, Jinbocho, Tokyo
- Host: Japan Electronic Publishing Association (JEPA)
- Co-host: Japan DAISY Consortium
- Registration fee: 3000 yen (Free for JEPA member)
Program (will be updated):
- Overview of the DAISY Consortium: Hiroshi Kawamura (former President of the DAISY Consortium)
- Future of Accessible Digital Publishing by the Combination of IDPF with W3C (with Japanese translation): George Kerscher (President, IDPF /Chief Innovation Officer, DAISY Consortium)
- Avneesh Singh (Chief Operating Officer, DAISY Consortium /Co-Chair, EPUB 3 Accessibility Working Group)
- Makoto Murata (JEPA CTO)
More information is available on the event website.
The ABC is now inviting nominations for the 2017 Accessible Books Consortium International Excellence Award for Accessible Publishing. This award recognizes outstanding leadership and achievements in advancing the accessibility of commercial e-books or other digital publications for persons who are print disabled.
Two awards will be presented; one to a publisher and one for an initiative. In making its final decision, the selection panel (comprised of various organizations working in the field of accessibility) will consider the extent to which the following elements are present in each nominee’s work:
- an organization-wide commitment to making content available in accessible formats
- accessibility standards built into production systems to make books accessible on, or close to, publication date
- collaboration with partners in the supply chain to ensure that accessibility is maintained in delivering the product to the print disabled end-user
- innovative practices established to advance the accessibility of e-books and digital publications for persons who are print disabled
You may nominate either your own organization/company or a third party anywhere in the world, and ABC encourages nominations of companies, organizations or individuals based in developing or least developed countries. The two awardees will be presented with trophies at the annual awards event held at the London Book Fair on Tuesday, March 14, 2017.
Please submit your application by Thursday, December 15, 2016 through the London Book Fair website.
The DAISY Consortium is pleased to announce the latest release of Obi, the popular open source navigable audiobook creation tool. Obi produces books conforming to the accessible EPUB 3, DAISY 3 and DAISY 2.02 specifications.
Version 3.9 continues to address the important needs of DAISY members. It achieves higher performance with the introduction of a separate set of 64-bit installers to utilize better capabilities of 64-bit systems and comes with an option to increase efficiency for screens with higher resolution.
Version 3.9 presents new features such as cleanup rollback for reversing the last cleanup operation, more information in phrase and project properties for advanced users and enhancements to on-the-fly phrase detection.
Also, the release comes with several new configurations and personalization options for much better integration with members' production workflows.
For example, Configurable English fonts and waveform channel colors as well as options to show cursor time in the stop state. Also, a warning message dialog option before proceeding with section manipulation and much more.
New Obi also comes in Portuguese! Thanks to Vitor Ferreira for translations!
Please visit the Obi project area to check out the full list of features and important bug fixes: http://www.daisy.org/obi/.
Download Version 3.9 at http://www.daisy.org/obi/download/.
The Obi-Tobi team is committed to enriching Obi with new features to keep it abreast with new technologies and making it more suitable for the large worldwide user base.
The DAISY Consortium would like to extend a special "thank you" to all contributors for their valuable feedback and support.
Voting on a proposed merger of the IDPF with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) by IDPF members is underway. On October 13, 2016, IDPF Board of Directors approved the proposed plan for submission to the members, with a recommendation that members vote to approve. The transactions are expected to be completed by early 2017 (subject to the member vote as well as to final approvals by IDPF Board and the W3C Director).
All IDPF member organizations in good standing are entitled to vote in this election via their designated Primary Representative. Voting will be open through November 4, 2016.
“We believe that the proposed combination of IDPF with W3C represents the best path forward to pursue our chosen mission to foster an open accessible digital publishing ecosystem by promoting adoption of EPUB and advancing the Open Web Platform across all fields of publishing,” said IDPF Executive Director Bill McCoy. “We are excited about the prospect of giving our members a unique opportunity to be part of an expanded publishing engagement in W3C, as Web technologies are clearly the universal enabling platform for content creators and distributors of all kinds.”
Since the initial announcement six months ago, IDPF has engaged in a variety of information sharing and outreach efforts with its members and the industry. More information is provided on the EPUBZone website.
Learn how to use the Orton-Gillingham approach to help your students dive deeper into the writing process! Both reading and writing involve constructing or composing meaning. Academy of Orton-Gillingham Fellow David Katz has put together an informative session to give you hands-on strategies that can easily be recreated into the elementary, middle school, and high school curriculum.
Note: This course is not a certification course in Orton-Gillingham. It is a writing course helping you use the OG approach in the classroom.
More information including Course Syllabus and registration are provided on the Learning Ally website.
The Marrakesh Treaty obliges those who ratify it to create copyright exceptions to allow visually impaired people or authorized entities (libraries and other organizations) to make accessible copies of copyrighted works without asking permission from the rightsholder.
As of October 19th, twenty-five countries have ratified the Treaty, and many others will be looking to amend national copyright law to bring the Treaty into force domestically. A key focus of the Treaty is to enable the cross-border exchange of accessible files for use by those with print disabilities.
The one-hour event "What Does the Marrakesh Treaty Mean for Publishers?" at Frankfurt Book Fair on October 21st at 3 pm will explain the Treaty and what this means for the publishing community. Attendees will hear from experts about the Treaty and from the Accessible Books Consortium about the TIGAR service which was established for publishers and authorized entities to facilitate the cross-border exchange of accessible files.
- Carlo Scollo Lavizzari, International Publishers Association
- Richard Orme, DAISY Consortium
- Jim Russell, Accessible Books Consortium
Entry is free, but registration is essential.
The IDPF Board recently approved working group recommendations to advance the EPUB 3.1 specifications to Proposed Specification status. A public review and comment period will be open through November 7th. The final step according to IDPF policies is a member vote to approve as Recommended Specifications.
The EPUB 3.1 revision also introduces a new accessibility specification and techniques document. Both also apply to older versions of the EPUB specification. Developed as part of EPUB 3.1, the goal is to provide guidance on making conforming EPUB publications accessible.
IDPF members and non-members are welcome to submit comments via the IDPF GitHub Issue List.
More information is provided on the IDPF website.
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Working Group announced a plan to develop WCAG 2.1, which builds on but does not supersede WCAG 2.0. The group would like input from stakeholders on this plan.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 became a W3C Recommendation on December 11th, 2008. It has been one of the major resources for making web content accessible to users with disabilities. WCAG has been referenced by accessibility policies of many countries and organizations, translated into twenty languages, and it has become an ISO standard (ISO/IEC 40500:2012).
WCAG 2.0 was structured to be a stable resource. Technology-specific implementation guidance was provided separately (in the Techniques and Understanding supporting documents) and updated as web technologies evolve.
In 2015, the WCAG Working Group had chosen to develop extensions to WCAG 2.0, in order to provide targeted guidance quickly, without changing the meaning of conformance to WCAG 2.0 itself or disturbing policies that reference WCAG 2.0. In review of the Requirements for WCAG 2.0 Extensions, however, it became apparent that the interrelationship of extensions could be complicated, and accessibility for some user groups could vary if organizations chose to meet some extensions but not others.
After careful consultation, the Working Group has decided not to put the new guidance in extensions, but instead work on an updated version of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. WCAG 2.1 will build on WCAG 2.0 to provide guidance urgently needed for today’s technologies. Because of the backwards compatibility, sites conforming either to WCAG 2.0 or WCAG 2.1 will share a common base of accessibility conformance. More information is provided on the W3C blog.
The Council and European Union (EU) member states need to accelerate the ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind, have low vision or are print disabled. The treaty, which entered into force September 30th, was signed by the EU in 2014 but is yet to be implemented by the Council.
“The EU should be in the forefront when it comes to facilitating the lives for people with disabilities. Therefore, I deeply regret that the Marrakesh Treaty will not come into force in Europe today”, said Petitions Committee Chair Cecilia Wikström (ALDE, SE).
“This issue has been of the highest priority for the PETI committee for a long time and we will continue supporting the ratification process and its measures until the treaty is properly implemented in all European Union member states”, she added.
By signing the Marrakesh Treaty in 2014, the EU member states have taken a political commitment to ratify the treaty. More information is available on the Global Accessibility News website.
Australians who are blind or have low vision are the first in the world to benefit from the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled through the symbolic exchange of book titles between the DAISY Consortium members Vision Australia and CNIB (Canada).
The Treaty came into force today. It has already been ratified by 22 countries, allowing the free sharing of titles in accessible formats between organisations in ratified countries. People who are blind, have low vision or print disability can now access a wider range of content.
Vision Australia General Manager for Accessible Information Solutions, Mr Michael Simpson stated:
“Today’s exchange is symbolic and marks the first step in expanding the collection of titles for the print disability communities here in Australia. The books included in the exchange are fiction titles, but in time, we expect other content to become available including journals and periodicals, educational materials and sheet music.” More information is provided on the Vision Australia website.
Learning Ally's new educational reading app – Learning Ally LINK, which is fully functional across all devices, makes it easier for schools to train educators and students to access the organization’s learning tools. This includes their library of more than 82,000 human-narrated audiobooks which help struggling readers improve vocabulary, fluency and comprehension.
The LINK software is currently in use on PC, MAC and Chromebooks by more than 250,000 students in over 10,000 US schools. The new app is designed to easily and immediately increase the number of students, teachers, schools and districts who have access to Learning Ally technology, programs and services.
Launch of the new mobile-friendly version of LINK will include continuous improvements and updates. Improvements will be based on educator and student testing and feedback, with students who “learn through listening” in mind. The LINK app is now available for download for various platforms. An updated version is coming soon to the Google Play store. More information is provided in the Learning Ally press release.
Benetech, the leading nonprofit empowering communities in need by creating scalable technology solutions, announced that over 10 million accessible ebooks have been downloaded through its Bookshare initiative. Bookshare is the world's largest online library for people who are blind, visually impaired or have a physical disability that interferes with reading, such as dyslexia.
"Access to information is a basic human right," said Jim Fruchterman, founder, and CEO of Benetech. "Our Bookshare initiative is focused on using technology to make sure individuals who are unable to read standard print can exercise that right. Today's milestone is a celebration of what is possible when technology is used for social good."
Benetech works with over 820 publishers to collect new releases and existing books that are currently unavailable to individuals who cannot read standard print. Bookshare's technology converts the digital files to accessible formats, including braille, audio, highlighted text and large-font text. Over 425,000 Bookshare members in 70 countries access the growing list of 460,000 titles made available by this technology. The Bookshare library is free for all U.S. students with qualifying print disabilities. More information is provided on the Bookshare blog.
The 32nd CSUN Assistive Technology Conference invites submissions of papers for this conference to be held February 27 to March 4, 2017 at the San Diego Manchester Grand Hyatt hotel. The CSUN AT Conference is the world’s longest-running and largest conference of its kind. The conference draws more than 4,500 persons annually who attend sessions, visit the exhibit halls, and participate in affiliate meetings and informal gatherings.
Reviewers will be looking for papers in the general domains of new concepts concerning hardware and software, adaptive devices, access to technology, training programs, results of research, and overall best practices in any area of assistive technology.
Submissions are due by Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
More information is provided on the CSUN 2017 conference website.
The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) announced the shortlist finalists for this year’s annual BISG Industry Awards. Awards finalists and BISG Industry members will gather in New York on September 30th at the BISG Annual Meeting of Members to engage with dynamic speakers and key industry executives and reflect on the impact of the 40 years of BISG transforming the book industry.
BISG Most Valuable Volunteer:
- Noah Genner (BookNet Canada)
- Tzviya Siegman (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.)
- Richard Stark (Barnes & Noble)
- Shayna Webb-Dray (Kaplan Publishing)
BISG Industry Champion Award:
- Dave Cramer (Hachette Book Group)
- George Kerscher (DAISY Consortium)
- Maureen McMahon (Kaplan Publishing)
- Tzviya Siegman (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.)
BISG Industry Innovation Award:
- Tom Chalmers (IPR License)
- George Kerscher (DAISY Consortium)
- Dominique Raccah (Sourcebooks, Inc.)
- Chris Sim (Kadaxis)
Congratulations to all finalists! You can register to attend the Annual Meeting on the BISG website.
The EPUB 3.1 revision introduces a new accessibility specification and techniques document. Although developed as part of EPUB 3.1 to provide guidance on making conforming EPUB publications accessible, these new guidelines are designed to be equally applicable to older versions of the specification.
The Working Group is seeking input regarding feasibility. Comments on the draft specification are solicited through September 27, 2016. Those affiliated with IDPF member organizations are encouraged to join the EPUB Working Group email list to participate directly in the development process. Members and non-members can provide feedback via the IDPF GitHub issue tracker.
Sugamaya Pustakalaya is an online platform that makes accessible content available to print-disabled people. The library houses publications across diverse subjects, languages and multiple accessible formats. It has been created by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in collaboration with member organizations of DAISY Forum of India. It is powered by TCS Access. Books are available in accessible formats for people with visual impairments and other print disabilities. Sugamaya Pustakalaya integrates libraries across India and the Globe, including the largest international library, Bookshare.
Users can read the publications on any device of their choice - mobile phones, tablets, computers, DAISY players or using refreshable braille displays. More information is provided in the official press release.
The first Editor's Draft of EPUB Accessibility 1.0 is available for your review at http://www.idpf.org/epub/a11y/. Accessibility features have always been a part of EPUB 3 and were refined during the EPUB 3.1 revision process. Now in one document, you can find all the formal requirements for certifying EPUB publications as accessible.
Benetech announced that Dr. George Kerscher has joined the organization as Senior Advisor to the Benetech Global Literacy program.
At Benetech, George's responsibilities will include strategy and planning for higher education and libraries as well as projects for the visually impaired as part of Benetech's Bookshare and Born Accessible initiatives to make all e-books fully accessible when they are first created. Bookshare is the world's largest online library of accessible e-books for people with print disabilities offering over 450,000 books and serving more than 400,000 members.
"I'm proud to join the Benetech and Bookshare team," said Dr. Kerscher. "The global literacy team at Benetech has consistently demonstrated their industry-leading commitment to accessibility and technology leadership for over ten years, and I look forward to helping them continue to scale that mission."
Along with his new role at Benetech, George is Chief Innovations Officer of the DAISY Consortium and President of the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF). In addition, he chairs the DAISY/NISO Standards committee, chairs the Steering Council of the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), and serves on the Advisory Board of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). More information is provided in the official press release.
In May 2016, the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) and World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) announced that they were exploring the potential to combine two organizations to accelerate EPUB adoption and advance publishing technologies for the overall Open Web Platform. Since the announcement, both organizations have received feedback from members and industry stakeholders, which they are in the process of evaluating. IDPF has already organized several webinars and meetings and expects to provide more information to members within the next month.
As previously announced, IDPF is co-organizing a Publishing Community Meeting on September 22nd during the W3C TPAC week. The preliminary agenda has now been posted, and the advance registration discount is available through September 2nd, 2016. More information is provided on the IDPF website.
The EPUB 3 Working Group announced that the third Editor's Draft of EPUB 3.1 is now available for community review. This draft is feature complete. All open issues in the tracker have been addressed. The Working Group is looking to publish the first formal Public Draft of the EPUB 3.1 specification by early September.
EPUB Accessibility 1.0 Conformance and Discovery Requirements for EPUB Publications are available for review at http://www.idpf.org/epub/a11y/.
Orbit Research and the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) announced the introduction of Graphiti™, the world's first affordable tactile graphics display.
Based on revolutionary Tactuator™ technology from Orbit Research, the Graphiti refreshable tactile graphics display represents a breakthrough in non-visual access to graphical information including charts, drawings, flowcharts, images and photographs, through an array of moving pins.
This technology has the ability to set each pin to different heights, which enables the display of topographical maps and other graphical elements such as gray shades and color represented as varying heights of pins that can be readily sensed by the user’s fingers.
Connectable to computers, tablets, smartphones, or the Orion TI-84 Plus Talking Graphing Calculator via a USB-C port or Bluetooth, its open API allows developers to create apps to work with Graphiti.
Additionally, an HDMI port allows connection to any device with a video display output, identifying the unit as a display monitor. The unit also includes a cursor pad for navigation and an SD-card slot for loading files for reading and editing in a standalone mode. More information is provided in the press release.
Online registration for the Accessible Higher Ground (AHG) 2016 conference (November 14-18) is now open.
AHG is pleased to announce that Tommy Edison, “The Blind Film Critic,” will be the keynote speaker for AHG 2016. More information can be found on the AHG website.
The National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute and Google are co-hosting a three-day event for access technology trainers October 4-6, 2016 to learn more about all things Google. Android, Chrome OS, and Google Apps (including Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, etc.) will be the main topics of the training. If you are an access technology trainer and are interested in participating, apply today.
Participation will be free for successful applicants. Space is limited, so be sure to submit your application early. The deadline is Friday, September 2nd. The event will be held at the NFB Jernigan Institute at 200 East Wells Street, at Jernigan Place, Baltimore, Maryland 21230.
For more information, please visit https://nfb.org/googletraining.
Are you struggling to understand which reading systems support various features of EPUB 3?
This year, the EPUB 3 Support Grid website has been improved, making it easier to use and more valuable to the publishing industry and readers than ever. Users are now able to:
- Find support by feature
- Refer to a URL pointing to the results of a specific test and simple urls for referencing pages
- Have a variety of table views, sortable and filterable by headers, in small chunks
- Enjoy a cleaner, more accessible site
- Review accessibility testing scores
During the webinar on July 26th, the benefits and features of the EPUB 3 Support Grid were discussed from the perspectives of a publisher, a reading systems developer, and institutions whose needs for features such as accessibility in reading systems is crucial.
Led by industry expert Bill Kasdorf, and featuring Tzviya Siegman of Wiley, Rick Johnson of VitalSource, and George Kerscher of DAISY, participants learned what the EPUB 3 Test Grid can do to help everyone in the publishing ecosystem improve digital reading for their audiences.
Learning Ally is currently accepting applications for presentations for their December 2nd online conference.
This is a "live conference", and your webinar style session will also be recorded for playback. The purpose of the conference is to increase understanding about dyslexia, educate and engage teachers and parents, and advocate for children with learning disabilities.
Apply by August 1st, with acceptances of presentations on a rolling basis. More information can be found on the Learning Ally website.