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Tobi, the DAISY Consortium's open-source authoring tool for full-text full-audio DAISY digital talking books is moving steadily towards its first Release Candidate – V1.0 is planned for the end of April. Contributions from early adopters and external testers are key to achieve the level of quality required to move out of Beta status. The current release, V0.2.4.1, is a public beta release; feedback from both novice and experienced users is most welcome. More information is available on the Tobi developer website.
The first public demonstration of Tobi was presented by Daniel Weck, Software Architect and Programmer for the DAISY Consortium, at the DAISY2009 Conference in Leipzig Germany. Additional information about Tobi is provided in the article Tobi Peaks Interest with Live Demonstration in the September 2009 DAISY Planet and on the Tobi Project page of the DAISY website.
I just found the AMIS program and have tried to access the books I downloaded from the NLS. I was unable to open the unzipped files. I succeeded in opening one of the sample books found on the Consortium's website. I did notice that the sample had an NCC file, while the NLS files did not, nor did they have any .html files. Am I correct in assuming that NLS books are not compatible with AMIS?
If they are compatible could you direct me to the document I need to fix things?
Thanks for your attention.
AMIS does not play NLS books because of the copy protection scheme (DRM) used. I am unaware of any software player that works with their books (it could be that there is one but it would have been a recent development).
- DAISY Editorial Team -
From Monday March 8 until Friday March 12, policy-makers and experts from 28 countries participated in an international training program focused on emerging issues in copyright and related rights and issues pertaining to persons who are blind or have a visual or other print disability. This week long training course was organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in cooperation with the United States Copyright Office.
The focus of the week long event was improved access to copyright-protected content for the blind and other persons with visual or print disabilities (VIPs).
The program aimed to improve understanding of the elements of domestic and international copyright law that are relevant to making books, films and other copyright-protected content accessible to persons with print disabilities. It also focused on identifying practical measures that can improve the quality and quantity of these works in formats that are readily accessible to VIPs. Participants explored measures to provide relief and to enhance opportunities for access and also considered the obstacles and limitations that inhibit easy access to relevant technologies across national boundaries.
A key challenge in mainstreaming [new] technologies is to develop practical solutions that have maximum potential impact in countries which have a high incidence of disability but lack the infrastructure and financial resources necessary to effectively address the issue. Other challenges include the need to cater for a wide variety of languages, cultures and levels of literacy.
The course was organized in the context of international efforts to explore how the intellectual property system can best meet the needs of VIPs by improving timely access to copyright-protected content. Source: WIPO Press Release
Topics such as copyright law, technology, international cooperation, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities , authors' rights, exceptions and limitations, and the role of Trusted Intermediaries were addressed.
George Kerscher, Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium, presented on three subjects, and for each he 'wore one of his three different hats':
Examples of steps already taken by some countries to improve access to copyrighted materials by people unable to read print and some electronic formats are provided on the VISION IP area of the WIPO website.
Benetech, the National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) at WGBH and the U.S. Fund for DAISY have been awarded $5 million by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) to create the DIAGRAM Center. The U.S. Fund for DAISY provides financial support and administers U.S. based projects and grants for the DAISY Consortium in accordance with the Consortium's mission, vision and values. DIAGRAM (Digital Image and Graphic Resources for Accessible Materials) is being established to develop tools and best practices for producers of accessible instructional materials which will greatly improve the processes and availability of accessible images for students with disabilities. These tools and best practices will make it easier and more cost-effective to create and use accessible images in educational materials.
Historically it has been extremely labour intensive and expensive to produce accessible tactile representations of images found in textbooks and other graphic-heavy publications. Tactile graphics, regardless of the production method used, were most often created to accompany braille textbooks, but only a small percentage of students who require their books in an accessible format can read braille, and even fewer are able to 'understand' tactile graphics. DIAGRAM's mission is to:
George Kerscher, Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium and head of the U.S. Fund for DAISY stated: "With such a wide array of media becoming more popular, it's more important than ever to foster collaboration and innovation by encouraging nonprofit and commercial enterprises to work together to solve this problem."
The DIAGRAM partners – Benetech, NCAM and the U.S. Fund for DAISY – have individually led technological initiatives which have ultimately altered the way in which people with visual and print disabilities experience and interact with all forms of media: the DAISY Standard, the Bookshare library, and to NCAM's progressive work on image descriptions. Each has worked effectively with technology developers and hardware and software manufacturers to design and improve accessibility features for people with print disabilities. Together, they will take their individual strengths in the field of information access to another level through rigorous research and testing over the five year period of the OSEP award.
For the first time in 25 years, the entire Conference was hosted in San Diego, and under one roof, which seemed to be a win-win for most attendees. Rushing to get from a session in one hotel to another in the second hotel was no longer an issue. As part of the special 25th anniversary celebrations CSUN Alum Erik Williams rode 150 miles on a handcycle from the CSUN Campus in Northridge to the Conference in San Diego. In addition to highlighting CSUN's anniversary, Williams made the trek in support of one of the charities he supports.
On March 25, the 2010 CSUN conference hosted the U.S. Access Board's Public Hearing on the proposed refresh of the Section 508 standards. All attendees were encouraged to participate. All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov.
Several hands-on workshops provided opportunities to get to know assistive tools and technologies. For example, "Convert It, Read It, Take It With You" session participants were able to use EasyConverter from Dolphin Computer Access Limited to create a DAISY book and then play it on the ClassMate Reader from HumanWare. During private workshops organized by GW Micro, conference attendees were able to ask questions and learn to operate different devices developed by HIMS.
CSUN 2010 conference featured multiple sessions on social networking tools such as Twitter and Facebook. The way we share knowledge is changing. In educational technology, a shift from individual growth to community growth is taking place. Private conversations are moving to the public domain and students can engage with each other as well as with educators through social networking tools that are becoming more accessible. It is easier than ever to engage online and build awareness about accessibility, one tweet at a time. Information about the CSUN 2010 Tweetup as well as conference notes posted by different Twitter users are available via the Tweetup website.
Throughout the CSUN 2010 conference, Adobe demonstrated its efforts to make their products and services more accessible. Andrew Kirkpatrick from Adobe acknowledged that Adobe Digital Editions software which enables users to download, purchase and manage digital content is currently not accessible to screen-reader users. The accessible version of Adobe Digital Editions should be available by the end of 2010. Adobe is also pursuing licensing arrangements with a variety of eBook players, including those with robust support for accessibility. This would enable players with proven accessibility support to use Adobe's Reader Mobile software development kit to gain access to protected eBook content.
The Plextor and Vision Australia joint session provided insights into the history of Plextalk products, their partnership, as well as new and exciting developments. Plextalk Pocket enhancements will include flexible volume and speed adjustments, a "Shortcut" function for menu selection, spell-navigation of text-based content and new wireless features. Presenters gave a DAISY Online Delivery service demonstration, streaming from Australia; officially this service should be available by the end of 2010.
Mattias Karlsson from Dolphin Computer Access presented a preview of the new EasyReader Bookshelf which will provide 'accessible access' to online eBook libraries featuring content in EPUB, DAISY, HTML and other formats.
Panelists Larry Skutchan, David Andrews and Jule Ann Lieberman provided an overview and comparison of different DAISY digital talking book player features. DAISY reading systems/players presented included the Victor Reader Stream, BookSense, Plextalk Pocket, BookPort Plus and the NLS Player. The development of memory-based DAISY players has truly changed the landscape for reading digital talking books. Participants agreed that it is good to have a variety of players, as different user groups have different needs. The younger generation seems to prefer newer devices resembling cell phones, whereas the older generation appreciates larger players with fewer complex features and bigger buttons.
Gaeir Dietrich earned a well-deserved applause with the "DAISY 101" presentation. She explained the differences between different DAISY formats and guided assistive technology specialists to resources for finding DAISY Players and DAISY content.
Werner Haan CEO of Solutions Radio who presented the session "Access to Internet Content and DAISY Books without a PC" shared how DAISY books, newspapers, radio stations and podcasts can be accessed via IRIS webradio and ORIONWebbox (which is an acronym for Online Reading and Information ON demand).
In his presentation Digital Accessible Publishing Spotlight: Distribution, Standards and Challenges (available on You Tube), George Kerscher, Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium, covered the current state of digital publishing, DAISY and EPUB standards developments and relationships, Digital Rights Management (DRM), and other information access issues. (Editor's Note: Kerscher's presentation is just under 10 minutes long, is captioned, and is well worth watching).
During the session "What's new at Bookshare?" Kristina Cohen stated that Bookshare has grown to 90,000 members and has almost 70,000 titles in the Bookshare Library, with over 1,000 titles are added every month. She also informed participants that the Bookshare website now supports full text searching.
The Exhibit Hall was filled with technology enthusiasts and it was great to experience first hand once again that DAISY is making a difference in people's lives around the globe.
Michael Lauf from SeroTalk interviewed 27 vendors at CSUN 2010; 5 are Friends of the DAISY Consortium. Lauf's podcasts provide the latest product news: HIMS, IRTI, Design Science, Plextalk, and Olympus.
In past years, the CSUN conference program was available on CD for participants who required a format other than print. This year however each part of the program was available in advance for download in HTML or as a separate DAISY book from the DAISY Consortium website (CDs were also still provided at the venue).
Thanks go to Varju Luceno, the DAISY Consortium's Communications & Marketing Specialist, for writing this article for the March DAISY Planet.
The 7th IPA (International Publishers Association) Copyright Symposium was held February 28 to March 1 in Abu Dhabi. For two days more than 270 registered participants and global experts from 53 nations discussed copyright and publishing policy issues. IPA President Herman P. Spruijt stated in the opening ceremony: "Copyright is not a panacea, not a fortress against theft, and not a political dogma. It is a tool that must be adapted, not only to new technologies but also to changes in society." And the DAISY community and others who are in some way involved with the provision of accessible publications to those who require them know that change is needed.
Perhaps the most exceptional aspect of this year's Symposium was that one of the sessions addressed copyright exceptions for those unable to read print: "Balance and Fairness: the Role and the Future of Copyright Exceptions". The abstract was clear: "Can copyright exceptions solve the challenges the visually impaired and other consumers with special needs face today? A debate between publishing professionals and leading copyright exception activists." The list of speakers participating in this debate was impressive:
The IPA Copyright Symposium Programme is available on the IPA website.
Highlights of Chris Friend's presentation focused largely on the right to read:
As WIPO's website states Copyright law is supposed to strike a fair balance between the interests of Creators and the interests of users ... After all, reading disabled people have rights too, and these are now enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities...
We understand that piracy is a serious publishing problem in the digital age but piracy was not of our making.
To date Publishers and other Rights Holders have produced no evidence that copyright exceptions lead to abuse and piracy. Will anyone who is intent on piracy, really wait until a copyright exception is in place before they engage in illegal activity? Where is the evidence for this? Are "publishing pirates" just sitting ... waiting for a Treaty for reading disabled people so that they can make their illicit fortune?!"
Friend also went over several of the "myths" about the proposed WIPO Treaty for Improved Access for Blind, Visually Impaired and other Reading Disabled Persons which would facilitate the provision of published works in accessible format for people with a print disability. The "Six Myths" which were developed by the World Blind Union and the RNIB and distributed at the December 2009 WIPO SCCR meeting are as follows:
These 6 myths are refuted and "The Truth" about each is provided on the Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) website.
*Dr. Alicia Wise will be participating in the Panel discussion which will follow the DAISY Consortium's annual General Meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland, on April 22.
• ATIA (Assistive Technology Industry Association) has announced that it will hold a combined Call for Presentations for ATIA 2010 Chicago (October 27-30, 2010) and ATIA 2011 Orlando (January 26-29, 2011). The Call for Presentations for the two conferences will be held for an extended period of three months to enable speakers to submit abstracts for one OR both conferences.
• Social Networking and You: Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin for Blind Users by Anna Dresner is available for purchase ($12 US) in braille, eBraille, text, and DAISY formats (DAISY on CD, or by download) from the National Braille Press. This book was written to help people learn about these social networking sites and to potentially join them (if you wish to do so).
• The Belgium-Flemish Library For Audio And Braille Books has produced the slide show: Integrating Library Services With DAISY Books in Public Libraries. Their logo tag is "Everybody can read".
• The Bookshare Training program has gone into high gear. Options include Webinars (session dates posted up to May 20), Online Learning Guides, Pre-recorded Webinars, and Quick Guides.
• ReadHowYouWant (RHYW) has 2 free sets of download offerings. Through their partnership with HumanWare, 5 free, complete, classics titles and 20 first chapter downloads of contemporary books are posted on the 1st of each month. Through the RHYW partnership with Plextor, 5 complete, free classics are posted for download live on the 15th of each month. Each new set of 5 classics posted on the 1st of the month are available at www.readhowyouwant.com/humanware. The 5 new classics posted on the 15th of each month are available at www.readhowyouwant.com/plextalk.
These downloads, in DAISY format, are available to anyone, and can be played on a DAISY player. They are also available for download in braille. RHYW has over 100 publishing partners, and numerous vendor partners.
• Braille21 – Braille in the 21st Century, the World Congress of Braille has very recently been announced. Information is already on the Braille21 website. Dates set for the Congress are September 26 to October 2, 2011.
Two of the articles Copyright, & Related Rights & Issues and Balance and Fairness: the Role and the Future of Copyright Exceptions, although they take place on opposite sides of the world, bring the issues of copyright and reading rights back to the forefront. SCCR/20, the 20th session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights will take place June 21, 2010 to June 24, 2010 in Geneva, Switzerland. Prior to that additional related meetings are schedule. Information and results will be reported in future issues of the DAISY Planet.
Although I did not attend the CSUN Conference this year, Varju Luceno's report CSUN's 25th Anniversary made me feel as if I at least had a little 'taste' of the sessions. I strongly recommend that you watch George Kerscher's session Digital Accessible Publishing Spotlight: Distribution, Standards and Challenges which is available on You Tube.
Beyond Profit is a new social enterprise magazine which presents the stories, people and ideas behind innovating social ventures. In March the article Social Enterprise of the Day featured five organizations which are "making path breaking efforts to help the print and visually impaired follow their dreams and overcome the challenges that life has served them." The DAISY Consortium was one of those five featured organizations.
Another interesting 'find' this month was the article DAISY: A History of Information Accessibility posted on the Rolling Rains website. What makes this seem rather unusual is that the Rolling Rains site is a "service to the travel and hospitality industry. It provides resources on Inclusive Tourism - a concept arising from the vigor of a global disability community that both enjoys and asserts the right to full social inclusion." The 'fit' was not clear at first, however, this service is focused on the principles of Universal Design - and that is the fit, and that is why they have featured DAISY and the DAISY Consortium.
This month's Story is from Lars Sönnebo, and although the caption under Lars' photograph on the DAISY homepage, "Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do" may seem rather odd, his Story will make it all crystal clear. Lars and DAISY go back to the beginning, to the DAISY seed. Part 2 DAISY and the 3 Musketeers will be published with the April issue of the DAISY Planet. Lars, thank you for going back in time to bring us your story.
The Open Braille Initiative was formed by 5 of the 6 leading braille display manufacturers in the world. This excellent initiative may lead to improved support for braille display with DAISY players.
Editor's Note: Thanks to those of you who sent emails about how much you enjoyed
reading the February issue of the DAISY Planet and Part 2 of Jim Fruchterman's Story.
Please submit your thoughts and/or criticisms about any of the articles in the DAISY Planet. You may use the DAISY Contact Us form (Newsletter category) or send your "Letter to the Editor" or ideas for future articles directly to me by email.