Have you ever wondered what having a learning disability is really like for a child?
Learning Ally is offering a free 90-minute webinar on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. EDT with Kristin Barbour, Executive Director for the National Institute for Learning Development (NILD). She presents participants with a unique exploration of the characteristics of learning disabilities such as dyslexia. Participants will engage in tasks that explore learning activities based on auditory and visual perceptual skills.
Research has indicated that auditory and visual discrimination, memory, figure-ground, and attention significantly impact learning. When perceptual vulnerabilities are present students can appear disinterested in learning or worse, choose to engage in inappropriate behaviors in order to shift the focus from their learning challenges.
The information attendees will learn in this webinar includes:
- Identifying three phases of the learning process
- Recognizing auditory and visual processing skills needed to learn and their impact on classroom performance
- Differentiating classroom behavioral problems, low motivation, and learning disabilities
- Learning classroom strategies and home activities to develop processing skills
Register now to attend this free webinar.
The DAISY Online Delivery Protocol is a web service Application Programming Interface (API) that facilitates the delivery of digital content (Digital Talking Books) from service providers to end users. Links to use cases (articles) are posted to the DAISY Online Delivery Protocol page on the DAISY Consortium website.
Version 2.0 of the DAISY Online Delivery Protocol is now available for public review. Comments and questions on the updated protocol are welcome, and details of the process can be found on the project site at https://github.com/daisy/DAISY-Online-Refresh/wiki/DAISY-Online-Protocol-V2.0-Public-Review. The public review is open for 30 days and closes on Saturday, February 28th 2015.
The Assistive Technology Industry Association's (ATIA) 2015 Conference is taking place January 27-31, 2015 in Orlando, Florida. The following DAISY Consortium Members and Friends are presenting or have exhibits at the ATIA 2015 Conference:
- American Printing House for the Blind
- Benetech / Bookshare
- DIAGRAM Center
- Dolphin Computer Access
- Learning Ally
- ViewPlus Technologies
Conference schedule is available on the ATIA 2015 website.
The DAISY Pipeline 2 is an ongoing project to develop a framework for automated production of accessible materials for people with print disabilities. It is the follow-up and total redesign of the original DAISY Pipeline 1 conversion tool. Version 1.9 of the DAISY Pipeline 2 is now available for download. The following alternative packages are proposed:
- for Windows users, an installer for the "Desktop Web UI" distribution (.exe file, 89 MB)
- for Mac OS X users, the "Desktop Web UI" distribution (ZIP, 89 MB)
- for Linux users, the "Desktop Web UI" distribution (ZIP, 89 MB)
All distributions include the command line tool, all conversion scripts, a native command line tool, and a version of the web user interface that can be run locally as a standalone application.
This release features:
- a new command line tool, with native executables
- new schema-based DAISY 2.02 validation script
- new DTBook to ODT script
- new EPUB 3 to DAISY 2.02 script (experimental)
- TTS-narration support in DTBook to EPUB 3
- audio-only DAISY 2.02 to EPUB 3 conversion aligned with the TIES guidelines
- and many other bug fixes and improvements
For details, please refer to the full release notes on GitHub.
The Swiss Foundation Access-for-All was established in 2000. The “Access for All” foundation is involved in various projects in order to promote the use of assistive technologies for people with disabilities. The “Access for All” foundation staff give presentations, conduct interviews and write for professional journals. More information is provided in their member profile on the DAISY Consortium website.
Now you can download free evaluation versions of Acapela text-to-speech (TTS) Voices for NVDA.
The evaluation version is fully functional and provides access to all voices and all functionalities for 15 days. As soon as a license is activated, the evaluation version will turn into a complete version.
First, users need to install the Acapela NVDA Speech Companion and then they can install the voices. More information and downloads are available on the Acapela TTS Voices for NVDA website.
Knowledge is a key driver of social and economic development. It helps shape individual and collective identity and can be a tool for empowerment and inclusion. In this context, disparities in capacity to access and use knowledge can greatly hinder the development of an inclusive society and become a significant source of inequality. While significant progress has been made through assistive technologies and accessibility standards, persons with disabilities are still at risk of exclusion from education.
Access to production, distribution and acquisition tools is therefore of crucial importance in modern society. It is also indicative of how we are able to address the need for access to knowledge for all.
if used appropriately, emerging ICTs can help overcome these disparities and greatly enhance access to knowledge for all. The 9th European e-Accessibility Forum: e-Accessible Knowledge on June 8th, 2015 in Paris aims to provide a concrete demonstration of technologies, tools and methods that can improve access to education.
The conference is organized in conjunction with the DAISY Consortium Board Meeting and registration is now open. Please go to the 9th European e-Accessibility Forum website to register.
The Slovenian Library of the Blind and Partially Sighted has been serving people with sight loss since 1918. In 2013, the Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted of Slovenia received funding from the European Social Fund for the renovation project of the library.
This project brings a number of benefits for the people with visual impairments and other social groups in Slovenia: new adopted library materials in accessible formats including DAISY, the introduction of modern technologies and equipment, a number of training courses for users, cultural programs and new premises enabling blind, partially sighted and print disabled citizens to be informed, empowered and equally able to participate in society.
Shortly after the opening, the Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted of Slovenia received an important national prize for excellence in communication programs, PRIZMA 2014, which is the highest recognition of this kind in Slovenia. The prize was awarded by Slovenian Association for Public Relations. More information is provided in the European Blind Union newsletter.
Presenters at the M-Enabling Summit (June 1-2, 2015, Washington, DC) include individuals, companies or nonprofit organizations who participate in the Summit and wish to share their solutions for seniors and users of all abilities. Applicants from all countries are welcome. The M-Enabling Summit Program Committee selects presentations featuring applications, mobile web sites, devices, peripherals or services that leverage new mobile technologies, have demonstrated benefits for seniors and users of all abilities and are currently available with documented user experience.
92% of the M-Enabling Summit’s participants rate sessions that include hands-on demos and exchange of experiences among the most useful. The Summit is the largest global conference exclusively dedicated to accessible and assistive solutions with participants from more than 32 countries.
How to submit? Send a description describing the solution, its benefits, the type of technology, platform, how it is distributed, links to web pages or app stores, media reviews or articles, references from individual customers, educational institutions or organizations serving seniors and users of all abilities who benefit from the solution and any other information including details on user feedback and adoption. More information is provided on the M-Enabling Summit website.
EPUB 3.0 was recently published by the International Standards Organization as ISO/IEC TS 30135 (parts 1-7). EPUB 3.0 was submitted to ISOi/IEC JTC 1 SC34 (Joint Technical Committee 1, Subcommittee 34, Document description and processing languages) by the government of South Korea, in cooperation with the IDPF. During the by-country voting and subsequent ballot resolution process, several dozen minor specification issues with EPUB 3.0 reported by ISO experts have been resolved in the latest revision of EPUB, EPUB 3.0.1, which recently became the current version of the EPUB Standard.
"IDPF is delighted with the active collaboration with ISO that has led to publication of EPUB 3.0 as ISO TS 30135, as well as improvements in EPUB 3.0.1" said George Kerscher, President of IDPF and Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium. "An ISO designation for the EPUB Standard will further aid global adoption of EPUB, which is designed to deliver on key accessibility mandates". More information is provided on the IDPF website.
DAISY Consortium is pleased to announce the release of the latest version of Tobi, the next generation open source multimedia / book production tool. Tobi can be used to produce full text and audio books compliant with both DAISY 3 specifications as well as the mainstream EPUB 3 (Media Overlays) specifications. It also possesses the unique capability of adding accessibility enhancements, such as image descriptions, to mainstream EPUB 3 publications.
The new release introduces one of the most demanded features by DAISY members - structure editing. Users can now edit the structure of the publication during the production workflow. Version 2.4.3 is a test release that marks the first phase of support for structure editing. It is for power users who are familiar with the DTBook and HTML 5 markup.
The following structure editing operations are available in this version:
- inserting page breaks
- deleting the selected fragments
- cutting, copying & pasting fragments
- creating elements such as sentences, paragraphs etc.
The new version also presents the improved project cleanup command that now allows for creation of sequenced audio data files with customizable file sizes to reduce response time when the project is loaded from a network, along with regular bug fixes.
To learn more about Tobi, please visit the Tobi project area.
To download Tobi test builds and learn more about the structure editing feature, please go to http://www.daisy.org/tobi/structure-editing.
For more information about what’s new in this release, please visit the change log at http://www.daisy.org/tobi/change-log.
This release will be followed by commencement of Phase 2 of structure editing, which will include more advanced commands, and application of constraints to prevent the creation of invalid structure.
The Tobi team would like to thank all Tobi project contributors and supporters. We are looking forward to your suggestions and bug reports which can be submitted at http://www.daisy.org/forums/tobi.
The DAISY Consortium is pleased to announce the latest release of Obi, the popular open source navigable audiobook creation tool that is used to produce books conforming to the accessible EPUB 3, DAISY 3 and DAISY 2.02 specifications. Obi's source code is available for anyone to run, modify and redistribute.
Obi 3.6 brings an incremental release that includes advanced features requested by DAISY members. It introduces the capability to export books in newer audio formats (MP4, AMR, and 3GP). Updated Obi enables integration with the existing production management software of DAISY Consortium members via the configuration file.
Other enhancements include the ability to perform operations on multiple sections simultaneously and create sequenced audio data files with customizable file sizes during project cleanup to reduce response time when the project is loaded from a network. Other miscellaneous improvements and bug fixes are also included in this release.
New Obi comes with Chinese (Traditional) language pack. Thanks goes to The Hong Kong Society for the Blind and Keny Yuen for the translation. We would also like to thank Hannu Tiihonen for updating the Finnish language pack.
Please visit the Obi project area to check out the full list of features and improvements: http://www.daisy.org/obi/.
Download Version 3.6 at http://www.daisy.org/obi/download/.
The Obi-Tobi team is committed to enriching Obi with new features, bringing it in sync with the upcoming technologies. First and foremost, we want to serve DAISY members by incorporating the features requested by them to make working with Obi more and more efficient.
The DAISY Consortium would like to extend a special thanks to all contributors for their valuable feedback and support.
The Marrakesh Treaty was adopted on June 27, 2013. Uruguay has become the 4th country to ratify the Treaty after El Salvador, India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The Treaty has a humanitarian and social development aspect, critical for the establishment of a legal framework to allow the production and distribution and cross-border sharing of books in accessible formats. The Accessible Books Consortium supports the objectives of the Marrakesh Treaty. Through its three main activities, ABC aims to increase the worldwide availability of accessible books. More information about the work of the Accessible Book Consortium will be provided in the December issue of the DAISY Planet newsletter.
The Victor Reader line of talking book players offers new wireless Internet connectivity features for both the Victor Reader Stratus and Victor Reader Stream models. Users can get navigable DAISY audiobooks directly on their Victor Reader without having to use a computer or wait for a CD in the mail.
In 1999, the first Victor Reader played digital books on CDs distributed to users by free postal delivery. Now, with wireless connectivity, libraries for the blind are delivering digital talking books, magazines, and newspapers directly to the newest Victor Reader players over the Internet. Never in the 70 years of talking books for the blind has the published content been delivered so quickly and easily.
With over 15 years in the global marketplace and over 500,000 players in use, HumanWare continues to innovate with Victor Reader. Now, Victor Reader extends its talking book, document, and music playback features to the wireless world where downloaded books and newspapers, streaming radio stations and online Wikipedia reference tools become part of Victor Reader’s access to digital content. Users continue to navigate the new online content through the player’s easy to use bookshelf interface.
The newspaper download services in various countries use the DAISY Online Delivery web service developed by the DAISY Consortium.
A free webinar was held on December 3rd for International Day of Persons with Disabilities featuring the work to improve literacy for children with disabilities. Save the Children shared the challenges and successes of targeting a reading program for children with learning disabilities in Sri Lanka.
Attendees heard from grantee, Perkins International, whose innovation has directly impacted the lives of children who are blind and those with low vision through four key areas:
- training of teachers in three schools practicing inclusive education for the blind and those with low vision
- family and community engagement
- distribution of assistive devices
- repair of Perkins Braillers.
Webinar recording will be posted to the All Children Reading website.
Over 1 billion people in the world live with some form of disability. Persons with disabilities not only face physical barriers but also social, economic and attitudinal barriers. Furthermore, disability is associated with twenty per cent of global poverty, of which the majority live in developing countries. In spite of being the world’s largest minority group, persons with disabilities and the issue of disability has remained largely invisible in the mainstream development frameworks and its processes.
Since 1992, the annual observance of the International Day of Disabled Persons aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.
The observance of this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) provides an opportunity to further raise awareness of disability as a cross-cutting development issue. The theme of this year's commemoration, “Sustainable Development: The promise of technology” marks the conclusion of the period of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGS) in 2015 and the launching of the new development framework of sustainable development goals (SDGs). More information is provided on the United Nations: Enable website.
The UNESCO International Conference on the Role of ICTs for Persons with Disabilities in New Delhi seeks to harness the opportunities that ICTs offer for empowering persons with disabilities by sharing best practices, solutions and knowledge. Across the world, there are over one billion women and men with disabilities, with 80 percent living in rural areas of developing countries. These individuals are more likely to experience poverty and unemployment, to suffer from illiteracy and social exclusion.
In a video message, Professor Stephen Hawking, author of “A Brief History of Time,” appealed for the “need to make sure technology becomes available to those who need it so that no one lives in silence. I speak for people who cannot hear. Without technology, I would not be able to ask for a cup of tea, let alone speak about my theory of the universe.”
Opening the conference, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, affirmed that the Digital India program is a priority of the Indian Government. More information is provided on the UNESCO website.
Learn techniques for handling images in eBook design and production with a special section on accessibility.
EBOOK NINJAS: IMAGES is an intensive, hands-on one-day workshop in NYC for eBook developers, digital book production and design professionals, and anyone involved in creating and testing eBook files. Sign up to gain a a thorough understanding of basic and advanced techniques for creating, editing, sizing, managing, and styling images in eBooks.
You'll also learn the special techniques and technologies necessary to design and produce eBook files for the widest possible readership.
The day-long workshop is taught by master eBook developer Joshua Tallent of eBook Architects, a division of Firebrand Technologies. It will be followed by a knowledge and skills test based on the information covered in the workshop, which can be taken at home at a later date. Certificates of Completion will be awarded to all students who successfully complete the test.
Date: Tuesday, December 2, 2014. Time: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Place: Google, 111 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10011.
Price: $550 for BISG members | $ 675.00 for non-members. Please note you will need to log in first to access member pricing; use your email address as your user name. Please email info(at)bisg.org with any questions.
The World Blind Union Asia Pacific (WBUAP) Mid-Term Regional General Assembly (Nov. 21- 24, 2014) is concluding in Hong Kong with over 350 delegates, participants and distinguished guests from over 30 countries in attendance. It started with an opening speech delivered by the officiating guest, Mrs. Lam Cheng Yuet-Ngor, GBS, JP, Chief Secretary for Administration, HKSAR. The text of her speech is now available online.
In addition, the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) organized a Seminar on Inclusive e-Learning for university lecturers, eTextbook publishers and stakeholder organizations on November 24th. Leading experts from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) Consortium shared their expertise on making learning content accessible as well as the latest trends. A recently released video on Web accessibility, available on YouTube, was demonstrated. More information is provided at http://www.cyberport.hk/en/ict_connect/ict_events/2327.
The 15th International Mobility Conference program will be shaped around the theme “A world of innovation”. It will provide an opportunity to reflect on the developments in mobility and environmental accessibility as well as developing technologies in orientation and perception. Experts will also get a chance to discuss how to prepare for innovative services for seniors.
The host organizations include the School of Optometry of the Montreal University, the Institut Nazareth & Louis-Braille, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), as well as partners such as Leader Dogs for the Blind, Vision Australia, Mira, and many more.
Practitioners and researchers are invited to submit their presentation abstracts for the 15th International Mobility Conference (IMC15) to be held in Montreal, Canada from July 6-9, 2015 by December 1st, 2014.
For full guidelines and topics please visit http://www.imc15.com.
“How We Read: A Sensory History of Books for Blind People” is a free exhibition exploring the history of assistive technologies that have been created to help blind people read. From raised print to talking books and optophones, a fascinating range of historic artefacts will be on display from museums and other centres dedicated to preserving the heritage of blindness. There will also be a series of hands-on activities, interactive workshops, and live performances allowing visitors to try out for themselves alternative ways of reading.
The exhibition runs from 17th-23rd November 2014, with a special reception and other events planned for Saturday, November 22nd. Full details can be found on the event website.
What is World Usability Day? A single day of events occurring around the world that brings together communities of professional, industrial, educational, citizen, and government groups for a common objective: to ensure that the services and products are easier to access and simpler to use. It is about celebration and education – celebrating the strides we have made in creating usable products and educating the masses about how usability impacts our daily lives. It is about making our world work better. It is about reaching out to the common citizen and spreading the message. 109 events in 36 countries are being planned in 2014. More information is available on the World Usability Day website.
Techshare Middle East is a conference and exhibition discussing accessibility and assistive technology at a national and regional level with international participation. It provides a chance to network, share experiences and influence the future of accessibility throughout the Middle East. Techshare Middle East is taking place in Doha, Qatar on November 4th and 5th, 2014 bringing together a range of experts and stakeholders including the DAISY Consortium representatives and members. More information is provided on the Techshare Middle East website.
- Clear, streamlined information: Find out if Bookshare is right for you. Read your first book with new information. Enjoy simpler pages, and helpful images that are fully described.
- My Bookshare: Manage your account, see your book history and download reading tools with a new personalized information page.
- Improved search: Find the books you want by searching by title, author, or ISBN. Improved algorithm allows you to get better results.
- Updated Help Center: Find answers to your Bookshare questions by visiting the revamped Help Center. It has a new well-organized FAQ list, as well as a much improved search feature.
- Training Center: Access new and updated training videos, webinars, online courses, training tools, and learning resources.
- Get Involved: Learn how you can connect with Bookshare’s ever-growing volunteer, Mentor Teacher, Parent Ambassador, and social media communities.
More information is provided on the Bookshare blog.
The European Commission has proposed the ratification, on behalf of the European Union, of the Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind, have low vision or are otherwise print disabled. The Treaty will ensure that books in formats such as Braille, large print, e-books as well as audio books with special navigation features, produced under copyright exceptions, can be exchanged across borders, not only within the EU but also between the EU and third countries.
“The Marrakesh Treaty will simplify the lives of millions of people with vision disabilities around the world. The EU can help to improve access to books with equal conditions for all and contribute to the fight against the book famine. The Commission’s proposal is a signal that Europe is ready to support the rapid entry into force of this important Treaty. I count on the Council and the European Parliament to authorize the ratification as soon as possible.” said Michel Barnier, Vice President of the European Commission in charge of Internal Market and Services.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 285 million people worldwide have vision impairments: 39 million are blind and 246 million have low vision.
The World Blind Union reports that in Europe only 5% of published books are available in an accessible format for people with vision disabilities, while in developing countries this rate is as low as 1%.
More information is provided in the official press release.
Bones AG has announced the availability of a new member of the Milestone family, the Milestone M112 Ace.
The Milestone M112 Ace offers the simplicity of the Milestone 112 and shines with two new features:
- Easy to use and precise clock
- With a touch of a button, your Milestone M112 Ace tells you what time it is.
Now you can take notes at any time. It doesn't matter if the Milestone 112 Ace was recently in use or is in power saving mode. Just press the recording button until you hear the recording signal and start taking notes. Available in Europe starting October 20th, 2014. More information is provided on the Bones AG website.
As with other learning disabilities, dyslexia is a lifelong challenge. This language processing disorder can affect reading, writing, spelling and speaking. Dyslexia is not a sign of poor intelligence. Children and adults with dyslexia have a neurological disorder that causes their brains to process and interpret information differently. Dyslexia occurs among people of all economic and ethnic backgrounds.
Most of classroom activities are based on reading and writing. It's important to identify dyslexia as early as possible. Using alternate learning methods and materials, including DAISY, people with dyslexia can achieve success. Each October, the International Dyslexia Association aims to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of dyslexia and offer resources to parents, teachers, and individuals with dyslexia. Their 2014 Campaign is dedicated to families. Every dollar raised will help provide handbooks to families around the world.
From October 1-31, 2014 you can make a donation to ensure that the IDA Dyslexia Handbook: What Every Family Should Know, gets into the hands of as many families as possible. A donation of just $10, will get a handbook to ten families. The more parents can be informed, the more children can be helped. Details are provided on the IDA website.
The World Sight Day is held on the second Thursday of every October, making October 9th the day for eye awareness in 2014.
It was initiated by the Lions International Club and integrated with the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) task force known as Vision 2020, in October 2000.
The primary focus of this day is to educate various communities about avoidable blindness. According to the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), by the year 2020, the number of blind people will increase to 76 million. More information is provided on the IAPB website.
As part of the Department of Education's First in the World program, AMAC Accessibility Solutions & Research Center, a part of the Georgia Tech College of Architecture, was recently awarded $3.8 million over four years to create the Center for Accessible Materials Innovation. This center, which will target students at minority serving institutions (MSIs), will expand access to digital content for students with disabilities, thereby improving their retention and graduation rates. More information is provided on the Georgia Tech, College of Architecture website.
Training workshop on “Inclusive Publishing” was organized September 15 to 17, 2014 at the BASIS Auditorium, Dhaka. This program was conducted by the DAISY Consortium with support from WIPO and Accessible Books Consortium. The partner organizations from Bangladesh were Access to Information program, Prime Minister's Office (A2I), Government of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) and YPSA. Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid handed over the certificates to the trainees during the closing ceremony at the Prime Minister’s Office on September 18th. Mr. Prashant Ranjan Verma and Mr. Amit Verma facilitated the training program.
The objective of this program was to make the publishers aware of the lack of reading material in accessible format for persons with print impairments which include people with blindness, low vision, dyslexia, certain physical disabilities and the illiterate/low literate. The participants learnt how they can adopt inclusive publishing by making eBooks which are for everyone including people with disabilities. The publishing industry is in a transition stage where more and more publishers are coming out with eBook versions of their publications. If publishers take care of the accessibility requirements then all eBooks will be born accessible and there will be no need for further adaption for people with print disabilities. This can dramatically increase the availability of reading material for people with print disabilities. More information is provided on the GAATES Global Accessibility News website.