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DAISY Consortium
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News Release

Contact: George Kerscher
kerscher (at) montana.com
Tel: +1 406/549-4687

Japanese DAISY Consortium:
atdo-staff (at) atdo.jp
Tel: 03-5384-7207

Japanese Society for Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities Information Center:
daisy_c (at) dinf.ne.jp
Tel: 03-5273-0796

Microsoft Co., Ltd. Corporate PR Group:
mskkpr (at) microsoft.com
Tel: 03-5384-7207

April 6, 2010

DAISY Consortium, Japanese Society for Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities, and Microsoft Partner on eBook Accessibility

Free Microsoft Word Tool for Enabling Creation of Documents in Widely Used eBook Format

The DAISY Consortium (head office: Switzerland; president: Hiroshi Kawamura), the Japanese Society for Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities (JSRPD; head office: Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; president: Ichiro Kaneda) and Microsoft Co., Ltd. have partnered on ebook accessibility, and started to offer the Japanese language version of a free Microsoft Word add-in that enables the creation of Word documents in DAISY format that is widely used for creating ebooks and learning materials.

The year 2010 has been designated National Reading Year, and developments in the ebook and e-publishing industry are intensifying. Ensuring that documents are digitized in an appropriate format can help eliminate barriers for people who find reading print media difficult. The DAISY Consortium is working with JSRPD and Microsoft to help as many people as possible to enjoy the benefits of ebooks and digitized educational materials, and make use of these benefits for study and recreational purposes.

Documents composed using the DAISY format are used widely throughout the world by people with visual impairments and by children with dyslexia for their studies because of the way the format enables text to speech, highlighting of text being read and other benefits. The problem in the past was that creating documents in DAISY required specialized knowledge and proprietary editing software. However, DAISY Translator, the free Word add-in, enables the creation of documents in DAISY format without any specialized knowledge and in much shorter time. The free add-in, now available in Japanese, can be downloaded from JSRPD’s website (http://www.dinf.ne.jp/doc/daisy/software/).

The add-in is expected to be particularly useful to educational facilities for visually impaired or dyslexic children, enabling as it does the easy creation of learning materials in DAISY format that can be used for both school classes and study at home. The tool is also expected to be used widely for the easy creation of ebooks as e-readers become more and more popular.

The DAISY Consortium, JSRPD and Microsoft will also work together on activities to promote the use of DAISY Translator such as workshops on creation of learning materials in DAISY format.

The following endorsements have been received in relation to this initiative:

Makoto Nagao, Director, National Diet Library
“We have been working on the digitization of the National Diet Library’s collection, and we put priority on reading accessibility as part of our guarantee of the right of freedom of information. DAISY is an accessible information format that has been developed and promoted internationally, and we welcome this initiative for the way it will improve the reading and learning environments of many people.”

George Kerscher, President, IDPF
“Having Save as DAISY in Microsoft Word translated to Japanese is wonderful,” said George Kerscher, President of the IDPF. He went on to say, “I look forward to having EPUB as an output option in future versions of this add-on.”

Masao Sekido (president of Kenkyusha), Chairman, Japan Electronic Publishing Association
“The Japan Electronic Publishing Association (JEPA) welcomes the release of DAISY Translator and this initiative. JEPA is currently working with the USA’s International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) to formulate requirements for Japanese text layout on EPUB, which is steadily becoming the world standard. EPUB and DAISY are very closely related, and we will be working with other Asian countries on standardization, also with a view to packaging vertical text, ruby annotation and other features into DAISY.”

Makoto Murata, Convenor, ISO/IEC JTC1 SC34/WG4 (Office Open XML)
“Conversion from ISO/IEC 29500 (Office Open XML)-defined conformance class Transitional to DAISY is at the core of DAISY Translator. DAISY itself also conforms to the ANSI/NISO Z39.86 standard. I welcome the Japanese language version of DAISY Translator, and hope to see it develop further in line with standards.”

Nami Takenaka, Chairperson, Prop Station
“Prop Station has been active for twenty years in the utilization of ICT to provide the challenged (people with disabilities) with skills and work opportunities. We have focused on the potential of DAISY since last year, supporting seminars for challenged students with development disabilities to learn DAISY book creation technology. I very much hope that DAISY will be used increasingly to aid in the promotion of participation in society and creation of work opportunities for people challenged by a diversity of disabilities.”

Motoaki Kaneko, President, Shinano Kenshi Co., Ltd.
“From the time that the DAISY format was first being developed in the 1990s, Shinano Kenshi has been involved in the provision of reading environments for people with disabilities by developing and commercializing DAISY-compatible devices under the PLEXTALK brand name. We welcome the provision of this automatic DAISY text creation feature to Word. Because this add-in will facilitate the creation of DAISY format accessible information, we anticipate that more information will become available to a wider audience with the use of DAISY playback devices.”

  1. DAISY format: an accessible ebook format developed by the DAISY Consortium. The format enables text to speech, highlighting of text being read and other features that help people with visual impairments or dyslexia to read, and is widely used in North America and Europe as a format for ebook and e-textbooks for people with disabilities. The DAISY Standard is openly available as the ANSI/NISO Z39.86-2005 specification.
  2. DAISY Translator: an add-in for Microsoft Word. Installing DAISY Translator enables the creation of DAISY format documents in Word. It is open source software that can be downloaded for free from the Japanese Society for Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities (JSRPD) website. It supports Word 2007, Word 2003 and Word XP.

DAISY Consortium website (English): http://www.daisy.org/
JSRPD DAISY Research Center website: http://www.dinf.ne.jp/doc/daisy/
Microsoft Accessibility website: http://www.microsoft.com/enable/