Bookshare, in partnership with Mada (Qatar Assistive Technology Center), has released 100 new titles in Arabic, giving Arabic readers with print disabilities the opportunity to read a diverse range of material.
The collection includes children’s books from Scholastic, contemporary books from Arab Scientific Publishers in Lebanon, and literary books from the public domain, in collaboration with Kotobarabia in Egypt.
“We are proud to announce the addition of Arabic-language titles to the Bookshare collection, making this the largest collection of accessible Arabic books in the world. We thank Mada for its support, which enabled Bookshare to develop the technology needed to process Arabic-language content,” said Betsy Beaumon, VP and General Manager of Literacy at Benetech, the parent organization of Bookshare.
David Banes, CEO of Mada, added, “Mada is delighted at the launch of Bookshare for Arabic speakers. The availability of accessible digital content for Arabic speakers with a print impairment is a significant step towards full digital inclusion. The 100 books available today are a first step to offering a diversity of content that will help support Arabic speakers at school and university as well as for pleasure and relaxation. Mada encourages publishers of Arabic-language books to support this important initiative and provide additional content to be included in Bookshare. We have been delighted at the high standards and commitment of Bookshare to extending their collection to support Arabic speakers and look forward to a productive collaboration in the future.”
More information is provided in the Bookshare press release.
The official NFB-Newsline app has been released for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad and is now available for free from the App Store. It lets users access more than 300 newspapers and 40 magazines on the service as well as their personalized TV listings. You must be a Newsline subscriber to access content on the app, and you can sign up for free on the NFB Newsline website. This site also lists the qualifications you must meet to install the app, which may be activated on up to five devices.
A new version of ZedVal - the conformance validator for ANSI/NISO Z39.86 Digital Talking Books (aka DAISY 3) was released on June 11th, 2012. This version fixes an issue that caused books containing the MathML 'annotation' element to be incorrectly reported as invalid. To manually update the ZedVal library included in the Save as DAISY Add-In for Microsoft Word, please follow these steps:
- Download the latest ZedVal release, Version 2.1 from SourceForge
- Extract the downloaded zedval-2.1-bin.zip archive
- Copy the zedval library located in the extracted files at "zedval-2.1\lib\zedval-2.1.jar"
- Go to the Pipeline directory included in the "Save As DAISY" AddIn, this directory is usually at C:\Program Files (x86)\Sonata\DAISY Translator\pipeline-lite-ms\
- Replace the old ZedVal library "lib\zedval.jar" with the one you copied in step 3.
Please visit the ZedVal project page for more information.
A study funded by the National Science Foundation and National Institute of Health is seeking participants at this year's NFB National Convention (June 30th - July 5th, 2012). This study is seeking individuals who are blind to participate in a 2-3 hour testing session, where they will be asked to do various map-related tasks using a computer. NFB Jernigan Institute is assisting in the recruitment of participants for this study. Participants who use JAWS for at least 2 hours per week are preferred. Participation in this study compensates $100 per hour. Please contact René Kladzyk at kladzyk(at)uoregon.edu, or 773-951-5727, for more information or to schedule a testing session.
At the ongoing (June 8-9, 2012) Inclusive Publishing Conference in Baltimore, the DAISY Consortium and the National Federation of the Blind are teaming up with other experts in the field to meet the challenges of ebook accessibility for everyone. If you were not able to travel to Baltimore, you can follow @accessibledaisy on Twitter to get the latest conference news, hashtag #incpub.
Time: Wednesday, June 6th, 12:30 pm - 1:20 pm (EST)
Location: BookExpo America (BEA), Javits Center, New York, 1E04
Speakers: Cristina Mussinelli (Project Coordinator) Libri Italiani Accessibili and Matt Garrish - Publishing Solutions Consultant
More information is available on the BEA website.
Date and time: Friday, June 15 - 11 PM Pacific, Noon Mountain, 1 PM Central and 2 PM Eastern
The explosion of e-books is changing the face of book publishing. Different vendors of e-books have created their unique, proprietary document formats which require them being read in e-readers designed specifically for that format. Imagine having to use different glasses to read print books by different publishers. The DAISY format opened up a wider and richer reading experience for people with disabilities, but DAISY books were incompatible with commercial e-readers like the Kindle or Nook. All this is changing while we ponder these problems. Some software and hardware DAISY players now have the ability to read books in the EPUB format. This promises to open up a new and larger collection of e-books for the print-disabled population. What will happen to the divergent proprietary e-book document formats? Webinar participants will learn which formats are already accessible to them, and they will be introduced to some tools for document format conversion.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy today announced the launch of its first disability-related application challenge, which is designed to generate innovative tools that will improve employment opportunities and outcomes for people with disabilities. Submissions should provide access to important data and resources; attract users with different skill sets and language preferences; be accessible (that is, compatible and interoperable with assistive technology commonly used by individuals with disabilities, such as screen reading and speech recognition software); and consider partnerships that will ensure sustainability of the app. In addition, they should be targeted toward a variety of audiences such as students, teachers, employers, career counselors and workforce professionals, as well as individuals with disabilities working or seeking work at all levels in a variety of salaried and hourly jobs.
Awards with cash prizes — totaling $10,000 — will be given to the top three submissions, including the grand prize Innovation Award, the second prize People's Choice Award, and the third prize Above and Beyond Accessibility Award. The winners will be featured prominently on ODEP's website, http://www.dol.gov/odep/, and through other public outreach vehicles. Contestants must register for the contest on the Challenge.gov website by creating an account at http://challenge.gov/users/login. Each registrant will receive a confirmation email and may then enter a submission via the "Post a Submission" tab at http://www.dol.gov/odep/. Submissions must be entered between May 23 at 12 a.m. EDT and Aug. 23 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Late entries will not be eligible for prizes.
ATIA welcomes abstracts on the uses of assistive technology in a wide variety of settings - school, home, recreation, rehabilitation, university and workplace - from an equally wide group of qualified individuals. Abstracts should cover the use of assistive technology from a practitioner or user perspective and may be in the form of a case study, demonstration, implementation study, panel discussion, poster session, research paper, or tips and techniques workshop. We request that you submit a maximum of two abstracts per speaker. Please double check your submission before submitting to ensure all sections are complete. Incomplete submissions cannot be accepted. Priority will be placed on advanced and intermediate level education submissions.
New this year for the Call of Presentations, ATIA has made several revisions and additions to the strands. ATIA is also featuring new opportunities for the Hands-on-Lab sessions. This year Hands-on-Lab, one-hour sessions will be either a traditionally set computer lab or new, Bring Your Own Mobile Device (mobile devices include: iPads, Tables, etc.) room. The Bring Your Own Mobile Device will be set classroom style with charging stations available. Wireless internet across session types will also be available to all speakers for ATIA 2013 Orlando.
Speakers receive discounted registration fees of $350 when registration is received on or before November 16, 2012, for the 3-day conference (onsite value of $545). Online Submission Form is available at https://s3.goeshow.com/atia/orlando/2013/ab_sub_form.cfm.
The Finnish Federation of the Visually Impaired (FFVI) requested Solutions Radio to design and implement the DAISY Online distribution platform and to include the integration with their existing customer base and content server. This project was successfully completed at the beginning of February and is in full operation. The DAISY Online services have been implemented on virtual servers namely the DAISY online server, the content server and the database of user and subscription data.
The FFVI currently has more than 7,000 clients subscribing to digital talking newspapers and magazines. The variety of playback devices consists of DAISY players (more than 14,000 in the field), computers with a special reader application and TTS as well as mobile phones and some mainstream portable players. Users can also access online content such as full editions of more than 30 daily newspapers and magazines. Contact Karel Raven if you too need a DAISY Online distribution system. Email: kraven(at)solutionsradio(dot)com or phone +31 152 265955.
PLEXTALK, the assistive technology business unit of its parent company SHINANO KENSHI announced the PLEXTALK Linio as its DAISY Online Delivery Protocol compatible player for streaming and downloading accessible publications from the libraries. Linio is a word in Esperanto. It means “online” and therefore alludes to the specific capabilities of this DAISY player.
The PLEXTALK Linio will be shown at Sight City on stand C1 in the main hall. Sight City will take place in Frankfurt, Germany May 23rd - 25th, 2012.
Features of the PLEXTALK Linio:
- The PLEXTALK Linio can connect to DAISY Online Delivery Protocol supported servers (DODP). An increasing number of libraries in Europe offer DODP services to their members.
- The PLEXTALK Linio establishes the connection to the bookshelf of a library through the Internet, either Wired or Wireless. Once configured, it will be the default connection.
- The PLEXTALK Linio is equipped with PlexVoice. This new technology offers a strong sound quality improvement in case of playback in lower or higher speed.
- The PLEXTALK Linio offers a search function on the DODP server (if equipped for it) and can download or stream books.
- In addition to the DODP services, the PLEXTALK Linio is compatible with previous delivery systems such as CD, SD-card and reads also books from USB flash drives.
More information is provided on the PLEXTALK website.
Matt Garrish has been working in both mainstream and accessible publishing for about 15 years. He was the chief editor of the EPUB 3 specification and also played a key role in the revision of the DAISY (ANSI/NISO Z39.86) standard for authoring accessible content. Recently, Matt has been working on a new project. His goal is to create a single-source location for information regarding authoring accessible EPUB files. The condensed checklist Accessible EPUB 3 Content Guidelines is still a work in progress (first draft), and some of the info pages are in various stages of completion. If you have the time and interest to review these guidelines within the next 30 days, Matt would appreciate your feedback. You can send your thoughts via email to matt(at)garrish(dot)ca or post your feedback to the EPUB Accessibility forum.
Matt will share his new project and answer questions about EPUB 3 at the BookExpo America (BEA) / International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) conference in New York City. He will be one of the presenters at the e-Books for Everyone: LIA Project, Accessible Publishing Guidelines, EpubCheck and More session on June 6th. Matt’s goal is to keep the checklist updated with the latest best practices as they evolve, and use that information to improve related publications.
Matt’s book Accessible EPUB 3 (February 2012) takes readers inside the EPUB 3 format and explores how they can enrich and enhance content for readers with different needs and abilities. With the introduction of EPUB 3, publishers now have the means to create a single rich data source for audiences of all reading abilities. Matt's publication What is EPUB 3? (September 2011) discusses the new format that is set to unleash a content revolution in the publishing world. Laden with features the printed page could never offer such as embedded multimedia and scripted interactivity, EPUB 3 will change what a book can be. This publication explainins why EPUB 3 is set to become the new global standard for ebooks as it also becomes the new accessible standard for ebooks.
The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum 2012 is held from 14th to 18th May 2012 and will provide structured opportunities to network, learn and to participate in multi-stakeholder discussions and consultations on WSIS implementation. This event builds upon the tradition of annual WSIS May meetings, and its new format is the result of open consultations with all WSIS Stakeholders.
The 2012 WSIS Forum will be hosted by ITU (International Telecommunication Union) and will take place at the Conference Centre of the International Labour Organization (ILO). Remote Participation will be an integral component of the Forum. Onsite participants can network with each other using the imeetyouatWSISForum social networking platform. More information is provided on the WSIS Forum website.
The Benetech DIAGRAM Center has released an open source web application for creating and editing crowdsourced image descriptions in books used by students with print disabilities.
DIAGRAM, which stands for Digital Image and Graphics Resources for Accessible Materials, is working to dramatically change the way image and graphic content for accessible educational materials is produced and accessed. Before this initiative, critical illustrations in math and science books could only be studied by those reading traditional texts. The Poet application developed by DIAGRAM can help level the playing field by making otherwise inaccessible graphic content available for students and other readers with disabilities. Poet supports image descriptions for electronic books created in the international DAISY standard for digital talking books and will also be compatible with descriptions for e-books in the EPUB 3 format.
More information is available in the press release.
May 9, 2012 marks the first Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). This is a community effort to get people talking, thinking and learning about digital media (web, software, mobile, etc.), accessibility and users with different disabilities. The goal is to spread basic awareness especially among the design, development, usability, and related communities who build, shape, fund and influence technology use and change.
Please take time out of your day to learn more about digital accessibility first-hand and get involved http://www.mysqltalk.com/participate.html. Consider sharing this message with your contacts. Visit the Global Accessibility Awareness Day website to learn more.
WASHINGTON, DC - On Monday, May 7th, the White House will honor 14 individuals as Champions of Change for leading the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math for people with disabilities in education and employment.
"STEM is vital to America's future in education and employment, so equal access for people with disabilities is imperative, as they can contribute to and benefit from STEM," said Kareem Dale, Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy. "The leaders we've selected as Champions of Change are proving that when the playing field is level, people with disabilities can excel in STEM, develop new products, create scientific inventions, open successful businesses, and contribute equally to the economic and educational future of our country."
The Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Obama's Winning the Future initiative. Each week, a different sector is highlighted and groups of Champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community leaders, are recognized for the work they are doing to serve and strengthen their communities.
To watch this event live, visit http:www.whitehouse.gov/live at 1:30 pm ET on May 7th.
The White House "Champions of Change" are:
Ralph Braun is the founder and CEO of The Braun Corporation. Diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy in 1947, he began using a wheelchair for mobility. Determined to maintain his independence, he engineered the world's first motorized scooter and followed with the first accessible vehicle a few years later. The company grew substantially over the next decades, and today, The Braun Corporation is the worldwide leader of wheelchair accessible vehicles and wheelchair lifts in the mobility industry. What started as a part-time business operated from his parents' garage has grown into an international corporation with over 800 employees. Ralph is now 71 years old and is the father of five adult children. He still lives and runs The Braun Corporation from his hometown of Winamac, Indiana with his wife, Melody.
Joseph Sullivan is president of Duxbury Systems, Inc., a small company that has specialized in software for braille since its founding in 1975, and which now employs two blind people and which provides braille translation software for more than 130 languages worldwide. He has also served on many braille-related committees, including the Literary Braille and Computer Braille Committees of the Braille Authority of North America, was chair of the technical design subcommittee of the Unified English Braille (UEB) project of the International Council on English Braille (ICEB), and currently serves on the UEB Maintenance Committee of ICEB. Joe believes that braille is the key to literacy for blind persons, that literacy is the key to an informed citizenry, and that an informed citizenry is essential to civilization.
University of North Texas (UNT) Biochemistry graduate student Nasrin Taei is developing a model peptide system to investigate the effects of mutations that cause sudden cardiac arrest in young adults. Her model system will be used for testing potential candidate drugs that ameliorate the structural effects of heart disease causing mutations. Nasrin is a member of Phi Theta Kappa an international honor society. As a STEM model, she tutored at the community college and mentored high school students, which led to her recognition at UNT as a Soaring Eagle. Nasrin is being honored as a Champion of Change for her humanitarianism and contributions toward discovering a treatment for heart disease and making a better future for people around the globe.
Maria Dolores Cimini, Ph.D. is the Assistant Director for Prevention and Program Evaluation at the University at Albany Counseling Center and has served as the Principal Investigator for over six million dollars in behavioral health projects funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the U.S. Department of Education during the past decade. As a scientist-practitioner, Dr. Cimini has been active in promoting access to STEM for students with disabilities, particularly young women with disabilities, through her work with the American Psychological Association's Women with Disabilities in STEM Education Project for which she serves as Co-Chair and her mentoring of students and early career scientists on a national scale. Through her own experience as a scientist with a disability, she is helping our nation identify and enhance facilitators and address barriers to STEM education and career success for people with disabilities. Dr. Cimini is being honored as a Champion of Change for her work in enhancing access to the STEM disciplines by students with disabilities through her research, leadership, and mentoring efforts.
As a professional and a parent, Virginia Stern has been working for more than four decades to raise expectations of persons with disabilities, their families, educators, and employers, especially employers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Since 1977 she was a guiding force of the Project on Science, Technology and Disability of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She recognized that talented students with disabilities needed more than legislation and STEM degrees to gain employment in their chosen fields. In 1996 Mrs. Stern and her colleagues developed the flagship program, Entry Point!, to provide paid internships and develop career skills in the private and public sectors for students with disabilities in STEM. Hundreds of Entry Point! alumni have joined and continue to advance in the STEM workforce of the nation.
Steve Jacobs is President of IDEAL Group. Steve is dedicated to enhancing the accessibility of STEM curriculum for students with disabilities. Steve's company offers software that translates printed STEM materials into digital formats for conversion into speech and Braille. Steve's company also developed fully-accessible STEM-enabled eBook reading software. Over the past 3-1/2 years, Steve's company has become one of the world's largest developer of mobile accessibility applications with five million installations in 136 countries. Steve is also working with many institutions to tech-transfer their STEM-related work to mobile platforms. These institutions include Smith-Kettlewell's Video Description R&D Center, University of Oregon's Mathematics eText Research Center, and Georgia Tech wireless RERC and sonification lab. Steve is a 1973 graduate of Ohio State University. Steve and wife Pauline have been married for 37 years. Pauline and Steve have two daughters, Shana and Jessica, and a granddaughter Brooke Christine... who is Steve's boss.
Rafael San Miguel began his career at NASA working on the Space Shuttle program, and has spent the past 23 years as a scientist for The Coca-Cola Company. He also serves as a board member of the Atlanta Speech School, an 80-year old private institution focused on meeting the needs of those with speech and language based disabilities. Rafael, who has been profoundly deaf since infancy, creates awareness about disability by focusing on ability as he inspires young people to pursue education in science and math. Using his unique format that presents science in an exciting way, he has volunteered at schools both locally and in communities where he travels by connecting with underserved schools through the volunteer network of Points of Light. Rafael is now turning his energies toward a call to action and creating an initiative called the U.S. Science Project focused on inspiring individual scientists, businesses, legislators and community leaders to scale efforts for engaging in impact-driven volunteerism to begin to fill the science deficit in our nation through a volunteer Science Corps.
David H. Rose, EdD, is a developmental neuropsychologist and educator whose primary focus is on the development of new technologies for learning. In 1984, Dr. Rose co-founded CAST, a not-for-profit research and development organization whose mission is to improve education, for all learners, through universal design for learning (UDL). Dr. Rose also teaches at Harvard's Graduate School of Education where he has been on the faculty for more than 25 years. He is the author or editor of numerous books and articles on UDL, and the winner of awards from the Smithsonian Museum, the Tech Museum, and others.
Christine Reich is Director of Research and Evaluation at the Museum of Science, Boston, one of the world's largest science centers. The Museum of Science brings science, technology, engineering, and math to about 1.5 million visitors a year through its dynamic programs and interactive exhibits. As Director of Research and Evaluation, Christine oversees a department that conducts research and evaluation studies related to various aspects of the Museum experience, but her passion and expertise focus on researching ways to advance the inclusion of people with disabilities in museum learning. Prior to her current position, Christine worked as a museum educator and an exhibit planner, specializing in the development of museums exhibitions and programs that are inclusive of people with disabilities.
George Kerscher began his IT innovations in 1987 and coined the term "print disabled." George is dedicated to developing technologies that make information not only accessible, but also fully functional in the hands of persons who are blind or who have a print disability. He believes properly designed information systems can make all information accessible to all people and is working to push evolving technologies in this direction. As Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium and President of the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), Kerscher is a recognized international leader in document access. In addition, Kerscher is the Senior Officer of Accessible Technology at Learning Ally in the USA. He chairs the DAISY/NISO Standards committee, and serves on the USA National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) Board.
As a child in the New York Institute for the Education of the Blind in 1949, John Boyer found that contemporary scientific material in braille was almost non-existent. John has never lost the sense of frustration he felt when the braille resources available to him were insufficient to satisfy his hunger for more science education. John believes that is the motive for his life's work. He obtained a master's degree in Computer science, with a minor in electronics engineering at the University of Wisconsin in 1980. His first company was a Braille publishing enterprise which served an international client base. Abilitiessoft, Inc., his current company, creates open source adaptive software which makes Web pages available to blind persons through a Braille display. The current project, BrailleBlaster, will allow the integration of text with Braille graphics such as maps and graphs into a format accessible to blind people.
Dr. Dimitri Kanevsky is a Research staff member in the Speech and Language Algorithms Department at the IBM T.J.Watson Research Center. Prior to joining IBM, he worked at a number of prestigious centers for higher mathematics, including the Max Planck Institute in Germany and the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, New Jersey. In 1979, he invented a multi-channel vibration based hearing aid, and founded a company to produce and market this device. He also developed the first uses for speech recognition as a communication aid for deaf users over the telephone, for which he received an award from the National Search for Computing Applications from John Hopkins to Assist Persons with Disabilities. In 1998 Dr. Kanevsky introduced the first remote transcription stenographic services over the Internet, and created the ViaScribe product speech recognition concept and system that allows automatic transcription of lectures in real-time and the creation of multimedia notes. At IBM he has been responsible for developing the first Russian automatic speech recognition system, as well as key projects for embedding speech recognition in automobiles and broadcast transcription systems. He currently holds 152 US patents and was granted the title of Master Inventor IBM in 2002 , 2005 and 2010. His conversational biometrics based security patent was recognized by MIT, Technology Review Magazine, as one of five most influential patents for 2003. His work on Extended Baum-Welch algorithm in speech, another initiative for embedding speech recognition in automobiles and his work on conversational biometrics was recognized as science accomplishment in 2002 , 2004 and 2008 by the Director of Research at IBM . In 2005 Dimitri Kanevsky received an Honorary degree (Doctor of Laws, honoris causa) from the University College of Cape Breton. He was elected a member of the Word Technology Network in 2004 and was a Chairperson of IT Software Technology session at Word Technology Network Summit 2005 in San-Francisco, Calif. He also organized a special session on Large Scale Optimization at ICASSP 2012 in Japan.
Henry Wedler is a graduate student at the University of California, Davis, working towards his Ph.D. in organic chemistry. Inspired by programs offered by the National Federation of the Blind in high school and with encouragement from professors, colleagues and others, Henry gained the confidence to challenge and refute the mistaken belief that STEM fields are too visual and, therefore, impractical for blind people. Henry is not only following his own passion; he is working hard to develop the next generation of scientists by founding and teaching at an annual chemistry camp for blind and low-vision high school students. Chemistry Camp demonstrates to these students, by example and through practice, that their lack of eyesight should not hold them back from pursuing their dreams. Henry was nominated by Douglas Sprei of Learning Ally, a nonprofit that produces accessible audio textbooks for blind and learning disabled students, which is an indispensable resource that allowed him to excel in school.
TVonics, a British manufacturer of Freeview set-top-boxes, and Ivona Software have been working in collaboration with RNIB to launch a TVonics Freeview+ HD Digital TV recorder that talks, making this easier to use for people with sight loss. The new product uses Ivona text-to-speech technology. More information is provided on the RNIB website.
BrailleNet, one of the long time supporters of the DAISY Consortium, organized the 6th European eAccessibility Forum which was held in Paris, France, on March 26, 2012. The topic this year was "Putting e-accessibility at the heart of information systems". The proceedings of the 6th European e-Accessibility Forum, including videos of all presentations are now available on the 6th European e-Accessibility Forum website.
This fee-based course is designed to support alternative media specialists in creating new documents that are more accessible, and converting existing documents into alternate formats such as Word, PDF, DAISY and NIMAS. Documents need to be well constructed which in turn facilitates accessibility. Documents also need to be repurposed to other formats based on an organizational need. This course is designed to inspire as many questions as it might provide answers.
- A foundation for repurposing content.
- Globally accessible content rather than customized accommodation for each student.
- Adaptive scanning technology.
- Scanning and OCR [Optical Character Recognition] software [ and the process of creating digital content from print.
- The importance of logical document structure or a logical reading order.
- The role formatting plays in the understanding of content.
More information is provided on the EASI [Equal Access to Software and information] website.
Technology for accessible publishing has gone through several phases of evolution since the birth of DAISY Consortium in 1996 enabling the print-disabled to achieve educational and professional goals that were considered nearly impossible for decades. The burden of accessible image preparation typically falls on educators who have limited time and tools for creating meaningful descriptions or accessible graphics. Students using text-based digital instructional materials are often presented with only the words "image" or "graphic" when the devices they use encounter illustrations, equations, graphics, photos or diagrams in textbooks.
In order to tackle one of the biggest obstacles for the visually challenged students pursuing studies in the field of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), DIAGRAM Center was established by the U.S. Department of Education (Office of Special Education Programs).
The research conducted by DIAGRAM Center resulted in the development of a rich content model. In collaboration with the DIAGRAM Center, the DAISY Consortium developed image description workflow for Tobi, an open source multimedia production tool for creating accessible e-books. Tobi is the first production tool to support the full DIAGRAM content model. Image description workflow enables authors and publishers to describe diagrams in various ways. Descriptions can be long, succinct, simplified or alternative graphics. Besides the textual content describing the image, descriptions can be equipped with audio to make the images actually speak using either human voice recording or synthetic voice generated by text to speech engines.
Tobi also supports the insertion of alternative representations of images, including tactile graphics and/or simplified or high contrast versions, substituting the original image to accommodate readers with special needs. Users can embed image descriptions in new and existing DAISY books using the latest new feature and play them with their DAISY 3 supported player.
Tobi is designed to ease the process of synchronizing a text document with audio narration. "The greatest potential of Tobi is its simplicity – to be able to create synchronized content quickly and easily from a Word document and some handy tools for recording voice or importing audio files", says Craig Mill, Assistive Technology Advisor at CALL Scotland (Communication, Access, Literacy and Learning).
Please visit the Tobi project site (http://www.daisy.org/tobi) to download Tobi 220.127.116.11 with image description workflow. Existing users will receive the update automatically. Here you will also find the image description reference manual (http://www.daisy.org/tobi/image-description-manual) and quick start instructions (http://www.daisy.org/tobi/ImageDescriptionWorkflow) to get acquainted with the image description feature and watch the video tutorial.
Tobi development will now be focused on providing support for EPUB 3 specification in the release scheduled later this year.
On May 8th, 2012 at 2:00 pm EST, Craig Mill, Assistive Technology Advisor at CALL Scotland (Communication, Access, Literacy and Learning) will demonstrate the Save as DAISY add-in which allows users to save Word Documents as DAISY Content.
The free add-in for Microsoft Word has been available for a few years, but it is being constantly simplified and improved. For example, it now handles accessible Math. The presentation will feature YouTube videos to walk users through the process of making customized DAISY content. This webinar is a part of paid EASI webinar series. If you have any questions about how to participate, please contact Dr. Norm Coombs: norm(dot)coombs(at)gmail(dot)com.
Inclusive Publishing and eBook Distribution: Access for People with Print Disabilities Conference will be held Friday, June 8, 2012 - Saturday, June 9, 2012 at the National Federation of the Blind in Baltimore, USA. At this conference, the DAISY Consortium and the National Federation of the Blind are teaming up with other experts in the field to meet the challenges of ebook accessibility for everyone. Presentations will include:
- The place of DAISY in today’s ebook landscape
- An overview of present levels of accessibility in the market
- The place of Accessibility standards in ebook systems
- The browser-based reading system
- Accessible math, science, and other advanced topics.
Do not miss this opportunity to learn about the state of the accessible ebook market, interface with experts in the industry, and ensure that your print-disabled users can join the rest of the world in enjoying the convenience and power of the e-book revolution. Register online.
The W3C Research and Development Working Group (RDWG) will hold an online symposium on June 25th, 2012 to explore mobile accessibility challenges, existing resources, and areas for future research and development. The Call for Papers is open until May 7th, 2012. Learn more about the Symposium on Mobile Accessibility.
The Victor Reader Stratus 4 M or Stratus12 M DAISY Player models allow the attachment of a switch device used by a physically disabled person to the Stratus USB port. The switch device requires a USB adapter. HumanWare has tested one USB adapter called Swifty. It plugs into the USB of the Stratus and in turn has a jack to which users can connect a large button adaptive switch.
If the user presses the large button switch it will toggle the Play / Stop button of the Stratus. If the user holds down the large button switch it will perform a rewind function on Stratus. If users require the use of such a switch or other adaptive switches, they may purchase this adapter for the Stratus USB. More information is provided on the HumanWare website.
A pledge on behalf of the publishing industry to work with all parts of the publishing supply chain to improve the accessibility of e-books has been launched by The Publishers Association (PA), with cross-sector support.
The joint statement was launched at this week’s London Book Fair 2012, and is supported by a range of organisations, including the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and EDItEUR, the international trade standards body for the book industry.
While technological advancements have made it easier for publishers to produce material that is more accessible to those with print impairments, the whole supply chain now needs to work together to advance e-book accessibility, the statement says. More information is provided in the E-Access Bulletin.
Information Technology and Disabilities e-journal is being revived in 2012 as a peer-reviewed journal. The revitalized e-journal is a collaborative venture by ATHEN, DO-IT, and EASI. It is a merger of 2 previous ventures: ATHEN E-Journal and Information Technology and Disabilities.
The editors are now accepting articles for inclusion in its first volume scheduled for the fall of 2012. Editors prefer for authors to submit an article concept 1-2 paragraphs in length which can be evaluated for suitability. However, full articles will also be accepted. Full articles should be accompanied by a 1-2 paragraph abstract for the table of contents. More information is provided on the EASI website.
Learning Ally offers Individual Memberships for eligible people with visual impairments or dyslexia who experience difficulty in reading print material. To use Learning Ally Audio app, Learning Ally membership is required. New Feature in Version 2.0: Direct Downloading - Download audiobooks from your Learning Ally account’s Bookshelf directly to your device.
In addition to the following features:
- Go-to-Page, jump to a specific page within the book
- Plays while in locked position to maintain battery life
- Opens last book played at start up
- Remembers last playback speed selected and other personal settings
- Page and Chapter Navigation
- Variable Speed Control
- Last Position Playback
- Bookmarking Capabilities
- VoiceOver Compatible
More information is provided on the Learning Ally website.
A practical session for publishers to reach more readers.
Date: April 16, 2012
Time: 14.30 - 15.30 (2:30 pm - 3:30 pm)
Venue: Cromwell Room, Earl’s Court
The event will be chaired by Graham Taylor, Director of Educational, Academic and Professional Publishing at the Publishers Association.
Speakers include: Daniel Weck, Software Architect and Programmer, DAISY Consortium; Huw Alexander, Digital Sales Manager, SAGE Publications; Pete Osbourne, Head of International Development and Partnership, RNIB; Chair of the Right to Read Alliance Sarah Hilderley, Accessibility Project Lead, EDItEUR and Alistair McNaught, Senior Advisor, JISC TechDis. Entry to the seminar is free and on a first come, first served basis on the day.
To register for the London Book Fair, please visit the London Book Fair website.
This Webinar is hosted by EASI.
Presenters: Avneesh Singh and Daniel Weck (DAISY Consortium)
Time: 11 am PST, 12 pm MST, 2 pm EST.
Tobi now has an integrated editor for rich, audible image descriptions. Using the DIAGRAM standard for accessible infographics, authors can enhance documents with alternate images, textual descriptions and fully-featured metadata. Make images talk thanks to Tobi's built-in audio recording and waveform editing tools. Learn to produce accessible diagrams in the DAISY 3 format, and get a sneak preview of the upcoming EPUB 3 support. Link to webinar recording.
This year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is focusing World Health Day on the theme “Good health adds life to years.” EBU (European Blind Union) calls on Governments across Europe to address the needs of those who lose sight in older age. Over the past century life expectancy has increased dramatically and Europe now has the oldest population of any global region. In Europe, serious sight loss currently affects one in five people over the age of 75 and rising to one in two people over 90.
Serious sight loss in older age can mean individuals becoming socially isolated, depressed and dependent on expensive health and social care services to sustain them. The consequence for many is hospitalisation resulting from falls, early admission to residential care due to a loss of independence, or poor physical and mental health due to isolation and reduced physical activity.
Simple interventions, such as providing low-cost low vision aids or addressing social isolation through the provision of accessible transport or improving the built environment, can help older blind people to remain active and independent. EBU has consistently campaigned on all these issues and now asks all European Governments to use this European Year of Active Ageing to take simple steps to meet the growing needs of age-related sight loss. More information is provided on the WHO website.