The proceedings of the 9th European e-Accessibility Forum, including videos, summaries and downloadable slides, are now available online: http://eaf2015.braillenet.org.
The June 2015 issue of the DAISY Planet also features an article about the Forum: http://www.daisy.org/planet-2015-06.
BrailleNet and G3ICT (Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies) co-edited their 4th White Paper "User-driven eAccessibility". This document (3.2 MB, PDF) can be downloaded from the BrailleNet website.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), together with the Joint Technical Committee JTC 1, Information Technology of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), announced approval of the MathML Version 3.0 2nd Edition as an ISO/IEC International Standard (ISO/IEC 40314:2015).
MathML is the mark-up language used in software and development tools for statistical, engineering, scientific, computational and academic expressions of math on the web. The Mathematical Markup Language provides ways to describe in XML both the visual presentation of formulas (with mathematical symbols, built-up formulas and font styles) and their semantics (with reference to different domains of mathematics). Its first version, MathML 1, was released in 1999. More information is provided on the W3C website.
Why nominate candidates for Book Industry Study Group's (BISG's) annual industry awards?
Bill Kasdorf, recipient of the 2014 Industry Champion Award, Chair of BISG's Content Structure Committee, an active member of other industry groups, and Vice President and Principal Consultant at Apex Content Solutions, recently explained:
"Because they make the explosion in innovation and the increasingly interoperable publishing ecosystem concrete. Real folks like you and me are working together to develop and advance standards like BISAC, Thema, ONIX, EPUB, EDUPUB, accessibility, and identifiers. Their efforts help bridge various parties and sectors in publishing, creating innovative solutions that make our world better. And the awards send the message that hey, you too could do that! Join the fun!"
If you are employed by a BISG member organization, you are invited to nominate deserving candidates. Recipients will be honored at BISG's Annual Meeting of Members on September 18, 2015, in New York City. You can nominate as many candidates as you wish by resubmitting the form. More information is provided on the BISG website.
Under the auspices of the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) and the Interinstitutional Digital Publishing Committee of the EU, representatives from a wide range of institutions will gather on June 29th, 2015 in Brussels. The goal of this event is to share best practices in addressing the challenges and opportunities that today's dynamic publishing ecosystem presents.
Attendees will learn about a variety of important standards and technologies, including EPUB 3, and hear how institutions are employing them to modernize their publishing processes and better support accessibility and mobile devices. More information is provided on the IDPF website. Request an invite today.
The DAISY Consortium Board approved Version 2 of the DAISY Online Delivery Protocol at the DAISY Board Meeting in Paris on June 9th, 2015. The new version of the protocol includes many improvements for communication between DAISY readers and servers. More information will follow in coming weeks and will be added to the DAISY Online Delivery Protocol section of the DAISY Consortium website.
Today, nearly one million Canadians live with a print disability such as blindness or partial sight. Some Canadians have mobility issues that prevent them from turning a page or pointing a cursor. For these Canadians, it can be especially difficult to obtain material such as textbooks or online resources in a format that is both accessible and easy to use. Canadians should not be denied opportunities to read and educate themselves simply because they are print disabled.
Industry Minister James Moore introduced new legislation in Canadian Parliament that will expand access to print materials in formats vital to those living with a print disability. The Support for Canadians with Print Disabilities Act will enable Canada to join the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled. More information is provided in the official press release.
The press kit for the 9th European e-Accessibility Forum is ready. Do not hesitate to share it with your networks and on the web! The hashtag for the event is #EEAF2015, review the press kit online.
Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) falls on May 21st this year. The purpose of the day is to get people talking, thinking and learning about digital (web, software, mobile, etc.) accessibility and users with different disabilities. For more information on this global initiative, see the GAAD website at http://www.globalaccessibilityawarenessday.org/.
A major update to the Book Industry Study Group's (BISG's) EPUB 3 Support Grid now enables evaluation of support for accessibility across popular reading systems and assistive technologies. The update, which involved creation of a new set of EPUB 3 test documents specifically designed to assess fundamental accessibility support, makes it possible for anyone to test a reading system's support of accessibility features. To achieve a high fundamental accessibility score, reading systems should be able to perform basic functions like adjust font size and color. Text should be readable with a screen reader, self-voicing text-to-speech application, refreshable Braille display or assistive technologies designed for persons with dyslexia and other learning disabilities.
The EPUB 3 Support Grid is maintained by a working group of BISG's Content Structure Committee and 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.
Since early 2014, the Grid has been hosted at EPUBTest.org, a joint project between the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), BISG, and the DAISY Consortium, to allow anyone to systematically test a reading system's conformance to EPUB 3.
DAISY Consortium is pleased to announce the release of the latest version of Tobi, the next generation open source multimedia publication production tool. Tobi can be used to produce full-text, full-audio books compliant with both the DAISY 3 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 the mainstream EPUB 3 publications.
Tobi now includes a structure editing feature, which enables users to correct or insert the missing mark-up any time during the production process. This feature also makes applying modifications easier when producing a newer edition of a book.
Version 2.5 marks Phase 2 of the support for structure editing. The major improvement in this release is the on the fly validation that is currently available for DAISY projects only. Users will not see the on the fly validation errors while editing structures in EPUB 3 projects.
It is possible to correct mistakes immediately in DAISY 3 projects and save considerable troubleshooting time that could be wasted fixing incorrect mark-up. Knowledge of DTBook and HTML 5 mark-up is essential for correctly using the structure editing feature.
The following structure editing operations can be performed in this version:
- Inserting page breaks
- Deleting selected fragments
- Cutting, copying & pasting fragments
- Creating elements such as sentences, paragraphs etc.
- Creating xml fragments (feature for xml experts)
The new version also enhances the edit text command, especially for screen reader users. They can now edit text and correct typos even in complex hierarchy.
To learn more about Tobi, please visit the Tobi project area at http://www.daisy.org/tobi/.
For more information about the new features and bug fixes in this release, please visit the change log at http://www.daisy.org/tobi/change-log.
We look forward to your suggestions and bug reports. This release will be followed by commencement of Phase 3 of structure editing, which will further improve the structure editing feature as per the users’ feedback.
For providing feedback, suggestions and bug reports please visit http://www.daisy.org/forums/tobi.
The Tobi team would like to thank all Tobi project contributors and supporters.
Sami is a language spoken in the north of Norway, Finland and Sweden. Among all different Sami languages, Acapela has developed the most widespread, North Sami text-to-speech, spoken by 20,000 people. The project has been carried out by Divvun and Giellatekno (Centre for Sami language technology at the University of Tromsø) that through a tender process have engaged Acapela Group to create text-to-speech solutions for North Sami.
"At Acapela we are proud of this achievement and happy to contribute to the spread of the Sami language. North Sami text-to-speech is part of a global project initiated by Sametinget to contribute to continued speaking, teaching and learning of this minority language. This is fully in line with Acapela's approach to languages and audio cultural heritage and with our dedication to create voices for all', commented Lars-Erik Larsson, CEO of Acapela Group. To create Sami TTS, Acapela used existing databases and lexica provided by Sametinget and has worked in close cooperation with linguists from Sametinget and University of Tromsø.
Resources collected since the start of the project in 2005 have been used to create the male and female voices that are now available as 'Colibri voices', based on Acapela's HMM technology. This technology allows generation of speech from trained statistical models where spectrum and prosody are modeled altogether.
More information is provided on the Acapela Group website.
Canada became the first G7 country to accede to the Marrakesh Treaty.
The Marrakesh Treaty is designed to expand opportunities to import and export books in accessible formats and therefore reduce production costs for accessible versions of publications. Authorized entities within treaty signatories will be able to share an accessible version of a book internationally without having to produce multiple versions due to copyright restrictions.
More than three million Canadians have some kind of disability that makes it impossible or difficult for them to read conventional print, according to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), which provides services to the blind and visually impaired. More information is provided on the Canadian Government website.
April 23rd is observed every year as World Book and Copyright Day. The significance of the day also lies in its association with important names in world literature such as Miguel de Cervantes, William Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega - this day is their death anniversary. In the UK, World Book Day is observed on the first Thursday of March.
On April 23 in 1995, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) during its Paris General Conference decided to pay a worldwide tribute to books and authors, by encouraging everyone, young people in particular, to discover the pleasure of reading and gain a renewed respect for the contributions of those who have furthered the social and cultural progress.
World Book Capital 2015: Incheon, Republic of Korea
Each year, UNESCO and the international organizations representing the three major sectors of the book industry - publishers, booksellers and libraries, select the World Book Capital for a one-year period, effective April 23rd each year. The city of Incheon was chosen this time in recognition of its program to promote reading among people and underprivileged sections of the population. More information is provided on the United Nations website.
"Literacy is the door to knowledge, essential to individual self-esteem and empowerment. Books, in all forms, play an essential role here." - Irina Bokova.
Thank you DAISY Friends, Members and Supporters for improving literacy worldwide.
Cambridge University Press and Bangladesh’s Young Power in Social Action are the joint winners of the inaugural Accessible Books Consortium International Excellence Award for Accessible Publishing.
The awards were presented during a ceremony on April 14 at the London Book Fair 2015 as part of its international excellence awards series.
Both Cambridge University Press (CUP) and Young Power in Social Action (YPSA) were recognized for providing outstanding leadership and achievements in the advancement of the accessibility of commercial e-books or other digital publications to persons with print disabilities.
"We had difficulty finding fault in the shortlisted candidates,’’ said Jens Bammel, Secretary-General of the International Publishers’ Association and member of the selection jury, ‘‘all of the applicants presented us with innovative and important examples of their work in accessible publishing. However, CUP and YPSA displayed fantastic accomplishments in their respective fields and are worthy winners of this award."
Cambridge University Press (CUP) – Setting accessibility as the norm
Cambridge University Press is the co-winner of the award. Since 2013, its academic business has entirely redesigned its production workflows to make new titles as accessible as possible for readers with print disabilities. By 2014, 72% of new books were available in accessible formats on or before the print publication date, with a further 12% made available less than two weeks afterwards.
Young Power in Social Action – Transforming the lives of print disabled students in Bangladesh
YPSA, based in Chittagong, Bangladesh, has been working since 1985 to bring about positive socio-economic change for the poor and vulnerable in the country. One of the disadvantaged groups with whom they work is the visually impaired, a group consisting of four million people in Bangladesh.
Two representatives from YPSA, Mr. Arifur Rahman, Chief Executive and Mr. Vashkar Bhattacharjee, Program Manager, travelled from Bangladesh to London to accept the Accessible Books Consortium award in person.
Speaking about the award, Mr. Bhattacharjee, who is himself blind since birth, said that "it is a great honor to receive this award on behalf of YPSA. To be recognized for our work is wonderful and to learn about other initiatives in the field of accessible publishing is inspiring. We hope that we can continue to serve the visually impaired of Bangladesh and look forward to a future free of barriers for all persons with disabilities."
YPSA has produced over 600 books in accessible formats. More recently, through funding provided by Australian Aid, YPSA converted over 160 educational books into accessible formats. YPSA organized training for government publishers (who publish school textbooks), commercial publishers and other organizations serving people with print disabilities on the latest accessible publishing techniques so that their future productions can be ‘born accessible’.
The Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) is a multi-stakeholder alliance, comprising the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO); organizations that represent people with print disabilities; libraries for people with print disabilities and organizations representing publishers and authors. The ABC aims to increase the number of books worldwide in accessible formats – such as braille, audio and large print – and to make them available to people who are blind, have low vision or are otherwise print disabled.
A full press release is available on the Accessible Book Consortium website.
The DAISY Consortium is pleased to announce the latest release of Obi, the popular open source navigable audiobook creation tool that produces books conforming to the accessible EPUB 3, DAISY 3 and DAISY 2.02 specifications. Version 3.7 makes Obi even easier to configure to meet diverse requirements of different organizations. It introduces the capability to preserve the current preference settings as a profile, which can be ported across workstations and Obi versions in a single step.
The enhanced Recording Toolbar simplifies the recording process for users with moderate computer skills. Obi Version 3.7 enables simultaneous export to multiple formats. Other enhancements and important fixes are also included in this release.
New Obi also comes in Chinese-Simplified! Thanks goes to China Braille Library for the translation.
We would also like to thank the following organizations for continuously updating the language packs:
- Association Valentin Haüy in France for French translations
- Spanish National Organization of the Blind (ONCE) for Spanish translations
Please visit the Obi project area to check out the full list of features and improvements: http://www.daisy.org/obi/.
Download Version 3.7 at http://www.daisy.org/obi/download/.
The Obi-Tobi team is committed to enriching Obi with new features to keep it abreast with new technologies and making it suitable for the large worldwide user base.
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 Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and the M-Enabling Summit announced Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)® as a keynote speaker for the fourth annual M-Enabling Summit.
The Summit will take place June 1-2, 2015 in Arlington, Virginia. The theme of this year’s event is “Smarter Living for All.”
A lifelong proponent of innovation and head of the International CES®, the world’s gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technology, Shapiro will discuss how the latest technology advances and accessibility innovation will transform the lives of seniors and persons with disabilities, and will ultimately benefit all consumers.
The Internet of Things, cloud-based solutions, wearable technologies and mobile innovations, are all featured topics at this year’s Summit, and are rapidly transforming the way accessible and assistive technologies are designed and made available to millions of users.
More information and a limited time registration discount are provided on the M-Enabling Summit website.
The program of the 9th European eAccessibility Forum dedicated to "e-Accessible Knowledge" is now available online.
The conference will be held on June 8th, 2015 at the Cité des Sciences in Paris.
Madame Axelle LEMAIRE, French Deputy Minister for Digital Affairs, will open the symposium which will bring together speakers from the DAISY Consortium (George KERSCHER), the University of Geneva (Edouard Gentaz), BrailleNet Association (Alex BERNIER), Bookshare/Benetech (Betsy BEAUMON) Design Science (Neil SOIFFER), the University of Birmingham (Volker SORGE), the College de France (Caroline HURON), the National Centre for Distance Learning (Jean Millerat), the University of Edinburgh (Paul NISBET), the Digital Library for the Deaf in Finland (VIVOLIN-Riitta KAREN), the National Library of France (Jean-Philippe MOREUX), and British Museum (Jane SAMUELS).
Companies and associations will present innovative solutions during workshops.
The official languages of the conference are English and French. A simultaneous translation French / English and French / English will be provided for all conferences, as well as fast-typing transcription. A lunch served on site is included in the registration fee. The building meets all accessibility standards. You are invited to use the online form to register now.
This two day conference in Columbia, Maryland (US) [June 18-19, 2015] will bring together national experts in accessibility issues from the Civil Rights Division, US Department of Justice, the National Federation of the Blind, the United States Access Board and The Association on Higher Education and Disability.
The speakers will address the obligations for accessibility of all types of instructional materials. They will also provide ideas for developing an institutional plan for accessibility of instructional materials and technology. Discussions will help clarify how experts can work collaboratively to address accessibility expectations.
- Eve Hill (U.S. Department of Justice)
- Sharon Krevor-Weisbaum (Attorney, Brown Goldstein & Levy)
- Scott Lissner (Association on Higher Education and Disability)
- Mark Riccobono (President, National Federation of the Blind)
- Bruce Bailey (Accessibility IT Specialist, U.S. Access Board)
- Jonathan Lazar (Director of Information Sciences Program, Towson University)
- Ron Stewart (Managing Consultant for AltFormat Solutions, LLC)
An online registration form and additional information can be found on the Assocation of Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) website.
Geneva: The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) opened its 13th session (25 March – 17 April 2015) during which it will review Germany, Croatia, Czech Republic, Turkmenistan, Dominican Republic, Mongolia and the Cook Islands, as well as adopt the list of issues on the European Union.
For the first time during its session, the CRPD Committee is including private meetings with DPOs [representative organizations or groups of persons with disabilities] and civil society within its official meeting time in the lead up to country reviews. This reflects the value which the CRPD Committee places on receiving information from DPOs and exchanging with them about the experiences of persons with disabilities and the challenges of CRPD implementation on the ground.
These meetings are only open to UN agencies, NHRIs, DPOs and civil society and are not webcast. More information is provided on the Global Accessibility News website.
The shortlist for the 2015 ABC International Excellence Award for Accessible Publishing has been announced. Nominations were judged on their achievements in improving the accessibility of e-books and other digital publications for people with print disabilities.
IPA Secretary General Jens Bammel stated: "Due to the range and quality of applicants, the Jury has decided to give two awards: one to publishers and one for NGO initiatives and other services. These shortlisted organisations merit recognition for their successes in making e-books accessible to people with print disabilities. Let's give them the applause they deserve."
Four publishers have been shortlisted:
- Cambridge University Press
- Elsevier B.V.
- HarperCollins Inc.
- SAGE Publications Ltd.
Four initiatives were also shortlisted:
- Icontact (Netherlands) for its BooXtream watermarking technology
- Libri Italiani Accessibili Foundation (Italy)
- Syndicat national de l’édition (France) for "rentrée littéraire accessible"
- Young Power in Social Action (Bangladesh) for accessible e-book production
The winners in each category will be announced at the LBF International Excellence awards on Tuesday, April 14th at the London Book Fair.
Obi is an open source navigable audiobook creation tool that is used to produce digital books conforming to the accessible EPUB 3, DAISY 3 or DAISY 2.02 specifications. Obi's source code is available for anyone to run, modify and redistribute.
Obi 3.7 beta release enhances the ease of adapting Obi for workflows of different organizations. It introduces the capability of preserving preferences as a profile. Profiles can be loaded to configure Obi in a single step across workstations and different Obi versions.
This latest version enables simultaneous export to multiple formats. It also enhances the functionality of Recording Toolbar with two new buttons along with other enhancements and important fixes.
New features and enhancements in the Obi 3.7 beta release include:
The ability to preserve preferences, providing portability across workstations and Obi versions.
Users can save the current preference settings as a custom profile. Preferences in Obi can be configured by importing the saved profile and loading it. This eliminates the need for manual configuration of preferences. It also allows production houses to port settings across computers and Obi versions. Users access this functionality via the Advanced tab of the Preferences dialog.
Exporting projects to multiple formats.
The Standards Selection dialog contains check boxes instead of radio buttons enabling multiple selections. This ability extends to the configuration file based export. Users can specify the export standards for the project in the configuration XML file.
This release is for power users, please provide feedback and comments. Additional information is provided on the Obi 3.7 beta release page.
Open Education Week is an annual celebration of the global open education movement to share ideas, new open education projects and to raise awareness about open education and its impact on teaching and learning worldwide. Open education encompasses resources, tools and practices that employ a framework of open sharing to improve education access, affordability and effectiveness. Participation in all events and use of all resources are free and open to everyone. Go to openeducationweek.org to learn more.
After successful introduction in Europe, especially in the UK as well as the Netherlands, customers in the USA will also benefit from the new features and additional new content on the Webbox2.
Computer is not needed as Webbox2 is a stand-alone web-enabled multimedia (DAISY) player offering access to more than talking books, magazines or newspapers. Audible prompts guide the user through a playlist of books, podcasts, radio stations, newsletters, plays, newspapers, website pages, current news and more.
For the US market, access to the NLS BARD reading services is enabled. Spotify and Wikipedia are also in reach. With the rotator dial, users can scroll through the alphabet and “type” a topic they are searching for in Wikipedia. Public information such as newsletters and reports from NFB, ACB and AFB are now made available with one touch of a button.
In addition, customers can now have a Webbox2 dedicated email address so that emails sent to the listener can be read out. Once again, access to a computer is not required.
Thanks to the built in text-to-speech (TTS) engine, setting up the Webbox2 is simple. Selecting a wireless network and adding a password is now supported by audible prompts. Numerous networks can be stored so if users change their location, they can add a new network and password.
Interested individuals were able to see a live demo of Webbox2 at CSUN 2015 (March 4-6) Solutions Radio at stand #121.
The host company's server running DAISY mailing lists is down. They are working on fixing the problem.
Dolphin Guide allows numbered menus to be enlarged on screen and spoken out loud enabling computer novices to independently scan mail, download and read books from accessible libraries as well as stay in touch with family and friends.
Dolphin SuperNova instantly magnifies, speaks and Brailles titles from a growing list of accessible libraries around the world. With built-in scan and read from paper or PDF, blind and low vision Windows users are never short of something to read. Ask Dolphin about the SuperNova family.
Produce audio, Braille and large print from a single source document with Dolphin EasyConverter to improve learning outcomes amongst blind and low vision students. Bringing your alt format production in-house or optimising your transcription workflow is easier than you may think. Ask Dolphin about EasyConverter.
Learn how to simplify alternative format production to Support Learning at session EDU-074, Friday, March 6, 2015 - 4:20 PM PST, Gaslamp CD, 2nd Floor, Seaport Tower. More information is provided on the Dolphin Computer Access website.
Once again, 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. An extensive list of software and hardware players for reading DAISY content is provided in the Tools and Services section of the DAISY Consortium website.
On February 18, 2015, the United States Access Board released a proposed rule updating the 508 Standards and the 255 Guidelines which is available for public comment for 90 days. The Board will hold public hearings on the rule in San Diego on March 5 and in Washington, DC on March 11. It will also conduct a public webinar to review the proposal on March 31. More information is provided on the Access Board website.
A new project team aiming to develop Arabic Text-to-Speech is seeking two Arabic speaking individuals in Doha with a good grasp of grammar and Arabic phonetics and phonology. Experience in speech technologies is preferred.
Responsibilities include the annotation and segmentation of recorded material to create the corpus for a speech segmentation system. This system will be used to create an open source commercial Arabic Voice for text-to-speech.
Applicants must be fluent in the Arabic language and able to adequately communicate in English with a project team in the UK.
If interested please contact Gabriel Swatzell [Gabriel.swatzell(at)microlinkpc.com].
Benetech, a Full Member of the DAISY Consortium, has won a 2015 grant to improve literacy for primary school students who are blind. The new grant, awarded by All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development literacy innovations competition, funded a project to provide Indian students who are blind with mother tongue instruction and reading materials through Bookshare, digital library of accessible books. This supports Benetech’s commitment to extend the benefits of Bookshare across borders to empower individuals with disabilities around the world, especially in developing countries, to live fuller lives. More information is provided on the Benetech website.
Today the Accessible Books Consortium issued a public call for nominations for the International Excellence Award for Accessible Publishing 2015.
Criteria: This award recognizes outstanding leadership or achievements in advancing the accessibility of commercial e-books or other digital publications to persons with print disabilities. You may nominate either your own organization/company or a third party anywhere in the world and we encourage nominations of companies, organizations or individuals based in developing or least developed countries.
Process: The selection process will be overseen by a selection jury under the auspices of the UK Publishers Association’s Accessibility Action Group and representatives of the International Publishers’ Association, the International Authors’ Forum and the Accessible Books Consortium.
The deadline for submissions is Monday, February 23, 2015, 12:00 noon, London, UK time. An extension of this deadline may be granted at the discretion of the jury.
The awards shortlist will be published by March 31, 2015. The award will be presented at the London Book Fair (LBF) on Tuesday, April 14, 2015, during the scheduled LBF International Excellence Awards.
Submission:Please send the following information to email@example.com
- Your name, title and contact details.
- Name of the nominated company, organisation or individual, address, and web site.
- Using no more than 400 words please describe how this company/organization has demonstrated outstanding leadership or achievements in advancing the accessibility of commercial e-books or other digital publications to persons with print disabilities.
More information is provided on the Accessible Books Consortium website.