Transition to Inclusive EPUB 3 Ecosystem

Inclusive publishing holds the key toward wider availability of reading materials for the print-disabled. It brings us closer to "making the same book available for everyone at the same time without extra cost".

To achieve this mission, the DAISY Consortium experts have led the groundbreaking advancement of embedding accessibility features in the mainstream EPUB 3 specifications. This development has opened tremendous opportunities for inclusive publishing, and has the potential to lead us to an era in which all published materials are natively accessible.

But at this point in time, the DAISY Consortium finds itself at crossroads. On one hand our experts are leading groundbreaking advancements in accessible publishing, on the other hand our members and their patrons are continuing to use the existing DAISY technology in which they have invested many years. In some aspects they are isolated from the rapidly changing mainstream digital publishing environment.

The need for integration with the mainstream standards and technologies is recognized across the DAISY membership, but it also raises many practical questions in the minds of not only the production managers who are expecting guidance, but also the business leaders of the member organizations who need to define the new business strategies for coming years.

Some of the questions asked are:

  • How can we migrate large production systems built around DAISY 3/2.02 production to EPUB 3 production?
  • How can we ensure development of robust EPUB 3 production environments?
  • When is the right time to start upgrading, what would be the switching cost & how long will it take?
  • What benefit will it provide from a business point of view?
  • What benefit will it provide to our patrons?
  • What will be the switching cost, the cost of EPUB 3 reading systems & adjustment time for our patrons?

The Transition to Inclusive EPUB 3 Ecosystem project intends to answer such critical questions by bringing the experts from our member organizations together, and developing the path for migration to EPUB 3 ecosystem.

The project roadmap is formulated to facilitate the migration of DAISY members to EPUB 3 production systems while developing inclusive publishing systems. To develop the EPUB 3 ecosystem, we need to work on the complete value chain. It involves three stakeholder groups:

  • accessible content production houses
  • mainstream publishers that are original producers of publications
  • print-disabled users who consume accessible content.

Accordingly, the project will be executed in 3 parallel dimensions:

  • Production processes & systems
  • Publisher relationships
  • Consumption (reading systems)

Production System Upgrades

DAISY publishing houses have their production processes built around republishing printed books using specialized DAISY specifications.

The EPUB 3 specification presents a big opportunity of making this process more efficient and economical by integrating accessible content publishing with mainstream publishing. In doing so, DAISY member organizations can replace the existing republishing-based processes with conversion-based processes that convert digital copies obtained from publishers into accessible format.

The goal of the Production Processes & Systems sub-group is to identify various ways that allow upgrading the existing DAISY republishing systems to the more efficient and economical EPUB 3 based production systems. At the same time we need to ensure that the new EPUB 3 based systems are able to fulfill the existing needs of DAISY Consortium members.
Please visit production processes & systems page for up to date information about the milestones & activities of the sub group.

Publisher relationships

Collaborative projects and partnerships are the most important pillars for building inclusive publishing systems. Therefore, the DAISY community needs stronger relationships with mainstream publishers. The goal of the Publisher Relations sub-group is to facilitate the establishment of relationships with publishers for the following objectives:

  • Acquiring appropriate source files according to specified schema
  • Collaborations between DAISY members and publishers for enabling publishers to produce publications with in-built accessibility

Collaborations may include: educating publishers, providing content processing services to publishers etc.

Consumption (reading systems)

Reading systems are the most important component of the supply chain, they form the interface with the end user and disseminate the benefits of advanced specifications to end users. Adoption of the new specification usually has an overhead of upgrading the large number of reading systems but EPUB 3 ecosystem presents a big opportunity here also. Due to the fact that EPUB 3 specification is a mainstream specification, mainstream reading systems and mainstream publications together allow print-disabled users gain access to much more information.

The goal of the Reading Systems sub-group is to work towards increasing the availability of reading systems that provide a rich reading experience with eyes, ears & fingers. This can be achieved by encouraging developers to create reading systems that provide satisfactory reading experience to print-disabled users, and also by contributing to the development of open source solutions. Please visit reading systems page for up to date information about the milestones & activities of the sub group.


Upcoming Events & recent news

  • Reading systems sub group conference call on September 6, 2017, at 15:00 UTC.
  • Joint conference call of production sub group and DIAGRAM standards group on September 13, 2017, at 15:00 UTC.

Project management & Participation

The project is driven collectively by the DAISY Consortium staff and the experts from the DAISY Consortium membership. The activities are carried out in three sub-groups corresponding to the three dimensions of the project.

  • Production processes & systems [PP]
  • Publisher Relationships [PR]
  • Consumption-Reading Systems [RS]

The project is co-chaired by George Kersher and Avneesh Singh. The chairs form the governing body, while each sub group is lead by a sub group leader.
To learn how to join the project or to learn more about the participants, please visit the management & participation page.



The TIES project charter (2014-15) defining the outline of the project was approved by DAISY Consortium Board in October 2013, Beijing Board Meeting. The roadmap for each sub-group will be further refined and shared by the respective sub-group leads.