News Archive

HIMS Inc. Releases Highly-Anticipated Update to Productivity Tool for the Blind
2013-08-01

HIMS Inc. released an update for their Braille Notetakers that includes apps and productivity tools never before seen in a product of this type. For the first time in history, blind notetaker computer users have access to YouTube, DropBox, Excel, and more using software specifically designed for use with Braille input and voice navigation.

 

More information is provided in the HIMS, Inc. official press release.

AFB Announces an Invitation for Nominations for the 2014 Migel Medals
2013-07-28

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) announced an invitation for nominations for the 2014 Migel Medals, the highest honor in the blindness field. The Migel Medal was established in 1937 by the late M.C. Migel, the first chairperson of AFB, to honor professionals and volunteers whose dedication and achievements have significantly improved the lives of people who are blind or visually impaired. The Migel Medal Awards consists of two categories, the Professional Award and the Lay/Volunteer Award.

 

Professional Award nominees should be those whose career work significantly affects services to people with vision loss on a national level. Prospective candidates include, but are not limited to, professionals with specific training and expertise in education, rehabilitation, assistive technology, vision rehabilitation, personnel preparation, administration or related fields. They may work in the public or private sector and their work should span several years.

 

Lay/Volunteer Award nominees can be volunteers or professionals not employed within the blindness and visual impairment field whose efforts have supported or extended service to people with vision loss. Professionals from these disciplines may include, but are not limited to, those who develop assistive technology equipment and software, health care devices, and improved medical services.

 

Nominations for AFB's Migel Medals are due by Friday, October 4, 2013, and should be e-mailed to Scott Truax, Program Manager FamilyConnect at struax(at)afb.net. More information is provided in the press release.

National Federation of the Blind Praises DOJ Settlement with Louisiana Tech
2013-07-25

The National Federation of the Blind, advocate for full access to higher education by the blind, praised a settlement reached by the United States Department of Justice with Louisiana Tech University and the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System. The settlement requires Louisiana Tech to ensure that course materials, including those made available online, and other technologies used by the university are fully accessible to students with disabilities, including blind students who require nonvisual access.

 

Dr. Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “Online course materials and course management systems are a critical part of education today, and these technologies must be accessible to blind students in order for them to receive an equal education. This groundbreaking settlement not only ensures full access to all of Louisiana Tech University’s courses and programs for its blind students, but also makes it clear that the Americans with Disabilities Act requires all institutions of higher education to procure and deploy technology that is fully accessible to their blind students. Moreover, the settlement puts in place policies and procedures that emphasize the accountability of university personnel, including members of the faculty, to ensure that courses and materials offered by the university are fully accessible to blind students. As we mark the anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we commend the Department of Justice for this outstanding result and for its commitment to protecting the right of blind students to an equal education.” More information is provided on the National Federation of the Blind website.

IVONA Introduces New Russian Voice Tatyana
2013-07-24

With the release of a Russian Female Voice Tatyana, IVONA Software, an Amazon company, has expanded its growing portfolio to 45 high-quality voices in 18 languages. Each additional natural sounding voice and language improves text-to-speech user experience for developers, businesses, OEMs and IVONA partners, allowing them to reach new customers.

 

IVONA Text–to-Speech (TTS) comes in different configurations and footprints for a variety of mobile devices, desktop, network and server applications or TTS cloud. IVONA TTS solutions are used to enhance e-reading experiences on smartphones and tablets. Over 2 million mobile users have downloaded IVONA voices and IVONA TTS HQ for Android from Google Play to replace the standard Voice User Interfaces (VUI) on their mobile devices and apps.

 

IVONA also partners with assistive technology developers to make digital media accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired. All added voices such as ”Tatyana“ bring new opportunities for these individuals to actively participate in society and find new educational and employment opportunities. More information is provided on the IVONA Software website.

AAP EPUB 3 Implementation Project Launched
2013-07-23

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) supports the establishment of EPUB 3 as the standard global distribution format for eBooks and has embarked on a new initiative designed to rapidly advance the format’s implementation in the marketplace.

 

The EPUB 3 Implementation Project is being developed in a partnership with retailers, digital content distributors, device makers, reading systems providers, assistive technology experts and standards organizations, with the support and engagement of leading advocates for people with disabilities.

 

Publishers have set an ambitious six-month goal to rapidly advance implementation of EPUB 3 through the initiative. Although each individual publisher will make decisions about introducing EPUB 3 titles on its own timeline, many anticipate introducing large numbers of EPUB 3 files into the marketplace beginning First Quarter 2014.

 

Convening this summer: A working group to identify baseline accessibility features for the EPUB 3 files and for metadata, and to plan the program for the September workshop September 10, 2013: A daylong workshop for all participants in New York City is planned to define and prioritize actionable projects. More information is provided on the AAP website.

Springer Signs Agreement Granting Worldwide Digital Rights to Bookshare
2013-07-19

Springer, the leading global scientific publisher, has signed an agreement to provide Bookshare, an international leader in providing copyrighted digital accessible books to people with print disabilities, with world rights to its titles. Springer is home to the world’s largest Scientific, Technical and Medical (STM) eBook collection and published more than 7,500 in 2012.

 

The first major STM publisher to commit to making their books accessible at this scale, Springer has taken a leading role to ensure that students have access to critical scientific resources. By contributing their digital files directly to Bookshare, they make it possible for students with disabilities to receive accessible books in a timely fashion and significantly reduce the costs of making these books available.

 

“This agreement dramatically expands the volume of research-based STM content available to individuals with print disabilities and ensures a continuing flow of new scientific content annually,” said Betsy Beaumon, Vice President and General Manager of the Benetech Global Literacy Program, at Benetech. “We applaud Springer for recognizing that individuals with print disabilities badly need more access to scientific and technical content.”

 

More information is provided in the official press release.

New DIAGRAM Webinar: Tools for Creating Accessible Math – July 18, 2013
2013-07-03

What tools are available for making math accessible online? Geoff Freed and Bryan Gould of WGBH’s National Center on Accessible Media will be joined by math accessibility researcher Steve Noble to demonstrate the latest and greatest tools for creating and reading accessible math. Register now to attend this brand-new live webinar entitled “Tools for Creating Accessible Math” on Thursday July 18 at 12:00pm Pacific time (3:00 p.m. Eastern).

Participants will:

  • learn what MathML is and how to use it to make math expressions accessible
  • see demos of how assistive technologies interact with Web browsers and reading systems to read MathML expressions
  • learn about tools such as Math Helper (part of the Poet image-description tool), MathJax, MathType and MathPlayer that help you create and display accessible math
  • Don’t miss this opportunity to hear the discussion and ask questions of this expert panel!

DIAGRAM webinars are free and open to anyone. Please feel free to forward this message to anyone who may be interested in participating. Register online.

WIPO Treaty: Miracle in Marrakesh
2013-07-01

History was made in Marrakesh last week as ten days of hard negotiations resulted in consensus on the text of a WIPO treaty that should remove legal barriers to equal access to text for the print disabled. Benetech’s CEO Jim Fruchterman was a key participant in the negotiations.

 

Fruchterman said, "We are extremely excited about the treaty. We have the technology and we have the content, now we have a legal regime to make it possible for every person with print disabilities on the planet to get access to the books they need for education, employment, and social inclusion." [Intellectual Property Watch]

 

A heartfelt thanks to everyone who worked tirelessly to make this happen. Stevie Wonder stated: "Today my heart is at peace and my faith in humanity has been renewed…Today we all are brothers and sisters in the struggle to make this life and the future better, not for one, but for all…This victory is most significant for many reasons. Most obviously, the positive impact for the blind and the visually impaired. But also it sends a message to all world leaders, that it is possible to do business, and to do good at the same time." [Watch the YouTube video].

More information is provided in the June 2013 issue of the DAISY Planet newsletter.

New Level of Accessibility for Newspapers and Books Through DAISY Online Delivery Compatible Reading Devices in Sweden
2013-06-25

MTM, Swedish Agency for Accessible Media, has signed with Polarprint, Humanware’s Swedish retailer, to provide Victor Reader Stratus M 4/12 players in the nationwide launch of DAISY online delivery based services in Sweden. Over 6000 elderly and novice IT users, consumers of talking newspapers and talking books, will benefit from the new online services and reading devices. The transition to new devices will continue throughout 2014.

 

The agreement was signed on June 13th by MTM and Polarprint at the DAISY Conference in Copenhagen.

Diplomatic Conference to Conclude a WIPO Treaty: Message from the DAISY Consortium to Ministers and Delegates
2013-06-21

Dear Colleague:

 

Please pass the following message from the DAISY Consortium to ministers and delegates involved in finalising the text of the proposed copyright treaty.

 

"The DAISY Consortium represents the world's leading libraries and agencies providing services and developing technical standards supporting access to books and publications by people with print disabilities. Our organisations are agencies that work with governments to support them in implementing their responsibilities under the UN convention of the rights of people with disabilities in relation to access to information. We are organisations that have long maintained trusted status as responsible custodians of rights holders works and the special privileges conveyed under national copyright legislation and other international treaties such as the International freepost convention.

 

Our organisations have long called for a clarification of the legal provisions that govern cross-border transactions of publications that have been enhanced to provide access to people with print disabilities. This is so we may improve the service we can provide people with print disabilities worldwide and provide a service which is more efficient and economic for governments and other funding agencies. We therefore applaud the initiative of WIPO member states to develop a new copyright treaty to facilitate access to published works by visually impaired persons and persons with print disabilities.

 

At our board meeting on 12 June 2013 in Copenhagen we agreed to ask governments involved in the WIPO diplomatic treaty in Morocco to make a special effort to negotiate a final text that is simple to understand and to operate, does not impose unnecessary administrative delay and costs and does not contain restrictions and burdens that would defeat the goal of enabling people with a print disability to be able to access the same book as their neighbour, with the same ease and cost, and in a way that is affordable by society. We can then play our part, alongside rights-holder colleague organisations to ensure the privileges granted are exercised and managed in a responsible manner.

 

We applaud the simplicity of the World Blind Union text and echo IFLA request for a simple treaty.

 

We thank you for your hard work to deliver this treaty which will play a key part in helping to end the book famine."


Stephen King

President

DOE Commended for New Guidelines on Braille Instruction
2013-06-21

The National Federation of the Blind commended the Department of Education for guidelines on Braille instruction issued in a Dear Colleague Letter. This letter clarifies the provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) regarding Braille instruction.

 

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “We commend the Department of Education for recognizing that every blind child needs to be given the opportunity to learn Braille. Knowing how to read and write Braille is critical to the ultimate success of blind children. The department’s action today puts school administrators on notice that Braille instruction must be provided to blind children unless a thorough and rigorous evaluation demonstrates that Braille is not appropriate. The guidelines also make it clear that Braille is appropriate for blind children who have some vision, especially if their eye condition is degenerative and they are therefore likely to continue to lose vision. Finally, the guidelines emphasize that external factors like the expense of providing Braille instruction or the availability of audio or other alternative formats cannot be used as an excuse to deny Braille instruction to blind children. We hope and believe that these clarifications will reverse the harmful decline in Braille instruction that has left too many blind people functionally illiterate, and will restore Braille to its proper place as the most effective reading and writing medium for blind people.”

 

“The U.S. Department of Education is committed to ensuring that children who are blind and visually impaired have access to Braille instruction and Braille materials,” said Michael Yudin, Acting Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services at the Department of Education. “The ability to read and write Braille competently and efficiently is critical to ensuring students who are blind and visually impaired graduate from high school college and career ready.”

 

On May 1, 2012, Senator Patty Murray of Washington, along with twenty-five Senate cosigners, wrote to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to express concern that blind students in America were not receiving adequate instruction in Braille, the recognized reading and writing medium for the blind, and were therefore falling behind their sighted peers in school. More information is provided on the National Federation of the Blind website.

Joint Statement on Accessibility and eBooks: International Endorsement
2013-06-21

Advances in technology have helped to open up new markets for publishers, and also offer vast new opportunities for published works to become more accessible to a wider variety of people.

 

The growing availability of eBooks provides an opportunity for people with print impairments – whether blind or partially sighted, dyslexic, or without sufficient dexterity to handle printed materials – to become customers for mainstream published products. Until now, special versions such as large print or braille have been required, often at great cost and after considerable delay.

 

Following practical guidelines, publishers can work towards ensuring that all their eBooks have added features that assist accessibility (such as enhanced navigation); and that their eBooks do not have accessibility features unnecessarily disabled. In this respect, the UK Publishers Association, working with the Society of Authors and the Association of Authors' Agents, has led the way in encouraging its members not to disable text-to-speech capabilities unless they harbour concerns about having been granted the appropriate rights.

 

However, publishers can achieve only so much on their own. The mechanisms by which an eBook is made accessible involve all the actors in the supply chain from author to reader including eBook device manufacturers, platform developers, eBook wholesalers and retailers, and of course consumers themselves all have their part to play.

 

The joint statement on Accessibility and eBooks: International Endorsement is supported by The Publishers Association, EDItEUR, RNIB, The Society of Authors, Dyslexia Action and JISC TechDis; they encourage others to join. For more information on how to contribute to this ambition and contact these organisations, follow the link for more information, provided on the Publisher's Association website.

Diplomatic Conference to Conclude a Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities
2013-06-19

More than 600 negotiators from WIPO’s 186 member states began work on finalizing a new international treaty to ease access to books for blind, visually impaired, and other print disabled people. The Diplomatic Conference to Conclude a Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities, convened by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and hosted by the Kingdom of Morocco, is meeting in Marrakesh from June 18 to 28, 2013.

 

A signed treaty would be the culmination of years of discussions on improving access for the blind, visually impaired, and print disabled to published works in formats such as Braille, large print text and audio books. The beneficiaries will have better access to novels, textbooks and other material that they can use for education and enjoyment. More information is provided on the WIPO website.

Audio Book Production With Scandinavian Design and Quality
2013-06-13

Danish software house Hindenburg Systems has been helping broadcast journalists tell stories using sound since 2009. The clean, user-friendly design has won the hearts of broadcast radio journalists all over the world.

 

Sound quality is just as vital for broadcast radio as it is for audio books for the visually impaired. Hindenburg’s advanced DSP technology, automatic level-setting and Voice Profiling system ensure high quality audio for journalists with little technical know-how.

 

Now Hindenburg Audio Book Creator (HABC) brings the same Scandinavian design and advanced audio technology to the production of audio books. HABC will allow libraries and e-book publishers to combine the highest possible quality with the most efficient production workflow for DAISY and EPUB3 audio book production.

 

“Hindenburg Systems bring great technology and usability to the audio book field. Their product will dramatically improve our efficiency and audio quality, while ensuring that we can keep providing the most advanced products to our users, now and in the future.”- Ole Holst Andersen, Head of IT and Production, NOTA

 

The Hindenburg Audio Book Creator is developed in cooperation with DAISY members, NLB and NOTA with input from multiple DAISY book producers. Their feedback has resulted in a user-friendly tool. DAISY 3.0 support is on its way.

 

Highlighted Features:

  • Import: DTBook, DAISY & EPUB
  • Export DAISY 2.02 & EPUB 3
  • Automated levels based on Loudness
  • Automated EQ & Compression - Windows 7 & 8

For more info or trial contact: Chris Mottes, CEO, Hindenburg Systems ApS

Mobile: +45 31 39 24 70

  • Skype: chrismottes
2013 SSP 35th Annual Meeting: Navigating the New Publishing Paradigm
2013-06-05

The Society of Scholarly Publishing is holding their 35th Annual meeting in San Francisco (June 5-7, 2013). The attendees (approximately 700) are about 89% publishers and 20% librarians. They range from STM publishers to societies and university presses.

 

Bill McCoy (IDPF) will moderate “Accessibility Challenges and Possibilities: No File Left Behind!” on Thursday, June 6th. The panel will include George Kerscher (DAISY Consortium); Rick Johnson (VitalSource Technologies Inc.) and Anh Bui (Benetech). More information is provided on the SSP website.

Just Released: The State of the World’s Children - 2013 Report
2013-05-29

The 2013 edition of The State of the World’s Children is dedicated to the situation of children with disabilities. This report examines the barriers – from inaccessible buildings to dismissive attitudes, from invisibility in official statistics to vicious discrimination – that deprive children with disabilities of their rights and keep them from participating fully in society. It also lays out some of the key elements of inclusive societies that respect and protect the rights of children with disabilities, adequately support them and their families, and nurture their abilities – so that they may take advantage of opportunities to flourish and make their contribution to the world. This report can also be downloaded in DAISY format - created using the open source tools (DAISY Pipeline, Tobi) developed by the DAISY Consortium.

DAISY Welcomes Textalk AB as a New Friend of the Consortium
2013-05-26

The programs and systems Textalk AB has created for the visually impaired population, are always based on specific user requirements. From their almost 30 years of experience they know that user friendliness is extremely important. Using Textalk's software, visually impaired user can access newspapers, magazines, books, Text-TV, email and other digital texts. More information is provided in the Member entry on the DAISY Consortium website.

The 2013 M-Enabling Summit Approaching Fast: Register NOW
2013-05-22

The 2013 M-Enabling Global Summit is a program exclusively dedicated to promoting mobile accessible and assistive applications and services for senior citizens and users of all abilities.

 

The second edition of the M-Enabling Summit in 2013 (June 6-7, 2013) is expected to draw more than 600 participants from at least 40 countries. Convening in Washington, D.C., the M-Enabling Summit is organized in cooperation with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), ensuring substantial participation for leading international mobile service providers, policy makers, apps developers and manufacturers.

 

Representatives of the DAISY Consortium Full Members Hiroshi Kawamura (Japanese DAISY Consortium), Richard Orme (RNIB) and Betsy Beaumon (Benetech/Bookshare) are among distinguished speakers. Register now!

A Study on the Interoperability of e-Book Formats Unveiled at the EIBF Annual Conference
2013-05-21

The study on the interoperability of e-book formats was commissioned from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz by the European & International Booksellers Federation and conducted by Professor Christoph Bläsi and Professor Franz Rothlauf of Johannes Gutenberg University, who said: "There is no technical or functional reason not to use and establish EPUB 3 as an/the interoperable (open) ebook format standard. One short term obstacle is the non-availability of reader applications able to display all EPUB 3 features. However, this problem should be fixed soon by the IDPF Readium initiative which is developing an open source reference system and rendering engine for EPUB 3." More information is provided on the European Booksellers Association website.

Call for Papers: User Modeling for Accessibility - Online Symposium
2013-05-19

The W3C WAI Research and Development Working Group (RDWG) invites you to contribute to the online symposium on User Modeling for Accessibility: http://www.w3.org/WAI/RD/2013/user-modeling/.

 

Submission date: June 6th, 2013

Symposium date: July 15th, 2013

 

This online symposium invites researchers, practitioners, and users with disabilities to explore current and past research experiences related to user modeling for accessibility. User modeling is an approach for generating and adapting user interfaces to address particular user needs and preferences. The goal of the symposium is to analyze different methods and implementations of user modeling and their potential usage for improving accessibility for people with disabilities. This includes the design, creation, storage, and usage of user models, in particular in web browsers, applications, authoring tools, and other aspects of the Web.

 

Organizers invite research and position papers of about 1,000 words. Submissions will be peer-reviewed.

 

Accepted papers will be published online in an attributable form as part of the symposium proceedings. Authors of accepted papers will be invited to participate in the symposium panel.

 

For more information about the symposium and submissions, please see

If you are interested in contributing to this Symposium, please submit your paper by June 6th.

SuperNova v13.50 First to Magnify, Speak and Braille Windows 8
2013-05-14

Dolphin Computer Access announced the immediate availability of SuperNova v13.50, the first professionally supported screen magnification software to run on computers powered by Microsoft's latest operating systems Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 Enterprise.

 

With a single package, computers running Windows 8 have their onscreen text and graphics enlarged smoothly, difficult colours changed to more comfortable alternatives, mouse pointer and cursor positions highlighted clearly, plus all text is spoken with natural sounding voices and translated accurately to literary Braille.

 

"SuperNova v13.50 is a significant breakthrough especially for partially sighted people buying new Windows PCs" explains RNIB's Steve Griffiths. "It contains support for Windows 8, and having SuperNova's excellent colour and size options is a huge improvement over the basic Windows magnifier for students and professionals with sight loss."

 

SuperNova works with the new Windows 8 Start Screen including: live tiles showing updating information, Charms Bar which is the new way to change settings and share content, plus SuperNova continues to work with your existing desktop and legacy applications including Microsoft Office, Adobe Reader and Skype. More information is provided on the Dolphin Computer Access website.

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer Swears In Five Presidential Appointees to the National Museum and Library Services Board
2013-05-09

IMLS Press Contact: 202-653-4799

Giuliana Bullard, gbullard(at)imls.gov

 

Washington, DC -- Yesterday, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Stephen Breyer administered the oath of office to five individuals who will serve on the National Museum and Library Services Board. The board is the advisory body for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Althemese Pemberton Barnes, Vishakha Desai, Tammie Kahn, George Kerscher, and Jacquelyn K. Sundstrand were appointed by President Barack Obama. Members of the board are selected based on their expertise and commitment to libraries or museums. IMLS Director Susan Hildreth said, “We welcome the collective experience and knowledge our newest members will bring to the board. Their service on the National Museum and Library Services Board will help keep libraries and museums at the forefront of the movement to create a nation of learners. The IMLS staff and I look forward to working with them.”

 

Althemese Pemberton Barnes is the executive director of the John G. Riley Museum, which she founded in 1996. In 1997, she established the Florida African American Heritage Preservation Network, a statewide professional museum association. She served in Florida’s Departments of Education and Labor as an employment counselor and program specialist, retiring in 1995. From 1965 to 1970, she was a music instructor in the Leon County Schools in Tallahassee, Florida. She has worked as a consultant on several oral history and cultural development projects, and directed the publication of historical books, heritage trail maps, guides, and documentaries. She is a member of the American Alliance of Museums, the Florida Heritage Foundation, the Florida Association of Museums, the Association of African American Museums, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Ms. Barnes received a B.S. and an M.S. from Florida A&M University.

 

Vishakha Desai is special advisor for global affairs to President Lee Bollinger of Columbia University and professor of practice at its School of International and Public Affairs. She is senior advisor to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation for global policy and programs, and president emerita of Asia Society, an organization she led for the last eight years. From 1977 to 1990, Dr. Desai worked at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in a variety of roles, ultimately serving as assistant curator of Indian, Southeast Asia, and Islamic collections (1981-1990) and as the head of academic programs (1981-1988). Dr. Desai has been a visiting professor at numerous universities and was an assistant and associate professor at the University of Massachusetts from 1988 to 1990. Dr. Desai is on the board of the Brookings Institution and is an advisor and reviewer for the New York City Advisory Commission for Cultural Affairs. She served as the president of the Association of Art Museum Directors from 1998 to 1999 and was on the boards of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc., Asian University for Women, and the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities. Dr. Desai received a B.A. from Bombay University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.

 

Tammie Kahn is the Executive Director of the Children’s Museum of Houston, a position she has held since 1995. In this role, she has overseen an expansion of the museum and the creation of an Institute for Family Learning. She is a past President of the Houston Museum District Association and served as the Associate Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. She has served on the boards of the Association of Children’s Museums, the Institute for Learning Innovation, the Greater Houston Collaborative for Children, and the Houston Holocaust Museum. Ms. Kahn received a B.S. from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.B.A. from the University of Houston.

 

George Kerscher is Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium, an international organization dedicated to facilitating access to information for persons with disabilities. He is President of the International Digital Publishing Forum, Senior Officer of Accessible Technology at Learning Ally, and a member of the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard Board. He was named an Innovator of the Year by U.S. News and World Report in 1998, received the Harry Murphy Catalyst Award in 2004, and was recognized as a White House Champion of Change in 2012. Mr. Kerscher received a B.A. from Northeastern Illinois University.

 

Jacquelyn K. Sundstrand is an associate professor at the University of Nevada, Reno and the Manuscripts and Archives Librarian in the University Libraries’ Special Collections Department. She was the Library and Archives Coordinator at the Southern Oregon Historical Society from 1993 to 2001 and the Special Collections Librarian and Archivist at California State University, Dominquez Hill from 1985 to 1993. She is a member of the Nevada State Historic Resources Advisory Board, the Society of American Archivists, the Society of California Archivists, the Conference of Intermountain Archivists, and the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress. Ms. Sundstrand received a B.A. from California State University, Fullerton, an M.S.L.S. from the University of Southern California, and an M.A. from the University of California, Riverside.

The newly confirmed board members replace Christina Orr-Cahall, Ioannis Miaoulis, Julia Bland, Jan Celluci, and Mark Herring, whose terms have expired. More information is provided in the official IMLS press release.

EASI Free Webinar: Using Tobi to create EPUB 3 talking books
2013-05-06

Register and learn how to use Tobi - this webinar will take place Thursday May 30th: 8:30 AM Pacific, 9:30 Mountain, 10:30 Central and 11:30 Eastern, 15:30 UTC, 16:30 UK, 17:30 Central Europe, 21:00 India.

 

Presenters: Avneesh Singh (DAISY Consortium, Obi/Tobi Project Manager, Software Developer) and Daniel Weck (DAISY Consortium, Software developer).

 

EPUB 3 is the ebook standard recommended for both mainstream and accessible re-publishing. Tobi supports both: DAISY 3 and EPUB 3 formats, and enables re-purposing and upgrading of existing digital content. Learn about EPUB 3 features and Tobi production workflows.

 

Register online. More information can be found on the EASI (Equal Access to Software and Information) website.

Obi 2.6 Brings Backward Compatibility and Context-Sensitive Help System
2013-04-30

The DAISY Consortium is pleased to announce the latest release of Obi, an easy to learn, yet powerful open source software tool for creating DAISY compliant audio books with rich navigable structure.

 

The latest release, Version 2.6, makes Obi more advanced, backward compatible and even easier to learn. It introduces the capability to import DAISY 2.02 books in addition to the existing export functionality, making it fully backward compatible with the DAISY 2.02 standard. Therefore, both audio-ncx (audio with structure) and full-text, full-audio DAISY 2.02 books can be imported, modified, and exported as either DAISY 2.02 or DAISY 3 audio books, which will also enable quick upgrades of the existing DAISY 2.02 books to the newer DAISY 3 standard.

 

This release of Obi integrates the context-sensitive help system within the Obi application, providing immediate help on relevant topics to its users with a push of a button. Other significant enhancements include pitch preservation while using the fast play feature resulting in smooth feel to the users and automatic saving of the project after recording to ensure that narration is not lost due to unknown circumstances. The Recording Toolbar and Graphical Peak Meter are now constantly visible even if the focus is on another window.

 

Please visit the Obi project area on the DAISY Consortium website to check out the full list of new features and bug fixes http://www.daisy.org/obi/.

 

The DAISY Consortium would like to extend a special thanks to all contributors for their valuable feedback and continued support to the Obi project. Obi continues to fill in the gaps and enable accessible publication production worldwide, becoming one of the DAISY production tool chosen by diverse range of users, from large production houses to home users.

Digital Publishing Forum (May 1st, 2013): Raising Standards with EPUB 3
2013-04-28

The Digital Publishing Forum "Raising Standards with EPUB 3" in London [May 1st, 2013: Anatomy G04, Gavin de Beer Lecture Theatre, UCL] presented an overview of the enhancements that EPUB 3 provides over EPUB 2, and the challenges and opportunities the revised standard offers to publishers and readers. The accessibility features of the new standard were also covered.

 

As well as gaining a better grasp of the technical aspects of EPUB 3, attendees saw demonstrations of new products using EPUB 3, with a narrative around lessons learned from building the products.

 

Speakers at this seminar included Daniel Weck, software engineer with the DAISY Consortium; Graham Bell, Chief Data Architect, EDItEUR, and KoKo Ekong, e-Book Production & Design Specialist at Random House, who oversees maintenance and implementation of standards-compliant code. Koko demonstrated two books: The Dinosaur that Pooped Christmas, and Tree Fu Tom.

 

All attendees received a copy of the PA guidelines to EPUB 3. Daniel Weck's slides are available online.

Improved DAISY Pipeline 2 (Version 1.5) Now Available
2013-04-20

The DAISY Consortium gets one step closer to enabling enterprise-grade production system for accessible content - Pipeline 2 Version 1.5 is now available for download. The DAISY Pipeline 2 project is an ongoing collaborative effort with a goal to develop the next generation framework for automated production of accessible materials for people with print disabilities. Testers can choose between three alternative packages:

This release introduces the following new scripts:

  • HTML to EPUB 3
  • NIMAS Fileset Validator

Please note that this release brings several bug fixes and improvements. Specific details are provided in the release notes: http://code.google.com/p/daisy-pipeline/wiki/ReleaseNotes.

Your comments and suggestions are always welcome.

Why Accessibility Matters - Helping Your Company Stay Compliant: Free Webinar on April 23rd
2013-04-18

Accessibility expert George Kerscher (DAISY Consortium) will discuss on April 23rd at 12 pm CDT why making your company's printed materials and online forms accessible is good business practice and necessary to meet compliance requirements. Learning Ally has over 60 years of experience in the accessibility field and can help your company achieve 504/508 and other requirements. Register now.

Call for Papers: 5th International Congress on Design, Research Networks, and Technology for All - DRT4ALL 2013 by ONCE
2013-04-14

DRT4All 2013 conference offers a window into the future. Its main goal is to inform and educate attendees about the latest advances in Accessibility and ICT supporting independent living of people with disabilities, and to demonstrate how these technologies can work together in order to provide everyone with a better life, and to achieve a full integration into society for people with disabilities and the elderly.

 

Conference topics: Information and Communication Technologies and Access Services, Accessibility, Usability, User experience and Design for All, Human–computer interaction, Assistive Technologies, Telecare, Domotics, Digital Homes and independent living, Applied robotics for personal autonomy, Transport for all, Accessible collaborative learning technologies, Inclusive social networks.

Call for papers is open until May 15th, 2013. More information is provided on the DRT4All conference website.

A World of Possibilities: Educational Leadership Program Commencement
2013-04-12

The Educational Leadership Program offers advanced training to teachers and related professionals from around the world with the ultimate goal of strengthening services available in their respective organizations, communities and countries to children who are blind with multiple disabilities, including deaf-blindness. More information is provided on the Perkins International website.

The Educational Leadership Program Commencement will take place on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 11:30 AM.

 

Location: 175 North Beacon Street, Watertown, MA

Remarks by Dr. Penny Hartin, CEO, World Blind Union.

 

It is hard to find a better place to learn best practices in the education of children who are blind and have additional disabilities than on Perkins’ 38-acre campus in Watertown, Massachusetts. Program participants attend lectures in Perkins' historic buildings, observe and teach in their classrooms and assist students in their residences for a unique training experience that provides a comprehensive understanding of education and services for students who are blind with additional disabilities, including those who are deaf-blind. Curriculum for all participants include academic courses led by Perkins’ experts and other noted professionals in the field, as well as hands-on learning in classrooms and living quarters, where they can put theory into practice.

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts
2013-04-09

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:

  • Tammie Kahn – Member, National Museum and Library Services Board
  • George Kerscher – Member, National Museum and Library Services Board
  • Jacquelyn K. Sundstrand – Member, National Museum and Library Services Board
  • Rabbi Samuel N. Gordon – Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
  • Maureen Schulman – Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
  • Melanie N. Roussell – Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, Department of Housing and Urban Development

President Obama said, “I am grateful that these impressive individuals have chosen to dedicate their talents to serving the American people at this important time for our country. I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.”

 

More information is provided in the official press release.

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