This is the second anniversary issue of the DAISY Planet. Thanks to all of the regular DAISY Planet readers and to all of you who have contributed ideas, articles or stories for our regular "Your Stories" feature.
North of the equator it has been summer, and although many people have been on vacation, there appears to be no rest for those involved with DAISY and related activities. I hope that even though there was no July DAISY Planet, the August issue will bring you up to date on 'all things DAISY'.
In this issue there is news of the progress of activities on the international copyright front in the article Copyright-related Challenges and WIPO. Congratulations to the members of the Stakeholders Platform who have developed the "Guidelines" and "Pilot Outline" for cross-border exchange of material protected by copyright between Trusted Intermediaries.
Perhaps the most exciting news in this issue is about the August 26 Google blog entry: Download Over a Million Public Domain Books from Google Books in the Open EPUB Format in "Hot off the Press". Google Inc. is a Friend of the DAISY Consortium. More exciting EPUB news was posted on August 13: Sony eBook Store Embraces Epub Format. By the end of the year "Sony will only be selling books in the XML-based EPUB format". Steve Haber, President of Sony's digital reading business division said: "Now, what is quickly becoming the de facto standard for eBooks will be available in our store." In early August Design Science, Inc. also a Friend of the DAISY Consortium, announced that it will be adding MathML-to-SVG for EPUB support to its MathFlow product line. For more information about the EPUB standards and the DAISY Consortium's involvement, please read the article EPUB Standards: Maintenance Begins in this issue of the Planet.
The article Braindump on the future of e-books posted on the ICTDev dot org website also sings the praises of EPUB, but what is of even more interest here are the points raised about the multimedia and interactive potential of eBooks. This has been on the minds of those in the DAISY community for many years; interactivity and multimedia beyond text, audio and image which are in the current DAISY Standard, will be incorporated into the revised Standard. The requirement "Develop Methods to Provide Interactive books (workbooks)" was submitted in 2007 and given a rating of 4.5 out of 5 possible points in terms of importance and need for inclusion in the revision. Submitted requirements for the revised DAISY Standard are on the DAISY website. Developments can be followed on the ZedNext home page.
So much has happened over the past two months that it is not possible to include everything in this issue, however several other highlights deserve at least a mention...
•On July 30 the United States signed the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. There are currently 142 signatories to the Convention, 85 signatories to the Optional Protocol, 65 ratifications of the Convention, and 44 ratifications of the Protocol.
•The American Library Association adopted the Purchasing of Accessible Electronic Resources Resolution. This resolution recommends that libraries require their vendors of electronic resources to guarantee that the technology complies with accessibility requirements, that libraries require or conduct user-testing of accessibility, and that funding authorities provide sufficient funding to ensure accessible technology purchases. This is a major step forward for the USA and, in large part, a result of the efforts of the Reading Rights Coalition.
•The International Technical Conference, DAISY2009 which will take place in Leipzig Germany on September 24 and 25 is fast approaching. There will be 2 parallel tracks; there are therefore 2 programs. The final date for submission of complete papers and presentations is September 1. The final date for online registration is August 31. The DAISY2009 programs and online registration form are on the Conference website.
•Earlier this month the DAISY Consortium announced the availability of sample DAISY content in the Standards area of the website. These samples are maintained by the DAISY Consortium primarily for DAISY content creators, developers and end users who need sample content for testing purposes.
•The Publisher Accessibility Newsletter is produced quarterly by industry trade bodies and licensing/standards organizations under the umbrella of the 'Accessibility Action Group'. It provides an overview of current activities, both in the UK and abroad, and is designed to help publishers meet the precise requirements of people with a reading disability. DAISY and the DAISY Planet are featured in Issue 6 of The Publisher Accessibility Newsletter.
If you have news about your organization or company, or about issues relevant to the DAISY community, please let us know by using the Contact Us form (Newsletter category). You can also submit a comment (supportive or critical) for the Letters to the Editor column or let us know you'd like to share 'Your Story' with the Planet readership using the Contact Us form. Many thanks to those who have shared information, news and/or stories over the past two years - your input helps us to keep the DAISY Planet alive and well.
In July I had an opportunity to meet with a young man who most definitely has a story to tell. The first part of Kenny Johar's Story is featured this month. Part 2 will be published in the September DAISY Planet (the link will not be active until it is published). I found Kenny's story inspiring; I hope you will too.
The following links are to new or recently updated DAISY Products and Services from our Members and Friends. Marketplace entries also appear on our home page.
The following links are to new or recently updated DAISY Products and Services from our Members and Friends. Marketplace entries also appear on our home page.
Approximately 150 participants, including WIPO member state representatives, organizations representing individuals who are blind or who have another print disability, and publishers, met in Geneva on July 13th. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss how the intellectual property system can best meet the reading and information needs of those who are unable to read print. This statement in the WIPO press release summarizes the primary issues:
At a time when the sighted are enjoying unprecedented ease of access to copyright-protected content, a combination of social, economic, technological and legal factors, including the operation of copyright protection systems, are converging to impede access to this content by the blind or other print-disabled persons."
The meeting was opened by Mr. Francis Gurry, WIPO Director General. Speakers included Chris Friend - Strategic Objective Leader Accessibility, World Blind Union (WBU) and Accessibility Chair WBU Global Right to Read Campaign, Dipendra Manocha - Developing Countries Coordinator for the DAISY Consortium, and Herman Spruijt - President of the International Publishers Association (IPA). Friend reported that it seemed governments are seriously beginning to recognise the need for cross-border exchanges and the sharing of accessible format works. He stated that the Rights Holders, represented by Herman Spruijt, offered only the "party line" of not accepting copyright exceptions and putting forward the idea that market solutions would address the issues around information access. Further to this Friend observed that the Rights Holders continue to believe that the Stakeholders Platform alone will solve the problem of inaccessibility for those unable to read print. On the other hand the coalition of organizations representing the millions of people world-wide who are unable to read print, is promoting the concept of a twin-track approach. This approach includes both the Stakeholders Platform (to seek convergence between the parties on operational and technological issues), as well as the promotion and adoption of the proposed WIPO Treaty for Improved Access for Blind, Visually Impaired and other Reading Disabled Persons (as a legislative framework).
During his presentation, Friend stressed the need for cross-border exchange, citing for example the facilitation of exchange between Spanish speaking countries in South America and Spain. There are 19 Spanish speaking countries in South America alone. Similar examples for French and Portuguese speaking countries were also presented. In addition, he explained that the Rights Holders seem convinced that copyright jurisdiction should be at the national level which conflicts with the concept of cross-border exchange and sharing of accessible format works produced by the charitable sector. Throughout Friend's presentation a single slide was displayed - the image of the stack of books in chains which appears at the beginning of this article. A large chain cutter is centered in the image. The words "Help us cut the chains" and "Please support a WIPO treaty for print disabled people" appear at the top and bottom respectively. The WBU logo is in the lower right corner and the Right to Read logo is in the upper left. It is a powerful image.
Dipendra Manocha's presentation focused on the need for standards in relation to enabling technologies and described the work of the DAISY Consortium as it relates to increasing access to information. Manocha also stressed the need for cross-border exchange, particularly in the developing world.
The proceedings of this meeting, including the recording of the speakers and presentations are provided on the WIPO website. During the opening of the meeting, Gurry, WIPO Director General, announced that WIPO would be creating a website "in the framework of its visually impaired persons (VIP) initiative...dedicated to attracting support, exchanging views, and disseminating information to all interested parties." This site Facilitating Access to Copyright Works for Visually Impaired Persons has now been launched.
At the November Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) meeting the Rights Holders proposed the establishment of a Stakeholders Platform (SP) which would be promoted through SCCR under the auspices of WIPO. Within the scope of the SP, a Working Group (WG) on Trusted Intermediaries was created. This WG is made up of representatives of both print-disabled persons and Rights Holders who have negotiated a set of guidelines to govern cross-border exchange of material protected by copyright between Trusted Intermediaries (TIs). Two documents, as tasked by the Stakeholder Platform, have been drafted: "Trusted Intermediary Guidelines", and "Trusted Intermediaries - Pilot Outline".
The Guidelines address the principles of Trusted Intermediaries, outlining what, in the view of the WG, characterises organizations which can function as Trusted Intermediaries providing accessible format reading materials to those unable to read print. The Pilot Outline is a first outline of a pilot project that will put these principles to the test. Both documents are available on the WIPO Vision IP website. It is the intention of the WG to formally adopt these two documents at the next Stakeholder Platform meeting and to present them to WIPO. A third document "Copyright Exception and Trusted Intermediaries: Two Concepts that work together" by George Kerscher, Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium, is also posted on the Vision IP site.
The next WIPO SCCR, the Nineteenth Session, will be held in Geneva from December 14 - 19. The fourth agenda item is: "Limitations and exceptions". All organizations which understand the need for international accessible content sharing are asked to engage in consultations held by their Government Copyright Offices on the Proposed Treaty. Information and reports on earlier SCCR meetings are provided in several previous issues of the DAISY Planet, including the May and June issues. It is time to break down the barriers and to ensure equitable information access for those who are unable to read print.
On August 16th the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) announced that maintenance of the EPUB standards would begin this month. There has been no delay in the start-up process with the first conference call held August 19th to establish the necessary infrastructure for the actual maintenance work to commence. The IDPF press release states: "The DAISY Consortium has stepped forward to provide leadership and resources to assist in the maintenance for the EPUB standards." George Kerscher, Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium, is the Chair of the maintenance Working Group (WG). Participation in this WG is open to groups such as publishers, hardware/software manufacturers, distributors, service providers, developers, and retailers utilizing EPUB. The EPUB Standards Maintenance WG Charter was unanimously passed by the IDPF membership. The EPUB Maintenance Group Members and Observers are listed on the Maintenance Wiki for the EPUB Standard.
IDPF is the international trade and standards organization for the digital publishing industry. The EPUB standards are composed of three open standards, the Open Publication Structure (OPS), the Open Packaging Format (OPF) and the Open Container Format (OCF). The 'connection' with the DAISY Standard is in the Open Publication Structure (OPS) which includes the DAISY DTBook document type as a "Preferred Vocabulary". In short, the EPUB OPS which uses the recommended DAISY XML vocabulary is basically one and the same as DTBook, which has also come to be known as DAISY XML. In Section 2.4 of the EPUB Open Publication Structure (OPS) Standard, DTBook Preferred Vocabulary it states:
DTBook is an XML vocabulary defined in the DAISY/NISO standard, formally, the ANSI/NISO Z39.86-2005 Standard. This vocabulary is specifically designed for eBook content. Many structures not found in XHTML are included: footnotes, sidebars, annotations, page numbers, etc...
It is strongly recommended that Content Providers select this XML Preferred Vocabulary for their educational publications and for content that is highly structured...
Having the publication available using the DTBook vocabulary may help publishers market their publications to all students in the education market place, including those with print disabilities...
DTBook, as described in Section 4 of the DAISY/NISO Standard, must be followed in DTBook OPS Publications...
It is essential that the semantics of the DTBook elements be applied correctly. To assist with this, a set of Structure Guidelines has been created.
George Kerscher is on the IDPF Board of Directors and as such has had input into the development of the standards. However, the EPUB standards have not been developed for a primary target audience of people with print disabilities; they are a mainstream set of standards. Michael Smith, Executive Director of IDPF, said during a presentation in Europe this summer that the IDPF standards are for "Consumers, Publishers, Distributors, Hardware/Software Manufacturers, Retailers and everyone along the Digital Supply Chain". These standards are intended to streamline digital content creation for publishers, facilitate the flow of content through sales and distribution channels; they incorporate open, non-proprietary standards. Two of the goals for this set of standards are to increase the number of titles available and reduce the cost per eBook title. Publishers in North America and Europe have adopted the EPUB standards. A couple of the many eBook readers that support EPUB books (without DRM) are Sony Reader, and Mobipocket. Some DAISY reading systems also provide EPUB eBook support. Kerscher comments: "There are many DAISY reading systems on the market today with wonderful interfaces to DAISY content. I would love to see these same reading systems provide great user interfaces to the EPUB content that is becoming available."
Trade eBook sales in June 2009 had increased 136% over the revenues in June 2008. The trends in eBook revenues are illustrated in the bar graph which shows wholesale figures (in US dollars) from the beginning of 2002 through to and including the second quarter of 2009. Through to the end of 2005 revenues generally remained below or close to 2.5 million. The graph shows a steady increase from 2006 to the end of 2008 at which time the figure shown is approximately 16 million. However, there were significant increases in the first and second quarters of 2009, respectively at just over 25 million and 38 million.
The EPUB maintenance press release was widely posted on a variety of sites. This is big news for the publishing industry and for consumers. The article EPUB: The next PDF? (from InfoWorld.com) begins:
EPUB, an XML format for reflowable text composed of three open standards ... is quickly becoming an e-book industry standard as support from publishers and tech giants such as Adobe Systems Inc., Sony Corp. and Google Inc. continues to grow.
This is good news for both publishers and readers, according to Evan Leibovitch, open source architect at York University who recently presented a session at BootCamp Toronto titled, "Kindle Shmindle: The future of eBooks in Canada."...
Leibovitch attributes former e-book struggles to the lack of standards and about 20 different formats, but the standard is now here with EPUB, he said. "I see a lot of opportunities," he said...
The publishing industry is hurting, but this isn't the case with e-books, said Michael Smith, executive director of IDPF. E-book sales are the fastest growing segment of the industry, while U.S. book sales are declining across all markets.
All of this is good news for publishers and eBook readers in general, but more importantly, it is very, very good news for eBook readers who have a print disability. It illustrates that technologies developed for people with disabilities can inspire and influence mainstream innovation. DAISY was developed to address the information and reading needs of those who cannot read print, the DAISY Standard is incorporated into the IDPF standards, and DAISY now has a foot in the mainstream door.
The DAISY Pipeline, DAISY Consortium's free, open source transformation tool, supports the creation of EPUB content. Information about and links to the DAISY Pipeline's support for the IDPF standards is provided in the month's Planet Tech Tips. Those interested in following the EPUB maintenance developments will find updates on the EPUB Maintenance Wiki.
This summer Varju Luceno, Communications & Marketing Specialist for the DAISY Consortium, visited the Estonian Library for the Blind. Varju has written this article for the August DAISY Planet.
The Estonian Library for the Blind in Tallinn, Estonia, was established in 1947. Since 2004 it has operated as a branch of the Estonian Repository Library. It has over 400 patrons in Estonia and Canada; most of them are blind or have a visual disability, but people with other problems such as dyslexia or learning disabilities are also represented in the patron group. Library users range from school children to retirees. The Estonian Library for the Blind currently holds approximately 2,250 audio book titles, 650 braille titles, and 58 "touchable" (tactile) books. It produces about 100 audio books titles and 70 braille titles per year. The staff is very innovative and friendly and gave me an excellent tour of their library and demonstrated their DAISY book production workflows. Four out of eleven staff members have a visual disability.
The Estonian Library for the Blind started producing DAISY 2.02 books in May 2009. To date they have produced 58 titles, 53 in Estonian and 5 in Russian. The Celia Library for the Visually Impaired, a member of the Finnish DAISY Consortium, has provided support and guidance with DAISY production to the staff of the Estonian Library for the Blind.
In addition, the Estonian Library for the Blind receives assistance with converting MP3 files into DAISY Books from the Norwegian Library of Talking Books and Braille, member of the Norwegian DAISY Consortium.
In October 2008, the Estonian Librarians Association's "Deed of the Year 2008" award was presented to the Estonian Library for the Blind for effective and remarkable actions in the category of special libraries. Earlier in 2008, the Estonian Library for the Blind had started the on-demand lending of audio books.
Thank you Priit Kasepalu, Marja Kivihall, Margit Orusaar, and Mart Vaaks for the tour of your library and book production studio as well as for sharing the remarkable history of the Estonian Library for the Blind.
Varju Luceno, Communications & Marketing Specialist for the DAISY Consortium
There are 20 new titles in the "Free Chapter Download Program" each month. The Adult titles for September are:
The September titles for Children and Young adults are:
The list of new titles for each month is provided on the ReadHowYouWant - HumanWare Free Chapter download page.
The ReadHowYouWant braille and DAISY pages are now fully accessible to visitors using screen readers, and their main site is scheduled to be fully accessible in the very near future.
Thank you for yet another excellent issue of the DAISY Planet. It's always a pleasure to receive each new issue, always loaded with lots of information and, what's more (and also becoming more and more rare), well written and well presented.
The Seoul meetings were really well organized [reference Korean Braille Library: Perfect Hosts in the June 2009 Planet]. Keun Hae Youk and her staff made great efforts in making all of us feel really at home, and they certainly succeeded.
Francisco Martínez Calvo, DAISY Board Member representing Organización Nacional de Ciegos Españoles (ONCE)
Not that I mind terribly, but a typo made its way into the Planet [reference DAISY at Bibliotheca Alexandrina in the June 2009 Planet]. Since this is a rare occurrence, I feel down right honored that it concerns my name...unfortunately it's my last one nobody knows anyhow. For all that it may be worth, here is the spelling of my last name as it occurs in my passport (I couldn't find my birth certificate): MITTELSTAEDT.
Olaf Mittelstaedt, DAISY Consortium Training & Technical Support Team
Editor's Note: Apologies Olaf. The spelling error has been corrected. Your sense of humour is, as always, very refreshing.
We are beginning the process of providing the digital talking book (DTB) format to students in California. Our books conform to the DAISY standard as well. I have several questions about DAISY books.
About the books themselves: Are graphics provided in the books, especially math and science? Are the books provided on CDs or is downloaded the dominant option? Are the books kept in a national repository or other distribution center? If a teacher or student requests a book is there a cost, or is that cost to provide the DAISY book absorbed by the country? Are your books limited in the number of pages, or can an 800 page book be compiled onto one CD? Does Sweden trade DAISY books with other nations in your area? What is the prevalence of use for the DAISY books on computers vs. other accessible devices such as Braille Note, Victor Reader or other technologies?
I am hoping to find out how European countries that have been using DAISY books have found teacher and student use of the books useful. My assumption is that a Digital Talking Book (DTB) provides increased learning capability compared to braille or large print for example. Can you recommend any contacts in Europe using the DAISY books in schools?
How were teachers encouraged to use the DAISY books with their students? Was training offered?
In the USA, RFB&D, NLS, and Bookshare.org are providing DAISY formatted books. RFB&D books are audio with full navigation. Bookshare.org books are full text and navigation (no audio). NLS books have audio with some navigation (it is largely leisure reading that they provide). A few types of books from NLS have more navigation. They also have some magazines.
RFB&D and Bookshare books are now free to all students in the USA. They can be downloaded. RFB&D also provides a CD order option. You can fit up to 40 hours of audio on a single CD, using MP3 at 32kbps. This is the lowest bit rate with reasonable audio quality with MP3. RFB&D has multiple CDs for the very large books. For download, it would be better to have it as a single volume, because having multiple CDs or having it stored on the computer as essentially separate books makes it harder to use.
Currently exchange of materials across international boundaries is not permitted. However, there is work going on with WIPO on copyright exceptions and on licenses from publishers (Copyright-related Challenges and WIPO).
Images can be included. NIMAC is a repository in the USA; materials from NIMAC may include images. Refreshable braille is an option depending on the software or hardware device used. Most of the adaptive PDAs, for example Braille Note, have DAISY reading capabilities. Freedom Scientific announced that their reader will be free with Jaws For Windows, and they have support for refreshable braille displays.
The amount of outreach varies from country to country. Some companies (HumanWare for example) and organizations provide webinars and training materials. Each of the players has a different user interface; it is up to the company to design their player, but there are many common features in DAISY players. Most assistive technology now supports DAISY (for example, the HumanWare, Plextor, and BookSense players, PDAs, and the various software players). There are also online reading options, for example ButtercupReader, and there is one to be announced from Bookshare.org. The DAISY website has more information about players/reading systems.
Case studies, presentations and reports that may useful:
The DAISY Pipeline contains several EPUB scripts which support the creation of EPUB content:
Details are available on the DAISY Pipeline Sourceforge website.