From Inaccessible to Accessible: Workflow Examples
We encourage everyone to make publications accessible from the start, see the DIAGRAM Center guidelines and Developing Digital Content: Basic Principles, but often students or educators start with inaccessible or printed materials (textbooks, documents) that they need to convert and modify.
In this case workflow may look something like this:
- Scan the printed material
- Run through OCR, create a PDF file with readable text
- Edit the PDF, add structure to make an Accessible PDF
- Open your PDF
- Export selections to another format (including XML)
- Save the document as DOCX, DOC, XLSX, RTF, XML, HTML, or CSV
You may also encounter a workflow that may look like this:
- Convert PDF (or EPUB) to document format (.doc, .docx, .odt, .rtf)
- Edit the document to make it accessible
- Convert the document to DAISY XML (dtbook) format
- Convert to DAISY.
Where you start and stop in the process depends on the source file and required format (output).
Conversion from a PDF file may bring several same challenges as conversion from a scan:
- Distinguishing between hard and soft line breaks (also called returns)
- Distinguishing between hard and soft hyphens (de-hyphenating)
- Image handling
- Processing notes: footnotes and endnotes
- Rejecting headers and footers
- Handling of the table of contents
Synthesized text vs. human-narrated DAISY
Bookshare currently provides accessible books in various formats including DAISY 3. Some Bookshare books contain digital text that can be read with text-to-speech engines and synthesized voices.
Digital text can also be synchronized visually with audio, for simultaneous reading and hearing a word read out loud using one of the high-quality voices. The text in these DAISY files can also be enlarged for people with low vision and is supported by most Braille displays. These differences give readers with print disabilities choices over how they want to read books. Review The Difference Between Audiobooks and Digital Books Using Text-to-Speech.
Books that support all of the navigation features of the DAISY format include more capabilities than audio books in MP3:
- Readers can navigate forward or backward by word, paragraph or page
- When specific information or a reading assignment starts on page 35 or chapter 2, the reader can jump right to that location in the book
- If the DAISY book includes an index, a reader can find a referenced word or phrase and jump right to that reference to review it
- Note-taking functionality is dependent on the software player used to read the book, rather than on the book itself
Bookshare books, since most of them originate as scanned books, can currently be navigated by word, paragraph, and page. These books can also be searched by word.
Narrated audiobooks are common, and growing in popularity, but they are most often distributed in MP3.
Narrated (audio) DAISY (provided by Learning Ally, CNIB/CELA, NLS etc.) books allow for extra metadata and navigation compared to MP3 audiobooks. They provide the structure - headings and sometimes page numbers. In most cases, these DAISY books do not have the full text synchronized with the audio.
The process of producing narrated DAISY books is similar to MP3 audiobook creation. The main difference with DAISY audio material is that the book structure is put into a file ahead of time and while the narrator is recording, she/he will navigate through the structure to make sure that the audio synchronizes with headings (and page numbers).
Free options: Audacity is popular for recording and editing MP3 files. Obi is used for recording digital books in DAISY format. Check out another free digital book production tool, Tobi. Review DAISY TopUp, a tool that allows adding content to existing DAISY books.
Text is available under the terms of the DAISY Consortium Intellectual Property Policy, Licensing, and Working Group Process.