June has been an eventful but disappointing month – the disappointment arising from the final day of the WIPO SCCR/20 meeting as reported in the article WIPO Copyright Treaty: Consensus Not Reached. Our hopes were dashed. Efforts to bring about consensus on the WIPO Treaty for Improved Access for Blind, Visually Impaired and other Reading Disabled Persons have been underway since Treaty was submitted to WIPO in May 2009. However in spite of this setback there many positive and uplifting activities. The merging of the DAISY Consortium and IFLA/LPD Global Accessible Library Project and the WIPO Trusted Intermediaries Project serves as an excellent example (as reported in the article WIPO Stakeholders' Platform: 3rd Interim Report).
The revision of the EPUB Standard has begun, with a face to face meeting held June 15 and 16. Markus Gylling, Chief Technology Officer for the DAISY Consortium is chairing these meetings, and George Kerscher, Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium is also President of IDPF (which "owns" the EPUB Standards). Kerscher and Kenny Johar gave a "lightning talk" on accessibility with the presentation Accessibility and EPUB. Information about the meeting, links to the "lightning talk" abstracts and the draft minutes are provided on the EPUB Wiki. You can be sure there will be more about the revision of the EPUB Standard in coming issues of the DAISY Planet, and I believe you can also be sure that Gylling and Kerscher will do their utmost to ensure that accessibility is built into it from the ground up.
Issue 9 of the Publisher Accessibility Newsletter, June 2010, contains a great deal of information that will be of interest and is important to the DAISY community. The article "Continued Work on Accessibility Issues Through the WIPO Stakeholder Platform" includes an excellent review of the WIPO Trusted Intermediaries Project and the Global Accessible Library Project. Articles about information access around the world are regularly included. Publisher Accessibility Newsletter is well worth the time it takes to read it.
There is information about the DAISY meetings that will be held in New Delhi this October in this month's Bits & Pieces column. The necessary forms and details were sent the DAISY Member and Friends lists in May. This is a gentle reminder – if you have not yet submitted the form to register for the Technical Conference and you plan to attend, please send it in before the July 13 deadline.
This month's Your Story is from a young woman who was born in China. She was adopted at the age of 1 and lives in Norway. When you read Mai-Linn Holdt's story you may wonder how can someone so young could already have done so much to help others with dyslexia. Special thanks to Mai-Linn's father, Hans-Christian, for helping her with her English for the DAISY Planet Your Story.
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). Thanks go to the Taha Hussein library at the Bibliothica Alexandrina for submitting the article on the Quran in DAISY. Letters to the Editor are always welcome. You can also to share 'Your Story' with the Planet readership using the Contact Us form (or let us know if you know someone with a story to tell).
Please note, the DAISY Planet is published 11 times a year; there is no July issue. I wish you all a happy and healthy July and August. The August DAISY Planet will be published in the last week of the month.
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.
Prior to the WIPO SCCR/20 meeting (20th meeting of the World Intellectual Property Organization, Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights) four proposals dealing with Limitations and Exceptions had been submitted:
These proposals and the numerous other meeting documents are provided in English, French and Spanish on the WIPO SCCR/20 area of the WIPO website.
At 15:30 (3:30) on Thursday, the final day of the 20th session of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) a review of the draft conclusions was underway, but still, by midnight, agreement had not been reached.
Dan Pescod (Vice-Chair, World Blind Union; Global Right to Read Campaign; Manager, RNIB European, International and Accessibility Campaigns) provided a summary of the WIPO SCCR/20 meeting to international supporters of the WIPO proposed Treaty as initially put forward by WBU. Throughout the meeting there was more consensus than ever before that there should be an international "instrument" – treaty, "recommendation" or other – to put in place national copyright exceptions for people with a print disability, and to allow sharing of accessible publications internationally.
In his summary Pescod also noted that all groupings of countries voiced support for that consensus, including the EU, African and Asian groups and the USA. It seemed during the meeting that this was very significant progress. In additional the Mexican ambassador to the UN hosted an ambassadorial meeting on the eve of the final day of the meeting in order to try to get agreement on a way forward. At this point progress and a positive outcome seemed highly likely.
However, Pescod reported that although it was extremely unusual, the SCCR meeting finished without having agreed on its formal "conclusions", and that there was therefore no formal way forward on the treaty or the other items on its agenda. During the many hours of discussion on the last night of the meeting it became clear that the African group would hold out for other copyright exceptions which they insisted be developed concurrently. Pescod noted that this was clearly not going to be accepted by the rest of the groups in the room.
More than one workable compromise was suggested to break the deadlock and allow work on the initial Treaty (now proposed by Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay and Mexico) to progress quickly while still allowing for work on exceptions for libraries and archives, education etc., to progress at a later stage. However the African group would not accept the compromises. Deadlock.
There have been two articles published on the Intellectual Property Watch website, the first posted on June 22, High Expectations This Week For Progress On Exceptions And Limitations At WIPO , and the second on June 26, No Decision On WIPO Treaty For Blind Persons Misses 'Golden Opportunity'. The tone of the first is extremely positive. It also provides some explanation of the four proposals including this note about the African Group proposal: "The African Group proposal is based not only on exceptions and limitations for visually impaired people, but also for education and research institutions, libraries and archive centres." The title and tone of the second article are about as opposite as they could possibly be from the first, reflecting the turn of events at the meeting. Christopher Friend of Sightsavers International is quoted as follows: "A golden opportunity was bashed". Editor's Note: the IP Watch articles, the second in particular, provide further information and details about the WIPO SCCR/20 meeting. Rather than repeat much of it here, I suggest that everyone who is concerned about and committed to information access for individuals with a reading disability take a few moments to read them.
At the close of his summary Dan Pescod wrote: "We were really close to agreement. Closer than ever in fact. Perhaps we will be able to use this ... to exert greater pressure than ever towards achieving the treaty." Even though this meeting was brought to a close by the chair without formal conclusions being reached, hope is not lost. The next WIPO SCCR meeting is scheduled to be held November 8 to 12. The struggle for accessible, equitable information access continues.
(Photos were taken by Jim Fruchterman, Benetech CEO, and are published under a Creative Commons license.)
One of the papers submitted for the WIPO SCCR/20 meeting last week was the Third Interim Report of the Stakeholders' Platform. This report describes the outcome of the fourth meeting of the Stakeholders' Platform held May 26 in Geneva. The focus of this meeting was to review the work done by the two Platform subgroups: the Trusted Intermediaries' (TI) subgroup and the Technology Subgroup.
In November 2008 the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) acknowledged the special needs of those who are blind or visually impaired, or who have other reading disabilities. The SCCR stressed the need to deal with these needs without delay, and that discussions should be at both the national and international level with the goal to "facilitating and enhancing access to protected works, against the background of an analysis of limitations and exceptions". A further result of this mandate was the establishment of a WIPO Stakeholders' Platform.
Major stakeholders representing the interests of copyright holders and those representing the interests of individuals who have a print disability were invited by the WIPO Secretariat to explore "their concrete needs, concerns, and suggested approaches in order to achieve the goal of facilitating access to works in alternative formats for people with disabilities." Among those representing the interests of people who have a print disability are:
The additional members of the Platform are:
The statement by Olav Stokkmo on the WIPO Vision IP website reflects that awareness of the need for published materials in accessible formats is no longer confined to those who must use accessible reading materials and those who provide them with those materials: "There is no reason why people with reading impairment should have poor access to copyright works. This is not a question of the exact number of works accessible to them. A unison demand for better access indicates an issue to be addressed and a potential market for publishing. For too long IFRRO did not pay sufficient attention to this challenge. But now we understand it, instruments were developed to assist creators and publishers in improving access through the network of Trusted Intermediaries proposed by the WIPO Stakeholder Platform. This really is the right way forward to improving access to copyright works for people with reading impairment."
Two reports were prepared by the Trusted Intermediaries (TI) subgroup:
A number of organizations around the world, in both developed and developing countries, will be contacted to determine their interest in participating in the first round of the Pilot. The TI Pilot will begin this year and will span three years with between ten and twelve participating organizations.
A merger of the Global Accessible Library (GAL), a joint project of the DAISY Consortium and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, Libraries Serving Persons with Print Disabilities Section (IFLA/LPD), and the WIPO Trusted Intermediaries (TI) Pilot Project has very recently been approved by the Board of Directors of the DAISY Consortium, IFLA/LPD and the WIPO Stakeholders' Platform.
The merged TI and GAL projects should be a phased, multi-stream project that will:
Throughout all phases of the newly merged project, there will be a need to establish, refine and build on existing standards and best practice guidelines.
Source: "Trusted Intermediaries and GAL Project Convergence Assessment", April 2010
The DAISY production team at the Taha Hussein library at the Bibliothica Alexandrina has the pleasure to announce the issuing of the first Arabic DAISY Quran. The Quran was produced as a full text/ full audio book. It is the first Arabic Quran in DAISY to be published in the Arab and Islamic region. All previous attempts were to produce ToC (table of contents with audio) versions of the Quran. The project took a great deal time and effort from the Taha Hussein team.
There were many errors during the production flow due to the complexity of the Arabic script. As of the beginning of June this year the Taha Hussein library team has produced an additional 30 DAISY books, both full text/full audio and ToC only DAISY books.
A copy of the Quran in DAISY format can be provided to anyone living in Egypt, and efforts are underway to try to make it available internationally to anyone who wishes to read it.
Many thanks to the Taha Hussein Section for the Blind and Visually Impaired Bibliotheca Alexandrina for submitting this article for the DAISY Planet.
Bookshare Australia and Bookshare Denmark are now in place. The Association for the Blind of Western Australia (ABWA) and Bookshare now offer Bookshare services to Australians with a print disability. On March 1, Nota, the Danish National Library for the Blind, signed an agreement with Bookshare to offer Bookshare services to people in Denmark who have a reading disability.
Nota and Benetech (Bookshare is a Benetech initiative) are Full Members of the DAISY Consortium. ABWA is a member of the Round Table on Information Access for People with Print Disabilities which is part of ANZAIG, a Full Member of the DAISY Consortium.
In May Bookshare signed an agreement with Cambridge University Press, adding another major publisher to the growing list of organizations with which they have direct licensing agreements. It is important to note that the academic and scholarly books from Cambridge University Press regional publishing centres around the world will be available to international Bookshare members. Additional information is provided in the Bookshare press release.
Bookshare membership cost for individuals who are not residents of the USA is approximate $75.00 for the first year and $50 for each following year. Information about Bookshare International Membership is provided on the Bookshare.org website, including membership options and how to search for books which are available to international members. The selection of books available to international members is based on copyright permissions granted by publishers and authors. Bookshare continues to work with publishers and authors to increase the number of books available globally.
According to the Bookshare Twitter post of June 9 there were 12,000 books available to International Bookshare members, 4,100 of which are public domain. This number is increasing steadily.
A comprehensive Bookshare press release about its international activities is currently being developed and is expected to be published in July.
Young Power in Social Action (YPSA), an Associate Member of the DAISY Consortium and a DAISY Focal Point in Bangladesh has announced a joint program which has developed 100 DAISY Digital Talking Dramas (DTD's). This new and innovative approach to provide accessible information for persons with print disabilities is a collaborative effort of YPSA IRCD, UNDP and the A2I (Access to Information) programme of the Prime Minister's office.
DAISY Digital Talking Drama content is verbal drama with DAISY features. Most are in local languages and some are produced with simple (easy) Bangla verbal communication.
As a part of the e-Citizen Services initiatives, the Access to Information Programme of the Bangladesh Prime Minister's Office identified at least one citizens' service which would incorporate ICT in the delivery mechanism. DAISY Digital Talking Drama will be held in the National Content Repository as accessible reading materials. The National Content Repository has been developed by the A2I Programme as one of its e-governance initiative. This National Content Repository will be used at various Telecentres including Union Information and Services Centres (UISC). There are over 2,000 Telecentres throughout the country and there are 1,000 UISCs currently being established. Telecentre content is available both online and offline to serve the local communities. The National Content Repository aims to be the "one-stop place" to get content easily and efficiently.
DAISY Digital Talking Drama will be used in community radio. YPSA has received one of 13 licenses for community radio stations recently awarded.
Torsten Brand – In Memoriam
On April 14 I was saddened to receive an email stating that the previous day Torsten Brand had left us forever. His death at the age of only 47 was totally unexpected. He passed away as a result of complications following minor surgery.
I wish to share this news with the readers of the DAISY Planet because Torsten Brand was not indifferent to DAISY – in fact his last version of the TALKS screen reader for cellular phones includes an excellent DAISY player. Torsten Brand was totally blind and he deserves a highlighted place in the history of assistive technology. He majored in mathematics at Hannover University and later developed important software for braille displays. Early in this century, together with his partner Marcus Gröber, Torsten was instrumental in developing a screen reader for cellular phones – TALKS, which is now a part of Nuance. The Nokia 9110 Communicator, a predecessor of smartphones, was developed by Torsten and Marcus. Today everywhere in the world people who are blind or who have a vision disability use cellular phones which have text-to-speech or magnify the letters.
I had the privilege of meeting Torsten Brand in the early 90's when I started using a braille display which incorporated software developed by him. Thereafter he was always available to provide me with information and advice on matters relevant to accessing cellular phones.
The work of Torsten Brand will continue to yield positive results. I know that Marcus Gröber and others will ensure that the TALKS venture continues.
- Pedro Zurita, Spain
I was wondering if you could provide me with some assistance. In the March issue of the DAISY Planet, you mentioned that the US Department of Education had granted the DAISY Consortium US Fund for DAISY, the National Centre for Media Access Group, and Benetech a $5,000,000 grant to conduct research on the best tools to use to deliver visual content to the print disabled. The article mentioned that this is especially important for the blind/visually impaired, as few of them can read Braille, and even fewer of them can understand tactile graphics. Regarding the lack of understanding of tactile graphics by the blind/visually impaired, do any of the organizations have any studies to back up this statement, or is this statement based on anecdotal evidence of blind/visually impaired individuals? I ask because I am currently doing a third-year university course on students with LD’s, and any studies on the inability of blind people to understand tactile graphics would be very beneficial to me.
Thank you for any assistance you could provide.
- Carrie Francis, Canada
As far as I know the statement is anecdotal and in part it is based on 27 years of working for the CNIB. However it is possible that data on this exists. I suggest you get in touch with NCAM/WGBH; there is a "contact" link on their website. Varju Luceno who is the Communications & Marketing Specialist for the DAISY Consortium may be aware of data, studies or documentation which support the statement. As a related aside, I learned over my years with CNIB that reading tactile graphics is not something that people who are blind or have a visual disability can necessarily do 'naturally', it is a learned skill. Not everyone who might benefit from using tactile graphics is able to effectively glean information from a tactile representation of an image.
[in Tobi] Would it be possible to have the most used buttons when recording (REC, PLAY, REW, FF...) globally available throughout the application?
You now have to move the focus (F7) before the buttons for recording are available.
Each command in Tobi has a keyboard shortcut that is globally available in the application, regardless of the currently-focused user interface item. Each command is accessible via the top menu bar, and the assigned keyboard shortcuts are displayed in the menu labels.
There may be problems with the PLAY/PAUSE command, because the "Space" key can also be used to press buttons or activate certain user-interface elements. The workaround is indeed to use one of the focus commands (such as F7) before invoking PLAY/PAUSE. Otherwise, keyboard shortcuts can easily be customized in application preferences, so you may replace the PLAY/PAUSE shortcut with one of your choice.
Please let us know if this solves your problems.
- Kind regards, Daniel -
Editor's Note: This inquiry was posted to the Tobi Forum and the response was provided by Daniel Weck who is the DAISY Consortium's lead developer for the Tobi Project. An additional response pointed to the Tobi User Manual for more information about using keyboard shortcuts.
• The Association for the Blind of Western Australia (ABWA) has developed the DAISY Bookworm player – a DAISY "app" for iPad, iPhone and the iPod Touch. When released this summer it will be available on the iTunes Store like other iPhone apps. The price: approximately $5 Australian. The first release will handle DAISY 2.02 and DAISY/NISO Z39.86 (DAISY 3) audio books as well as audio with full text books. There are plans for an upgrade which will support DAISY 2.02 and DAISY 3 text only books as well.
• The DAISY Consortium General Meeting, Meeting of the Board of Directors (Oct. 25, 26 & 27) and the DAISY Technical Conference (Oct. 28 & 29) will be held in New Delhi, India. Completed registration forms must be submitted by July 13; abstracts for presentations are due by July 15. Dipendra Manocha, the Developing Countries Coordinator for the DAISY Consortium, and the DAISY Forum of India who are hosting these events have worked very hard to ensure that these meetings will be a great success. Information about the Technical Conference will be posted on the DAISY Forum of India website as it becomes available. Documents for the DAISY General Meeting and Board Meeting will be distributed to the membership prior to the meetings.
• First quarter eBook sales have been released from the Association of American Publishers (AAP) which collects these statistics in conjunction with the IDPF. Trade eBook sales increased 185% over March 2009. Calendar Year to Date/Q1 sales are up 252%. The Q1 2010 total of $91,000,000 far surpassed any previous quarter; it is in fact higher than any previous year with exception of 2009.
The winner of the EPUB Logo Design Competition was announced by Garth Conboy, Chairman of International Digital Publishing Forum, at IDPF Digital Book 2010. There were 203 entries from 18 different countries.
• Nuance Communications speech technology is powering the recognition and text-to-speech capabilities in the new Olympus DM-4 and DM-5 which feature large color LCDs and easy-to-navigate menus for audio recording, editing and playback of DAISY books, podcasts, music, audio books, textbooks. Nuance's speech capabilities allow you to use your voice for device command and control, and to listen to text files. Both Nuance Communications and Olympus Imaging Corp. are Friends of the DAISY Consortium.
• The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has published a comparison of eBook readers which provides an overview of the accessibility benefits and obstacles of a selection of eBook readers.
• A DAISY training course was conducted earlier this year in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. The course report, prepared by the DAISY Consortium trainer, Olaf Mittelstaedt, is available on the DAISY website.
Work on the DAISY Pipeline 2 Project is well underway. This project is the follow-up to the DAISY Pipeline 1.0 and its focus is preparation for the future. The core Pipeline framework will be redesigned to embrace new technologies and standards. Pipeline 2 will better integrate with the DAISY community and mainstream publishing.
Minutes of the June 16 TTS WG conference call include a concise introduction to the DAISY Pipeline 2 Project, as well as a succinct description of the high-level goals, the general approach that will be taken, and the overarching principles and concrete objectives of the Project.
The DAISY Pipeline is an open-source, cross-platform framework for document-related transformations. It supports the migration of digital content to various formats and facilitates both the production and distribution of DAISY Digital Talking Books. The Pipeline 2 Project is maintained by the DAISY Consortium and is a collaborative project with numerous organizations participating in the development.