GH, LLC continuously seeks to understand the needs of people with disabilities and are dedicated to transforming this knowledge into technology-based innovations that will provide opportunities for everyone to experience equal access to information.
GH, LLC continuously seeks to understand the needs of people with disabilities and are dedicated to transforming this knowledge into technology-based innovations that will provide opportunities for everyone to experience equal access to information.
Founded in 2000, GH, LLC ("gh") is a leading assistive technology company that helps people with print disabilities access information, whether the source is a textbook, publication, standardized test, or website.
Using a content-independent media conversion process, the company offers a full range of accessible media formats and software applications, including Digital Talking Books, an Accessible Testing System, Braille, and Tactile Graphics, that enable people with print disabilities to improve their educational experience, become more competitive in the workplace, and lead more enjoyable lives. gh is headquartered at the Purdue Technology Center in West Lafayette, IN, USA
A new release of Sigtuna DAR 3 (version 3.0.20) has now been made available for download for DAISY Consortium Members.
We are very pleased to announce that an update of Sigtuna DAR 3, version 3.0.20 is now available for download from the DAISY Web site in the Download area. You will be asked to log in (your member login and password are required).
Sigtuna DAR 3 version 3.0.20 contains the following changes and fixes:
- "When creating a project, NCC is not correctly updated to support DAISY 2.02." This problem has been fixed.
- "When exporting a project, some associated files are not copied to the export directory." This problem has been fixed.
- "When creating a ToC only project, the number of the ncc:maxPageNormal always remained as "0.". This problem has been fixed.
- "The character set cannot be changed in the "Modify NCC's metadata" dialog." This problem has been fixed.
- Other smaller bug fixes have also been made in this release.
The following remains as a known issue:
Due to some limitations on the Windows API and its file systems, Sigtuna DAR 3 supports wav files up to a size of 2 GB. Therefore, if the recording is set for 22050 Hz mono, the chapter (ncc heading) playback length is limited to approximately 13.5 hours.
Sigtuna DAR 3 is generously made available by JSRPD at no charge to DAISY Consortium Members. Special thanks go to JSRPD for its generosity and support, and to Hiroshi Kawamura, Miki Azuma and Misako Nomura for their continued efforts and diligence in the development of this DAISY production software tool. The efforts of all who have been involved have contributed to DAISY implementation in the world, particularly in developing countries. JSRPD has the right to distribute Sigtuna DAR 3 after the completion of the period of the agreement with the developer, with no further agreement being required.
Note that copies of Sigtuna DAR 3 must be registered. If you already have a registration number, you will be able to install the software with your current registration information. DAISY member organizations which do not have a registration number but would like to install and use Sigtuna DAR 3, may contact JSRPD at email@example.com. You will be provided with a registration number and required information. You may download and install the software without a registration number, however, if it is used without being registered, you will be able to record only 10 minutes of audio, after which neither recording nor editing will be possible.
If you have any questions or problems regarding the download of the software, please contact Lynn Leith directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New course materials enhance learning, improve comprehension and create real inclusion in the classroom. Dolphin helps RNIB trial Key Stage 3 literacy materials in DAISY format.
The RNIB and Dolphin Audio Publishing recently collaborated on a pilot scheme to introduce a new all-inclusive learning and revision resource into the classroom. The pilot involved pupils with sight difficulties and dyslexia, within mainstream secondary schools. The trial involved pupils studying Key Stage 3 literacy (11 to 14 year olds) in three secondary schools over the course of 12 months.
The project involved using Dolphin Audio Publishings unique software solutions to introduce Digital Talking Books to students with a visual impairment or print impairment, at three schools in the UK. These DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) books allow the delivery of fully navigable, multimedia content in a totally accessible form. It allows visually impaired and print impaired readers to skim read and navigate a talking book in the same way that a fully sighted reader may read a printed book. Typically, a DAISY book is a combination of synchronised text, images and audio whereby, as the audio is played, the corresponding text is highlighted and accompanied by supporting images. It is a perfect format for reference materials and learning resources for the whole class, regardless of ability to read or access the printed word.
Dolphin Audio Publishing, a division of Worcester based Dolphin Computer Access Limited, provided authoring software called EasePublisher to convert existing course materials into DAISY books and playback software called EaseReader was to be used by the students to play the content. Our choice of Dolphin Audio Publishing as a partner for this pilot scheme was a very easy one to make. Dolphin is a world leader in the development of DAISY software solutions and an organisation we knew we could rely upon, said Will Pearson Pre-16 Technology Officer, RNIB and chief co-ordinator of the project.
Feedback from the students and teachers involved in the trial was very positive towards this exciting new resource. Prior to using EaseReader and the DAISY books, low vision students had to rely on cumbersome large print or Braille documents. EaseReader allowed the application of colour schemes and display styles specific to the individuals need. This made studying much more fulfilling and comfortable and as a result, the DAISY books played using EaseReader were less tiring to read and student concentration was enhanced. Will Pearson commented Students are now in more control over how a book is used, how it looks, where it is used, and even why it is used.
Terri, one of the students involved in the pilot, said that using the DAISY books had made reading a lot easier. Her reading speeds had considerably improved as she was now able to skim read and could adjust the playback speeds. Another student named Kheezer, added that the choice of different style sheets and settings had helped his over all reading skills and improved his comprehension and English language.
In general, there was a significant improvement not only in the reading skills of the students involved but also their comprehension and memory recall. Many of the students involved in the trial reported that the rest of the class also enjoyed the DAISY books, despite having no visual or print impairment. The combination of text, audio and images provided an enhanced learning experience. If ever there was an active embodiment of inclusive practice, this could be it. said Will, who then continued, DAISY is a positive rebuttal of the special connotation given to adapted materials. Will then concludes, The project succeeded on many levels, expertise was gained in DAISY production as well as the teacher and student benefits of this format. The students received an intrinsically more useful learning experience.
Some exciting features have been added to IRTI''s eClipseReader version 2.0. eClipseReader now reads any ASCII text with its new built-in screen reader and conveniently turns text notes into topical outlines.
Over a year ago, IRTI released the eClipseReader software for reading and studying DAISY books on a PC. It has been extremely well received by schools and individuals alike. The multi-user features really enhance its usefulness in schools.
Some exciting features have been added to eClipseReader version 2.0. eClipseReader now reads any ASCII text with its new built-in screen reader and conveniently turn text notes into topical outlines.
Many common file formats can easily be converted and saved to a text format using popular word processors. Then read and study them with eClipseReader. These formats would include emails, Web pages, HTML files, XML files, Word documents and much more. Powerful new study tools have also been incorporated.
Here are the new enhancements in eClipseReader 2.0.
New Text Reading and note taking: Open any ASCII text document and review it with eClipseReader built-in Screen Reader. Navigate Text via Hot-key or on-screen graphic control buttons. Navigate by Word, Line, Paragraph and Screen.
Text Search: Search a text document for a Word or Phrase.
Spell Word feature: Spell any word using hot-key or graphic button.
Where am I feature: Gives your reading position in a text document by announcing current line number out of the total number of lines.
Add any Text Document Title to the Books Library: Just as with Daisy books, text documents may be added to your library list. Text Documents are automatically added after entering a Bookmark. Library entries are displayed by title of book or document and linked to the locations of books and text documents on your local hard drive or mapped network drive.
Automatic Bookmark: eClipseReader automatically recalls your last reading position each time you open a DAISY book or text document.
Bookmarks and Text Notes: You can set multiple bookmarks in a text document just as in Daisy talking books. The bookmarks are automatically labeled by number or give them your own title. Each bookmark may also contain your personalized text notes.
Automatic Outline feature: With the simple press of a button, your bookmarks and text notes can now be reviewed anytime with eClipseReader''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''s built-in screen reader. eClipseReader will automatically convert your bookmarks and text notes into a text document presented in outline form. The outline includes the bookmark number or title and your text notes associated with each one. We already have teachers planning to use this feature for student test taking. In this case, the test would be the text document and the student will easily be able to enter answers as text notes. Just the notes may be exported or printed for review by the teacher.
Export Bookmarks and Text Notes to Note Pad: With a single hot-key or press of a button you can automatically export your bookmarks and notes to MS Note Pad. Then save it, print it, or edit it with your favorite word processor or Braille translator. This is a great way to start an outline for a book report or term paper. Or use it to collect all your notes to study for an exam.
These new eClipseReader note taking tools really improves the efficiency of studying Daisy Books and text documents and promotes good study skills. eClipseReader''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''s structured approach to note taking will help you be a better-organized student or professional.
eClipseReader 2.0-Plus includes a NeoSpeech License for VoiceText Kate and Paul US English SAPI 5.1. These voice are a major enhancement to the new note taking and text reading features of eClipseReader V2. Because the voices are SAPI 5.1 they can be used by other applications on the computer that support SAPI 5.1 such as JAWS.
Source: IRTI NewsClips The newsletter of Innovative Rehabilitation Technology Inc., May 2004, Volume 3, Number 2
Contact by email: email@example.com
Press Release: DAISY 3, the ANSI/NISO Z39.86 is endorsed as the official standard in the USA.
FOR RELEASE Contact: Elaine Quesinberry
July 27, 2004 (202) 401-1576
STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES TO GAIN IMPROVED ACCESS TO LEARNING New standard expected to help students who are blind, print-disabled.
Students with blindness, low vision and print disabilities are expected to gain improved access to textbooks under a voluntary standardized format for electronic files, U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige announced today. On behalf of Secretary Paige, Deputy Secretary of Education Gene Hickok discussed the new standard at an event commemorating the 14th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The event was co-sponsored by the Departments of Commerce and Education in Washington, D.C.
"President Bush believes that every single child can learn and deserves the opportunity to learnthats why he pushed for the historic education reforms of the No Child Left Behind Act," Secretary Paige said. "Today, were taking another step toward this goal with a new, voluntary standard that will enable students and teachers to more quickly access general curriculum materials, thereby opening more doors of opportunity to students."
When textbooks and classroom materials are produced using this voluntary standard, they will be in a standard electronic format that can be adapted to products ranging from Braille editions of textbooks to on-screen displays of text and graphics. In past years, the lack of a standardized format meant that publishers had to produce materials in multiple formats often causing delays that meant students with disabilities did not receive their textbooks in time for the beginning of the school year.
To address these challenges, the Department of Educations Office of Special Education Programs provided funding to the National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum at the Center for Applied Special Technology, Inc. to convene an expert panel to establish a voluntary, standardized format for materials. The 40-member panel included educators, publishers, technology specialists and advocacy groups.
In addition to establishing the new standard, the Department of Education will fund two centers to support further development and assist states with implementing the voluntary standard, thus improving academic results for students with disabilities.
The No Child Left Behind Act is the bipartisan landmark education reform law designed to change the culture of Americas schools by closing the achievement gap among groups of students, offering more flexibility to states, giving parents more options and teaching students based on what works. Under the laws strong accountability provisions, states must describe how they will close the achievement gap and make sure all students, including students with disabilities, achieve academically.
For more information on the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard, please visit: http://www.cast.org/research/projects/NIMASdev.html
Princeton, NJ (June 30, 2004) Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D) will launch its newly designed website at www.rfbd.org on July 1, offering members a dynamic, interactive and more accessible tool for ordering books and products online, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The new Web-based ordering system is expected to facilitate and expedite search and ordering processes for students, parents and educators seeking books during the peak ordering times at the beginning of the school year.
For immediate release
Contact: Morgan Roth, Vice President, Public Affairs
(609) 520-8095 or (609) 240-1097
New design offers improved accessibility and online ordering
Princeton, NJ (June 30, 2004) Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D?) will launch its newly designed website at www.rfbd.org on July 1, offering members a dynamic, interactive and more accessible tool for ordering books and products online, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The new web- based ordering system is expected to facilitate and expedite search and ordering processes for students, parents and educators seeking books during the peak ordering times at the beginning of the school year.
Visitors will notice improved search options to easily locate a textbook on CD or cassette from RFB&D's CV Starr Learning Through Listening? Library of more than 98,000 titles. Revitalization of www.rfbd.org also offers more user- friendly navigation for people interested in supporting RFB&D's national programs or any of the organization's 28 recording studios around the country through secure online donations.
The current look, content and technical underpinning of www.rfbd.org is the result of consultation with focus groups made up of RFB&D members, parents, educators and other site users. "Our challenge was to implement best practices for web and e-commerce architecture and still have design and navigation functions that are user-friendly and entirely accessible to screen readers and other adaptive equipment," explained Morgan Roth, vice president for public affairs. "In the end, we were able to create a site that is attractive, informative, effective as a marketing tool, and at the same time, accessible and intuitive."
RFB&D is the nation's first and largest nonprofit organization to provide recorded textbooks on CD and four-track cassette to students in kindergarten through graduate school with disabilities such as visual impairment, severe dyslexia or another physical disability that makes reading challenging or impossible. RFB&D serves 127,000 students nationwide. RFB&D has nearly 5,000 highly trained volunteers who read and produce the organization's unique collection of titles which are housed at RFB&D's master library in Princeton, NJ.
At the end of the 2003 financial year, the number of people RFB&D served annually, increased by eight percent. "As demand for RFB&D services continues to grow, so too do requests for more access to our services beyond traditional work hours; technology allows us to do that effectively and efficiently," said Peter Beran, senior vice president for information technology. "Our members want the ability to look for and order books at their convenience, and to be able to access personalized account and ordering information when it suits them, whether that's during standard business hours, overnight or over a weekend."
In addition to providing online service and transaction opportunities, the expansion of RFB&D's web presence supports the organization's nationwide efforts to expand awareness of RFB&D and the effectiveness of its services. "RFB&D's web presence is potentially the most immediate and viable means for us to communicate our effectiveness as an accommodation for students with print disabilities," explained George Taber, a member of RFB&D's national board of directors and chairman of its communications advisory committee. "We developed www.rfbd.org to make sure that, architecturally and graphically, we provide a consistent and accurate portrayal of the value of RFB&D's work."
In addition to the public website, RFB&D also launched its intranet to facilitate internal communications among RFB&D staff and volunteers at its Princeton, NJ, headquarters and at its recording facilities nationwide.
MathPlayer 2.0 by Design Science makes math in web pages accessible to visually impaired readers, and is now available
Design Science announced today the release of version 2.0 of its free MathPlayer mathematics display engine for Microsoft''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''s Internet Explorer 6.0 web browser. MathPlayer enables Internet Explorer to display, and now speak, mathematical notation embedded in HTML and XHTML web pages using MathML. Its new features include math-to-speech technology, compatibility with screen reader software used by the visually impaired to read web pages, increased cross-browser compatibility via XHTML support, and improved mathematical formatting. MathML is an XML-based language for representing mathematical notation standardized by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in 1998.
The accessibility of online content to visually impaired readers is already a requirement in many environments. Section 508 of the US Rehabilitation Act mandates that government web sites be useful to the visually impaired and accessibility is virtually required for online educational material. Visually impaired readers often use software packages, called "screen readers", to speak the content of the web page using a computer-synthesized voice. Until the release of MathPlayer 2.0, screen readers were unable to speak the math embedded in a web page because equations were often merely bitmapped images. Using Microsoft''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''s Active Accessibility (MSAA) interface, screen readers can now take advantage of MathPlayer''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''s math-to-speech technology to read web page text and math together, providing a seamless experience for the reader.
Screen readers known to work with MathPlayer include JAWS, Window-Eyes, HAL, Read & Write, and BrowseAloud. Another MathPlayer 2.0 feature, MathZoom, aids partially sighted readers by providing an enlarged view of an equation whenever the reader clicks on it.
MathPlayer 2.0 also includes better cross-browser compatibility by supporting the XHTML+MathML format also supported by the Mozilla and Netscape browsers. This allows online content providers to publish a single web page format for which a compatible browser is available on virtually all platforms, and eliminates the need for a special stylesheet to provide browser-compatibility. MathPlayer 2.0 also provides better math formatting than earlier versions and, with the addition of expression alignment, provides virtually complete MathML support. According to Paul Topping, Design Science''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''s CEO, "With the release of MathPlayer 2.0, we have made it possible for scientific, technical, and educational publishers to have a powerful new way to add value to their online content. Not only will MathML-enabled content make it possible for the visually impaired to hear the mathematics in web pages, MathPlayer also allows engineers, scientists, and students - sighted or not - to copy math from a web page into MathML-enabled computational software packages."
In an effort to accelerate the adoption of MathML in the math, science, and education communities, MathPlayer can be downloaded free from the MathPlayer product area (www.dessci.com/mathplayer) of the Design Science website. Anyone publishing web pages that include MathML can use the company''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''s "Download MathPlayer" button on their web pages, linking their readers to the free software.
About Design Science Founded in 1986 and headquartered in Long Beach, California, Design Science develops software used by educators, scientists and publishing professionals, including MathType, Equation Editor in Microsoft Office, WebEQ, MathFlow, MathPlayer and TeXaide, to communicate on the web and in print. For more information please visit: http://www.dessci.com
Bruce Virga, VP of Sales & Marketing, firstname.lastname@example.org, 562-433-0685,
4028 Broadway, Long Beach, California 90803, USA
The Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the Accessibility SIG of the Open eBook Forum(OeBF) will jointly sponsor a meeting of key players in the USA.
On October 4, 2004, in Princeton, New Jersey, at the headquarters of Recording For the Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D), a meeting will be held to discuss issues related to the possible establishment of a voluntary national repository of publisher files to facilitate making materials accessible and available to persons with print disabilities.
DAISY staff received a recent communication that Dolphin and Time Warner were commended at the 2004 Helen Keller Achievement Awards
A recent collaboration between Dolphin Audio Publishing, AFB Talking Books and Time Warner Audio Books saw the Worlds first commercially available Digital Talking Book (DTB) title released in the marketplace.
In addition to standard print and audio book versions, Time Warner Audio Books decided to release The Jester, by James Patterson, as a full text and audio DTB (more commonly known as an Audio E-book), which was produced to the latest DAISY* standards. The idea was to create The Jester in a format that would be totally accessible to everyone, using Dolphins innovative audio publishing tools.
For many years Audio E-books have been widely used by blind, visually impaired and print impaired individuals, where the combined text and audio feedback help ensure effective communication of information, such as utility bills etc. Until Time Warner released the Jester as an Audio E-book in 2003, no other mainstream publisher had produced a commercially available book in this format.
The AFB Helen Keller Achievement Awards are held each year to acknowledge the notable achievements of individuals, or organizations, who have improved the quality of life for people who are blind or visually impaired. On 24th June 2004, at its 10th Anniversary Helen Keller Achievement Awards, Laurence J. Kirshbaum, chairman and CEO of Time Warner Book Group was presented with the prestigious award for producing the Jester as an accessible Digital Talking Book.
Everyone at Dolphin is delighted that Time Warner has been recognized for their achievement and we are proud to have been directly involved in this project, said Steve Palmer, CEO of Dolphin Audio Publishing. Not only can DTB technology deliver greater choice to people with vision loss and print disabilities, but it also offers sighted consumers a number of interesting new reading options."
Much of the compilation of the Jester Audio E-book took place at Dolphins Headquarters in Worcester, United Kingdom, using a revolutionary new digital authoring software called EasePublisher. EasePublisher was used to synchronize the digital recordings provided by the American Foundation for the Blind, with the digital text to create a full audio E-book with synchronized text. Playback of The Jester could not be simpler. Each book contains a copy of EaseReader, Dolphins playback software, which allows the book to be played back on a standard PC, laptop or portable DTB player.
DAISY staff recently received this release from Dolphin Computer Access
In the interest of extending the companies' longstanding relationship throughout the European market into the United States, Dolphin Computer Access Inc., has teamed up with Optelec, the North American division of the Tieman Group, to offer blind and visually impaired computer users fantastic deals on the Voyager series of Braille displays.
From June 1 through September 30, 2004, Optelec is offering either the Braille Voyager 44 or 70 cell, Braille display complete with Dolphin's Supernova reader magnifier for the one-off price of $4,995 for the 44 cell model and $9,295 for the 70 cell model, saving customers over 15% off each product's list prices. The package combines the industry's most innovative Braille display with the world's only combined screen reader and magnifier, in a single package. Magnification, speech or Braille-or all three? This package gives the PC user endless choices; so whatever the visual condition, this winning combination is all one needs to effectively integrate screenreading access and PC usage in educational settings, the workplace, or from the comfort of one's home.
"The best hardware device requires the best software partner, and Optelec's found such a partner in Dolphin Computer Access", stated Larry Lewis, Optelec's Vice President of Blindness Sales. "The Voyager series with Supernova Version 6 is the perfect combination for all market segments. We wanted to create a stellar package that would be robust, stable, reliable and useful-offering incomparable functionality and the best financial deal for the customer. Supernova is the only software that allows users to select between a screen reader, a screen magnifier and Braille output in a single installation. Supernova 6.0 gives to those of us who are blind a superior alternative to any other screenreader currently on the market, but with the bonus of magnification for those who need it. This software combined with our Voyager Braille display means that blind computer users now have more intuitive options for accessing and controlling their PCs through a Braille display with industry standard Windows functionality effortlessly and efficiently."
Dan Moore, Vice President of Sales for Dolphin, said, "This is an excellent opportunity for both our organizations to make a real difference to the lives of blind computer users by providing a high quality, complete package at a great price. The beauty of Supernova is that it can be networked or run from a server and is the only combined screen reader and magnifier that comes with support for Windows terminal server and Citrix Metaframe environments, ideal for students who must use a campus-wide network or employees who must interact with a company network. This is a great deal for blind and visually impaired computer users, saving them nearly $1400 compared to purchasing the products individually and offers a perfect solution, whatever your level of sight."
For further information about this limited offer please visit the Optelec website at the link below or telephone Optelec at (800) 828-1056 or email email@example.com. Alternatively contact Dolphin Computer Access Inc, at (866) 797-5921 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The DAISY staff recently received this release from VisuAide Inc.
VisuAide Inc. today announced a $13.1-million research and development project towards the development of innovative digital devices for persons with visual disabilities. VisuAide Inc. is undertaking the project, through the involvement of Technologies Partnerships Canada with an investment of $3.9-million and Canada Economic Development with $800,000, to further the adoption of affordable technology for the blind and visually impaired. VisuAide is the world leader in the development of technology products such as digital audio book readers and GPS- based orientation systems to help the blind and visually impaired to become more autonomous and better integrated within society.
More than 1 million Canadians are identified as having either a visual or learning disability. They face many challenges at school, when joining the work force, during their whole active life and reaching into retirement. The learning disabled such as dyslexic kids will also gain from some of the development in the area of electronic audio books players. With this investment, VisuAide will develop new products in several areas such as multimedia E-books and GPS-based portable orientation systems. The project's success will enable the visually impaired and learning disabled to live a more productive life and contribute more effectively to our society.
"With these investments, VisuAide will develop several new technologies that will help to increase the active and autonomous participation of the visually impaired in our society," said Gilles Pepin, President of VisuAide Inc. "Through Technology Partnerships Canada's and Canada Economic Development's support we can accelerate the development of affordable high- quality innovative products."
VisuAide was created 15 years ago to develop and commercialized products across the globe. The company now employs 80 people in Canada and operates one of the most important R&D department in the world. The largest distributor of computer aids for the visually disabled in Canada, VisuAide has developed an extensive network of distributors in Europe, America and Asia to help reach the institutions, schools, health centers, blind organizations and individuals who are working in making the visually impaired and the learning disabled more involved and live a better life. Victor Reader dominates the worldwide sales of digital talking book players that are in the process of replacing all the cassette book players as the libraries for the blind and dyslexic are substituting the distribution of talking books to the CD format. VisuAide was the first to introduce in 2003 a portable GPS-based orientation system with digital maps named Trekker, which provides street directions to the visually impaired.
Photos are available at the address provided.
DAISY staff received this announcement from RNIB. We thought everyone would be pleased to hear how successfully DAISY content is being distributed in the UK.
On 10 May 2004, RNIB passed the one million mark for the distribution of DAISY talking books. Dispatching an average of 5000 DAISY talking books a day, RNIB is now providing a service to approximately 25,000 people in the UK.
For more information, contact email@example.com.
DAISY staff recently received the following release from Telex. Telex Communications Inc. has just released the first hardware players with the ability to play the DAISY 3.0 or ANSI/NISO Z39.86 format.
Both the Telex Scholar and the Telex EzDaisy can now offer playback of DAISY 2.0, 2.02 and now DAISY 3.0 formats.
Each player will allow users to customize their listening experience with support of skippable items in DAISY 3.0 format. This feature allows users to turn on or off features that are relevant to their reading experience. For example, a user can choose not to listen to footnotes in a book by turning "notes" to the off position. From this point on, if the book producer has marked the footnotes, the user will not hear them in the book presentation.
Telex Communications has been in the talking book industry for over 35 years and is a Friend of the DAISY Consortium. Telex manufactures recording, duplication, conversion, and playback equipment.
Recently, DAISY staff learned of an experimental project to make transit timetables more accessible using DAISY navigation. Working with the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB) in the UK, Stockton on Tees is learning about the benefits of DAISY technology and beginning to share it with customers.
Information for this article was quoted from a briefing, dated April 1, 2004, generously shared by Steve Tyler of RNIB. This article was developed from excerpts from that briefing.
Stockton on Tees is part of a consortium of local authorities that is working towards making transportation systems and services more accessible in a broad way. The group is looking at ways in which they can:
- Link databases together to enable seamless delivery of timetabling and travel information;
- Ensure data is delivered to a unified and agreed standard;
- Ensure that data is delivered in various convenient ways to consumers phone, web, and at the point of use;
- Link data from various different systems so that usable information at the point of use is possible such as real time progress of buses and trains, linked info to enable passengers to plan a journey through various transport networks (trains, buses, metro).
Although the consortium is working on a 2-year project to find solutions to these issues, there is a wider project co-ordinated by the "real-time network" - a Government sponsored agency - which is working to implement these findings.
Stockton has asked RNIB to support them in finding accessible solutions to transport needs, and the real-time network has contacted us to engage us in the longer-term project.
The Stockton Project
Stockton has consulted a variety of groups of Visually Impaired users in the area to establish what is currently missing and what might help in enabling them to travel independently. . . . Over the next year, Stockton intends to:
- Supply mobile phones to people that want them that are accessible allowing any texting services to be delivered to users as well as enabling them to call call centres for information;
- Deliver DAISY-based non real time information to users such as timetabling info to allow planning of routes;
- Deliver the wherewithal to users to use these systems;
- To work with RNIB on the wider project as it develops including the web based delivery of info, phone access to info, etc.
The first and immediate steps that we are carrying out with Stockton are:
- Training in the use of dAISY players;
- Development of a dAISY-based timetable structure;
- Training in the use of the mobile phones that are currently available including the 9210 and ALVA MPO.
After the training and demonstration sessions and over the coming few weeks, the council wants users to pick from a range of dAISY players and mobile phones it wants users to be in control of the way they access the services through the various means available.
To read a press release from others involved with this project, please visit: http://www.stockton.gov.uk/pressoffice/localnews/year2004/january/Mobilephonesforblind.
We are pleased to welcome another new Friend to the Consortium.
Springer Design manufactures and sells a portable, battery-powered, text-to-speech and MP3 player. This device is well-known in the United States. The BookCourier is an excellent candidate for playing DAISY content in the future.
According to the company's Web site: "BookCourier includes a built-in MP3 player; a built-in voice recorder; fast forward and fast reverse controls; bookmarks, and other smart navigation controls; a sleep timer and clock; plus easy-to-use controls for adjusting volume, reading speed, and more."
Recently, VisuAide announced a major investment program, and some of that investment will be in new and exciting DAISY technology.
What follows is the beginning of the press release from VisuAide.
LONGUEUIL, Quebec, April 8, 2004 - VisuAide Inc. announced yesterday a $13.1-million research and development project towards the development of innovative digital devices for persons with visual disabilities. VisuAide Inc. is undertaking the project, through the involvement of Technologies Partnerships Canada with an investment of $3.9-million and Canada Economic Development with $800,000, to further the adoption of affordable technology for the blind and visually impaired. VisuAide is the world leader in the development of technology products such as digital audio book readers and GPS-based orientation systems to help the blind and visually impaired to become more autonomous and better integrated within society.
Nicolas Lagac? from VisuAide provided additional information about how this investment will impact DAISY development:
Among its development projects, VisuAide plans to enhance its DAISY players line with the addition of a WINdows CE version of the Victor Reader Soft playback software and the addition of recording capabilities to one of its portable players, the Victor Reader Classic +.
To read the remainder of the press release, please visit: http://www.visuaide.com/news_tpc.html.
As was announced recently on DAISY Consortium lists, Dolphin Audio Publishing has launched a new production tool called EasePublisher.
Dolphin Audio Publishing, a Friend of the DAISY Consortium, has launched its new DAISY production tool, EasePublisher. The press release from Dolphin about this tool also includes the special price available to DAISY Members. Find the press release at: http://www.dolphinuk.co.uk/audio/news/ep_launch.htm. The DAISY Consortium negotiated extensively with Dolphin Audio Publishing in an effort to get the best possible price for its members.
EasePublisher supports the DAISY standard and produces DAISY 2.02 content, adding to the growing number of production tool options available. LpStudio/Pro, SigtunaDAR and MyStudio PC, continue to be available at no cost to DAISY Consortium members.
The DAISY Consortium Board and Staff continue to maintain a vendor neutral position. Our distribution of this information is not an endorsement of the product, but we feel that it is an important development that our Members want to know about.
All purchases and sales contacts should be directed through the Dolphin sales office in the United Kingdom. Full contact details are available from the Dolphin Web site at: www.dolphinuk.co.uk. Alternatively you can contact the Dolphin sales staff at:
Dolphin Audio Publishing
Blackpole Estate West
Telephone: +44 (0) 1905 754775
Fax: +44 (0) 1905 754559
A dedicated DAISY members web page is also available on the Dolphin Audio Publishing Web site. Members should refer to this for the latest news and information from Dolphin. The direct link is: http://www.dolphinuk.co.uk/audio/daisy/index.htm.
The DAISY Consortium is pleased to welcome two new Friends devis and Design Science.
Devis is a small business which works primarily on US Government federal contracts (though not exclusively). We built, for the Department of Labor, DisabilityInfo.gov, a portal for disabilities information in the government. The company has also built a fully accessible content management system named devis EZ Reusable Objects (EZRO, http://ezro.devis.com) which is the base for many of the systems it develops. Devis has a working prototype of a DAISY-Over-The-Telephone system which allows DAISY content to be read over the telephone using the telephone as the navigational keypad. This system also supports Voice over IP (VOIP) access. For more information, see http://www.devis.com.
"Design Science develops software used by scientists, educators and publishing professionals, including MathType, Equation Editor in Microsoft Office, WebEQ, MathPlayer, TeXaide and MathFlow, to communicate on the Web and in print. To learn more about Design Science, visit www.dessci.com.
We were pleased to meet a representative from devis at the DAISY conference in 2003 in Amsterdam, and DAISY staff who attended CSUN in March of 2004 saw an exciting presentation by a representative from Design Science. We look forward to continuing to work with these two companies as they support innovative approaches to presenting DAISY content.
A working group meeting was held for the AMIS development team as part of the DAISY for All Project. Attendees included eight developers from India, Thailand, Malaysia, and the U.S.
This meeting took place from March 20 to March 29 at the National Association for the Blind in New Delhi, India. The purpose of this meeting was to continue work on the Adaptive Multimedia Information System (AMIS). During this face-to-face time, developers worked on system design concepts, individual module problems, and integration issues.
To read more details about this project and its future plans, visit: http://amis.sourceforge.net/reports/March2004Delhi.html.
The following information was distributed to the Members and Friends of the daisy Consortium on Friday the 26th of March 2004.
It is a privilege to invite Full Members and Associate Members to the annual General Meeting in the DAISY Consortium. This time we meet Friday the 7th of May 2004 in Zurich, Switzerland. It is also a pleasure to invite Members and Friends to participate in two special programmes, this year not as ambitious and extensive as last year's big DAISY conference, but simple and informative. All presentations from the special programmes will be available at the DAISY Web site; www.daisy.org. With joining activities, the programme will be as follows:
Friday the 7th of May 2004, 09.00 – 12.00: General Meeting for Full Members and Associate Members
Friday the 7th of May 2004, 14.00 – 18.00: Special programme for all (programme will follow)
Saturday the 8th of May 2004, 09.00 – 16.00: Day at the SBS for all (programme will follow)
For the formal part please observe the following deadlines:
- Resolutions from members: Friday the 16th of April 2004, in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org
- First distribution of documents: Friday the 16th of April 2004, by email from email@example.com
- Last distribution of documents: Friday the 23rd of April 2004, by email from firstname.lastname@example.org
For the practical arrangements please observe the following deadlines (see reg. form distributed by email for details):
- Book your hotel rooms no later than: Monday the 5th of April at email@example.com
- Send in registration form no later than: Monday the 5th of April to Beatrice.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Register for lunches and dinners and for the programmes with the registration form.
Special programme for all members and friends
This year the General Meeting is followed by two events; a special programme on the afternoon of the 7th, organised by the Consortium, and a visit to the Swiss Library for the Blind and Visually Impaired, hosted by SBS. Both events are open to all members and friends of DAISY and programmes are as follows. Please observe that changes may occur.
>Programme for May 7th 2004, 14.00 – 18.00 at Atlantis Sheraton
The afternoon of the 7th is a mosaic of information presented by Board members and staff of DAISY, which will provide an overview of the current situation in the fields of interest around DAISY; players, production tools and training – and a brand new example of an institution that has gone completely digital – all on the route to DAISY 3.
- 14.00 – 14.45 Where are we, on the road map to DAISY 3?
- 14.45 – 15.30 Status on current production tools ? an overview (including plans for training)
- 15.30 – 15.45 Coffee Break
- 15.45 – 16.30 Status on current playback options – a "catalogue" for products
- 16.30 – 17.30 "Going digital" in the Netherlands – presentation and questions
- 17.30 – 18.00 Questions and clarifications
Programme for May 8th 2004, at SBS
We will have the opportunity to visit the Swiss Library for the Blind and Visually Impaired, SBS, and to be introduced to their experience with digital audio production, with synthetic speech and music production, not to mention the opportunity to visit their brand new facilities in Z?rich. The day is hosted by the Swiss Library for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
- 08.30 Departure from the hotel (Atlantis Sheraton) to the SBS
- 09.00-09.30 Short presentation of the SBS and introduction to the program of the day.
- 09.30-10.15 Music Score Production at the SBS
- 10.30-12.00 Tour of the new facilities of the SBS
- 12.15-14.00 Lunch at the SBS 14.15-15.00 Synthetic Speech Research in Zurich
- 15.00-16.00 Visions for the future of the DAISY Consortium
- 16.00 End of the program
- 16.00-16.45 Aperitif
- 17.00 Departure from the SBS to the hotel (Atlantis Sheraton)
Programme for the General Meeting
Full Members and Associate Members are invited to attend the General Meeting. It will take place at: The Arabella Sheraton Atlantis Hotel, Zurich. The programme will follow the formal agenda:
- Minutes of Previous General Meeting
- Financial matters 2003
- Annual report
- Discharge of the Board for the year 2003
- Members and Friends
- Confirmation of members of the Board
- Planning for the future
- Finance and budget
- DAISY for all
- Location of the next General Meeting
Papers for the meeting will be distributed to Full Members and Associate Members, through the Members list.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Secretary General George Kerscher on email@example.com , Local organiser at SBS Beatrice Marty on Beatrice.firstname.lastname@example.org or Executive Administrator Lisbeth Trinskj?r on email@example.com.
We look forward to welcoming you all to Zurich.
Mr. Bernhard Heinser, SBS.
Ms. Elsebeth Tank, DBB, Host of the General Meeting President of the DAISY Consortium
In February 2004, the Mitra Netra foundation conducted an internal DAISY book production training. This is especially noteworthy since this organization is in a developing country. Nur Ichsan shared the following information with some in the DAISY Consortium, but we thought more of you would be interested in it.
This training was planned in two stages.
Stage 1 was completed in February and covered DAISY book production using LpStudio/Pro. Stage 2 is planned to take place in the second half of this year and will cover DAISY book production with Sigtuna Dar 3.
The training was attended by five staff, two readers, one technician, one librarian, and one administrative staff with the hope that they will be a good team for pioneering the development of DTB in Indonesia.
The training lasted four days with the following contents:
First day, Saturday Feb. 7th 2004
- Introduction to digital talking books, Playback (hardware & software), kinds of DTB, & Production tools
- Opening a sample of DTB
- Recording in a simple way
- Calibration and control of voice on microphone used
- Recording process of DTB
- Editing the results of DTB recording
- The use of QA Player
- Recording strategy
Second day, Saturday Feb. 14th 2004
- Analysis of print book
- Creating structure of TOC Only DTB )single -level and multi-level paragraph)
- Adding, edditing, deleting, scrolling, and moving hierarchy of paragraphs onto DTB structure
- Determining a phrase time break during recording
- Recording using record mode and edit mode
- Editing (splitting, joining, and deleting) sound even in edit mode
Third day, Saturday Feb. 21st 2004
- Introduction to HTML for DTB
- Creating an HTML document (single heading and multi-level heading)
- Editing HTML with notePad
- Creating DTB project with text synchronisation
- Determining structure in MDF (markup definition file )
- Inserting HTML
- Recording a project
Fourth day, Saturday Feb. 28th 2004
- Trying out the recording results using QA Player to make sure that the DTB is usable
- Clean Up SMIL
- Building DTB & transfering into MP3
- Burning DTB CD with CD Writer
- Trying out the results with plextalk player
- Introduction to hardware/sound card for recording
- Recording/transfering cassette through audio player tool
- Inserting ".wav" file into DTB project
- Creating a TOC structure for advanced level
- Joining or saving several book titles in a single CD
The organization would like to express its thanks to Mitra Netra DAISY Sponsor, Mr.walter E. spillum from Hibiki no kai, Japan, for his support for the foundation's DAISY program. See http://www.sath.org.
Two recent updates from Bookshare.org will result in more books becoming available and a new avenue for accessing content that will benefit students in the United States.
Indiana University Partners with Bookshare.org to Expand Access to College Textbooks
On March 12, 2004, Bookshare.org announced that Indiana University, one of the nation''s leading alternative text production facilities serving students with disabilities, has partnered with Bookshare.org, the leading online library serving individuals with reading-related disabilities, to make college textbooks available to students with disabilities nationwide.
Under the terms of the partnership, Indiana University will contribute all textbooks scanned in its production facility to the growing Bookshare.org library, the largest contribution of education-specific materials to Bookshare.org to date.
For those who qualify in the United States and are interested, read more about this partnership by visiting http://www.bookshare.org/web/PressReleaseD.html.
Bookshare.org Launches Institutional Access
Bookshare.org now offers Institutional Access, allowing schools and groups to provide accessible digital books directly to students or other individuals they serve who have disabilities. The new Institutional Access option enables a school or group''s staff to purchase a pre-set number of books to be downloaded as needed by staff on behalf of qualifying students. Institutional Access is ideal for schools favoring staff control over book downloads, as well as schools with younger students or students who may not have individual access to the Internet.
Schools in the United States that are interested may read more of this press release by visiting http://www.bookshare.org/web/PressReleaseE.html.
If you are planning to attend the CSUN Conference this year, then you ill not want to miss this announcement about DAISY-related activities.
DAISY-related activities at CSUN 2004 will be many and varied again this year. Vendors of products and services will be giving away door prizes in the exhibits area, there will be four presentations by the DAISY Consortium, George Kerscher will be the recipient of the Catalyst Award, and organizations affiliated with the DAISY Consortium will be giving individual presentations to highlight new technology and improvements in their current products and services.
All those who are interested will have many opportunities to experiment with DAISY playback hardware and software and DAISY 2.02 content. If you have not yet experienced DAISY as the better way to read, be sure to take some time to investigate it this year. If you have begun to read DAISY books and have questions, there will be many people who will be happy to meet and talk with you. Read on to learn more about DAISY-related activities at CSUN 2004.
George Kerscher Receives the Catalyst Award
This year, in an event to be held on Tuesday evening, March 16, 2004, George Kerscher will receive the Catalyst Award. George is Senior Officer of Accessible Information at Recording For the Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D) in the USA, Secretary General for the DAISY Consortium, Chairperson of the Board of Directors for the Open eBook Forum (OeBF), and Co-chair of the Steering Council of the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).This award is presented to recognize George's many personal accomplishments in advancing information accessibility. He is also "receiving the award for the quiet work he has done advancing the efforts of others in this area." "He has . . . spearheaded the creation of, and then quietly bore a large share of the support for, key groups that we have all come to rely on in this area."
Door Prizes to be Given Away this Year
As those who have previously attended CSUN know, the exhibits area is one of the highlights of this conference. This year, a number of those affiliated with the DAISY Consortium are offering some excellent door prizes. Be sure to enter to win at the appropriate vendor's booth. Here is a list of what is being offered on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday:
- Three copies of eClipseReader from IRTI
- Three Scholars from Telex
- Three copies of EaseReader from Dolphin Audio Publishing
- A copy of Victor Reader Soft from VisuAide
- A Victor Reader Vibe from VisuAide
- A Victor Reader Classic + from VisuAide
- Three copies of eReader from CAST
- A year's Membership from RFB&D
- Two Plextalk PTR1s from Plextor
- Three annual subscriptions from Bookshare.org
- Three copies of Verbal View of Windows XP from the American Printing House for the Blind
The DAISY Consortium will be holding four sessions this year. They are:
1. Wednesday, March 17, 2004, 2:50 PM – 3:50 PM, Room: La Jolla A – Hilton, Standards & Legal Updates: Where Are We With Publisher Files
2. Friday, March 19, 2004, 10:40 AM – 11:40 AM, Room: Los Angeles - Hilton, Publisher-Provided E-Text: The Importance Of File Formats In Accessible Textbook Legislation
3. Friday, March 19, 2004, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM, Room: Los Angeles – Hilton, DAISY Reading Hardware: Duel To The Death!
4. Friday, March 19, 2004, Double Session (3:20 PM - 4:40 PM) Room: Los Angeles – Hilton, DAISY Reading Software Olympiad
Of particular interest to consumers will be the hardware and software "duels" to be held on Friday afternoon. During these two sessions, some eight hardware playback options and some ten software products will be presented by vendor-representatives who will highlight the features of their players. Approximately ten tests have been devised that participants will be requested to perform. Many of the tests involve the kinds of navigation that users do on a regular basis while reading DAISY content.
Two books have been provided for the tests – one is a full text and audio book, from the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, and the other one, from Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic, consists of audio only. For those of you who were at the duels held a few years ago, we have again included the "drop test" for hardware players.
Two monitors in the audience will keep track of the tests each player performs and report briefly on the results. If you have not been able to decide which player is best for you, these duels offer a great chance to watch hardware players and software players in action. Come join us for the fun and the friendly competition.
Be sure to search for the notation "DAISY-related" to locate the variety of other presentations in the program on the subject of DAISY technology.
The CSUN 2004 Program CD Produced in DAISY: Be sure to Get Yours!
As we did last year, the DAISY Consortium has produced a CD with DAISY-related information and content on it. You can either pick up a CD from the information desk, or Members and Friends in the exhibit area will have a supply on hand.
The CD has a software player on it, TPB Reader, and you can install it on your computer. If you have your own DAISY playback option already, don't forget to bring it with you! VisuAide (in booths 359-360), and Plextor (in booth 401), will have hardware devices on loan this year that you can borrow by leaving a credit card as security.
This year's CD consists of the CSUN 2004 program as a full text and full audio production, DAISY 2.02 audio menus for each of the six restaurants (provided by Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic), the most recent issue of DAISY News as a full text and audio production, and a short DAISY sampler. The readme on the CD, provided in text and html, will help to orient you to the CD's content.
The CSUN program has been divided into 12 books for easier navigation. Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic offered support with content markup, and then, Phoneticom, Dolphin Audio Publishing, and the Danish National Library for the Blind each generously created some of the final program on the CD. Each of the three used different text-to-speech production tools. We believe you will appreciate the increased navigation that the DAISY technology adds to the program.
There is also literature on the CD from several vendors, as well as the DAISY Consortium itself. You will need to explore these literature subfolders using your computer.
We look forward to seeing and meting with you at CSUN this year. We are sure you will be as excited as we are to see the ways in which DAISY is growing and improving.
FNB has recently launched a full-scale DAISY distribution service in the Netherlands. A version of this article was recently featured in DAISY News, but this is such a noteworthy accomplishment that we thought it was worth reposting.
From the 1st of January 2004, FNB has launched a full scale DAISY book service in the Netherlands. The service includes leisure books, periodicals, educational materials and talking music scores. From January on, no talking materials on cassette are being distributed. By this remarkable feat, FNB becomes the first talking book provider in the world to shift all of the talking services to DAISY.
Serving some 25,000 customers, FNB uses an on-demand lending service, that is prompted in many cases by the return of the read books. All CDs are personalized by name and address of the customer. A barcode uniquely identifies title and reader, and through a scanning process of the returned books, the system is prompted to burn and send a new title to the customer. A wish list with customers'' demands is kept in the central distribution server. Updates of these lists and direct title requests from customers are being handled through our customer services located at five call centres in the Netherlands. These call centres have access to a newly created database system that stores all the available DAISY (and braille) titles and all personal data that are required to make a successful loan. In this way, updates of wish lists and direct requests are handled and being sent several times a day to the central distribution server located in Grave. Mid February customers will be able to get access to the database on the internet. Those who can manage will then be able to browse the on-line catalog and make an order for a title without any human intervention from the library. An order being made before 11:00 AM will result in a copying process that same day. In most cases this means that customers will get their ordered DAISY CD the next day (unless of course they order on a weekend).
Newspaper and magazines are being send out according to subscriptions. Four hundred different talking periodicals are sent serving around 17,000 customers.
Around 20,000 customers are now in possession of a DAISY book player. Through social and health services, the cost for the player is refundable. A national network of volunteers helps people to get acquainted with the player. Many requests for this at-home service are being met. FNBs telephone help desk service has been expanded with one employee to handle growing DAISY questions. A temporary toll free call centre is provided by the ministry to help answer questions relating to the reimbursement of the DAISY book players. During the preceding year they provided at three specific points in time a talking newsletter (on cassette!) alerting our customers to the coming changes. FNB announced the change many times in her own communiqu?s, and in the last two months of 2003 each talking newspaper or magazine contained a little spoken reminder and encouragement to get a DAISY book player.
Last year, in less than eight months'' time, around 30.000 titles have been successfully converted to DAISY 2.02 format. Using 16x copying speed and many analog to digital workstations, the conversion happened in two steps. First a digital MP3 file is created from the tapes. Then an editing process tweaked the cassette announcements after which the DAISY book could be built. Before entering the database of the distribution server each title is automatically validated, using the DAISY Consortium''s validator. This helped enormously to get a grip on the quality of the stored DAISY books and the assurance that we are sending out true DAISY titles.
In the first half of 2004, a remaining 22,000 titles will be transferred to a digital archive (MP3). These are on the whole older titles that are less in demand. Working on customer demands, a system will be created to convert requested titles from the MP3 archive to the DAISY book distribution server. In this way, several thousands of titles will be added to the already-existing collection of 30,000. (how many depends on customers request for these older titles).
Of course newly created DAISY titles are being made every day in more than 40 studios throughout the country. There is capacity to create yearly 1,800 new leisure books and 1,200 educational titles. Also 400 newspapers and magazines are produced in DAISY, yearly, amounting to 9,045 unique editions with an average playtime of 80 minutes.
In the first three weeks, around 80,000 CDs have been sent out. When the service is complete and running full bloom, a daily capacity of 7000 CD will be reached. If necessary, a reserve capacity can be created after office hours of around 4,800 CDs. We estimate to send out 1.2 million CDs on a yearly base. All this is accomplished through the use of six burning stations, each with eight burners and one printer. There is no manually intervention to shift the CD from burning shelf to print shelf. Six robotic arms take care of that quite neatly. The whole operation takes place in a small-sized room of around 30 square meters.
Sending takes place in a specially designed yellow box with a spare opening in the front lid. Through this opening the address is readable. The CD is fixed in the carrier and cannot rotate. People use the same box to send CDs back. All they need to do is to flip a little lid inside that will cover the opening and that carries FNB''s return address. When returned they need to be opened, the CD needs to be scanned back-home. Boxes are re-used, CDs are destroyed (environmentally safe). No copies are being stored on the shelves.
After many years of preparing and working diligently together with the DAISY Consortium, FNB is proud to be able to present the DAISY service on such a wide scale to so many people.
For more information, see www.fnb.nl.
The glossary which was contained within the DAISY Basic Training Manual has been expanded and upgraded, and can now be downloaded as an independent document from our Web site by DAISY Members. Terms specific to DAISY production tools, as well as many other acronyms and terms such as Bandwidth, Codec, Dynamic Range, PCM and Quantization are defined.
Lynn Leith and Miki Azuma of the DAISY staff initially produced this glossary to be used in conjunction with other training materials, however, it became clear that it may very well serve as a reference and assist DAISY Members generally. Why not download this handy reference today?
To download the glossary, please use your member login, and go to "downloads" and then to "training materials.". If there are words or acronyms that are not in the DAISY Glossary that you think should be there, please send a short note to Lynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope you find the document useful. Please share it with those in your organization who may also find it helpful.
Those interested in innovative plans for DAISY will want to read about DAISY Friend, Touch Graphics, and its activities.
Touch Graphics has begun work on a new product that will allow teachers and others to make their own interactive audio-tactile materials. With this Authoring System, non-experts will create raised line and textured pictures on specially prepared templates, and then "attach" audio recordings to parts of the pictures. Students will then press on various parts to hear these sound tags played back. By this means, it will become practical to prepare lessons that refer to maps, diagrams and other graphic imagery. The software and drawing templates will be designed to be used in conjunction with the Talking Tactile Tablet, a new high-resolution, reasonably priced computer input device that is about to be introduced by American Thermoform Corporation (http://www.atcbrleqp.com).
The Level 2 Authoring System will include features that will allow teachers to easily develop rich audio-tactile materials. For example, the software will make it easy to add multiple layers of information to individual parts of a drawing; the student will access these layers by maintaining finger pressure on a single part of the drawing while the recorded layers are played back. In addition, as the author works on the drawing, the system will automatically build an index of all of the audio tags created; the student will be able to choose to listen to a listing of everything shown on a drawing sheet, and then to request that an "audio coach" guide his or her finger to one or another of these tagged regions or shapes.
In some cases, teachers may want to provide more general discussion to support or explain a graphic; for these occasions, special features will be provided to permit this material to be recorded or entered as text, in a hierarchical fashion, based on the emerging DAISY standards for the presentation of digital audio information. Students will be able to control the playback of this material, either via speech synthesis or as digitized human speech, using the familiar four arrow control interface used with many DAISY-compliant readers.
The project is being carried out in collaboration with a group of five teachers of blind and low vision students from different regions of the US. Funding for R&D is provided by the National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research, US Department of Education. The finished product will be available for purchase in 2005.
A new release of Sigtuna DAR 3 (version 3.0.11) has now been made available for download for DAISY Consortium Members.
We are very pleased to announce that an update of Sigtuna DAR 3, version 3.0.11 is now available for download from the DAISY Web site at: http://www.daisy.org/download/download.asp?Cat=production. You will be asked to log in (your member login and password are required).
Sigtuna DAR 3 version 3.0.11 contains the following changes and fixes:
- When creating a project, NCC is not really updated to support DAISY 2.02. This problem has been fixed.
- After creating a project, the number of files shown in the meta data was different from the actual number of files. This problem has been fixed.
- There was a wrong short-cut key shown for "Update time information" in the menu. This has been fixed.
- When opening the "Display Options" first time in the Edit Screen, the content of the display was now shown properly. This problem has been fixed.
- When creating a project and adding text with ATAU, it did not create well-formed xhtml when the ncc item only contained heading and page numbers. This problem has been fixed.
- When creating a synchronized project, ncc included text which should not be there. Especially, when the project contained nested page numbers, it included the text after page numbers in the ncc. This problem has been fixed.
- When creating a toc only project which contains page numbers, the system sometimes hung when deleting page number which was associated with the last audio event. This problem has been fixed.
- other bug fixes
The following are the known issues:
- Due to some limitations on the Windows API and its file systems, Sigtuna DAR 3 supports wave files up to a size of 2 GB. This means if you are using 22050 Hz in mono, the chapter playback length is limited to about 13.5 hours.
- When creating a project with language groups other than European, Japanese, Korean and Chinese, there is no list for character set. Once the project is created with any kind of character set on the list, open the NCC.html and search and replace the character set with your own language character set.
Sigtuna DAR 3 is generously made available by JSRPD at no charge to DAISY Consortium Members. Note that copies of this software must be registered. If you already have a registration number, you will be able to install the software with your current registration information. DAISY member organizations which do not have a registration number but would like to install and use Sigtuna DAR 3, may contact JSRPD at email@example.com, and she will provide you with the registration number and information required. You will be able to download and install the software without a registration number, however, if it is used without being registered, you will be able to record only 10 minutes of audio, after which neither recording nor editing will be possible.
From December 9th to 11th, 2003, a DAISY training course was held at RNIB Cymru in Cardiff, South Wales.
Carol Crookes and David Gordon presented the DAISY training course. They both work for RNIB''s Divisional Training department and have presented six similar internal sessions throughout the United Kingdom. These have included:
- Ivybridge (South West England) March 2002
- Glasgow (Scotland) May 2002
- Peterborough (Central England) June/July 2002
- Tarporley (North West England) August 2002
- London December 2002
- Leeds (North East England) February 2003
The course in Wales was for three members of RNIB Cymru staff who had only low to minimal experience of the DAISY format. The training concentrated on the production of type 2 (audio with structure) DAISY titles in the Welsh language.
All three trainees were taken through the stages needed for production of valid DAISY 2.02 titles to be delivered on CD.
The stages of training included:
- Preparing valid xhtml source documents using Welsh language and characters
- Using the Lp Studio Pro production tool to record, edit and build DAISY titles
- Using the DAISY 2.02 Validator to check and correct any errors in the DAISY title
- Creating the finished DAISY CDs.
Methods of archiving and file management were also covered.
To consolidate their learning at the end of the course, the trainees were tasked with creating a short Welsh DAISY title on CD. This gave each trainee the chance to tryout all of the stages of DAISY production.
We are pleased to welcome new DAISY Friend, Touch Graphics Company. We think you will be as excited as we are to follow what they have planned for a new application of DAISY technology.
Located in New York, Touch Graphics Company specializes in research and development of new computer devices and content to be made commercially available to blind and visually impaired individuals. The DAISY Consortium sent a letter in support of a grant that Touch Graphics Company has received. Under this grant, the company will explore applications of DAISY technology and tactile graphics.
For more information about the company and its projects, visit www.touchgraphics.com.
The dAISY Consortium has recently been made aware of some exciting changes in the United Kingdom's copyright law as it relates to access to content for people who are visually impaired.
The Copyright (Visually Impaired Persons) Act 2002, which came into force on 31st October, 2003, amends the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. Its purpose was to remove the key difficulty experienced by those of us seeking to make information accessible the need to seek prior permission and the resulting delay whilst preserving the legitimate rights of authors and others. Thus the Act introduces exceptions to copyright law which, in general terms, remove the need for anyone to obtain permission from the rights holder to produce an "accessible copy".
For more information, please visit the Royal National Institute for the Blind's Web site: http://www.rnib.org.uk/xpedio/groups/public/documents/publicwebsite/public_cvipsact2002.hcsp.