More than 600 negotiators from WIPO’s 186 member states began work on finalizing a new international treaty to ease access to books for blind, visually impaired, and other print disabled people. The Diplomatic Conference to Conclude a Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities, convened by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and hosted by the Kingdom of Morocco, is meeting in Marrakesh from June 18 to 28, 2013.
A signed treaty would be the culmination of years of discussions on improving access for the blind, visually impaired, and print disabled to published works in formats such as Braille, large print text and audio books. The beneficiaries will have better access to novels, textbooks and other material that they can use for education and enjoyment. More information is provided on the WIPO website.
Danish software house Hindenburg Systems has been helping broadcast journalists tell stories using sound since 2009. The clean, user-friendly design has won the hearts of broadcast radio journalists all over the world.
Sound quality is just as vital for broadcast radio as it is for audio books for the visually impaired. Hindenburg’s advanced DSP technology, automatic level-setting and Voice Profiling system ensure high quality audio for journalists with little technical know-how.
Now Hindenburg Audio Book Creator (HABC) brings the same Scandinavian design and advanced audio technology to the production of audio books. HABC will allow libraries and e-book publishers to combine the highest possible quality with the most efficient production workflow for DAISY and EPUB3 audio book production.
“Hindenburg Systems bring great technology and usability to the audio book field. Their product will dramatically improve our efficiency and audio quality, while ensuring that we can keep providing the most advanced products to our users, now and in the future.”- Ole Holst Andersen, Head of IT and Production, NOTA
The Hindenburg Audio Book Creator is developed in cooperation with DAISY members, NLB and NOTA with input from multiple DAISY book producers. Their feedback has resulted in a user-friendly tool. DAISY 3.0 support is on its way.
- Import: DTBook, DAISY & EPUB
- Export DAISY 2.02 & EPUB 3
- Automated levels based on Loudness
- Automated EQ & Compression - Windows 7 & 8
For more info or trial contact: Chris Mottes, CEO, Hindenburg Systems ApS
Mobile: +45 31 39 24 70
- Skype: chrismottes
The Society of Scholarly Publishing is holding their 35th Annual meeting in San Francisco (June 5-7, 2013). The attendees (approximately 700) are about 89% publishers and 20% librarians. They range from STM publishers to societies and university presses.
Bill McCoy (IDPF) will moderate “Accessibility Challenges and Possibilities: No File Left Behind!” on Thursday, June 6th. The panel will include George Kerscher (DAISY Consortium); Rick Johnson (VitalSource Technologies Inc.) and Anh Bui (Benetech). More information is provided on the SSP website.
The 2013 edition of The State of the World’s Children is dedicated to the situation of children with disabilities. This report examines the barriers – from inaccessible buildings to dismissive attitudes, from invisibility in official statistics to vicious discrimination – that deprive children with disabilities of their rights and keep them from participating fully in society. It also lays out some of the key elements of inclusive societies that respect and protect the rights of children with disabilities, adequately support them and their families, and nurture their abilities – so that they may take advantage of opportunities to flourish and make their contribution to the world. This report can also be downloaded in DAISY format - created using the open source tools (DAISY Pipeline, Tobi) developed by the DAISY Consortium.
The programs and systems Textalk AB has created for the visually impaired population, are always based on specific user requirements. From their almost 30 years of experience they know that user friendliness is extremely important. Using Textalk's software, visually impaired user can access newspapers, magazines, books, Text-TV, email and other digital texts. More information is provided in the Member entry on the DAISY Consortium website.
The 2013 M-Enabling Global Summit is a program exclusively dedicated to promoting mobile accessible and assistive applications and services for senior citizens and users of all abilities.
The second edition of the M-Enabling Summit in 2013 (June 6-7, 2013) is expected to draw more than 600 participants from at least 40 countries. Convening in Washington, D.C., the M-Enabling Summit is organized in cooperation with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), ensuring substantial participation for leading international mobile service providers, policy makers, apps developers and manufacturers.
Representatives of the DAISY Consortium Full Members Hiroshi Kawamura (Japanese DAISY Consortium), Richard Orme (RNIB) and Betsy Beaumon (Benetech/Bookshare) are among distinguished speakers. Register now!
The study on the interoperability of e-book formats was commissioned from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz by the European & International Booksellers Federation and conducted by Professor Christoph Bläsi and Professor Franz Rothlauf of Johannes Gutenberg University, who said: "There is no technical or functional reason not to use and establish EPUB 3 as an/the interoperable (open) ebook format standard. One short term obstacle is the non-availability of reader applications able to display all EPUB 3 features. However, this problem should be fixed soon by the IDPF Readium initiative which is developing an open source reference system and rendering engine for EPUB 3." More information is provided on the European Booksellers Association website.
The W3C WAI Research and Development Working Group (RDWG) invites you to contribute to the online symposium on User Modeling for Accessibility: http://www.w3.org/WAI/RD/2013/user-modeling/.
Submission date: June 6th, 2013
Symposium date: July 15th, 2013
This online symposium invites researchers, practitioners, and users with disabilities to explore current and past research experiences related to user modeling for accessibility. User modeling is an approach for generating and adapting user interfaces to address particular user needs and preferences. The goal of the symposium is to analyze different methods and implementations of user modeling and their potential usage for improving accessibility for people with disabilities. This includes the design, creation, storage, and usage of user models, in particular in web browsers, applications, authoring tools, and other aspects of the Web.
Organizers invite research and position papers of about 1,000 words. Submissions will be peer-reviewed.
Accepted papers will be published online in an attributable form as part of the symposium proceedings. Authors of accepted papers will be invited to participate in the symposium panel.
For more information about the symposium and submissions, please see
- User Modeling for Accessibility main page: http://www.w3.org/WAI/RD/2013/user-modeling/
- Call for Papers: http://www.w3.org/WAI/RD/2013/user-modeling/cfp.html.
If you are interested in contributing to this Symposium, please submit your paper by June 6th.
Dolphin Computer Access announced the immediate availability of SuperNova v13.50, the first professionally supported screen magnification software to run on computers powered by Microsoft's latest operating systems Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 Enterprise.
With a single package, computers running Windows 8 have their onscreen text and graphics enlarged smoothly, difficult colours changed to more comfortable alternatives, mouse pointer and cursor positions highlighted clearly, plus all text is spoken with natural sounding voices and translated accurately to literary Braille.
"SuperNova v13.50 is a significant breakthrough especially for partially sighted people buying new Windows PCs" explains RNIB's Steve Griffiths. "It contains support for Windows 8, and having SuperNova's excellent colour and size options is a huge improvement over the basic Windows magnifier for students and professionals with sight loss."
SuperNova works with the new Windows 8 Start Screen including: live tiles showing updating information, Charms Bar which is the new way to change settings and share content, plus SuperNova continues to work with your existing desktop and legacy applications including Microsoft Office, Adobe Reader and Skype. More information is provided on the Dolphin Computer Access website.
IMLS Press Contact: 202-653-4799
Giuliana Bullard, gbullard(at)imls.gov
Washington, DC -- Yesterday, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Stephen Breyer administered the oath of office to five individuals who will serve on the National Museum and Library Services Board. The board is the advisory body for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Althemese Pemberton Barnes, Vishakha Desai, Tammie Kahn, George Kerscher, and Jacquelyn K. Sundstrand were appointed by President Barack Obama. Members of the board are selected based on their expertise and commitment to libraries or museums. IMLS Director Susan Hildreth said, “We welcome the collective experience and knowledge our newest members will bring to the board. Their service on the National Museum and Library Services Board will help keep libraries and museums at the forefront of the movement to create a nation of learners. The IMLS staff and I look forward to working with them.”
Althemese Pemberton Barnes is the executive director of the John G. Riley Museum, which she founded in 1996. In 1997, she established the Florida African American Heritage Preservation Network, a statewide professional museum association. She served in Florida’s Departments of Education and Labor as an employment counselor and program specialist, retiring in 1995. From 1965 to 1970, she was a music instructor in the Leon County Schools in Tallahassee, Florida. She has worked as a consultant on several oral history and cultural development projects, and directed the publication of historical books, heritage trail maps, guides, and documentaries. She is a member of the American Alliance of Museums, the Florida Heritage Foundation, the Florida Association of Museums, the Association of African American Museums, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Ms. Barnes received a B.S. and an M.S. from Florida A&M University.
Vishakha Desai is special advisor for global affairs to President Lee Bollinger of Columbia University and professor of practice at its School of International and Public Affairs. She is senior advisor to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation for global policy and programs, and president emerita of Asia Society, an organization she led for the last eight years. From 1977 to 1990, Dr. Desai worked at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in a variety of roles, ultimately serving as assistant curator of Indian, Southeast Asia, and Islamic collections (1981-1990) and as the head of academic programs (1981-1988). Dr. Desai has been a visiting professor at numerous universities and was an assistant and associate professor at the University of Massachusetts from 1988 to 1990. Dr. Desai is on the board of the Brookings Institution and is an advisor and reviewer for the New York City Advisory Commission for Cultural Affairs. She served as the president of the Association of Art Museum Directors from 1998 to 1999 and was on the boards of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc., Asian University for Women, and the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities. Dr. Desai received a B.A. from Bombay University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.
Tammie Kahn is the Executive Director of the Children’s Museum of Houston, a position she has held since 1995. In this role, she has overseen an expansion of the museum and the creation of an Institute for Family Learning. She is a past President of the Houston Museum District Association and served as the Associate Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. She has served on the boards of the Association of Children’s Museums, the Institute for Learning Innovation, the Greater Houston Collaborative for Children, and the Houston Holocaust Museum. Ms. Kahn received a B.S. from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.B.A. from the University of Houston.
George Kerscher is Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium, an international organization dedicated to facilitating access to information for persons with disabilities. He is President of the International Digital Publishing Forum, Senior Officer of Accessible Technology at Learning Ally, and a member of the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard Board. He was named an Innovator of the Year by U.S. News and World Report in 1998, received the Harry Murphy Catalyst Award in 2004, and was recognized as a White House Champion of Change in 2012. Mr. Kerscher received a B.A. from Northeastern Illinois University.
Jacquelyn K. Sundstrand is an associate professor at the University of Nevada, Reno and the Manuscripts and Archives Librarian in the University Libraries’ Special Collections Department. She was the Library and Archives Coordinator at the Southern Oregon Historical Society from 1993 to 2001 and the Special Collections Librarian and Archivist at California State University, Dominquez Hill from 1985 to 1993. She is a member of the Nevada State Historic Resources Advisory Board, the Society of American Archivists, the Society of California Archivists, the Conference of Intermountain Archivists, and the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress. Ms. Sundstrand received a B.A. from California State University, Fullerton, an M.S.L.S. from the University of Southern California, and an M.A. from the University of California, Riverside.
The newly confirmed board members replace Christina Orr-Cahall, Ioannis Miaoulis, Julia Bland, Jan Celluci, and Mark Herring, whose terms have expired. More information is provided in the official IMLS press release.
Register and learn how to use Tobi - this webinar will take place Thursday May 30th: 8:30 AM Pacific, 9:30 Mountain, 10:30 Central and 11:30 Eastern, 15:30 UTC, 16:30 UK, 17:30 Central Europe, 21:00 India.
Presenters: Avneesh Singh (DAISY Consortium, Obi/Tobi Project Manager, Software Developer) and Daniel Weck (DAISY Consortium, Software developer).
EPUB 3 is the ebook standard recommended for both mainstream and accessible re-publishing. Tobi supports both: DAISY 3 and EPUB 3 formats, and enables re-purposing and upgrading of existing digital content. Learn about EPUB 3 features and Tobi production workflows.
Register online. More information can be found on the EASI (Equal Access to Software and Information) website.
The DAISY Consortium is pleased to announce the latest release of Obi, an easy to learn, yet powerful open source software tool for creating DAISY compliant audio books with rich navigable structure.
The latest release, Version 2.6, makes Obi more advanced, backward compatible and even easier to learn. It introduces the capability to import DAISY 2.02 books in addition to the existing export functionality, making it fully backward compatible with the DAISY 2.02 standard. Therefore, both audio-ncx (audio with structure) and full-text, full-audio DAISY 2.02 books can be imported, modified, and exported as either DAISY 2.02 or DAISY 3 audio books, which will also enable quick upgrades of the existing DAISY 2.02 books to the newer DAISY 3 standard.
This release of Obi integrates the context-sensitive help system within the Obi application, providing immediate help on relevant topics to its users with a push of a button. Other significant enhancements include pitch preservation while using the fast play feature resulting in smooth feel to the users and automatic saving of the project after recording to ensure that narration is not lost due to unknown circumstances. The Recording Toolbar and Graphical Peak Meter are now constantly visible even if the focus is on another window.
Please visit the Obi project area on the DAISY Consortium website to check out the full list of new features and bug fixes http://www.daisy.org/obi/.
The DAISY Consortium would like to extend a special thanks to all contributors for their valuable feedback and continued support to the Obi project. Obi continues to fill in the gaps and enable accessible publication production worldwide, becoming one of the DAISY production tool chosen by diverse range of users, from large production houses to home users.
The Digital Publishing Forum "Raising Standards with EPUB 3" in London [May 1st, 2013: Anatomy G04, Gavin de Beer Lecture Theatre, UCL] presented an overview of the enhancements that EPUB 3 provides over EPUB 2, and the challenges and opportunities the revised standard offers to publishers and readers. The accessibility features of the new standard were also covered.
As well as gaining a better grasp of the technical aspects of EPUB 3, attendees saw demonstrations of new products using EPUB 3, with a narrative around lessons learned from building the products.
Speakers at this seminar included Daniel Weck, software engineer with the DAISY Consortium; Graham Bell, Chief Data Architect, EDItEUR, and KoKo Ekong, e-Book Production & Design Specialist at Random House, who oversees maintenance and implementation of standards-compliant code. Koko demonstrated two books: The Dinosaur that Pooped Christmas, and Tree Fu Tom.
All attendees received a copy of the PA guidelines to EPUB 3. Daniel Weck's slides are available online.
The DAISY Consortium gets one step closer to enabling enterprise-grade production system for accessible content - Pipeline 2 Version 1.5 is now available for download. The DAISY Pipeline 2 project is an ongoing collaborative effort with a goal to develop the next generation framework for automated production of accessible materials for people with print disabilities. Testers can choose between three alternative packages:
- the "CLI" distribution: includes the command line tool and all the conversion scripts: http://daisy-pipeline.googlecode.com/files/pipeline2-1.5.zip (ZIP, 40 MB)
- the "Desktop Web UI" distribution: includes the command line tool, all the conversion scripts, and a version of the Web User Interface that can be run locally as a standalone application: http://daisy-pipeline.googlecode.com/files/pipeline2-1.5-webui-desktop.zip (ZIP, 80 MB)
- the "Server Web UI" distribution: includes a version of the Pipeline 2 Web User Interface for installation on a server. It does not include the Pipeline 2 engine and conversion scripts: http://daisy-pipeline.googlecode.com/files/pipeline2-1.5-webui-server.zip (ZIP, 40 MB).
This release introduces the following new scripts:
- HTML to EPUB 3
- NIMAS Fileset Validator
Please note that this release brings several bug fixes and improvements. Specific details are provided in the release notes: http://code.google.com/p/daisy-pipeline/wiki/ReleaseNotes.
Your comments and suggestions are always welcome.
Accessibility expert George Kerscher (DAISY Consortium) will discuss on April 23rd at 12 pm CDT why making your company's printed materials and online forms accessible is good business practice and necessary to meet compliance requirements. Learning Ally has over 60 years of experience in the accessibility field and can help your company achieve 504/508 and other requirements. Register now.
DRT4All 2013 conference offers a window into the future. Its main goal is to inform and educate attendees about the latest advances in Accessibility and ICT supporting independent living of people with disabilities, and to demonstrate how these technologies can work together in order to provide everyone with a better life, and to achieve a full integration into society for people with disabilities and the elderly.
Conference topics: Information and Communication Technologies and Access Services, Accessibility, Usability, User experience and Design for All, Human–computer interaction, Assistive Technologies, Telecare, Domotics, Digital Homes and independent living, Applied robotics for personal autonomy, Transport for all, Accessible collaborative learning technologies, Inclusive social networks.
Call for papers is open until May 15th, 2013. More information is provided on the DRT4All conference website.
The Educational Leadership Program offers advanced training to teachers and related professionals from around the world with the ultimate goal of strengthening services available in their respective organizations, communities and countries to children who are blind with multiple disabilities, including deaf-blindness. More information is provided on the Perkins International website.
The Educational Leadership Program Commencement will take place on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 11:30 AM.
Location: 175 North Beacon Street, Watertown, MA
Remarks by Dr. Penny Hartin, CEO, World Blind Union.
It is hard to find a better place to learn best practices in the education of children who are blind and have additional disabilities than on Perkins’ 38-acre campus in Watertown, Massachusetts. Program participants attend lectures in Perkins' historic buildings, observe and teach in their classrooms and assist students in their residences for a unique training experience that provides a comprehensive understanding of education and services for students who are blind with additional disabilities, including those who are deaf-blind. Curriculum for all participants include academic courses led by Perkins’ experts and other noted professionals in the field, as well as hands-on learning in classrooms and living quarters, where they can put theory into practice.
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:
- Tammie Kahn – Member, National Museum and Library Services Board
- George Kerscher – Member, National Museum and Library Services Board
- Jacquelyn K. Sundstrand – Member, National Museum and Library Services Board
- Rabbi Samuel N. Gordon – Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
- Maureen Schulman – Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
- Melanie N. Roussell – Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, Department of Housing and Urban Development
President Obama said, “I am grateful that these impressive individuals have chosen to dedicate their talents to serving the American people at this important time for our country. I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.”
More information is provided in the official press release.
During the next couple of months, Bookshare has several webinars to help get students prepared for summer reading projects, their transitions, and fall planning. Register for the webinars that are of interest to you, and note that there are dates in April and May for each webinar. If you can’t attend, but are interested in the content, please go ahead and register anyway. You will be sent a link to the recording after the webinar.
New Bookshare Tools for Summer Reading! (a 30-minute webinar)
Date: Thursday, April 11, 2013
Time: 4:00 PM ET, 3:00 PM CT, 2:00 PM MT, 1:00 PM PT
Date: Thursday, May 9, 2013
Time: 1:30 PM ET, 12:30 PM CT, 11:30 AM MT, 10:30 AM PT
Bookshare for Students in Transition (a 30-minute webinar)
Date: Thursday, April 18, 2013
Time: 4:00 PM ET, 3:00 PM CT, 2:00 PM MT, 1:00 PM PT
Date: Thursday, May 16, 2013
Time: 1:30 PM ET, 12:30 PM CT, 11:30 AM MT, 10:30 AM PT
Fall Planning with Bookshare (a 30-minute webinar)
Date: Thursday, April 25, 2013
Time: 4:00 PM ET, 3:00 PM CT, 2:00 PM MT, 1:00 PM PT
Date: Thursday, May 23, 2013
Time: 1:30 PM ET, 12:30 PM CT, 11:30 AM MT, 10:30 AM PT
On May 9, we invite you to participate in Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). The purpose of the day is to get people talking, thinking and learning about digital (web, software, mobile, etc.) accessibility and users with different disabilities. The target audience of GAAD is the design, development, usability, and related communities who build, shape, fund and influence technology and its use. While people may be interested in the topic of making technology accessible and usable by persons with disabilities, the reality is that they often do not know how or where to start. Awareness comes first. Check out the the page for the Global Accessibiliy Day event that will take place in Los Angeles.
Following the success of last year’s accessibility seminar, Great Expectations of e-books: Are they accessible? An interactive e-book club session at the London Book Fair (April 15th, 2013) is promising to be a practical demonstration of The Joint Statement on Accessibility issued by the Publishers Association in April 2012 and will give attendees the opportunity to witness and experience how Dickens' Great Expectations can be enjoyed by all readers, including those who can't read standard print.
Participants will gain an appreciation of the various barriers to achieving full access and how to provide an enhanced user experience for everyone. They can expect an innovative combination of a book club format with invited readers, followed by an interactive session and hands-on opportunities for the audience to try out e-book reading devices will make this one of the not-to-be-missed sessions for 2013.
This seminar is organized by the Publishers Licensing Society (PLS), EDItEUR, the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and the Right to Read Alliance with the support of the Publishers Association (PA). More information is provided on the London Book Fair website.
This week, President Obama signed his third Presidential Proclamation to commemorate this year's World Autism Awareness Day, which stated in part:
"Today, public health officials estimate that 1 in every 88 children in America is growing up on the autism spectrum. It is a reality that affects millions of families every day, from the classroom to the job market. And while our country has made progress in supporting Americans with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), we are only beginning to understand the factors behind the challenges they face. On World Autism Awareness Day, we recommit to helping individuals on the autism spectrum reach their full potential."
Read the full text of the proclamation at the following link: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/04/01/presidential-proclamation-world-autism-awareness-day-2013.
One of the exciting aspects of e-books and the newer standards for them is the ability to create publications in a format that provides access to information for everyone.
Join the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) on Wednesday, April 10th from 1:00-2:30 PM EDT (GMT-4) for their webinar Universal Accessibility: Creating E-Books Anyone Can Read. In this webinar you will learn about new emerging technologies that can provide universal accessibility. Participants will also learn about e-book design and e-readers that contain accessibility features.
Topics and Speakers:
- Emerging Technologies for the Visually Impaired – Anne Taylor, Director of Access Technology, National Federation for the Blind
- Built-in Access for Digital Textbooks – Michele Bruno, Program Manager, Accessibility, Cengage Learning
- An Introduction to the Readium-based Accessible Bookshare Web Reader – Ginny Grant, Product Manager, Benetech.
Registration for this paid webinar is per site (access for one computer) and closes at Noon EDT (GMT-4) on April 10th, 2013 (the day of the webinar). Visit the event webpage to register and get more information.
Planman Technologies, a provider of integrated content transformation solutions, has announced the renaming of the company as Contentra Technologies. The new name represents the company’s focus on content transformation services and the broadening of its service lines.
Over the past 10 years, Planman Technologies has been a trusted partner in the book publishing, library, and news industries. Now the company is taking its content transformation expertise to new markets and to new industries. Each publisher has its own unique content life cycle. An extraordinary amount of content is created, repurposed, and distributed every day. As Planman Technologies reached out to new industries and new markets, the company decided to take on a new name - Contentra Technologies, to reflect its growth and plans for the future. This new name reflects their expanding expertise, new markets, and their specialized offerings in transforming content for publishers around the world. More information is provided on the Contentra Technologies website.
Readium.org open source initiative today announced its evolution into a formal consortium of member companies fostering a community of open source projects, including a new Readium™ SDK project developing a commercial-grade rendering engine for EPUB® 3, optimized for native applications.
Initial members of the new Readium Foundation include ACCESS, Aldiko, Bluefire Productions, Baker & Taylor, Benetech, Bokbasen, DAISY Consortium, Datalogics, De Marque, DILICOM, eBook.de, Eden Livres (a joint venture of Gallimard, La Martinière and Flammarion), Editis, Evident Point, Feedbooks, Firebrand Technologies, Hachette Livre, IDPF, Izneo, Kobo, LIA (by Italian Publishers Association), Mantano, Numilog, Rakuten, Sony Corporation, TXTR, and Vibal Publishing House.
Readium.org was launched by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) and supporters in 2012 to develop a browser-based reference implementation of the EPUB 3 standard. Its initial project has matured into a popular Chrome browser extension (available on the Chrome Web Store), which supports all EPUB 3 functionality. The codebase has been adopted by several third parties as the nucleus of browser-based “cloud” readers, including the new Benetech Bookshare service, and the project will continue on that vector as “Readium Web”.
More information is provided in the official press release.
The Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) has awarded HumanWare the 2013 Winston Gordon Award of Excellence in Accessible Technology. The cash prize award of $10,000 CAD is given for significant technological advancements or applications of technology that provide practical benefit to people with vision loss.
The Accessing Higher Ground 2013 Conference will focus on the implementation and benefits of Accessible Media, Universal Design and Assistive Technology in the university, business and public setting. Other topic areas cover legal and policy issues, including ADA and 508 compliance. The creation of accessible media and information resources, including Web pages and library resources are a particular focus of the event.
For institutions of Higher Education, there is a strong focus on campus accommodation. For businesses and other audiences, there are numerous sessions on best practices for web design, reaching untapped audiences through accessible design, and compliance with new Department of Justice rules regarding Section 508 and the ADA.
Call for Papers is Now Open. The online proposal form can be accessed at (http://accessinghigherground.org/wp/proposalform.php). The due date for submissions is April 10, 2013.
The International Publishers Association (IPA) today announced that its Board has endorsed EPUB 3. Jens Bammel, IPA’s Secretary General, said: “Digital publishing is now truly global. IPA strongly urges all publishing industry stakeholders to adopt EPUB 3 so that the publishing industry can achieve an interoperable and fully accessible global standard for e-books and other digital publications." Full text of the release is available via Library Journal (INFODocket).
The release states: "EPUB 3 is semantically enhanced, reliably navigable, and enables publishers to progress from producing static documents to creating interactive experiences... encoded into a distributable publication file that is interoperable across devices and can adapt smoothly to different sized displays. EPUB 3 ... fullfils the requirements of publishers around the world, including supporting global language requirements, such as vertical layout, alternative writing, and page progression directions, as well as other typographic capabilities needed to express the wide range of world languages. Furthermore, EPUB 3 can be made fully accessible to print disabled readers."
The Perkins Assistive Technology Prize provides $25 thousand in incentive grants to entrepreneurs who focus on improving opportunities and quality of life for people with disabilities as part of MassChallenge 2013. Perkins is offering the grants, drawn from a donation earmarked for technological solutions, to promote their global mission to empower individuals with disabilities to reach their personal potential.
Applicants to MassChallenge, the world's largest accelerator program and startup competition, receive a $100 refund against the $199 entry fee when they apply by this Wednesday, March 6, 2013. All entries are due by April 3, 2013.
Founded in 1829 as the first school for the blind in the United States, the Perkins now touches the lives of more than 600,000 individuals in 67 countries – far beyond the historic Watertown, Massachusetts, campus. Notably, MassChallenge draws entrants from around the world and has gone global this year.
Administered through MassChallenge, Perkins Assistive Technology Prize encourages the development of new, low- and high-technology devices or software that could significantly enhance the quality of life for individuals with disabilities. Such assistive technology could apply to any sector of life (education, transportation, recreation, communications, vocational, etc.). The designed could address a certain group of individuals with a disability (vision loss, hearing loss, mobility, etc.), or have a more universal market application. Details and application are available at www.MassChallenge.org.
At the CSUN International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference this week, Google announced that it has added a number of accessibility features to Chrome, Chrome OS, Gmail and Google Drive that should make using Google suites of web apps a bit easier to use for blind and low-vision users. In addition, Google also launched a new sign language interpreter app and keyboard shortcuts for Hangouts for the deaf and hard of hearing, as well as those who can’t or don’t want to use a mouse while using Hangouts.
ChromeOS now features a new high-quality text-to-speech voice - only available in English, as well as screen magnification and a high-contrast mode. Gmail now features a new navigation interface and keyboard shortcuts that use the HTML5 ARIA standard that is meant to make rich Internet applications more accessible.
According to Google, Drive is also now much easier to access using a keyboard. In Docs, Google you can access features using the keyboard, with a new way to search menu and toolbar options. New keyboard shortcuts and verbalization improvements also make it easier to use Docs, Sheets and Slides with a screenreader. The stable version of Chrome now includes support for the Web Speech API, so developers can integrate speech recognition in their apps. Benetech / Bookshare demonstrated a version of its ReadNow ebook reader at the CSUN conference that uses the Speech API. More information is provided on the official Google blog.