News Archive

Accessible Books Consortium Marks Two Years of Growth

The Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) was established two years ago. ABC is delighted to celebrate.


Latest highlights:

  • The ABC’s TIGAR Book Service has so far facilitated the loans of accessible books to 79,000 people through its 19 participating libraries.
  • The 2016 ABC International Excellence Award for Accessible Publishing went to Elsevier, the DK Braille Development Team at Penguin Random House, and a Nepalese NGO, ADRAD.
  • Six major publishers’ associations have signed the ABC Charter, which promotes the production of “born accessible” works.
  • The ABC's capacity-building activities in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka benefitted over 23,500 students in 2015. The second phase starts in July with funding from the Governments of Australia and the Republic of Korea, the Skoll Foundation and the United Nations Foundation – we hope to benefit some 88,500 students who are print disabled in these four countries.

More information is provided in the ABC snapshots.

Legislation will improve access to information for print-disabled Canadians

Canadians who are visually impaired or otherwise print disabled will have better access to books and other copyrighted materials. The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, today announced that the Act to Amend the Copyright Act (access to copyrighted works or other subject-matter for persons with perceptual disabilities) has received royal assent.


By bringing the country's copyright law in line with the Treaty, Canada has shown leadership in ensuring a wider availability of books and other materials for Canadians with visual impairments and print disabilities. More information is provided on the Government of Canada website.

Marrakesh Treaty: Statement from the IFLA's Section for Libraries Serving Persons with Print Disabilities

by Karen Keninger, Chair of IFLA's LPD Section


The members of IFLA's Section for Libraries Serving Persons with Print Disabilities, comprising 80 library organizations, also represent the views of many other organizations such as schools, transcribers, software and hardware producers, providers and brokers that distribute accessible reading materials to persons with print disabilities. We acknowledge with appreciation the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) Member States' agreement to create an effective Treaty at the Diplomatic Conference held in Marrakesh in June 2013. This, when ratified, will deliver tangible benefits to more than 285 million visually impaired or otherwise print disabled people who have been deprived for too long from equitable access to reading materials and information.


The full text of the Marrakesh Treaty in print, audio, DAISY, and Braille formats is available on the WIPO website.


It is only through access to reading that people can participate in education, work, culture and civic activity, and so improve the quality and well-being of their lives. The Book Famine, which has been caused in large part by international copyright constraints, has the result that print disabled people are deprived of the opportunity to read the same book, at the same price, and at the same time as the rest of the world. Libraries and other voluntary sector providers of books in accessible formats around the world waste scarce resources because they have had to duplicate transcription and production efforts.


At long last there is a real chance to overcome the shortage of accessible reading and information by using internet delivery and increasing ways of reading the growing quantity of digital content.


By strengthening the international copyright framework, this Treaty provides a unique and truly historic opportunity for the Member States and involved parties to attack the book famine and to dramatically improve the life opportunities of more than 285 million print disabled people.


Some concrete examples of benefits that will be delivered with the help of the Treaty are as follows. The Treaty will:

  • Meet increasing demand for accessible works to be made available between countries/communities that share a language, e.g. Spanish, French, Arabic, Chinese, English to name but a few
  • Support developing economies which cannot afford to produce resources but could particularly benefit from greater access to resources made elsewhere in the world
  • Help print-disabled refugees, immigrants and another diaspora who need to access content made elsewhere, in the context of greater mobility around the world
  • Protect the interests of rights holders by having a clear framework in place
  • Increase the overall amount of accessible books and information and the timeliness of publication
  • Empower people individually to become more effective members of society together with the result of reducing poverty, unemployment and crime

These benefits transcend the technicalities and subtleties of judicial debate.


The urgent needs of all the world’s print disabled people are at risk because of undue focus on legislative details.


We also refer to the Guide for libraries of EIFL (Electronic Information for Libraries, a not-for-profit organization), who is supporting ratification of the treaty and implementation into national copyright law.


We call upon the Member States and the involved parties to stay focused on the necessary benefits and outcomes.


As Government, Ministers, Parliamentarians, educationalists, leaders of business and of local communities, please campaign for the early ratification by your Government of this effective Treaty that will improve the lives of all the visually impaired and print disabled people in your country, leading to a more equitable and non-discriminatory society.


The LPD statement in support of the Marrakesh Treaty ratification is also available on the LPD section website.

Accessibility Executive Breakfast (June 9th, New York)

During the first half of this event organizers focused on information that publishers must know in order to comply with Section 508 and other federal regulations on accessibility, including laws, regulations, Department of Justice actions, etc. The second half of the morning offered practical information that helps publishers deal with implementation challenges in their own businesses. George Kerscher, Chief Innovations Officer for the DAISY Consortium, was one of the speakers. More information is provided on the event website.

New Director General for the Swedish Agency for Accessible Media Appointed

The Swedish government has appointed Magnus Larsson as Director General for the Swedish Agency for Accessible Media, MTM. He takes up his duties on September 1st.

Magnus Larsson is currently the Director General of the Swedish Agency for Press, Radio, and TV. Before that he was the Director of the Review Board for Radio and Television, as well as acting Director General of the Radio and TV Authority. He has a law degree from Uppsala University and has served as associate judge of appeal among other things at the National Court of Appeal.


The current Director General Roland Esaiasson retires from office on August 31.


The Swedish Agency for Accessible Media, MTM, is under the administration of the Ministry of Culture. MTM's mandate is to ensure that all persons with reading impairments can access literature and daily newspapers through media appropriate to them. Important responsibilities include the production and distribution of audio books, Braille books, easy read literature and accessible newspapers.


MTM's mission is to be a national knowledge centre for accessible media. A large and important part of that is the research and development of new technologies for production and reading.

MTM is one of the Full Members of the DAISY Consortium.


For further information please contact:

  • Renée Jardland, deputy Director General, Swedish Agency for Accessible Media, Phone: +46 8-580 02 716, e-mail: renee.jardland(at)
  • Camilla Batal, Director of Communications, Swedish Agency for Accessible Media, Phone: +46 8-580 02 824, e-mail: camilla.batal(at)
Upcoming Event: Tailoring the Reading Experience to Meet Individual Needs

Register today to attend an inspiring conference in Louisville, Kentucky, USA!


The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) is holding its 2016 World Library Information Congress, (WLIC) in Columbus, Ohio this August. In conjunction with this prestigious international event, the IFLA Section on Libraries Serving Persons with Print Disabilities (LPD) is sponsoring a pre-Congress satellite conference, Tailoring the Reading Experience to Meet Individual Needs, in Louisville, Kentucky, August 11-12, 2016.


The satellite conference is co-sponsored by the American Printing House for the Blind (APH), and will feature an international array of speakers. This conference offers a rare opportunity for professionals from a variety of disciplines to discuss the challenges and solutions to providing timely accessible materials in appropriate formats to the people we serve. The preliminary agenda is available on the satellite conference website.

Global Leaders in Accessible and Enabling Technologies Will Meet in Washington, DC

With a brand new Inclusive Higher Education Forum, dedicated Government, Business and Financial Services tracks, along with exclusive sessions chaired by the who's who of the mobile apps and services ecosystem and the assistive technology industry, the 5th annual M-Enabling Summit is the one event you shouldn't miss this June 2016.


Check out the All-Star line-up of government, industry, start-up, academia, and non-government leaders in accessibility who will be presenting the latest, game changing trends in Smart Cities, Cognitive and Learning, Mobile Banking, Media, Navigation, Senior Care, Digital Learning, Compliance and Public Procurement, Cloud Security, Wearable Computing, in more than 30+ sessions dedicated to showcasing accessible apps and services for users of all abilities.


Browse through the detailed

Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)

May 19th marks the 5th Annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day, and the Paciello Group will again be hosting Inclusive Design 24 in support of this event. Their 24 free one-hour webinars on all things accessibility are hosted via Google Hangouts and will run all day (and night) long. The sessions range from beginner to advanced and are aimed at everyone from executives to web developers.


Global Accessibility Awareness Day celebrates efforts worldwide to ensure that people with disabilities have full and equal access to the web. Everyone is invited to join the celebration, connect with the accessibility community, and learn more about our roles in moving accessibility forward.

More information is provided on the Global Accessibility Awareness Day website.

W3C and International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) Explore Plans to Combine

Web Inventor and W3C Director Tim Berners-Lee Shares Vision of Publishing on the Web in His Keynote Address at IDPF DigiCon at BEA 2016.

CHICAGO, Illinois, USA --The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) announced today mutual interest in combining their respective organizations to more quickly advance publishing technologies on the Open Web Platform.


Tim Berners-Lee, Web Inventor and W3C Director, and Bill McCoy, IDPF Executive Director, unveiled the plans following Berners-Lee's keynote address at IDPF DigiCon at Book Expo America 2016 in Chicago, Illinois, USA.


"We share an exciting vision for W3C and IDPF to fully align the publishing industry and core Web technology. This will create a rich media environment for digital publishing that opens up new possibilities for readers, authors, and publishers," said Berners-Lee.


"Think about educational text books. The book content we know today is becoming highly interactive and accessible with links to videos and images from actual historical events and original research data. This provides greater authenticity and a more engaging learning environment for teachers and students," Berners-Lee commented.


"Whether it's EPUB content or social marketing and reader engagement, Web technologies are foundational to enabling digital content to be created, distributed globally, and viewed on any Web-enabled device as well as dedicated reading apps and eReader devices," McCoy said.


Combining W3C and IDPF Resources Will Achieve Publishing on the Web Vision

Following the announcement, representatives from W3C and IDPF explained that for three years, members from their respective communities have been collaborating to identify how the publishing industry's technology and expertise can improve the Web, and how Web technologies can create greater opportunities for the publishing industry.


"I'm enthusiastic about the prospect of joining forces with W3C. The IDPF's track record of success in developing EPUB standards for the publishing industry will be complemented by W3C's expertise in Web standards that enable accessible rich media," said George Kerscher, President of the IDPF.


Dr. Jeff Jaffe, W3C CEO, concurred, "With the full participation of the digital publishing community as well as the core web platform developers we accelerate the development of technology standards. Early Web technologies did not meet the rigorous needs of authors and publishers whose curated content is crafted into books, journals and magazines with enhanced styling."


Next Steps

The next steps in the process of combining the two organizations include soliciting comments from the respective memberships of W3C and IDPF and drafting a Memorandum of Understanding. Pending support from both memberships, completion of legal review, and the positive resolution of specific details, the goal is to combine the two organizations by January of 2017. The future evolution of EPUB technical standards would continue at W3C, along with broader work to improve publishing features across the entire Open Web Platform.


About the World Wide Web Consortium

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international consortium where Member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop Web standards. W3C primarily pursues its mission through the creation of Web standards and guidelines designed to ensure long-term growth and stewardship for the Web. Over 400 organizations are Members of the Consortium.


W3C is jointly run by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL) in the United States, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) headquartered in France, Keio University in Japan and Beihang University in China. W3C has Offices in Australia; the Benelux countries; Brazil; Finland; France; Germany and Austria; Greece; Hungary; India; Italy; Korea; Morocco; Russia; South Africa; Spain; Sweden; and the United Kingdom and Ireland. For more information see


About the International Digital Publishing Forum

The International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) is the global trade and standards organization dedicated to the development and promotion of electronic publishing and digital content consumption. IDPF members include publishers, technology firms, other industry associations, and government and educational organizations. IDPF is the developer of the EPUB standard format for interchange and distribution of digital publications.

Media Contacts:

Karen Myers, W3C [] Mobile: 1.978.502.6218

Sarah Hilderley, IDPF Director of Communications []

Libraries for an Inclusive Society

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


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


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


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

DAISY Consortium Welcomes mSourcing Solutions as a Friend of the Consortium

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


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

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

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


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


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

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


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


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

Second Editor's Draft of EPUB 3.1 Available for Review

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


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

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

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


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


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

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

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


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


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


More information is available on the website.

Free webinar: Hands-on Prodigi Connect 12 classroom experience

Free video webinar: Prodigi Connect 12 classroom experience.


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


Followed by an engaging Q&A.


When: Wednesday, April 27th 11am EDT

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

Accessible Images and Beyond: DIAGRAM Center +

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


Date: Wednesday, April 26, 2016


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


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


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

DAISY Consortium Wins Grant From

Accessible publications remove barriers to information access

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


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


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


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


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


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


Visit to check for updates and learn more.


About the DAISY Consortium

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


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


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


Media contact: George Kerscher [kerscher(at)]


Attend the Take Part 2016 conference to learn more.

International Forum on Disability: Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction

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

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

VitalSource Continues to Champion Accessibility

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


The official VitalSource press release is available on PRWeb.

First affordable braille reader launched

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

More information is provided in the official press release.

Download the BISG Quick Start Guide to Accessible Publishing Today

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

CSUN 2016 program available for download

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


For further information, please contact:


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

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


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

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


For Media Accreditation, please contact takepart2016(at) or


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


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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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


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


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


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

Now Available in the US: A Library of Opportunity

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


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


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


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


More information is available on

M-Enabling Summit 2016: Registration Is Now Open

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


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


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


2016 M-Enabling Summit Key Topics:

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

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

Bangladesh experiences presented at ZERO Project Conference 2016

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


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


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