There is quite a bit of reading in this issue of the DAISY Planet – I do hope that many of the articles and columns will be of interest to you. If you receive the newsletter email that goes out for each issue, you might have noticed an 'addition' this month. I received a request asking that I include a table of contents for the DAISY Planet in the email to make it easier to identify articles of interest. Thank you for the suggestion Matti, I will add a list of the feature articles to the email notice this month. Having said this, there is much more to each issue than the feature columns, so if you pick and choose from the email, you might be missing an important or time-sensitive piece of information.
The Early Bird registration deadline for the Future Accessibility and Publishing Conference closes March 31. The reduced fee for DAISY Consortium Full Member and Associate Member organizations is not affected by this and will continue until registration closes May 31. The Conference will be immediately preceded by the first DAISY Board meeting for 2013 and the Annual General Meeting (all DAISY Members and Friends are welcome to attend the AGM). At 16:30 (4:30 in the afternoon) on the first day of the conference, the DAISY Digital Zone will provide you with an opportunity to learn about new services, products and activities in a relaxed atmosphere with others in the DAISY community. Additional presentations are being added to the list.
It has just been announced that on June 15, the day following the Conference, a half-day round table discussion will take place at the conference hotel; it will be free of charge and open to anyone wishing to attend. The goal for this meeting is to bring together technical people from DAISY member organizations to share information, thoughts and questions about critical issues in these rapidly changing times: production workflow, changing requirements, internal production & distribution formats, plus production tools & relationships with mainstream publishers. It is hoped that the discussions will also provide input for the DAISY Consortium in its efforts to support its member organizations as effectively as possible. If you wish to attend or have questions please email Arne Kyrkjebø as soon as possible.
In the email notice for the first March issue of TechWatch, Varju Luceno (our Director of Communications) wrote: "Arthur C. Clarke has said 'Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.' Thank you for making magic happen every day." Thinking back to 1996 when the DAISY Consortium was formed, what the Consortium and all of its Member and Friends have done over the years to make information accessible is rather magical. Perhaps one of our more magical achievements is the greatly heightened awareness of the need for accessible publications, particularly within the publishing industry. Speak out, spread the word, let's keep up the momentum.
Congratulations to HumanWare – a company which is one of the original Friends of the DAISY Consortium, has received the 2013 Winston Gordon Award of Excellence in Accessible Technology: "It is known throughout the industry that HumanWare has had a profoundly positive impact on people who are blind and partially sighted…." This was the 25th annual presentation of this CNIB award.
The DAISY Calendar of Events is there to help our membership and others in our community to keep track of upcoming events and meetings. If you know of conferences, forums, events, courses etc. that may be of interest to the DAISY community, please let us know via our DAISY Contact Us Form, and select the Calendar/Event/News category.
There are 12 DAISY Forums covering topics ranging from the General Forum for questions not related to the other 11 more specific discussion forums. If you have a question you cannot find the answer for, go over our forums page and consider posting your question to the forum that applies. Alternatively, you can also get in touch with us using our Contact Us Form which has more than 20 categories from which to choose.
This month Matt Garrish's story is featured. Many of the DAISY stories we publish are written by people who have been involved in one way or another with information access for decades and/or who have used access technology for much of their lives. Matt is a little newer to the world accessible information – his perspective and insights are therefore rather refreshing. He is the editor of the EPUB 3 specification and is also an author. And, when necessary, he can explain 'things technical' in non-technical terms to those of us who are somewhat less 'geeky'. That is a rare gift. Thank you Matt for sharing your story with us.
I'd like to thank everyone who has written to me with ideas, articles and suggestions for this issue of the DAISY Planet. Your input helps me to provide our community with the information it needs to remain up to date on issues of importance and interest. DAISY stories provide insight into the lives of people we might not otherwise have ever come to know. You can reach me by email (you will have my address if you receive the DAISY Planet email notice) or you can use the DAISY Contact Us Form (DAISY Planet Newsletter Category).
• To determine if your EPUB 3 publications are accessible, use the EPUB 3 QA Checklist Generator to generate a checklist specific to your publication/s. Please also reference the full Accessibility QA Checklist. Both are on the IDPF website. For information about how to ensure that your EPUB 3 publications are accessible please also reference the EPUB 3 Accessibility Guidelines which were updated earlier this month.
• The International Publishers Association (IPA) has endorsed EPUB 3 as global publishing standard, recommending "that publishers and their national publishers' associations familiarise themselves with EPUB 3 and explore whether and how they can make best use of its functionalities." Full details, including the seven reasons why IPA is endorsing EPUB 3 (including the fact that "EPUB 3 can be made fully accessible to print disabled readers") are available in the March 12 IPA press release. IPA, which was established in 1896, is an international industry federation representing all aspects of book and journal publishing with membership of more than 60 organisations from more than 50 countries. It is an industry association with a human rights mandate.
• The IDPF Board of Directors unanimously approved elevation of EPUB Indexes to public draft status on March 7. The draft specification, produced by the EPUB Indexes Working Group, defines a consistent way of encoding the structure and content of indexes in EPUB Publications. It will provide the benefits of a print index and also supports interactive functionality and features not possible in a print book. A call for review of the public draft of EPUB indexes was issued March 14. Comments on the draft are being solicited through April 15, 2013. IDPF members may submit comments via the EPUB WG mailing list. Both members and non-members may submit comments by email to the working group co-chair. The announcement is posted on the IDPF website. Additional information is available on the EPUB Indexes Working Group Wiki. The Charter for Dictionaries and Glossaries Charter for Dictionaries and Glossaries was approved by the IDPF membership on January 30, 2012. Work is underway.
• Smuuks has released "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" as a free Audio-eBook in EPUB 3 format. It employs Media Overlays. Full details about sources for the text, audio and book cover, and a link to download the EPUB 3 book are provided on the Smuuks website. This EPUB 3 book is open and DRM-free and released under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution - Non commercial - Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
• A summary of the W3C workshop on Electronic Books and the Open Web Platform is available on the W3C website. "eBooks: Great Expectations for Web Standards" was held by W3C, together with IDPF (International Digital Publishing Forum) and BISG (Book Industry Study Group) on February 11 and 12, co-located and hosted by the O'Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing Conference. Details of each of the keynotes and sessions are provided, including links to the agenda, presentations and minutes for each session. In the conclusion the need for participation by the publishing industry in W3C and with related experts in IDPF and BISG work was emphasized.
CSUN conference can be like a family reunion - happy, yet a little bit crazy and overwhelming for those who attend this event to catch up with colleagues to share ideas, innovations and discoveries. This year an estimated 3,000 people attended the 28th Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference held in San Diego. It is difficult to provide a comprehensive report on all events and sessions. Fortunately, Christopher Phillips has compiled an extensive Big List of CSUN 2013 resources including presentation slides and media mentions.
We published the list of DAISY Consortium Members & Friends who would have exhibits at CSUN 2013 in the DAISY TechWatch newsletter. And there were news from many at the conference, including Bookshare announcing the release of their new Web Reader that allows its members to read books in a web browser. HIMS, Inc. has been working on the soon-to-be-released BrailleSense firmware Version 8.0 – this upgrade elicited discussions at the conference.
HumanWare hosted a breakfast for the DAISY Consortium Members and Friends interested in discussing the future of DAISY Online Delivery on February 28th. Their second generation Victor Reader Stream player received a lot of attention at CSUN. Among other notable improvements (new sleek design, lighter weight) is an 802.11N Wi-Fi chip which is included for future upgrades. The Victor Reader Stream now also allows for charging via USB port.
The Transforming Braille project group also held a meeting at CSUN. We are grateful for their efforts to bring braille devices at affordable prices to parts of the world where this technology is at present simply not affordable. George Kerscher and I had a chance to meet several DAISY Consortium Friends and Members at the conference and we would like to thank all of them for these opportunities.
Amy Mason from NFB provided an interesting and helpful session covering different braille notetakers including devices such as BraillePlus (APH), HumanWare BrailleNote, PacMate, and BrailleSense (HIMS). She compared different features of these devices and pointed out that users have different work habits and preferences – there is a suitable notetaker available for each user. Amy also provided information about mainstream devices that can be used as notetakers, namely Google Nexus 7, iPad, and Microsoft Surface RT.
Representing RNIB, Dave Gunn shed light on students' needs and preferences in the classroom environment during his session Creating eBooks as an Accessible Format. He explained that observations have proven that students want their editing and conversion tools to be intuitive and easy to use. In this context, RNIB staff tested the effectiveness of different word processing tools and their conversion capabilities including Microsoft Word, Pages, iBooks Author, Writer2EPUB and Calibre, which is an open source e-book management and conversion tool. Each tool has its strengths and weaknesses, but can be used to create accessible content. Dave also stated that the importance of well thought out document structure cannot be underestimated.
During his presentation Andrew Furlong introduced the services offered by Vision Australia and mentioned that delivering accessible books on CDs is unsustainable in the future. Vision Australia has been creating about 4,000 CDs per day. The average age of their patron is 79. Digital technology can divide people, but it can also help people stay active. Mainstream solutions do not work for everyone. To better serve the growing aging population (22 million), Vision Australia is implementing a new service that utilizes the DAISY Online Delivery specification. A PC is not required. Patrons are using the PlexTalk DAISY players with which they are already familiar and this makes implementation easier due to a minimal learning curve.
CSUN 2014 which will take place in San Diego is scheduled for March 17-22, 2014.
Thanks go to Varju Luceno, Director of Communications for the DAISY Consortium for writing this article for publication in the DAISY Planet.
Earlier this week at the Paris Book Fair the Readium.org open source initiative announced its evolution into a formal consortium which will foster a community of open source projects for digital publishing. The Foundation, which at the time of the launch is made up of more than 25 members, is membership-based and non-profit.
Readium.org was launched in 2012 by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) and supporters in order to develop a browser-based reference implementation of the EPUB 3 standard. Its initial project has matured into a popular Chrome browser extension (available on the Chrome Web Store), which supports all EPUB 3 functionality. The codebase has been adopted as the nucleus of several browser-based "cloud" readers, including the new Bookshare Web Reader, and the project will continue on that vector as "Readium Web". [Source: Readium.org press release]
The public announcement of a new "Readium SDK" open source project was also made at the Paris Book Fair. The Readium SDK (Software Development Kit) is developing an implementation of EPUB 3 for native applications, optimized for high performance on resource-constrained mobile devices. Significant contributions to the SDK have already been made by a number of the Foundation's members.
DAISY Consortium – "The DAISY Consortium works with publishing and technology partners to deliver the best way to read and publish. Our goal is to enable publishing and technology industries to meet national disability legislation and obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Our contributions to the EPUB 3 ecosystem, including participation in the new Readium Foundation, are aimed at making accessibility a core aspect of mainstream digital publishing. Thanks to EPUB 3's added semantic and navigational richness, it is now possible to create publications that are both dynamic and accessible." – Stephen King, President, DAISY Consortium
Benetech – "Benetech has always been a supporter of open source and eBook accessibility. We're making every effort to help the publishing industry and other content creators move toward creating and delivering 'born accessible' content. Benetech has contributed accessibility features to Readium and has deployed Readium Web under the Bookshare Web Reader name to over 250,000 Bookshare members with print disabilities. We look forward to being a member of the Readium Foundation and continued collaboration with IDPF." – Gerardo Capiel, VP Engineering, Benetech
"Most digital content professionals recognise the legal and business case for developing accessible products and services. Nonetheless, campaigns exhorting e-Accessibility tend to ring hollow as the professionals concerned lack the basic training to be able to implement the associated techniques, methodologies and technologies. Accessibility is absent from the curricula of most universities, and companies rarely consider it sufficiently strategic to be the subject of employee training and development." from the Introduction on the Forum website
On 18 March, speakers and delegates from around the world gathered in Paris to attend the 7th European e-Accessibility Forum organised by the Institut de l'Accessibilité Numérique, BrailleNet and Universcience. This year's event focused on "Developing e-Accessibility as a Professional Skill" and brought together speakers from both the private and public sectors. The message throughout the day was clear: developing e-Accessibility skills in-house, or outsourcing to trained professionals, is crucial to the future success of e-Accessibility, and central to an organisation's competitiveness, edge and growth ambitions.
Nellie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission, opened the day by delivering a video message confirming the Commission's commitment to e-inclusion. She acknowledged that e-Accessibility as a professional skill was "a great thing to look at" and most certainly the "way forward" for e-Accessibility.
The day was divided into four sessions. In the first session, Industry Needs for e-Accessibility Skills, speakers addressed practical requirements within the public services and publishing sectors. Gerald Schmidt of Pearson Education made a solid case for training editors in-house; inherently transferable, the skills gained can contribute to an employee's career development and are therefore valued and nurtured by production teams. Luc Audrain, Head of Digitisation for Hachette, painted a less rosy picture as he described the limited take-up of best practice and basic structuration tools available to publishers. He concluded by calling for educators to make e-Accessibility a central part of any publishing training programme.
The second session, "Education, Training and Outreach", opened with an overview of the uptake of e-Accessibility in specialised and mainstream curricula by Klaus Miesenberger of the University of Linz. Sarah Hilderley of EDItEUR gave a presentation of the guidelines and training modules available to publishers and gave some practical advice on how to make immediate steps to improve the accessibility of in-house workflows and digital content. Mathieu Nebra concluded with an energetic presentation of the e-learning site he founded in 1999, www.siteduzero.com. A collaborative learning model with over two million visitors each month, this provided food for thought on the potential for both professionals and end users to work together in a virtual environment.
The first of the two afternoon sessions looked at specific skill sets that abled and disabled professionals are bringing to the table, and in particular at the specialist fields that have emerged in this domain. Nigel Lewis gave an engaging talk about the work that AbilityNet is doing to ensure that knowledge and learning on e-Accessibility is pervasive throughout the IT industry. He also talked about his own staff and how their e-Accessibility skills, developed through in-house graduate training schemes, are one of the organisation's key assets.
The final session, Models for Fostering National and International Cooperation gave some practical examples of ways professionals are working together to drive e-Accessibility on the national and international arena. Denis Boulay of AccessiWeb shared the ten year history of the GTA, an active community of 470 professionals from the public and private sector who collectively work to consolidate and disseminate standards and best practices. David Dikter of ATIA announced the creation of a professional association of e-Accessibility Experts that will "provide the strategic leadership, international perspective, operational focus and sustained investments needed to transform accessibility from today's grass roots effort into an internationally respected and recognised profession". The day concluded with a presentation from Shawn Henry on the wealth of resources and initiatives developed by W3C to help established and developing e-Accessibility professionals in a wide range of areas.
Speakers and visitors alike agreed that it was an extremely useful day. Many of us are familiar with the benefits of deploying e-Accessibility from an organisation's point of view, but the benefits of developing e-Accessibility skills from an individual's perspective are rarely touched upon. The conclusion was unambiguous: getting individuals to contribute to local, national and international efforts is the key to making e-Accessibility mainstream.
The proceedings will be posted on the Forum website in the near future.
Thanks go to Dominique Burger, President of BrailleNet, and to Katie Durand for writing and submitting this article for publication in the DAISY Planet.
In order to determine if SALB members' needs were being met, the South African Library for the Blind (SALB) prepared service evaluation survey which was conducted with participation of more than 300 of its clients. The questions were grouped into sections covering topics such as braille, DAISY, audio, narration, collection development, and magazine services.
The purpose of the survey was to measure the quality of services being provided to SALB members. The output, products, activities and service of specific sections were evaluated by testing the level of satisfaction of members and their general perception of the library service.
The survey provided valuable insight on the reading needs of its members. Comments were also captured and have been used as additional information to draw conclusions.
SALB has formulated a number of improvement strategies for each of the areas surveyed based on the results.
This event, hosted by UNESCO and partners on February 25 to 27, marked the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Plan of Action of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). World leaders, high-level participants from governments, the private sector, NGOs and other groups attended the event which took place at UNESCO Head Quarters in Paris, France. Both Stephen King, President of the DAISY Consortium, and Bernhard Heinser, the Consortium's CFO were present at the review which was held to assess progress made since 2003 and future ICT trends. On the 25th, Bernhard provided the overview "Accessible Publishing – Key Words, Topics, Concepts".
Several action lines on inclusion of persons with disabilities were outlined at both the WSIS in Geneva in 2003 and in Tunis is 2005. When implemented these actions will benefit persons with disabilities, providing them with accessible content and tools to fully participate in society, and access to services based on digital technologies.
A special session on inclusion of persons with disabilities in society was held on the 26th and at an all-day open panel discussion working group session on the 27th. The primary purpose of the panel discussion was to work on the development of concrete recommendations for development of a model policy for the implementation of the UN Convention Articles on "Accessibility" and "Education of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities".
The report WSIS+10 Review and Strategic Directions for Building Inclusive Knowledge Societies for Persons with Disabilities by Axel Leblois, Executive Director of G3ict (The Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communications Technologies) is available on the UNESCO website. Within the context of the WSIS Action Lines "the objective of this report is to review the current status, analyze trends and emerging innovations in connection to the use by persons with disabilities of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to access information and knowledge, and to formulate recommendations that will help UNESCO and other partners in shaping its strategy." The DAISY Consortium and the DAISY and EPUB standards are referenced numerous times. In Part Two, in the section headed DAISY CONSORTIUM AND EPUB3 standards (pages 53-54), it states:
"The Consortium's vision since inception was that all published information should be available to people with print disabilities, at the same time and at no greater cost, in an accessible, feature-rich, navigable format. The history of the DAISY Consortium is of significance since its foundation is intimately linked to organizations providing services to persons with disabilities such as libraries for the blind. The DAISY Consortium has since its inception pursued a strategy to partner with industry: it works in close cooperation with the W3C – WAI and other standard development organizations… and recently successfully developed with the International Publish[ing] Forum a common set of guidelines incorporating the DAISY accessibility requirements into the nonproprietary ePUB3 standard…
The potential impact of ePUB3 cannot be understated in the context of promoting access to knowledge for persons with disabilities in particular in relation to Education."
There are five recommendations made at the end of the report. "DAISY/ePUB3" is identified in Recommendations 3 and 4 as follows:
"Recommendation #3: Building capacity to implement accessibility for persons with disabilities…Supporting the participation of national stakeholders in international ICT accessibility standards activities and to promote international ICT accessibility standards in their jurisdictions notably ISO, ITU, W3C and DAISY/ePUB3…"
"Recommendation #4: Promoting accessible and assistive information and communication technologies in support of Inclusive Education…Such model policy should include procurement criteria based upon standards including but not limited to the DAISY/ePUB3 and W3C - WAI guidelines as an incentive for publishers, information services, web services and hardware vendors to develop accessible education tools and contents…"
The Final Recommendations coming from the larger WSIS event are also available on the UNESCO website. Both of the recommendations as quoted above are included in that final report.
The Final Statement – Information and Knowledge for All: An Expanded Vision and a Renewed Commitment – resulting from the first WSIS+10 Review Event will go forward to the WSIS Forum 2013 which will be held from May 13 to 17, 2013, in Geneva. The issue of access for persons with disabilities appears in the following statement: "Continue focusing on the needs of disadvantaged and marginalized groups, including indigenous peoples and people with disabilities, to solve the problem of inaccessibility."
There are many, many more opportunities for interaction and discussion at an 'unconference'. So much so that the more than 60 participants at the Accessibility Camp in Missoula Montana proposed topics they were interested in, and those were the topics that were discussed during the one day conference.
The goal of the Missoula 'unconference' which took place March 9, at the University of Montana was to raise awareness about accessibility related topics and issues in Montana. The morning opened with a series of four Lightening Talks. There were four sessions, each with three concurrent topics being discussed (in three separate rooms). A panel discussion and group lunch was held midday, and the unconference was concluded with an 'all participant' wrap-up discussion. Topics discussed in the sessions ranged from Self Advocacy & Transitioning Students, to Screen Readers & Web Widgets, to Accountability in Education and much more.
The concept for an Accessibility Camp started with a single tweet in 2009. Since then more than 20 'camps' have been held around the world in numerous cities the US, the UK, Canada and Japan. Information about how to run an accessibility camp and about past and coming 'camps' is available on the Accessibility Camp website.
NOTE: The Accessibility Logo was designed on behalf of the EDUCAUSE IT Accessibility Constituent Group to be a generic logo, not branded for a particular organization or event. People are encouraged to use it wisely and to encourage others to use it also.
Photo credit: the photograph of the session at the Missoula Accessibility Camp was taken by Nathan Stephens, a freelance Web Designer, Social Media and Search Engine Marketing Strategist, and a Facilitator at the Camp.
"The definition of accessible includes 'capable of being reached, understood, used, or seen'. Print disability can be defined as 'a learning disability, visual impairment or physical disability… individuals diagnosed with a print disability cannot access print in the standard way.'" (source: Learning Ally)
Put these concepts together and accessibility can be seen as a spectrum, or more accurately, a matrix. A key to accessibility is providing more than one way to perceive information, such as visual, aural, and/or tactile presentations. But another component of access is providing alternate methods of using information, which is especially important for students. Students with a print disability must not only be able to read and understand their textbooks, they need to study and use the material to write reports and complete exams.
Electronic text has created new opportunities for access, but it also poses new challenges. It will remain difficult to address every possible accessibility need in one format - accessibility is diverse, and ultimately, subjective. A comprehensive accessibility strategy for any content provider should include adherence to accessibility standards as well as the flexibility to respond to unique situations and needs.
Thanks go to Robert Martinengo, Publisher Outreach Specialist with AMAC Consulting, for granting permission for this article to be reprinted in the DAISY Planet newsletter; it was originally published in the March issue of Accessible Publishing Newsletter.
Here are two comments:
1. Please, enclose a table of contents for the DAISY Planet in your emails so we could notice faster the interesting articles.
2. Have you made a longer article about DAISY apps for iPhones?
I thanked Matti for the suggestion and said that I would include a list of the feature articles in the DAISY Planet email notice to make it easier to identify articles of specific interest. In addition, links to a number of information sources we have about DAISY apps for iPhones in DAISYpedia, January DAISY TechWatch, 1st issue, and Mobile Applications in our Tools/Services were provided.
If you have written an article or have information about DAISY apps that may be of interest to our community, please get in touch with me by email or with the DAISY Contact Us Form (DAISY Planet Newsletter Category).
I've been investigating DAISY use on iPad and one of the apps I have found is Read2Go. On both the app website, and in YouTube videos, it shows sections of text being highlighted, and the word that is being spoken highlighted. When I have tried files the section highlighting has worked, but the word highlighting has not. Is this because of the type or version of DAISY file that I am trying out? If so, what version of DAISY file should I be creating?
Thanks and have a great week,
AERO Alternative Educational Resources Ontario
The Read2Go app was designed by Benetech with Shinano Kenshi Co., Ltd. (the developer and manufacturer of the PLEXTALK digital talking book player line) for Bookshare DAISY e-books but it also can be used to read non-Bookshare DAISY books.
This app does support word level highlighting. Please read the information about word level highlight and more about this app on the About Assistive Technology website. Also, AFB published an informative review about this app that you may find helpful.
Bookshare has a Contact Us form and a Commonly Asked Questions area on their website that you should also check.
If this is not a book from the Bookshare library you might try to adjust the settings or check the file.
• The Association for the Blind of Western Australia and the Commonwealth Braille & Talking Book Cooperative have made available the draft text of the International Instrument/Treaty On Limitations and Exceptions for Visually Impaired Persons/Persons with Print Disabilities (SCCR/25/2 Rev.) in DAISY 2.02 full text full audio, and braille formats (in English). The audio in the DAISY book can also be played in the correct reading order on any MP3 enabled device or computer. The braille files are in Duxbury 10.5 .dxb format as well as braille ready BRF file format, in grade 2, Unified English Braille code; it is suitable for embossing on standard A4 paper. The DAISY and braille versions can be downloaded from the ABWA website.
• The video Unlocking the Power of the iPad for the Blind on the Bloomberg TV website is about a training program for educators learning new methods for teaching students with a visual disability. Ed Summers who leads the accessibility team at SAS and who has years of experience using assistive technology teaches the courses.
• An overview and highlights of "e-Books and Accessibility Ugly Duckling or Adolescent Swan?" which took place last month is posted on the JISC Regional Support Centre website. One point made in Stephen King's keynote is summarized as follows: "...the e-Book revolution has the capacity to change this if managed properly and if publishers and accessibility advocates work hand in hand." A link to most of the presentations, including the 2 keynotes (Stephen King, President of the DAISY Consortium, and Alicia Wise, Director of Universal Access at Elsevier) and to a synopsis are provided.
• The Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) is conducting a survey to understand how to better serve the needs of readers of talking books and braille. People who are eligible to use NLS services and live in the United States can take the survey (you do not need to be a current NLS reader). The survey will be used to improve services to current readers and to find out what services readers of talking books and/or braille are looking for. It should take no longer than 25 minutes to complete it. A link to the online survey and a phone number are available on the NLS website.
• The report Tackling digital exclusion: Older blind and partially sighted people and the internet by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) with support from BT, looks at the barriers that prevent people who are blind or partially sighted from using the Internet and also presents solutions to the problem.
• How to Get Started with Keyboard Shortcuts on the How-to Geek website outlines shortcuts for browsers, working with text, plus launching and switching between programs. There are also links to more extensive lists of shortcuts.
• A list of recent New York Times children's bestsellers that are available from Bookshare is posted on the March 25 Bookshare Blog. Books for children ranging from picture books to books for young adults are included.
• Planman Technologies, a global leader in integrated content transformation solutions and Friend of the DAISY Consortium, has just announced the renaming of the company to Contentra Technologies. This change represents the company's focus on content transformation services and the broadening of its service lines. Additional information is available in the Press Release and the Contentra Technologies website.
• Obi 2.6 beta has just been released. Obi is the DAISY Consortium's open source DAISY 3 and 2.02 audio & structure authoring software. Full details about new features added, enhancements and bug fixes are provided on the Obi 2.6 beta release page. The download link is also included.
• The following question was posted to the
DAISY Authoring and Interchange Forum: "So, ZedAI is DAISYs proposed master format in a single-source publishing workflow. But as far as I can tell, you can't describe an audio book with ZedAI. So for narrated audio books (full-text or not), I fail to see how it can be used as the master format.
However, EPUB3 can be used as a master format for narrated audio books. So then I wonder, why not use EPUB3 as a master format for text-only books as well? What is there to gain from choosing ZedAI over EPUB3?
… What are the advantages and disadvantages of choosing one or the other as a master format? In what situation would one choose one or the other?"
In his response, Matt Garrish explains some of the primary differences between the two standards, and the reasons why an organization might select one or the other as a master format. He concludes with "When it comes to evaluating which markup is going to work best for you, you're ultimately going to have to weigh what works best for your organization's needs. I wouldn't say that one approach is definitively better than the other, they each just have different strengths." The information provided by Matt clarifies a number of important points on this topic. His response is available on the Forum at: ZedAI or EPUB 3 as a Master Format.