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Baltimore, MD - August 7, 2012 - The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) and the DAISY Consortium announce the publication of the new American National Standard Authoring and Interchange Framework (ANSI/NISO Z39.98-2012). The standard defines how to represent digital information using XML to produce documents suitable for transformation into different universally accessible formats. The standard is a revision, extension, and enhancement of Specifications for the Digital Talking Book (DTB), commonly referred to as the DAISY standard (ANSI/NISO Z39.86-2005(R2012)). The DAISY Consortium is the Maintenance Agency for both standards.
"The A&I Framework is a modular, extensible architecture to permit the creation of any number of content representation models, each custom-tailored for a particular kind of information resource," states Markus Gylling, Chief Technology Officer at the DAISY Consortium and Technical Chair of the DAISY Revision Working Group. "It also provides support for new output formats, which can be added and implemented as the need arises. The standard does not impose limitations on what distribution formats can be created from it; e-text, Braille, large print, and EPUB are among formats that can be produced in conformance with the standard."
"Organizations in the DAISY community and in the mainstream of publishing have been looking for an XML framework that is powerful and flexible," states George Kerscher, Secretary General for the DAISY Consortium and Administrative Chair of the DAISY Revision Working Group. "The Authoring and Interchange Framework not only meets this need, it expands the possibility of what can be produced for the existing community of users of DAISY books and also enlarges the potential audience of both developers and users of resources that conform to this standard. New applications using this standard could include electronic magazines as well as digital books, text to speech rendering for e-readers, and multimedia publications."
"Although the new A&I Framework standard is intended to replace the Digital Talking Book standard," explains Todd Carpenter, NISO Executive Director, "feedback during trial use of the standard indicated that content providers and device manufacturers would need a transition period of several years due to the significance of the changes in the standard. To meet this need, the existing DTB standard (ANSI/NISO Z39.86) was reaffirmed for another five years and the A&I Framework was assigned a new standard number (ANSI/NISO Z39.98)."
The A&I Framework standard will be of interest to any organization using an XML authoring workflow, developers and publishers of universally accessible digital publications, and agencies interested in creating profiles for new document types to integrate into distribution formats, such as EPUB.
About the National Information Standards Organization (NISO
NISO fosters the development and maintenance of standards that facilitate the creation, persistent management, and effective interchange of information so that it can be trusted for use in research and learning. To fulfill this mission, NISO engages libraries, publishers, information aggregators, and other organizations that support learning, research, and scholarship through the creation, organization, management, and curation of knowledge. NISO works with intersecting communities of interest and across the entire lifecycle of an information standard. NISO is a not-for-profit association accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). More information about NISO is available on its website: www.niso.org.
About the DAISY Consortium
The DAISY Consortium is an international association whose mission is to develop and promote international standards and technologies which enable equal access to information and knowledge by all people with print disabilities and which also benefit the wider community. The Consortium envisions a world where people with print disabilities have equal access to information and knowledge, without delay or additional expense. The DAISY Consortium is constituted as a not-for-profit association under Swiss law. More information about DAISY is available on the DAISY Consortium website: www.daisy.org.
"It is essential that everybody in the eBook ecology work together to maintain and evolve the EPUB Standards," said George Kerscher (who is blind) Chair of the maintenance working group.
The EPUB standards are open and living specifications. The members of the working group are committed to assisting with corrections and improvements to the EPUB standards that will lead to wider adoption and greater accessibility. Details are available in the IDPF Press release.
The World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, raises awareness on the role of ICT in meeting long-term development goals. The focus of this event in 2008 has been on connecting persons with disabilities to opportunities offered by information and communication technologies (ICT). The DAISY Consortium Press Release announcing the award is available online. Please read the International Telecommunication Union press release for full details about World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, the award, and, the event. Please also read also the information about the Laureates.
DTBook, the DAISY XML file which is generated from the free downloadable add-in for Microsoft Office Word, is the foundation of the DAISY Standard for reading and publishing navigable, rich media content. This joint project is a major breakthrough in the movement to provide feature-rich, structured information to the millions of people around the world who are unable to read print due to a visual, physical, perceptual, developmental, cognitive, or learning disability.
This latest release of the DAISY Pipeline features several usability improvements including a new Windows installer, partial Hindi localization, as well as performance enhancements and the inclusion of a validator for OPS/EPUB files, the file format based on the open standard developed by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF). Also included are beta versions of several new, pivotal transformers which support the migration of content from one DAISY Standard to another.
This joint project is a major breakthrough in the movement to provide feature-rich, structured information to the millions of people around the world who are unable to read print due to a visual, physical, perceptual, developmental, cognitive, or learning disability. It is an open source project and will be hosted on SourceForge.
Details are provided in the November Issue of the DAISY Consortium's newsletter, The DAISY Planet and in the Microsoft Press Release. Also of interest will be the Microsoft Press Pass Feature. This article focuses on the user experience and need for innovation and partnership to deliver increased accessibility support more broadly.
Markus Gylling, International Technical Development Coordinator for the DAISY Consortium, and Reed Shaffner, Microsoft Office Word Worldwide Product Manager, discussed the collaboration between Microsoft and the DAISY Consortium, and the benefits of DAISY during an interview. The video interview was done onsite at the Microsoft TechEd IT Forum held in Barcelona where "Save As DAISY XML" was announced. A direct link to the interview is also available, however, patience will be required as it takes several minutes to load.
IPA took the initiative to discuss the recommendations of a recent study by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) which highlighted the issue of cross border access to works formatted to suit the needs of visually impaired persons as particularly pressing. Participants at this meeting agreed on a shared work programme to identify and analyse different options for the solution of this issue.
Says IPA President Ana Maria Cabanellas, who participated in the meeting: "Publishers and Visually Impaired Persons share the same aspirations and goals with regard to access of works by visually impaired persons. Together we must find solutions at international level that can replicate the trust and the spirit of cooperation that publishers and VIP charities have built in so many countries around the world."
Notes for Editors:
See the WIPO study prepared by Judith Sullivan
Links to the projects and organisations that were presented at the event:
International Publishers Association:
World Blind Union:
Dorina Nowill Foundation:
More about IPA:
The International Publishers Association (IPA) is the global non-governmental organisation representing all aspects of book and journal publishing worldwide. Established in 1896, IPA's mission is to promote and protect publishing and to raise awareness for publishing as a force for cultural and political advancement worldwide. IPA is an industry association with a human rights mandate. IPA currently has 65 member associations in 53 countries.
For further information, please contact:
International Publishers Association
3, avenue de Miremont
CH - 1206 Geneva
Tel: +41 22 346 3018
Fax: +41 22 347 5717
The current DAISY/NISO Standard does not include an explicit method for including mathematics, however it does define how Modular Extensions can be added. The DAISY MathML Modular Extension working group has developed a solution for including mathemathics using a MathML extension, enabling full support for accessible mathemathics in the DAISY/NISO Standard.
MathML is a W3C XML application developed with accessibility to mathematics as a primary goal. It is now critical for the publishing, education and accessibility communities to begin supporting this new DAISY/NISO Mathematics Modular Extension, to ensure rapid industry-wide utilization of accessible mathemathics.
According to Dr. Neil Soiffer, who chaired the DAISY Working Group on Mathematics, "The group looked at many different alternatives to supporting math and came up with a solution that allows advanced players to provide access to mathematics that can be tailored to the needs of the reader while still providing a fallback mechanism so that basic players lose no functionality compared to today's access. By using W3C's MathML recommendations as the representation for math, content authors and producers can leverage existing tools. This will help to jump start the creation of accessible documents containing math and help foster the day when math content can be read by everyone."
George Kerscher, Secretary General for the DAISY Consortium, remarks that, "Now, with support for mathematics in the DAISY/NISO Standard, educational institutions have a comprehensive specification to adopt. The Consortium will be quickly developing additional documentation to assist content creators, such as usage guidelines and sample content. We expect to see integrated support in production tools very soon as well."
Chuck Hitchcock, Director of the NIMAS Technical Assistance Center at CAST, indicates that the publication of the DAISY Modular Extension for math is a welcome advance toward the universal design of math instructional content. "Now that DAISY has integrated a MathML vocabulary into its specification, publishers creating NIMAS-compliant files as part of federal IDEA requirements will soon be able to support a much greater level of accessibility and educational efficacy for elementary and secondary math textbooks."
"Now that MathML is officially part of the DAISY Standard, we have great hopes for continuing improvements in scientific literacy for people with print disabilities," said Jeff Gardner, CEO of ViewPlus Technologies, Inc. "The availability of scientific literature and math materials in MathML will greatly benefit the growing numbers of students with disabilities now pursuing careers in the sciences."
Further commenting on the implications of this development for scientific literacy, Joachim Klaus, Director of the Study Centre for the Visually Impaired Students at the Universitaet Karlsruhe (TH/Germany) remarks, "Internationalization and globalization characterize the Higher Educational teaching, learning and research system. Accessible information and communication technology are vital - we can't imagine our daily lives without it. Mathematic models and equations are used in all study and research fields. The extension of Digital Talking Books for Mathematics is therefore a milestone forward for the inclusion of all into the scientific community."
"The work of the MathML-in-DAISY committee is vital to the field of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics for the disabled. Disabled people are among the most under-represented groups in the technical fields, and the improved access that DAISY enables should allow more and more disabled people to enter in to new career opportunities" comments David Schleppenbach, President of GH, LLC, a company that manufactures a MathML-aware DAISY software player.
For more information about the DAISY Modular Extension for Mathematics, see the MathML in DAISY website at http://www.daisy.org/projects/mathml/
For inquiries, please use the DAISY Contact Us form on the DAISY Web site.