The DAISY Consortium's Newsletter - December 2016
Season's Greetings

DAISY Marketplace

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.

Publishers' Corner

The Inclusive Publishing Hub has been launched. We are still tweaking and improving the site, more information will come in 2017.

George Kerscher and Charles LaPierre will present the Accessibility Master Class at the Digital Book World conference in New York on January 17th, 2017.

Recent and upcoming changes in the regulatory landscape are making it impossible for publishers to ignore accessibility if they want to serve all the markets available to them.

Legal mandates are being harmonized globally; procurement rules and individual purchases increasingly demand that content be provided in accessible formats. While many publishers have long recognized the importance of accessibility, the lack of clarity as to what exactly is required has slowed their progress.

This session will bring you up to date on new developments and provide clear guidance as to how to make publications accessible, and how to benefit from doing so. More information can be found on the Digital Book World conference website.

Accessible Publishing Events in Tokyo: Learning From Each Other

Written by Mayu (Hamada) Makio, ATDO (Assistive Technology Development Organization)

In Japan, currently about 4000 primary school students with dyslexia and other print disabilities have been registered to use DAISY textbooks. Volunteers take care of the production and delivery with almost no financial support from the government.

The number of users doubles each year. At the same time, the number of volunteers including mothers of students with dyslexia is reaching the critical limit. Support by the government and collaboration with the publishing industry are necessary to continue these efforts.

To raise awareness and learn from experts in other countries, Japan DAISY Consortium (JDC) together with other stakeholders conducted two seminars after the DAISY Board meeting in Tokyo, Japan.

EPUB Accessibility Symposium

The EPUB Accessibility Symposium took place on November 17th. It was co-hosted by JEPA (Japan Electronic Publishing Association) and JDC.

Japan's anti-discrimination law came into force in April 2016. Consequently, accessibility awareness has been growing. About 100 people attended the conference, mostly representing publishers.

Hiroshi Kawamura

Hiroshi Kawamura (President, JDC) provided a brief introduction of the DAISY Consortium (DC). He demonstrated how to produce DAISY versions from the printed versions of Japanese textbooks with extremely complex layout.

George Kerscher and Avneesh Singh (DC) gave a presentation on the EPUB Accessibility Baseline project including how to evaluate accessibility and the methods for discovering accessible books.

Makoto Murata (CTO, JEPA) discussed current EPUB accessibility challenges in Japan. He pointed out the need to update EPUB 3 production guidelines of The Electronic Book Publishers Association of Japan to conform to EPUB Accessibility 1.0.

Digital Textbook Accessibility Symposium

The Digital Textbook Accessibility Symposium took place on November 18th. It was co-hosted by JSRPD (Japanese Society for Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities), The Nippon Foundation and JDC. There were three lectures and a panel discussion.

Maarten Verboom (DC Board Member, Dedicon, the Netherlands) talked about their current workflow of producing multiple accessible formats from one source file. He also shared Dedicon's collaboration with publishers to realize "born accessible" workflow.

Brad Turner

Brad Turner (DC Board Member from Benetech, United States) talked about Bookshare and DIAGRAM Center projects. He also explained how to make use of EPUB Accessibility Baseline to support large purchases of accessible books.

George Kerscher (DC, Chief Innovations Officer, United States) focused on the EPUB Accessibility Baseline for Educational Publishing. During the panel discussion, Richard Orme (DC CTO, United Kingdom) explained how students with print disabilities acquire the right to read in the UK.

Arne Kyrkjebø (DC Board Member from NLB, Norway) explained how the Norwegian Library of Talking Books and Braille provides publications in accessible formats to people with print disabilities using both text-to-speech and human narration. Arne also talked about their plans to migrate to EPUB 3.

Avneesh Singh (DC COO from India) shared the DAISY Forum of India initiative to develop an online national library for accessible books. He mentioned that EPUB 3 is gaining recognition as a publishing format in India.

Around 100 people including volunteers involved in DAISY production, people representing universities as well as publishers attended the symposium to learn from other countries' experiences.

EPUB 3 in Japan

EPUB 3 has become one of the most popular digital publishing formats in Japan. However, packing EPUB in proprietary systems (Digital Rights Management, distribution, and reading systems) to control the copyright, layout, and text-to-speech (TTS) pronunciation is most common. In many cases, those systems are difficult to access by a screen reader.

As Japanese language support has improved, Japanese DAISY producers are eager to move to EPUB 3. Some of the DAISY production and playback tools used in Japan have started to support the EPUB 3 format. For example, ChattyInfty3 and ChattyBooks (Science Accessibility Net), Producer and e-Reader (Shinano Kenshi) as well as Dolphin Publisher and EasyReader (Dolphin Computer Access).

Collaboration with publishers to implement "born accessible" EPUB 3 is the commonly understood path for the way forward. We'd like to learn more from other countries' experiences on how DAISY community can effectively collaborate with the publishing industry to improve the situation for DAISY users.

Photo credit: JSRPD

Report from Uganda: Creating Inclusive Libraries

The adult literacy rate in Uganda is 73.9 percent, and 66.9 percent among women, reports UNESCO. Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL) is active in Uganda, currently supporting national implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty for persons with print disabilities.

The Inclusive Libraries workshop in Kampala was organized by the DAISY Consortium (December 12-14, 2016). Trainers were Prashant Ranjan Verma and Ajay Mathur. This was the first event of its kind in Uganda, supported by UNESCO's East Africa Office and hosted by the Consortium of Uganda University Libraries.

This Consortium facilitates resource sharing among university and institutional libraries in Uganda and strengthens the library services provided to students and staff.

Uganda Workshop Participants

All 18 workshop participants were librarians from different Uganda universities.

There is an urgent need in this country to increase accessibility awareness. The ultimate goal is to build skills and resources so that the books' creation, distribution, and reading becomes accessible for all including persons with disabilities.

The workshop program focused on the following:

The workshop also included sessions on common web accessibility issues, accessibility testing, and retrofitting websites.

Participants provided positive feedback at the end of the workshop and expressed their eagerness to take steps to make their university libraries accessible.

Thank you, Prashant Ranjan Verma for your report.

The best thing that ever happened to me: Accessible media in everyday practice

Written by Elin Nord, Chair of the Swedish DAISY Consortium, University of Gothenburg

Swedish DAISY Consortium logo

The Swedish DAISY Consortium held the annual conference in Stockholm on December 1st. This year’s topic was "The best thing that ever happened to me": Accessible media in everyday practice. The conference focused on users' consumption of accessible media.

The audience consisted of librarians from public and university libraries, MTM (Swedish Agency for Accessible Media) staff, disability organizations and other interest groups.

Inspiring speakers

The day started out with Beate Grimsrud, author, and filmmaker, giving a personal, entertaining and thoughtful presentation about being dyslexic. Beate told us about the negative reactions she got from her teacher at school when she told that she wanted to be an author when she grew up. Now she is one of the most famous writers in the Nordic countries.

Jesper Klein (Chair of the Board, DAISY Consortium) focused on two main topics:

He pointed out several challenges for all of us working with different aspects of accessible media. He also shared the DAISY Consortium's current projects.

The Swedish researcher Idor Svensson presented results from his current research project aimed to evaluate the efficiency of assistive technologies, mainly apps, for dyslexic children. The study shows positive effects, not only on the reading skills but also on the self-esteem of the children involved in the study.

The day also contained presentations from teachers and students who use accessible media in their daily work and studies. Maria Samuelsson, a primary school teacher, spoke of the importance of making students who use books in alternative formats to feel equally included in the classroom activities. She gave us examples of success stories that showed that early use of accessible books makes a big difference in students' reading skills and their self-esteem.

Key factors to succeeding

The key factor for succeeding in university studies is to get textbooks in accessible formats; two students enrolled in universities informed us. They also pointed out the importance of learning study strategies, adapted for using talking books, so students can study more efficiently.

One suggestion was: Why not start a preparation course for students with disabilities, so they can be prepared before they start their university studies, learn about their campus and what support they can get!

Amy-prize-winners

The Amy prize winner, Gothenburg University Library, represented by Charlotta Höckerfors and Ann-Katrin Ek, shared their success factors with us:

Bengt Fredrikson from the easy-to-read magazine 8 sidor (8 Pages) held a presentation about what easy-to-read means. He said that easy-to-read isn’t only about how you write. It’s also about what you already know about the content, the target group, the design of the text and whether you are interested in what the text is about.

Editor's note: The aim of 8 sidor magazine is to make literature and news accessible for, above all, adults with reading difficulties or limited literacy and language skills. Publication of easy-to-read literature has a rather long tradition in Sweden. Easy-to-read books have been published since 1968.

We also got the opportunity to listen to the presentations about MTM projects that aim to increase awareness about accessible media. MTM also strives to attract new users who would enjoy talking books and newspapers delivered through DAISY online service.

All presentations were filmed. You can see them (in Swedish) at http://mtm.se/svenskadaisykonsortiet/konferenser/sdk-konferensen-2016/.

After the conference, the Swedish DAISY Consortium held their annual meeting.

BARD Express: Easy access to reading

BARD Express

BARD Express provides the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) patrons with an easy way to access BARD. Use BARD Express to browse thousands of audio books and magazines. Download them to Windows-based computer, and transfer to an NLS cartridge.

BARD Express simplifies the process by providing a menu-driven interface. It reduces the need to memorize a complicated set of keyboard commands. BARD Express can be used with as few as four keys.

BARD Express manages the audio materials that users download to their computer and organizes them for easy sorting. The program also removes the need to manually unzip files which simplifies the process of transferring talking books and magazines to a cartridge or USB drive.

Window Eyes, NVDA, and JAWS for Windows have been tested with BARD Express.

BARD Express comes with a comprehensive Help system. NLS has also produced a set of tutorial videos, called the BARD Express How-To Series, that describe how to use the functions and features of BARD Express.

Tactile Reading: Stockholm, April 5-7, 2017

Why Tactile Reading Conference?

The conference is hosted by the Swedish Agency of Accessible Media (MTM) and the National Agency for Special Needs Education and Schools (SPSM). This conference will be a forum for people working with children and youth with visual impairments or blindness, for academics in various research areas, commercial companies, developers, and contractors.

Three reasons to attend the Tactile Reading Conference (April 5-7, 2017 in Stockholm):

Listen

Choose the sessions that fit your interest! Conference organizers offer more than 50 experienced speakers who will highlight 5 important topics:

Network

An excellent occasion to meet colleagues from other countries and create new relationships.

Learn

Join the conference to develop your professional skills. Knowledge is an investment!

Register now to get the Early Bird discount, ends December 31st.

Bits & Pieces

The e-book accessibility audit launched in August 2016 and was completed in November 2016. It was a joint project between several UK Higher Education Institution (HEI) disability and library services, Jisc and representatives from the book supply industry. The audit seeks to introduce a benchmark for accessibility in e-book platforms by focusing on key areas of practical user experience. It also strives to measure basic accessibility and functionality. More information is available on the e-book accessibility audit project website.

Audiobook sales rise as stars lend authors and publishers their voice. Once a niche market catering mainly to readers with visual impairment, talking books - now more widely known as audiobooks - are very much part of the mainstream. Read more in The Australian.

IFLA Libraries Serving Persons with Print Disabilities Section's 2016 newsletter covers several hot topics including the implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty and the Finnish Accessibility Guidelines for Public Libraries. MS Word and PDF versions are available on the IFLA website.

Tech Tips

NVDA screen reader 2016.4 is now available. Find out what's new.

Tobi Version 2.6.1 has been released. New cleanup rollback feature allows users to reverse the last cleanup operation. Enjoy more robust recording and new keyboard shortcuts for moving the audio cursor forward and backward by a larger time interval. Users can adjust settings in System Preferences.

Also, "aria-details" property is implemented for linking the external Diagrammar image description document. More information is available in the Tobi project area.

Obi Version 3.9.1 comes with localization updates for users of French, Spanish, Finnish and Portuguese language versions. To find out more, go the Obi project space.