News Archive

Libraries for an Inclusive Society

To celebrate its 50th anniversary and to mark Library Year in Lithuania, The Lithuanian Library for the Blind is organizing an international conference 'Libraries for an inclusive society' - October 24-25th, 2016 in Vilnius.


The goal of the conference is to encourage a dialogue to realize the full potential of people with disabilities by developing inclusive library services. Public, academic and special librarians, policy-makers, researchers and professionals at institutions serving people with disabilities are invited to attend. The keynote speaker is Victoria Owen, Chief Librarian at the University of Toronto Scarborough.


The conference languages are Lithuanian and English. Registration will open July 10th, 2016.


Visit the conference website to learn more. Call for presentations closes June 20th, 2016.

DAISY Consortium Welcomes mSourcing Solutions as a Friend of the Consortium

The DAISY Consortium's new member mSourcing Solutions operate in Kolkata, India with offices in Australia and the USA. They assist academic institutions, libraries, and publishers with digitizing content and specialize in the production of DAISY books, MP3 audio books and Braille books (both hard copy and soft copy). They cater to data conversion services that convert publications into formats accessible to persons with print disabilities.


mSourcing Solutions work with a wide range of input formats (e.g. paper documents, bound books, newspapers, magazines, scanned images, PDF etc.) and convert them into different formats (e.g. MS Word, PDF, XML, ePub2/3, METS/ALTO ). They also work with complex content including historic fiction and STM journals. More information is provided in their member profile.

Call for Review. EPUB Accessibility: Conformance and Discovery Requirements for EPUB Publications

The EPUB 3 Working Group's accessibility subgroup is delighted to announce the first public Editor's Draft of the new specification "EPUB Accessibility: Conformance and Discovery Requirements for EPUB Publications," found at


EPUB 3 is based on HTML, CSS, and SVG, building upon the Open Web Platform. Likewise, the EPUB Accessibility spec enriches the ongoing work of the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), referencing WCAG 2.0 and WAI publications. The EPUB Accessibility Spec outlines the principles that will be used to create techniques for conformance.


We believe the development of this specification will advance accessibility in the digital publishing space, and we invite you to join us in this effort.

We are looking forward to your review and comments. To participate, please go to the GitHub issue tracker at


Or you may send comments to Markus Gylling, CTO for the IDPF, markus.gylling(at) The working group will review all comments and add specific topics as appropriate.


You can also send an email with questions or comments to George Kerscher [kerscher(at)].

Second Editor's Draft of EPUB 3.1 Available for Review

The EPUB 3 Working Group has announced that the second Editor's Draft of EPUB 3.1 is now available for community review. The previous Editors Draft, published in January, included some potentially controversial changes. Based on community feedback, some of these proposed changes have now been modified or redacted. Some new proposed features have been added in this draft, including the first draft of the EPUB Accessibility specification. The draft also clarifies the prioritization of Author and User styles.


For more information about changes in the new Editors Draft, please refer to the EPUB 3.1 Changes from 3.0.1 document. Those affiliated with IDPF member organizations are encouraged to join the IDPF EPUB Working Group email list to participate directly in the development process; feedback can also be provided via the IDPF GitHub issue tracker. More information is provided on the EPUBZone website.

The M-Enabling Summit Hosts Forum for Inclusive Technology in Higher Education

With its focus on "Accessible Technologies and Environments for All", the 2016 M-Enabling Summit Conference & Showcase will highlight the latest empowering mobile technologies, NextGen innovations and breakthroughs for seniors and persons with disabilities.


The 5th edition of the annual M-Enabling Summit Series, scheduled to be held on June 13-14, 2016 in Washington, DC, will include an unprecedented array of innovations with the participation of corporations, government agencies, academic institutions, IT vendors, and professionals supporting seniors and persons with disabilities from around the world.


Early bird discount is on until April 30: Register today!

Tim Berners-Lee to Keynote Annual IDPF Digital Publishing Conference at Book Expo America (BEA)

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) announced that Tim Berners-Lee, Web Inventor, and W3C Director, will deliver a keynote address on Tuesday, May 10th, 2016 at IDPF DigiCon, the annual digital publishing conference hosted by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) and co-located with Book Expo America (BEA) at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois, USA. For details visit


In his address, "Realizing the Vision of Publishing Technology with Web Technology," Berners-Lee will preview new ways people may read in the future - not just on eReaders, tablets, and mobile devices, but also on large screens - made possible by the Web's rich media environment for digital publishing.


According to Berners-Lee, we are even closer now to realizing the transformative vision of publishing on the Web being aligned with Web technology, forming is the most open, interoperable and accessible global platform in history. He will also explain how the W3C, in collaboration with IDPF and others in the publishing ecosystem, is working today to accelerate the development of foundational Web technologies and standards to achieve this vision.


More information is available on the website.

Free webinar: Hands-on Prodigi Connect 12 classroom experience

Free video webinar: Prodigi Connect 12 classroom experience.


HumanWare's Prodigi Connect 12 is a portable and intuitive device for students who have low vision. In 20 minutes, participants will see highlights of how simple it is to read, write; capture printed documents to read aloud, with or without speech in various modes. Also, get a glimpse into wireless distance viewing, learn how to connect a wireless keyboard and how to connect wirelessly to a Smartboard!


Followed by an engaging Q&A.


When: Wednesday, April 27th 11am EDT

Presenter: Sam Adler – Low Vision specialist – Product Manager. Register today.

Accessible Images and Beyond: DIAGRAM Center +

Free webinar: Accessible Images and Beyond: “DIAGRAM Center +”


Date: Wednesday, April 26, 2016


Time: 11:00 am Pacific Time (2:00 pm Eastern Time)


Presenter: Anh Bui, VP of Benetech Labs and Lead P.I. of the DIAGRAM Center


Join Anh Bui, Vice President of Benetech Labs as she gives an encore presentation of her 2016 CSUN conference session “Accessible Images and Beyond: “DIAGRAM Center +”. Webinar participants will learn what to expect from DIAGRAM under the new award and how you can benefit from the new resources and technologies DIAGRAM will develop. Register online.

DAISY Consortium Wins Grant From

Accessible publications remove barriers to information access

Zürich, Switzerland and Missoula, MT, USA – April 12, 2016. has announced DAISY Consortium as a winner of the Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities. Organizations receiving this award tackle some of the world's toughest human challenges. The grant will help create e-books that can be read by anyone, regardless of their disability.


According to the World Blind Union, less than 10 percent of publications are available in formats usable by people with blindness, low vision or other reading disabilities. However, the publishing industry is at a tipping point. E-books have opened the door to a future where it’s possible for all new digital books to be “born accessible”, so they can be viewed enlarged on a screen, read aloud with a synthetic voice, or displayed on an electronic braille device.


The grant will accelerate the DAISY Consortium’s work to develop baseline requirements for accessible books. This will include supporting guidelines, accessibility certification and new tools that help publishers check essential accessibility of their publications. Furthermore, reading systems will be evaluated to review their support for the Accessibility Baseline.


“At, we support organizations that offer innovative solutions to complex challenges. We’re thrilled to back DAISY Consortium as they help build a world that works for everyone,” said Brigitte Gosselink, Head of the Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities.


George Kerscher, Chief Innovation Officer of the DAISY Consortium and President of the IDPF Board of Directors said:


"Evolving the relationship between digital publications, reading systems, and Assistive Technology in the print-disabled community has been the focus of DAISY for decades. The Google Impact Challenge strategically addresses the long-term, changing nature of the civil right to access information. Society will not change overnight. Project supported by marks the tipping point where millions of digital publications meeting a baseline requirement for accessibility, will enter the hands of blind and print-disabled people around the world.”


Visit to check for updates and learn more.


About the DAISY Consortium

The DAISY Consortium is a global partnership of organizations committed to creating the best way to read and publish for everyone.


The Consortium contributes expertise in standards working groups that are engaged in Inclusive Publishing and develops guidelines and checklists so that best practices are clear and widely available.


In addition, the Consortium tests and promotes reading systems that ensure the best possible reading experience with eyes, ears and fingers. The DAISY Consortium supports and helps to develop inclusive publishing ecosystem for everybody, including persons with disabilities.


Media contact: George Kerscher [kerscher(at)]


Attend the Take Part 2016 conference to learn more.

International Forum on Disability: Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction

The International Forum on DiDRR: Implementing the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction took place 13:00 - 16:15, on April 8th 2016 at the Nippon Foundation in Tokyo, Japan.

This event was co-organized by The Nippon Foundation (TNF), Rehabilitation International (RI) and Assistive Technology Development Organization (ATDO). Live streaming video with English Caption is available at:

VitalSource Continues to Champion Accessibility

VitalSource Technologies Inc., part of Ingram Content Group, has received an unprecedented achievement of 100 percent compliance with the industry-wide tests for accessibility on its Windows and iOS Bookshelf® clients. All VitalSource readers received 100 percent on visual adjustments, and the company has committed to 100 percent coverage on all tests, for all clients this summer. With its long-held commitment to accessibility, the company is the first in its industry to reach this level of conformance with the evaluation of reading system accessibility. VitalSource’s reading system serves both K12 and higher education.


“Providing solutions for every ebook to be accessible is a fundamental value of VitalSource,” said Rick Johnson, VP of Product Strategy, VitalSource. “In 2015, the company continued to release improvements in accessibility with new content, improved applications and increased collaboration with the accessibility community. We will continue our commitment in 2016 by upgrading all clients to reach the 100 percent rating, as well as enabling new solutions, from authoring to personalized learning, to support the needs of this community.” For more than a decade, VitalSource has provided accessible solutions to learners of all abilities. VitalSource was the first company to offer a reading system to support the emerging EPUB for Education (EDUPUB) standard, which brings the benefits of accessible classroom materials into the integrated learning environment. VitalSource recently expanded its accessibility agenda with new content, improved applications and increased collaboration with the accessibility community.


DAISY Consortium, BISG and IDPF partnered to test reading systems for EPUB 3 compliance and accessibility. The EPUB 3 Support Grid enables evaluation of support for accessibility across popular reading systems and assistive technologies. To achieve a high fundamental accessibility score, reading systems should be able to perform basic functions like adjust font size and color. Systems should also include text that is readable with a screen reader, have self-voicing text-to-speech application, as well as refreshable Braille display or assistive technologies designed for persons with dyslexia and other learning disabilities.


“VitalSource has been outstanding in developing accessibility conformance. The company’s responsiveness and attention to details that are important to the disability community must be applauded,” said George Kerscher, Chief Innovations Officer for the DAISY Consortium. “I recommend the VitalSource Bookshelf for Windows and iOS to everybody with disabilities.”


The EPUB 3 Support Grid was designed to be a handy reference to what enhancements and features of EPUB 3 render correctly on the most commonly used devices, apps, and reading systems, based on tests conducted by industry experts who represent leading publishers, service providers, and technology vendors. The grid is available at


The Test Suite is a set of EPUB 3 files designed to enable anyone to test a reading system's support of various EPUB 3 features and its support for accessibility. It does not include a set of test files for each EPUB 3 specs feature but a rigorous performance evaluation of the most commonly used essential features. The current testing process involves manual evaluation and recording of results. See the Test Suite page for more details, and find instructions on how to test a reading system.


The International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) designed the Test Suite now maintained through a partnership between the IDPF, DAISY Consortium and the Book Industry Study Group. These organizations ensure that the tracked functionalities are of importance to the general book industry.

Some content available through VitalSource can be enhanced to improve compatibility with assistive technologies. In many cases, logical reading order, table markup, and image descriptions can be added or improved. Any student who is a VitalSource Bookshelf® user and would like to request that a particular title be enhanced for improved accessibility may do so by going to the VitalSource website.


The official VitalSource press release is available on PRWeb.

First affordable braille reader launched

The new Orbit braille reader was launched at the Annual International Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference in San Diego, California.


The Orbit braille reader is the first affordable portable braille reader. Until now, braille displays cost on average around $3,000, putting them out of reach for many people. In contrast, the new Orbit braille reader will retail for under $400.


A refreshable braille display is a device that allows a person who is blind or partially sighted to read the contents of a display, like a computer, a text line at a time as a line of braille characters.


The Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) is one of ten organizations worldwide who were involved in creating the new technology, along with the RNIB (Royal National Institute for the Blind) in England, NFB (National Federation of the Blind) in the United States, American Printing House for the Blind, New Zealand's Blind Foundation, Perkins, the Norwegian Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted, Association Valentin Haüy (AVH), Sightsavers, and Vision Australia. CNIB provided research and development funding, expertise and testing.


In addition to CNIB contributing financially, Diane Bergeron, Executive Director, Strategic Relations and Engagement, CNIB, was a member of the product development committee which provided input on design and testing in Canada. "Reading is one of the daily human activities affected most profoundly by vision loss, and it's absolutely critical to the success of a person who is blind or partially sighted living in a sighted world," said Bergeron. 


The Orbit braille reader works over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and can read files stored on an SD card inserted in the reader. The Orbit braille reader can read translated, formatted braille (BRF) files, translated, unformatted brailled (BRL) files, portable embosser format (PEF) files and text (TXT) files.


CNIB is the exclusive supplier of the Orbit braille reader in Canada, which will be available in the fall from Shop CNIB at

More information is provided in the official press release.

Download the BISG Quick Start Guide to Accessible Publishing Today

The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) Quick Start Guide to Accessible Publishing is now available for download. This document serves as the model for best practices in creating accessible digital content for those who live with disabilities. It offers both a succinct introduction to the basics of accessibility and the market advantages to publishers of adopting best practices for those who need to quickly come up to speed.

  • Written in clear, non‐technical language
  • Translated into four languages (Spanish, French, German and Italian) and coming soon in Korean
  • Available in the EPUB 3 format
  • Free download
  • Follow this link to get this guide today: BISG Quick Start Guide

The guide addresses why and how to create, distribute, and display accessible digital content and provides an overview of these topics:

  • The critical importance of accessibility
  • The business case for making content accessible
  • Practical advice on how best to make content accessible
  • Legal requirements for accessible content

The BISG Quick Start Guide to Accessibile Publishing can help companies:

  • Make content more discoverable
  • Reach an untapped market
  • Streamline production workflow
  • Save money by creating "born accessible" educational materials

With BISG's Quick Start Guide to Accessible Publishing, publishers will discover an invaluable resource. When all digital content is also “born accessible,” the dream of equal access to information for everyone will be a reality.


The BISG Quick Start Guide to Accessible Publishing was written and compiled for the Book Industry Study Group by members of the BISG Content Structure Committee's Accessible Publishing Working Group.

RNIB partners with Benetech to deliver online resource for print disabled learners

RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) and Benetech have announced the launch of RNIB Bookshare, an online service which delivers accessible materials to schools and colleges in the UK.


RNIB Bookshare provides curriculum materials for blind or partially sighted, dyslexic or otherwise print disabled students. It offers an independent learning experience while enabling learners to read the same books at the same time as their classmates.


The new platform replaces Load2Learn, a similar service run by RNIB since 2012, and will offer an increased number of titles as well as new features such as reading apps and reading lists. It will be available from March 30th, 2016.


Neil Heslop, Managing Director, RNIB Solutions, said: “We are pleased to be working with Benetech. This partnership offers the potential to reach every student in the UK that struggles with standard print. It is so important that learners are able to access the books and textbooks they need when they need them.”


Brad Turner, Vice President of Global Literacy at Benetech said: "We recognise the importance of providing accessible materials to students, at the same time as their peers. Education plays a momentous role in supporting inclusivity and independence for students, plus providing future employment opportunities, and we want to ensure that every child with a print disability in the UK has access to educational print materials."


"Working with RNIB, we believe we can make a real difference to students who struggle with standard print, and help them fulfil their academic potential."


For more information about RNIB Bookshare please visit or call 0300 303 8313.

CSUN 2016 program available for download

The 31st Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference, also known as the CSUN Conference, will be held at the San Diego Manchester Grand Hyatt hotel March 21-26, 2016. Full details are available on the CSUN 2016 conference website. Each part of the CSUN program is available for download as a navigable DAISY 2.02 publication in addition to the HTML and EPUB files.

Welcome to Take Part 2016 - a global conference on accessible information

More than 400 delegates from around the world will gather in Stockholm on May 16th to 18th to exchange experiences and ideas on the human perspectives on inclusive publishing, universal design, and accessible information.


We are pleased to announce prominent keynote speakers such as universal design pioneer Patricia A. Moore, best-selling author David Lagercrantz (The Girl in the Spider’s Web and I am Zlatan) and George Kerscher, Chief Innovation Officer DAISY Consortium. In addition to ten keynote speakers, we offer a vast spectrum of seminars on technological advances, usability and how to reach the readers.


“Take Part will be a fantastic opportunity to gain and spread knowledge on the development of accessibility – and how to create, publish and distribute in a way that is accessible for all. We hope that this conference will increase knowledge of born accessible publications, and show how inclusion is essential to support democratic development and ensure human rights globally,” says Roland Esaiasson, Director General, MTM – Swedish Agency for Accessible Media.


Information is produced and distributed faster than ever, and it is important to include accessibility from the start. To learn more, join authors, publishers, distributors, libraries, education and accessibility advocates from the international world of reading and inclusion at Take Part 2016.


Take Part is organized by the international DAISY Consortium, the Swedish DAISY Consortium, the Swedish Library Association and the Swedish Agency for Accessible Media - MTM.


For further information, please contact:


Roland Esaiasson, Director General, MTM – Swedish Agency for Accessible Media

Phone: +46 8-580 02 750, e-mail: roland.esaiasson(at)


Anne Stigell, Project Manager Take Part, MTM – Swedish Agency for Accessible Media

Phone: +46 8-580 02 777, e-mail: anne.stigell(at)


For Media Accreditation, please contact takepart2016(at) or


The conference will be filmed. All conference materials will be made available to attendees on


Please go to the registration page and follow the instructions to enjoy Stockholm and the conference in May.

Get the latest updates on Twitter and Facebook.

WBU Press Release in honor of International Women’s Day 2016

Toronto, March 8th, 2016: International Women’s Day encourages us all to reflect on the importance of gender equality, to celebrate the successes of women, and to acknowledge the work that is still left to be done. “With women making up more than 50% of the world’s population and often being the main link for the family and connection to the community, there remains a great deal of work to be done to ensure equal rights in all aspects of life,” says World Blind Union (WBU) Immediate Past President and Chair of the International Disability Alliance, Maryanne Diamond.


For women who are blind, access to information, health, education, employment and participation in all aspects of the community must be supported to achieve equality with other women and with men. For example, blind women’s access to information is a serious issue, especially health and reproductive information. Just as sighted women want access to the latest health and parenting information, so do blind women. However, unlike sighted women, most blind women do not have access to the array of materials available due to the inaccessibility of printed materials, especially reference materials. Less than 10% of printed materials are made into accessible formats and in developing countries it’s often less than 1%. With the appropriate support and information, blind women are as effective and competent as sighted women are at raising children and caring for their families.


One way we can improve blind women’s access to information is by advocating for the universal ratification and implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty. This treaty will allow for more books and printed materials to be published in accessible formats, and for blindness organizations to share books across borders providing access to a wider variety of printed materials for blind and partially sighted women all over the world.


Learn more about the Marrakesh Treaty on the WBU campaign page.

National Federation of the Blind & Amazon Join Forces to Improve Accessible Reading Experiences

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and Amazon announced that they will be working together to increase selection, enhance accessibility, and improve reading experiences for blind students, including those who have low vision or who are deaf-blind. Amazon and the National Federation of the Blind will collaborate on improvements to Amazon's education content, platforms, and applications, and will meet on an ongoing basis to review progress and exchange ideas and feedback. Initial results of this collaboration are expected this year and beyond.


"We are seeing educational institutions embrace digital learning for its ease of access to a large selection of learning resources for students," said Rohit Agarwal, General Manager, Amazon K-12 Education. "This shift provides a great opportunity to improve accessibility for blind students. By collaborating with the National Federation of the Blind, we hope to advance accessibility for all content, platforms and applications that Amazon develops to better serve K-12 and higher education students."


"The National Federation of the Blind is dedicated to using our expertise in the development and implementation of built-in accessibility in technology to ensure that the blind have equal access to the information and tools we need to live the lives we want," said Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. "The NFB and Amazon have sought a productive collaboration to improve accessibility, and we now look forward to working together closely to improve the technologies that will make digital reading experiences better for all customers. The commitment that Amazon has made in this agreement brings us ever closer to the day when blind students of all ages will have the same digital reading experience and access to content as others, and demonstrates that access for the blind goes hand in hand with continued innovation in technology." 


More information is provided in the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) press release.

Now Available in the US: A Library of Opportunity

Open eBooks project in the United States can be a gateway to a world of learning and opportunity, delivering reading materials to students who need them most. Open eBooks help advance ConnectED initiative's vision to ensure that students have access to the best teaching and learning. More students than ever have access to a digital device - a tablet, laptop, or mobile phone. According to a national survey, 85 percent of families with young children (6-13 years old) living below the poverty line now have access to mobile devices. The current situation creates new opportunities to deliver content to students with a hunger to learn.


Open eBooks is not a federal program. It was created by a breakthrough coalition of literacy, library, publishing, and technology organizations who worked together to make the initiative possible. The following organizations - Digital Public Library of America, First Book, and The New York Public Library with content support from digital books distributor Baker & Taylor – created the Open eBooks app, curated the eBook collection, and developed a system for distribution and use. They received support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and content contributions from ten major publishers.


Students need the help of responsible adults to access Open eBooks. This includes teachers, librarians, after-school counselors, and others primarily serving students in need.


Students who have appropriate codes can download the free Open eBooks app to a mobile device, then enter their access code to start enjoying Open eBooks.


More information is available on

M-Enabling Summit 2016: Registration Is Now Open

Join us for the 5th annual M-Enabling Summit on June 13 and 14, 2016 at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel, in Washington, D.C. Early bird registration is now open!


The 2016 Summit, with its theme on "Accessible Technologies and Environments for All" is a conference and showcase exclusively dedicated to leveraging the latest information technology innovations for senior citizens and users of all abilities.


With accessible and assistive technology solutions at the forefront of the mobile industry, it is becoming an essential differentiator and competitive advantage for businesses and organizations. The M-Enabling Summit Series has been highlighting the unprecedented opportunities offered by the mobile apps, services and assistive technology industry in this rapidly expanding market.


2016 M-Enabling Summit Key Topics:

  • Mobile enabling solutions leveraging latest OS and human interface features
  • IoT, Smart Homes, and Smart Cities
  • Wearables
  • Ecosystem in support of Innovation
  • Scaling up accessibility in large organizations
  • Compliance trends
  • Higher Education best practices in leveraging information technology for inclusion

View the 2016 M-Enabling Summit agenda on the M-Enabling Summit website to register.

Bangladesh experiences presented at ZERO Project Conference 2016

Mr. Vashkar Bhattacharjee, representing DAISY Consortium's Associate Member Young Power in Social Action (YPSA), presented on the topic of accessible learning materials in DAISY and other alternative formats at the ZERO Project Conference 2016 in Vienna, Austria.


Innovative practices that remove barriers to inclusion are shared annually at the ZERO Project Conference. As a result of collaboration between different organizations, Bangladesh has created a sustainable model for producing all textbooks for students in Grade 1 - Grade 10 in accessible formats.


Mr. Vashkar Bhattacharjee and YPSA along with Federation of DPOs Sitakund received technical support from WIPO, Accessible Books Consortium, DAISY Consortium and GAATES. They partnered with Disability Rights Fund (DRF) to ensure the production and distribution of accessible books in Bangladesh and received the ZERO Project Innovative Practice 2016 Award. More information is provided on the YPSA website.

President Obama asks the US Senate to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty

For Immediate Release February 10, 2016




With a view to receiving the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, I transmit herewith the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled, done at Marrakesh on June 27, 2013 (Marrakesh Treaty). I also transmit, for the information of the Senate, a report of the Secretary of State with respect to the Marrakesh Treaty that includes a summary of its provisions.


This copyright treaty, concluded under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), advances the national interest of the United States in promoting the protection and enjoyment of creative works. The Marrakesh Treaty lays a foundation, in a manner consistent with existing international copyright standards, for further opening up a world of knowledge for persons with print disabilities by improving their access to published works.


The United States played a leadership role in the negotiation of the treaty, and its provisions are broadly consistent with the approach and structure of existing U.S. law. Narrow changes in U.S. law will be needed for the United States to implement certain provisions of the treaty. Proposed legislation is being submitted to both houses of the Congress in conjunction with this transmittal.


I recommend that the Senate give early and favorable consideration to the Marrakesh Treaty, and give its advice and consent to its ratification.




First Editor's Draft of EPUB 3.1 Available for Review

The EPUB 3 Working Group announced that the first Editor's Draft of EPUB 3.1 is now available for community review. A condensed summary of the changes being put forward for review can be found in the EPUB 3.1 Changes from 3.0.1 document. The approach taken in this first draft is proposing potentially controversial changes, therefore timely feedback is important.


The primary goal of this revision is to bring EPUB 3 more in line with the Open Web Platform (OWP). The HTML syntax of HTML5 is now proposed to have required support in reading systems, resulting in the need to enrich the markup to work in HTML and XHTML. The working group is proposing a move to the ARIA role attribute coupled with the W3C Digital Publishing WAI-ARIA Module for semantics. This first editor's draft also proposes dropping support for EPUB 2 and for a number of EPUB 3 features that are not broadly compatible with the OWP.


The EPUB 3.1 revision is also an opportunity to review the overall accessibility of the format. For more information, please refer to the EPUB 3.1 Changes from 3.0.1 document. None of the decisions proposed in this draft are final, and are open to be changed in future drafts. Those affiliated with IDPF member organizations are encouraged to join the IDPF EPUB Working Group email list to participate directly in the development process; feedback can also be provided via email to the Working Group co-chair Markus Gylling: mgylling(at)


Read more on the IDPF website.

Talking books open classics to the blind in South India

DAISY book project is a joint initiative of Kerala State Youth Welfare Board and Kerala Federation of Blind Youth Forum in South India, aimed at enriching the visually challenged community with audio content of books and other reading materials. Their website aims to serve as an archive of content created under this initiative. This is the first online digital accessible library for print disabled with the support of Government of Kerala.


Launched by Kerala Federation of Blind Youth Forum in collaboration with State Youth Welfare Board, DAISY addresses the lack of online speech engine for reading Malayalam text. More information is provided in the Deccan Chronicle.

EDUPUB Alliance, EPUB Accessibility Meetings near Baltimore, February 24-25, 2016

The next meeting of the EDUPUB Alliance, together with a related summit on EPUB Accessibility and Certification, will take place on February 24-25, 2016 near Baltimore, Maryland. The events will be co-hosted by IDPF and IMS Global, in conjunction with IMS Global's next Quarterly Meeting, sponsored by University of Maryland College.


The theme of day one will be "EPUB Accessibility as a Baseline" and will bring together speakers and participants to establish key requirements and critical tasks necessary for the EPUB ecosystem to fully support current and future accessibility mandates. The keynote speaker will be George Kerscher, Chief Innovation Officer of the DAISY Consortium and President of the IDPF Board of Directors. Day two will kick off with EDUPUB Alliance sessions focused on coordinating open standards for learning content and systems, followed by a technical workshop on EPUB certification implementation. A preliminary agenda has been published and registration is now open to all interested parties with options to attend both days ($200) or day one only ($150).  Register today on the IMS Global Learning Consortium website.

13th International Web for All (W4A) Conference: Education for All on the Web

The rapid emergence of online learning has brought many accessibility challenges. MOOCs, Big Data, and Open Content are changing how we look at education, broadening access to learning for millions, soon billions of individuals, and creating new opportunities to remove barriers to literacy, education, and the search for knowledge. With the explosive growth of opportunities to learn online, the theme of the 13th International Web for All (W4A) Conference is “Education for All on the Web.”


IBM is offering a full coverage scholarship to students with disabilities to attend the International Web for All conference in Montreal, Canada on April 11-13, 2016. There is also a $1,000 Google award for any Doctoral students doing Accessibility research to participate in the Doctoral Consortium.


Deadline for these two Students' awards has been extended until January 31st, 2016:

Free Webinar: How to Spot Dyslexia in a Writing Sample

In this 60-minute webinar on January 20th, 2016 at 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM Eastern Time, Susan Barton, founder of Bright Solutions for Dyslexia, will share how she spots dyslexia in compositions and on spelling tests. She will show many examples, and participants will get a copy of her writing sample checklist.


Susan will answer questions for 15 minutes at the end. Participants can also send her questions by email.


Susan Barton is the developer of the Barton Reading and Spelling System - an Orton-Gillingham influenced system designed specifically for parents, homeschool parents, and volunteer tutors in literacy programs. The Barton System is easy to learn and contains enough support for parents and volunteer tutors, yet is complete enough for professional tutors as well as reading and resource specialists.


About this webinar series: Learning Ally (DAISY Consortium member) partners with leading experts in the learning disabilities and assistive technology fields. On a bimonthly basis, they sponsor free webinars for students, their parents and educators.


Register today to attend live webinar or to access recording.

CSUN 2016: Full schedule now available online

Those traveling to CSUN 2016 can now begin to plan their session calendar. This event will be held from March 21-26, 2016 in San Diego. The main conference sessions are on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday and encompass a wide array of assistive technology topics, including accessible publishing and reading. View over 300 sessions approved for the conference on the CSUN 2016 website.

Tobi 2.6 enhances integration with production systems

DAISY Consortium is pleased to announce the release of the latest version of Tobi, the next-generation open source multimedia production tool. With Tobi, users can produce books with full text and audio, compliant with both the DAISY 3 and mainstream EPUB 3 (Media Overlays) specifications. It also includes the unique capability of adding accessibility enhancements, such as image descriptions, to mainstream EPUB 3 publications.


Version 2.6 streamlines the integration of Tobi in DAISY members’ production systems. For example, the new Overwrite Recording mode facilitates recording with conventional approaches. Text-to-speech based production benefits from the new capability that allows using different synthetic voices for different structural elements of the book.


The introduction of the Optimized Cleanup feature reduces data traffic over networks. This feature brings a major improvement to network-based deployments of Tobi.


Other features include the capability to add section names to the audio file names and one-click filling of default metadata values. This release also includes bug fixes and other improvements to existing features.


Please note that online installation with ClickOnce installer has been deprecated in favor of the MSI installer from this release onwards, due to .NET deployment issues.


To learn more about Tobi, please visit the Tobi project area at


For more information about the new features and bug fixes, please visit the change log at


For providing feedback, suggestions and bug reports, please go to


The Tobi team would like to thank all Tobi project contributors and supporters.

Call for Papers: 2016 IFLA Satellite Conference

You can now submit a paper for the 2016 IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) Satellite Conference Tailoring the Reading Experience to Meet Individual Needs that will take place on Thursday, August 11 and Friday, August 12, 2016.


Theme: Creating an inclusive community of readers

Title: Tailoring the Reading Experience to Meet Individual Needs

Location: Galt House Hotel. 140 N 4th St, Louisville, KY 40202, USA


Presentations will raise and discuss the following topics:

  • Facilitating the book selection process
  • Changing the role of the librarian from the Marrakesh perspective
  • Finding and sharing accessible materials and collections
  • Accessible audio book technologies
  • Serving the full spectrum of print disabilities
  • Creating inclusive communities for people with disabilities through programming and events
  • The added value of an analog service in the heart of the digital era
  • Promoting Braille literacy

This conference offers a rare opportunity for professionals from a variety of disciplines to discuss the challenges and solutions to providing timely accessible materials. Librarians from special libraries for the blind, as well as from public libraries serving blind and print-disabled patrons; educators, accessible instructional materials providers; professionals from university disability offices, and others with an interest in these topics have been invited to come together to learn, share and discuss.


Join the conversation by submitting a paper for consideration. Paper guidelines are available on the Satellite Conference website. Call for Papers deadline is March 1st, 2016.