The 6th Africa Forum is underway from October 4-8, 2015 in Kampala, Uganda. More than 400 delegates from around the world are attending the key international event, including the Accessible Books Consortium (ABC). Among other things, advocates are discussing how to support implementation of the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted at the United Nations in New York last month.
Access to information, especially educational materials, has emerged as one of the key themes of the conference. At a seminar on education and technology held on October 6, there was a call for the better use of low-cost accessible technology in schools as well as improved training and support to allow for access by students to curriculum materials.
Best practices and the work of ABC
Stephen King, a member of the ABC Board, and Immediate Past President of the DAISY Consortium, is sharing with delegates on how ABC is helping bring books in accessible formats (i.e., braille, audio and large print) to people around the world who are visually-impaired. He will also speak about the accessibility practices being adopted by leading publishers and will encourage government agencies to provide accessible textbooks to students who are visually impaired. Interest has been demonstrated to create networks of libraries in Africa through the sharing of collections of accessible books, technology and infrastructure.
As a result of discussions held at the Africa Forum on the poor availability of accessible educational materials, the ABC Consortium is now inviting proposals from organizations working on this problem.
More information is provided on the Accessible Books Consortium website.
2.9 million children in the U.S. have a learning disability. One in five students has either learning or attention issues affecting reading, writing, math, or organizational skills. According to the National Center for Learning Disabilities, one out of every ten students in the U.S. is dyslexic, and eighty percent of children placed in special education with a learning disability are dyslexic.
In October, Bookshare (Full Member of the DAISY Consortium) is supporting Dyslexia Awareness Month and Learning Disabilities Awareness Month. They put a spotlight on learning disabilities such as dyslexia, as well as resources like Bookshare. Throughout the month, watch for inspiring stories of people with dyslexia, and help raise awareness and educate others. For more information, please visit the Bookshare blog.
Title: Content Wants to be Found: Architecting Content Models & Workflow Processes to Support Product Strategy.
Date & Time: Oct. 22nd at 2pm ET.
Speakers: George Kerscher, President, IDPF, Secretary-General, DAISY Consortium; Steven Heffner, Director of Product Strategy, Wolters Kluwer Health; Kevin Burns, Senior VP, Content Solutions, Cenveo.
Publishing experts will share insights on:
- The difference between good and valid XML
- Why content accessibility mandates should not be an afterthought
- Designing content architecture that meets the demands of a multi-platform, multi-device world
- Why filtered search is past its prime and how contextual and behavioral search will transform content discoverability
The IDPF EPUB Working Group is holding a face-to-face meeting at the Google offices in New York City on October 8th and 9th. The purpose of this meeting is to work on identified issues and solution proposals relating to the EPUB 3.1 revision.
Readium.org, who are developing open source software for the EPUB Platform, will be holding meetings on October 7th and the afternoon of October 9th. More information is available on the Readium website.
As in previous years, International Literacy Day 2015 will be celebrated worldwide, bringing together governments, NGOs, the private sectors, communities, teachers, learners and experts. The main global celebration will take place at UNESCO Headquarters, where a two-day event on Literacy and Sustainable Societies (September 8-9, 2015) is organized.
At the opening ceremony Mr. Qian Tang, Assistant Director-General for Education, UNESCO emphasized that September 8th is a day to: “renew our commitment to literacy as a human right which empowers people and transforms societies”. He said: “Without literacy, an equitable and sustainable society cannot be realised.”
The audience heard that despite progress made worldwide since 2000 when the Education for All (EFA) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were adopted, there are still 757 million adults worldwide who lack basic literacy skills, and that two thirds of them are women (UNESCO Institute for Statistics data). More information is provided on the UNESCO website.
The theme of this year’s event encourages research and exploration of how literacy reinforces the main pillars of sustainable development – economic growth, social development and environmental protection.
The European Literacy Policy Network (ELINET) supports Literacy Week 2015, which raises awareness for low literacy throughout Europe, also starting today, and running until September 17th, 2015. Detailed information is available on the ELINET website.
On the occasion of International Literacy Day, DAISY Consortium Friend HumanWare shared an inspiring success story on the importance of awareness and support for Braille Literacy among children and adults who are blind. Read this story, published in the HumanWare newsletter online.
The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) together with the International Publishers Association (IPA), the International Authors Forum (IAF) and the Reading & Writing Foundation (RWF) has put together a joint statement on literacy and reading which calls on United Nations Member States to support the Sustainable Development Goals by implementing coherent and appropriately resourced national comprehensive literacy strategies. More information is provided on the IFLA website.
The Digital Publishing Interest Group’s charter has been renewed as of September 1st, 2015. The new charter follows the previous charter: building bridges between the technical needs of the Digital Publishing Community and the development of the Open Web Platform. The new charter also adopts, as a general vision for the future, the approach described in a separate white paper Advancing Portable Documents for the Open Web Platform: EPUB+WEB, leading to the mission statement of the group:
The mission of the Digital Publishing Interest Group is to provide a technical forum for experts in the digital publishing ecosystem to hold discussions and recommend solutions regarding a future vision of Digital Publishing. The main message of that vision is that the current format- and workflow-level separation between offline/portable and online document publishing should be diminished to zero. The Interest Group will provide technical direction, identify technical issues, and outline prototype solutions for relevant Working Groups of the W3C to finalize as Web standards. This group is not chartered to publish Recommendations; instead, the goal is to cooperate with the relevant W3C Working Groups to ensure that the requirements of this particular community are met.
The new charter extends the Interest Group until October 2017. The group is co-chaired by Tzviya Siegman (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.) and Markus Gylling (DAISY Consortium and IDPF). More information is provided on the W3C blog.
Thank you for taking the time to complete the DAISY Brand Perception Survey. The survey should take no longer than 6 minutes to complete.
Our 2015 Survey consists of demographic-based questions and brand awareness questions. Please complete the survey to the best of your abilities. This survey is hosted by SurveyGizmo at http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/2113405/Please-help-us-measure-DAISY-brand-awareness and will stay open until September 15th, 2015.
The Book Industry Study Group's (BISG's) Industry Champion Award recognizes an individual whose efforts have gone above the requirements of his or her position to advance the publishing industry while embracing BISG's mission. Congratulations to the four people shortlisted for this award!
- Peter Balis, VP & Director, Corporate Development, Wiley
- Graham Bell, Executive Director, EDItEUR
- Patricia Payton, Senior Manager of Publisher Relations and Content Development, Bowker
- Fran Toolan, "Chief Igniter" and CEO, Firebrand Technologies
Recipients will be announced at BISG's Annual Meeting of Members on September 18, 2015 in New York City.
BISG's annual awards in four categories recognize extraordinary achievement and service in the publishing industry. More information is provided on the BISG website.
The Readium Foundation (Readium.org) will later this year formally launch a new European headquarters in Paris, hosted by a newly created European Digital Reading Lab (EDRL). Readium Europe will be co-located with European headquarters for the affiliated International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF).
EDRL has been formed with the support of the French government and industry stakeholders, with 1.5 million Euros of incremental funding already committed. The overall goal of the initiative is to promote EPUB and Web technologies for publishing, fostering open standards and open source development in order to improve availability, accessibility, and interoperability of digital publications. The European Digital Reading Lab will be located in central Paris within the facilities of Cap Digital, an innovation and business accelerator dedicated to the development of the digital economy in France and the Paris region. EDRL has already begun to recruit key staff, beginning with its CTO. [Source: readium.org]
For a limited time Bookshare UK, in collaboration with Dolphin, is offering a special membership price of just $25 for new users - that's about £16 for the whole year.
Bookshare online library offers a wide range of genres and subjects – both fictional and non-fictional – and downloads are unlimited.
Bookshare content is fully accessible via Dolphin Guide and SuperNova through the integrated Bookshelf tool at no extra cost. With Bookshelf users can access multiple online content providers from one place; making downloading and reading experience hassle free.
To take advantage of this offer:
- Visit https://www.bookshare.org/cms/
- Select “sign up today”, followed by ”individual account”
- Confirm that you can provide Proof of Disability
- Make sure you use promo code Dolphin2015 to receive the special pricing offer
- Submit Proof of Disability
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org to submit a reduced payment request.
Your credit card provider will convert the dollar price to sterling based on the current exchange rate.
Once your account is active you can enjoy unlimited access to thousands of titles. Happy reading!
More information is provided on the Dolphin Computer Access website.
The Onkyo Corporation is again sponsoring a braille essay contest for people of all ages. Contest winners receive cash prizes valued from $500 to $2,000. Essays must be received by September 13.
The Onkyo Braille essay contest is being administered by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) on behalf of the North America-Caribbean Region of the World Blind Union.
Essays must be written by contest participants, in English or their native language, in Braille on paper, and must be completely original in nature. Participants are also asked to email their essays in electronic format (such as Microsoft Word or something similar). Entries should be no fewer than 800 words and no more than 1,000 words in length. There will be two groups of competitors-one Junior group, aged 25 and under; and one Senior group, aged 26 and up, and prizes range from $500-$2,000.
Note that this year, the contest is running on a shorter timeline than previous years, so the time to begin writing is now! All essays must be received by September 13, 2015. In the US, they should be sent to the NFB, and in Canada, they should be sent to Braille Literacy Canada; the contacts are listed on the application at the link below.
- How do you acquire knowledge and information through Braille or audio devices? (Illustrate with some interesting personal stories/episodes.)
- How can blind persons become independent by learning Braille or music?
- Individual concept about world peace from the viewpoint of persons with disabilities.
Visit http://www.nfb.org/onkyo-braille-essay-contest for more information and an application.
The Center on Disabilities at California State University, Northridge announced that the Scientific/Research Track Call for Papers for the 4th volume of the Journal of Technology and Persons with Disabilities opened August 10, 2015. Additionally, the Call for Pre-Conference Proposals is now open for those interested in proposing a full or half day pre-conference workshop. More information is provided on the CSUN 2016 website.
When and where: Tuesday, August 11 @ 3:00 PM EDT at your desk.
Having easy access to both digital and printed text at the touch of a button can make a difference in the life of someone who’s blind. Presenters will show how Blaze ET can help match colors in the morning, listen to a downloaded book or podcast on commute to work, scan and read printed materials from coworkers at the office, record a meeting, save reminder memos, listen to favorite music, then scan and listen to personal mail. Register online.
EPUB3: Marching to Replace PDF as the Standard for Accessible Published Materials
Date: Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Time: 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Eastern (UTC – 4 hours).
Speakers: George Kerscher, Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium and Senior Officer of Accessible Technology-Learning Ally; Becky Gibson, Senior Technical Staff Member, Accessibility, IBM.
Target Audience: Educators, authors, and corporate facilitators interested in learning more about EPUB and the options for using EPUB to create accessible materials.
The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) is looking for input from anyone involved in rights and permissions departments, editorial, marketing, sales, or executive functions at publishing companies, agencies, and other service providers. Your feedback will help them determine whether there are industry-wide solutions that would improve rights processes and increase revenue for everyone involved.
Please take about 3 minutes to share your thoughts by completing a brief survey. The survey will remain open until August 19, 2015. Your answers will be kept confidential, and will provide invaluable direction on an initiative that may benefit everyone. Please email email@example.com with questions. Thank you.
The National Federation of the Blind has posted the NFB Convention Highlights. Access is provided to all convention sessions; including the Rhythm of the Movement segment with new NFB songs played by a full band, and President Riccobono's banquet speech "The Federation at Seventy-Five: The Determination of Value and the Reflection of Hope". Please go to https://nfb.org/national-convention-highlights.
On July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA built on the 1973 Rehabilitation Act (prohibiting discrimination by programs receiving federal funding or support) and the 1975 special education law (providing funding to state educational agencies that provided comprehensive special education programming to all children with disabilities).
These three laws together provide comprehensive protection from discrimination on the basis of disability. The ADA covers most employers, state and local government programs, and private providers of accommodations used by the public. It prohibits discrimination and protects individuals with a range of impairments (mobility, sensory, learning disabilities, mental health, chronic disease) that affect them in carrying out life activities. A 2008 amendment clarified that coverage should be interpreted by the courts to be inclusive, so that those with diabetes, cancer, HIV, and other conditions are generally subject to the statutory protection.
Approximately 56.7 million Americans live with a disability. The ADA is intended to spread the costs and burdens of disability broadly to those in society who can reasonably absorb them. The ADA does this by not only prohibiting discrimination, but also requiring reasonable accommodations. Such accommodations include: design of physical space, interpreters for individuals with hearing impairments, allowing additional time for a college student with a learning disability to take an exam, and providing closed captioning for a movie for those with a hearing impairment. It also supports a person with a visual impairment who visits a website - webpages should be designed to allow reasonable access. More information is provided on the ADA website.
The Americans with Disabilities Act has made an impact, but barriers remain.
Hims Inc. will ship a new multi-player this summer. Blaze ET features a numeric keypad as well as several built-in apps including Color Reader, Calculator, Memo, and Dictionary. Both Blaze ET and Blaze EZ play DAISY content, audio books and music files from their internal memory or SD card and connect through built-in Wi-Fi to access online media, podcasts and internet radio. They support more than 20 file formats including Bookshare content formats, NLS download and Learning Ally books. Create high-quality recordings using the internal microphone, external stereo microphone or stereo line-in, and enjoy live radio using the built-in FM Radio. More information is provided on the HIMS, Inc. website.
VitalSource Technologies Inc., an Ingram Content Group firm and an educational technology company that provides digital solutions to the higher education market, showcased new accessibility features of its VitalSource Bookshelf® platform at the 2015 National Federation of the Blind National Convention in Orlando, Florida. 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 EDUPUB standard, which brings the benefits of accessible classroom materials into the integrated learning environment.
"VitalSource has been a leader in our efforts to evaluate reading systems for accessibility," said George Kerscher, Secretary General for the DAISY Consortium and President of the IDPF. "We are evaluating all the EPUB 3 reading systems we can and display the results at epubtest.org. The VitalSource Bookshelf® leads in the fundamental accessibility tests. Their commitment to providing talented people who are blind and know screen reading technology, is to be applauded."
More information is provided in the official press release.
A joint task force of the Protocols and Formats Working Group and the Digital Publishing Interest Group (DPUB IG) has published a First Public Working Draft of Digital Publishing WAI-ARIA Module 1.0 (DPUB-ARIA 1.0). This draft represents the joint collaboration of both - accessibility and digital publishing experts.
The roles listed in DPUB-ARIA 1.0 originated with the EPUB 3 Structural Semantic Vocabulary. This is a vocabulary for adding inflection to HTML, managed by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF). The IDPF drew its original list of terms from the DAISY Consortium.
During the decades that the DAISY Consortium has maintained the DAISY standards, much has been learned about how to develop semantically rich content that can be easily read and navigated by anyone unable to read regular printed publications. This work has influenced the development of the accessible EPUB 3 format. More information is provided on the W3C website.
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.