December 3 is the International Day for Persons with Disabilities, and the theme this year is "Together for a Better World for All: Including Persons with Disabilities in Development". There is a wonderful blog post about this special day on the First Reference website, referencing and quoting from the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It concludes with: "Dear politicians, please act proud of this endeavour, do not fear it as an election loser topic. Get those spin doctors spinning this topic the right way. Be loud and clear that accessibility is as vital as the air we breathe." One of the four sub-themes for December 3 is "Accessibility: removing barriers and promoting disability-inclusive development". And, that leads us directly into the WIPO/SCCR23 meeting...
Removing barriers and bringing about inclusion are key issues in the efforts to establish a binding WIPO Treaty which supports limitations and exceptions, including cross-border exchange, for persons who are blind or have a print disability. The meeting of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights: Twenty-Third Session (WIPO SCCR23) is underway now (November 21 - December 2) in Geneva, Switzerland. The conclusions will be presented on the final day.
Frank La Rue, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, wrote in his Declaration to the meeting: "WIPO SCCR23 has an opportunity and a responsibility to help to solve this problem, by removing the copyright barriers which prevent access for reading disabled people. To that end, the Committee has a draft text for consideration which could and should form the basis for a binding treaty (SCCR_22_16). In the closing statement of his Declaration, La Rue urged "all WIPO Member States' delegates of SCCR23 to work assiduously to agree a binding WIPO treaty for blind and other reading disabled people, and to thereby open a door to reading, ideas and information for reading disabled people across the world."
The documents for this meeting are available in multiple languages on the WIPO website. From all reports it has been an incredibly exhausting meeting. Complex and weighty negotiations are taking place. The outcome will not be known until end of day (or well into the night) on December 2. An article covering the highlights and outcomes of the WIPO/SCCR23 meeting will be published in the December DAISY Planet. I am hopeful that it will be a 'good news' article.
Historically it has been proven that developments which improve accessibility have benefited everyone in society. Accessibility has been built into EPUB 3. This will benefit anyone who requires information in an accessible format and will improve the reading experience for everyone. George Kerscher, Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium and President of the IDPF stated: "this fully accessible digital publishing standard will change the world forever." [EPUB 3 Approved, October DAISY Planet].
Mainstreaming accessible publications has the potential to bring the written word to millions of people who have previously had limited or no access to published content. In his presentation EPUB out of the box at "Books In Browsers 2011" Bill McCoy, Executive Director of the IDPF, explains the importance of accessible publications and how the open EPUB 3 platform will benefit everyone. This YouTube video of Bill's presentation is worth the 12 or 13 minutes it takes to watch/listen to it. Why we needed EPUB 3, excerpted from the O'Reilly publication "What is EPUB 3?" by Matt Garrish explains why "new reading devices, multimedia storytelling and accessibility needs made EPUB3 a necessity". The page also includes a link to the free download of the complete publication.
In the article The Only Option: Accessibility from the Ground Up by Gaeir Dietrich, published in the NFB Future Reflections Convention Report 2011, Ms. Dietrich talks about her "passion" which is braille, and also focuses on universal design and accessible information. "Unless digital materials are created with accessibility in mind from the beginning, there is no way for us to retrofit them...It has to be designed with accessibility in mind. That is not a technological challenge; that is a human consciousness challenge." Another point she addresses is market-based solutions: "The reality here is that...until you design something that is useful for the mainstream market, it's just not going to happen. So what George Kerscher is doing with helping to combine the DAISY and EPUB standards is really crucial in this effort. It will mean access to these books from the beginning in a format that will work for everyone." The presentation is in some ways very 'US centric' but I think it will be of interest to everyone in our community. Gaeir Dietrich is the chair of the Federal Commission on Accessible Instructional Materials in Postsecondary Education and is the director of the High-Tech Center Training Unit for the California Community Colleges. Her presentation DAISY 101 is available in DAISYpedia .
The DAISY Community spans the globe, and although the official language of the Consortium is English, there is a need to provide DAISY communications and information in other languages. I have just been informed today that the Swedish DAISY Consortium is now on Facebook. You do not have to have a Facebook account to access the page. It is, of course, in Swedish, and that is a good thing. Information specific to the Swedish DAISY Consortium membership is posted, plus they have shared some updates from the DAISY Consortium: "We will use this page to share news and information about DAISY from Sweden and from around the world." [Maria Lundqvist, Chair of the Swedish DAISY Consortium]. Maria, thank you for sharing this with the DAISY Planet readership. If your organization or company has translated and/or shared information about DAISY in the native language of your country, please contact me by email or by using the DAISY Contact Us form (Newsletter category) so that I can share it with the worldwide DAISY Community.
I hope you have (or will) enjoy reading the articles and columns in this issue of the DAISY Planet. I would like to thank Andrew Furlong, Technology Support Manager, Accessible Information Solutions, interim DAISY Board representative for Vision Australia for writing Vision Australia: Recollections of a DAISY Producer the DAISY 15th Anniversary series article for this issue. I've known Andrew since the late 1990's and it has been wonderful to work with him on this.
Thanks also to every one who has sent information, ideas and suggestions for this issue. If your organization or company has news to share with DAISY Planet readers, please get in touch with me directly by email or by using our Contact Us form. If you disagree with anything published in our newsletter or have information to add, again, please contact me. Letters to the Editor and Stories are most welcome.
The Story this month is the first of a two-part story. Dominique Burger has been involved in making information accessible for more than 30 years. His story reveals a great deal about how far we have come. I found it interesting, informative and enjoyable to read – and I'm sure 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.
As part of the series of articles celebrating the 15th Anniversary of the DAISY Consortium, it is good to reminisce and look at how far the DAISY Standard has progressed, and be reminded of the journey that we have all been on.
As the nation's largest provider of blindness and low vision services, Vision Australia's Accessible Information Solutions provides information and reading materials in accessible formats for people across Australia who are blind, have low vision or a print disability.
Vision Australia became aware of DAISY in 1996 soon after the DAISY Consortium was established. Back then, as a replacement for the analog cassette, "DAISY" was a very different 'product' as compared to the advanced multimedia standard we use today.
Even though Vision Australia did not start producing DAISY for the Library collection for several years after that point, we saw its potential and were actively involved in the work of the DAISY Consortium from the beginning. Among other activities, we were involved in the design and development of production tools such as LpStudio/Pro that we still use to this day.
Leading up to that point, it is hard to forget version 1 of the first DAISY 1.0 proprietary production software used to create the first DAISY books, which took 10 times longer to produce than it would today – and it was the cause of great celebration when it finally worked.
The first DAISY book we created was the Australian St. John's Ambulance "First Aid Guide", closely followed by a large cookbook. These were chosen to showcase the ability to navigate a complex book structure using the DAISY features. Looking back, I think we could have chosen something simpler to start with, but this work confirmed the value of DAISY, and the experience gained from the frustrations of those early days has stood us in good stead to this day. It is important to note that books that we created in that early proprietary DAISY format, using the 'ancient' ADPCM compression codec, have been forward migrated, and are still read today.
Initially, our knowledge of the standards that make up a DAISY book was rather limited and only starting to develop; we relied on the available tools to do the work. The structuring of a DAISY book was not as easy then as it is now, and the task of importing WAV files and manipulating a pre-defined structure was not for the fainthearted.
Computer technology has also moved on since those early days of DAISY production. Our first DAISY production 'super computer' was carefully assembled by hand. Every aspect of the computer's hardware and software was tweaked to enhance reliability and speed. This 'super computer' was a Pentium 4 with a top of the line 500MB SCSI hard drive. How times have changed!
This early involvement allowed Vision Australia to support other organisations in our region, assisting and facilitating the adoption of DAISY within their own organisations. Today, Vision Australia would not be able to achieve its own goals without the valued support and partnership of others within the DAISY community.
It wasn't until 2005 that Vision Australia began to produce all materials in DAISY format. Since then, Vision Australia's Information Library Service has purchased, exchanged and converted titles to expand our collection to over 24,000 DAISY titles. In addition to this, we produce periodicals, newspapers and magazines, education, and vocational texts, as well as anything that a client may request for personal support – from a telephone bill to washing machine instructions.
We began the phase-out of analog cassettes in 2008 when we ceased cassette duplication. However, we continued to loan existing cassettes to clients while we built an inventory of DAISY players to loan to clients. It wasn't until June, 2010 that we loaned the last cassette.
The last 3,000 legacy cassette titles were recently converted to DAISY in just 6 months by achieving efficiencies through automation that would otherwise have taken 10 years to complete. The preservation of these older titles is an important aspect of our collection.
Over the past year almost 800,000 DAISY titles were borrowed by our 20,000 Library clients. Titles are typically delivered via an automated CD-burning process, and returned via post using a specially designed recyclable envelope. You can view a short informational video that outlines the process from the time a client requests a title, its production, delivery through various channels, and return to Vision Australia.
The ability for our clients to interact and participate in society is an important outcome of the services Vision Australia provides. In 2006 Vision Australia's i-access® newspaper service revolutionised the way our clients become more informed, enhancing their independence.
This service automatically converts files provided by news publishers into DAISY at the same time as they are sent to print each morning. Today this service provides over 235 DAISY newspapers and magazines that are available for downloading by our clients before the print paper is thrown over the front fence.
A range of titles can be downloaded through i-access® Online. Over the past year, more than 60,000 books, newspapers and magazines were downloaded, reflecting the growing popularity of the service; 14% of our clients are currently registered for i-access® Online.
The i-access® Online Service is being further developed to provide access to the whole Vision Australia Library catalogue. Using the DAISY Online Protocol, we aim for this service to be an exemplar of accessibility and ease of use. This allows us to transition our information services online, and opens up opportunities for our clients to choose what, how, when and where they receive Library material.
DAISY is also benefiting children who are learning to read; their quest for knowledge begins well before school age. Vision Australia's Feelix Library is an innovative service for children from birth to six years old who are blind or have low vision. It provides picture books with Braille, a DAISY recording and fun tactile aids to bring the story to life.
The availability of electronic text and increased convergence and standardisation of mainstream publishing formats, such as EPUB 3, is providing opportunities to increase access to more information in a timely way.
Vision Australia also employs synthetic voice technology to address the challenge of making more information accessible and usable. Recent developments in more natural-sounding synthetic voices have enabled us to provide more information to clients as well as improve the quality and effectiveness of our synthetic voice products and services. The recent creation of an authentic Australian synthetic voice further enhances the reading experience for our clients.
Vision Australia is also building on our relationship with public libraries to support clients, enabling them to connect with their local communities and provide access to a much broader range of information. Recently approximately 1,000 DAISY players were placed into public libraries across Australia to support this initiative.
Access to information is fundamental to how people interact, find work and become independent. Vision Australia is responding to client feedback to provide access to a broader range of information online through a range of mainstream and specialist devices, along with training and support. These initiatives have been put in place so that people who are blind, have low vision or are otherwise print disabled have access to the information they need and want anywhere, anytime.
We have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go!
Thanks go to Andrew Furlong, Technology Support Manager, Accessible Information Solutions, Vision Australia, for writing this article for publication in the DAISY Planet. Andrew is also the interim DAISY Board representative for Vision Australia, a Full Member of the DAISY Consortium.
The Dorina Nowill Foundation for the Blind and DAISY Latino Group recently hosted the second DAISY Board Meeting of the year and the DAISY International Congress of Digital Books in São Paulo, Brazil. It was the first time that a DAISY Conference or Board Meeting were held in a Latin American country.
The Board Meeting was held November 2 and 3. All Board Members were present and several observers also attended.
Two of the major outcomes of the meeting were the approval of the Obi/Tobi Phase 2 Joint Charter and the approval of the DAISY Pipeline 2, Phase 2 Charter. One of the key issues discussed was the DAISY Consortium's 3 - 5 year Strategic Plan. It was also suggested by several Board Members that key DAISY Consortium communications be translated. DAISY Board minutes are posted on the DAISY website and can be accessed with login by both Full and Associate Members of the Consortium. The minutes of the São Paulo meeting will be posted in the near future.
Members of the Board reported that the hosts were excellent and made everyone feel very welcome and comfortable. As the meeting drew to a close Stephen King, President Elect of the Consortium, on behalf of the Board, presented Hiroshi Kawamura with gifts as thanks for his years of service as President.
The glass "Snellen chart paperweight" which was presented is a hand blown glass paperweight, specially created for the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB). It is one of a series inspired by the experience of the eye test: a jumble of copper 'E' shapes float in layers of hot glass, mingling with prints of the Snellen chart, distorted by the optical effects of the material. This unique glass piece was made at the Royal College of Art in London by the artist Shelley James and the glass blower James Devereux.
The DAISY Conference which spanned two days brought together representatives of institutions, libraries, universities, accessibility commissions and governmental organizations from 18 countries. At the opening of the Conference, Dr. Linamara Rizzo Battistella of the Office of Rights of the Person with Disabilities for the state of São Paulo, released the first ever bilingual Portuguese-English/English-Portuguese dictionary in the DAISY format.
During the Conference themes such as the production and distribution of DAISY books around the world, online distribution of accessible books, challenges faced by producers, the commercial market, DAISY AI (DAISY 4) and EPUB 3 were presented and discussed. Translation was provided for participants.
Stephen King, the incoming President of the DAISY Consortium, gave a presentation in which he set out a 5 point plan to solve the book famine. King's presentation, entitled "DAISY in the Future: Ending the Book Famine" deals with partnerships, standards, training, and other key potential solutions is available on DAISY Slideshare.
The Obi/Tobi Joint Charter for Phase 2 development was approved at the recent DAISY Board Meeting in São Paulo, Brazil. In Phase 1 the code bases for these two DAISY authoring tools were merged, bringing efficiencies to the development of both Obi and Tobi. Phase 2 development will run from November 2011 through December 2012.
The primary objectives of Phase 2 are:
In addition, Obi/Tobi features requested by the DAISY community will be added. Complete details about the objectives are provided in the Phase 2 Joint Charter.
The development which will span 14 months is ambitious. In order to achieve the objectives within the timeframe, the DAISY Consortium has issued a Call for Participation. DAISY Consortium developments, both in the standards and tool arenas, have been collaborative in nature. Obi/Tobi Phase 2 development is no exception; it is a worldwide development requiring committed developers, usability experts and testers.
The expected contributions and skill requirements for developers, DAISY/EPUB production experts, and testers & proactive users are detailed in the Call for Participation. The timelines to confirm your commitment to work with other experts on this important project are:
If you are willing and able to contribute please notify Avneesh Singh, the Project Lead, at asingh[at]daisy[dot]org or Daniel Weck, Principal Architect, at dweck[at]daisy[dot]org.
Obi and Tobi will continue to exist as two distinct DAISY authoring tools, targeting different production requirements. The common denominator is the underlying Urakawa SDK, which helps to reduce software development & maintenance costs. Obi will remain a more lightweight, easy to learn and use tool as compared to Tobi which is designed to handle the complexities and intricacies of structured XML text.
At the present time Tobi can import text-only DTBook files (2005-1,2,3), and the DAISY 3 full-text/full-audio fileset. It can export the DAISY 3 full-text/full-audio fileset. Obi is used primarily to create DAISY audio content with structure. Both tools are designed to be fully accessible.
Tobi provides limited text editing features (it is not an XML editor); the TTS feature is also limited. The focus of Tobi is, and will remain, to provide an audio/text synchronization workflow based on live voice recording and/or insertion of pre-recorded audio clips. Tobi is used not only to produce DAISY 3 content with human narration, it can also be used to modify existing full-text/full-audio publications (for example, content that have been generated using automated speech synthesis processes, such as the DAISY Pipeline).
The M-Enabling Summit is the first global mobile industry conference and showcase dedicated solely to accessible and assistive applications and services for seniors and persons with disabilities. The Summit will take place in Washington, D.C., December 5 - 6, 2011 at the Federal Communications Commission headquarters and the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center.
Topics relevant to all aspects of mobile accessibility will be covered by more than 75 invited speakers and high-caliber participants. Key speakers include Dr. Hamadoun Touré – International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Secretary-General, Mohammed Al-Tarawneh – United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Inaugural Chairperson, Kareem Dale – White House Office of Public Engagement and Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy, and Julius Genachowski – Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman.
The multi-track conference sessions and an exclusive showcase will highlight the many innovations which address the specific needs of people living with different types of disability, as well as major emerging market opportunities such as applications for travel and tourism, cloud-based assistive technologies, solutions for learning and cognitive disabilities, special education and emergency response.
Stephen King, President-elect, DAISY Consortium will participate in the "International Panel on Policies and Programs to Promote Accessible and Assistive Mobile Services for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities" which will be chaired by Dr. Hamadoun Touré. Varju Luceno, Director of Communications, DAISY Consortium, will participate in Breakout Session D: "Innovator's Session – Leading Apps and Solutions for Visually Impaired Users.
Full details are available in the M-Enabling Summit Agenda. Participants will receive a 25% discount for online registration using the promotion code: Partner25. The DAISY Consortium has received a number of free "Exhibit Only Passes" which it is making available to DAISY Members and Friends. If you are interested in going to the M-Enabling Summit Exhibit, please contact Varju Luceno by email at varju[dot]luceno[at]gmail.com regarding the free passes.
The Association for the Blind of Western Australia (ABWA) has implemented a somewhat different approach to the delivery of library services. They've developed a USB drive sleeve for NLS-style cartridges, however there are notable differences between the systems, for example, ABWA assigns drives to library patrons using the unique serial number of each drive.
Library users can return the sleeves in the mail. The sleeves are put into one of the loading stations where the BookLoader software developed by ABWA "reads" a list of new titles for that user from the library information system, erases the drive and loads the new titles onto it. Each station is able to load four drives at a time and the loading process averages 3-5 minutes per drive. Each ABWA BookDrive USB flash drive media has the capacity to hold between 8 - 15 books, depending on the length (size) of each title. The drives are received, erased, reloaded and ready for return to the user in a single day.
In addition to the staff-run loading stations ABWA also has BookDrive kiosks that their patrons can use to load their own books. The kiosks are located in the ABWA building in Victoria Park. The process requires no interaction on the part of the patron other than to insert the BookDrive into the slot located on the front of the kiosk.
The entire system, both backend database and storage, and front end loading stations and kiosks run on Apple Macintosh computers which run Apple's VoiceOver screen reader, permitting staff, volunteers and patrons who are blind or have low vision to access and use the system.
ABWA developed the USB sleeve to allow users to connect the BookDrive to DAISY players such as the Plextor PTN1 and PTN2 which are in common use in Australia. The USB sleeve can connect to any standard USB device or computer.
The library and all of its holdings in the online catalogue can be accessed by user through the ABWA website. Library patrons may access books via download or through the postal delivery service.
The ABWA digital catalogue collection is divided into two parts:
ABWA complies with the Copyright Act (1968) as amended.
The article on my work that appeared in the April DAISY Planet (John J. Boyer) is being reprinted in Dialogue, a magazine for people who are blind or who have low-vision. I'm hoping that it will help get more support for BrailleBlaster which is now partly working. Have a look at www.brailleblaster.org.
Is there a way in which I could interest one of the developers of the DAISY Pipeline in helping me find pieces of the Pipeline code that could be used in BrailleBlaster?
Editor's Note: John's message was passed along to Romain Deltour, the Pipeline 2 Project Lead, who has responded to John's request for assistance.
I have a question regarding AMIS DAISY Playback Software - it currently supports DAISY 2.02 and 3 – will it work for DAISY 4 when it comes out? We are planning to start producing DAISY 4, as it seems that there will be more options to transform to different formats we may require in the future. Do you have any updates on when DAISY 4 will be released?
Manager, Provincial Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired (PRCVI) and Accessible Resource Centre-British Columbia (ARC-BC),
Your question is actually not as straight forward as it might seem. DAISY AI (Authoring & Interchange), sometimes also called DAISY 4 and Zed AI, will be the standard for creating and archiving DAISY content. It will enable output in multiple accessible formats. The DAISY Pipeline 2 will include a transformer that will take DAISY AI content and transform it to EPUB 3, DAISY 2.02 and 3 (or other desired/required formats) for distribution. DAISY AI will not be a playback format.
DAISY 2.02, 3 and EPUB 3 will be used in parallel for quite some time and it should be possible to create all of these from DAISY AI via the DAISY Pipeline 2.
I expect that the next question coming from this information might be: 'will AMIS support EPUB 3?'. The lead AMIS developer has indicated that there are no plans to add EPUB 3 support to AMIS, but it will of course be possible to transform DAISY AI content into DAISY 2.02 and DAISY 3, which AMIS does support. AMIS, DAISY 2.02 and DAISY 3 will be with us for some time to come.
A working draft of the revised DAISY Standard (DAISY AI) was released in March of this year. The Standard will be submitted to NISO (National Information Standards Organization) for certification. When the revised DAISY Standard is released the details will be made available via multiple venues including a press release, News on the DAISY homepage, DAISY Twitter, RSS Feed and of course the DAISY Planet.
Hope this helps Chris.
• The O'Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing Conference 2012, will take place February 13-15, 2012, in New York, NY. The DAISY Consortium is an O'Reilly Media Partner; the DAISY logo, link to the DAISY website and a short summary about the Consortium are displayed: "The DAISY Consortium embraces the principles of global collaboration and transparency which define open standards development...".
There were more than 1,400 registrants and over 70 speakers at the 2011 TOC Conference.
If you plan to attend in 2012, use the promotional code toc12daisy to receive a 15% discount off the registration price. Information about this year's O'Reilly TOC Tools of Change for Publishing Conference entitled "Change/Forward/Fast" is available on the TOC 2012 website. Early registration ends December 20.
• November 1 was the launch of the European CLOUD4all Project, the European Commission funded program to develop a cloud-based accessibility architecture. The project partners and collaborators met in Madrid, at Technosite/ONCE. Technosite is a member of the
Raising the Floor Consortium and the project coordinator. Raising the Floor - International is the technical coordinator for CLOUD4all which will carry out research on some of the key core technologies of the
Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII)
and creating some of its first implementations. The 4-year, $3 million/year project is funding the European efforts of the Consortium to build the GPII.
The purpose of the GPII is to "ensure that everyone who faces accessibility barriers due to disability, literacy, or aging, regardless of economic resources, can access and use the Internet and all its information, communities, and services for education, employment, daily living, civic participation, health, and safety". A captioned video (available in multiple alternate versions, with or without music) which describes the GPII Project is also available on the GPII website.
• Techshare India 2012, "Bridging the Barriers" will take place February 6 - 7 in New Delhi, India. The 2012 Conference will "build awareness, identify needs, and provide solutions and implementation strategies to create an inclusive environment for people with disabilities". Techshare India 2010 was attended by 500 delegates from around the world, with more than 50 speakers, 2,000 visitors and 40 exhibition stalls. The 2012 Conference is being organized by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) and BarrierBreak Technologies which is a subsidiary of Net Systems Informatics (India) Pvt. Ltd..
• The US Department of Health and Human Services,
National Institutes of Health (NIH) has released a study which finds that dyslexia is not linked to IQ. The study was conducted by Fumiko Hoeft, M.D., Ph.D., Stanford University (California), and colleagues at Boston College; York University (Toronto); and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge).
The study "showed that when they engaged in tasks involving phonological awareness, children with dyslexia showed the same patterns of brain activation, regardless of whether or not they had high or low IQ scores in relation to their reading abilities." [Phonological awareness: "matching printed letters of the alphabet to the speech sounds that those letters represented".] The NIH news release is concluded with this statement by Dr. Hoeft: "Regardless of IQ, all children with dyslexia should be eligible for support in learning to read."
• The 6th European eAccessibility Forum website was launched earlier this month in English
and French. The general description and programme committee as well as the five main approaches which will be addressed are included. This year's Forum which is entitled "eAccessibility at the core of information systems" will take place March 26, 2012 at Cité des sciences et de l'industrie, Paris.
The question of making mainstream books more accessible will be central. Discussions around "Putting e-Accessibility at the core of the publishing processes: how do e-accessibility standards satisfy all information recipients?" and "Can the DAISY and EPUB 3 standards be a model for other sectors of the ICT field?" will be encouraged.
The programme committee includes representatives from Switzerland, France, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Austria and Ireland as well as representatives from international organizations. George Kerscher, Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium, and Varju Luceno, Director of Marketing for the Consortium are among the committee members.
• The Acapela Group has very recently announced the Acapela Kiosk, a publishing service "in the cloud" designed to meet the accessible content requirements of publishers. The web interface supports speech synthesis of both short and long documents, providing accessible audio information for all readers. Both DAISY and MP3 output options are available. "Hands on" management of all aspects of audio production, including online editing and lexicon handling are supported. Additional information is available in the Acapela Group PR Newswire.
• The 27th Annual International Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference (CSUN) will be held in San Diego, California, February 27 - March 3, 2012. The Speaker Registration deadline is December 2. Conference registration for attendees will open Monday, December 5. Details about the Conference, including information about the keynote speaker, Pre-Conference Workshops, the Exhibit Hall and more are provided in the CSUN 2011 Fall Newsletter
• DIAGRAM is an acronym for
"Digital Image and Graphic Resources for Accessible Materials". The DIAGRAM Center was established to find methods to make image descriptions in textbooks more effective for students who have a print disability and less costly for content producers. The DIAGRAM website which is evolving brings the work of the Center to the public. Guideline and tools on the website which may be useful to DAISY producers include:
° Image Description Guidelines
° Diagram Center Image Description Process Steps
° Poet Image Description Tool ° Welcome to the Poet Image Description Tool
• "The "Text-to-Speech Synthesis Technology" ASA Standards working group (S3-WG91) is conducting a web-based test that applies the method it will be proposing as an ANSI standard for evaluating TTS intelligibility. It is an open-response test ("type what you hear"). The test uses syntactically correct but semantically meaningless sentences, Semantically Unpredictable Sentences (SUS)." [From an email sent on behalf of the S3-WG91 Standards Working Group]
The goals of the Intelligibility Evaluation are to "evaluate methods for assessing the intelligibility of synthetic (i.e., computer-generated) speech and to measure the intelligibility of synthetic speech at different speaking rates." It takes approximately 15 minutes to complete the test.
• Bookshare has published a
list of reading technologies (hardware and software) that are compatible with Bookshare's DAISY 3.0 (text only) and Braille (BRF) formats. The links in the list are to:
° Free Readers for Bookshare Members
° Assistive Technology Devices
° Computer Software
° Mobile Phones and Tablets
° Other Technology
• The Advance Conference Registration deadline for ATIA's 2012 Orlando Conference for Group, Alliance Partner and VIP Exhibitor Customer Registration is December 19. ATIA will take place January 25 - 28, at the Caribe Royal in Orlando, Florida.
• The guidelines "Accessible Publishing, Best Practice Guidelines for Publishers" produced by EDItEUR, the International standards organization, are available in English in Word, HTML and PDF, in Word in either French or Spanish, and in German in PDF format. They can also be viewed in a variety of formats in Japanese by downloading a zip file. Links to each of the language translations and file formats are provided on the EDItEUR Enabling Technologies Framework page.
• PLEXTALK Recording Software (PRS) is now bundled with the PLEXTALK Pocket. The PLEXTALK Pocket portable player offers both DAISY playback and recording. The PRS Software is now also available at no cost to PLEXTALK Pocket users. Three functions are now provided in one package: Recording, Editing and CD-R Writing. If you have a PLEXTALK Pocket, you can download the installer from the PLEXTALK website downloads area and install it onto your computer while your player is connected via USB.
• Obi-Tobi 2.0 Project, Phase 2 Call for Participation: the DAISY Consortium is reaching out to DAISY Community of developers, usability experts and testers. DAISY Standards and tools have been and continue to be collaborative efforts. Information about the project, commitments, contact details and deadlines for those interested in contributing are provided in the article Obi-Tobi Phase 2: Revised Charter Approved.
• A translation of AMIS in Hungarian is now available and can be downloaded. Thanks go to Dávid Németh and the IT Foundation for the Visually Impaired in Hungary for this AMIS translation.