Tobi: an authoring tool for DAISY and EPUB 3 talking books

Tobi screenshot

Tobi v2.2.0.0

(22 December 2013)
Change Log

Install / Update


(note: this release requires uninstalling Tobi versions older than 1.9)

Live Voice Recording

  • PCM 16 bits, mono/stereo, up to 44.1kHz sampling rate.
  • Volume level monitoring, peak meter with overload indicator.
  • Punch-in recording with overwrite mode.
  • Playback preview and silent recording start.
  • Configurable input / output devices, support for any system-recognised sound card (DirectX 9).
  • Dedicated "narrator" view: distraction-free reading / recording, support for dual-display setup.
  • View full text document while reading, or display fragment only.

Audio Waveform Editing

  • Instant rendering, fast zoom-in / out.
  • Mouse + keyboard-driven selection tools and navigation commands.
  • Cut / copy / paste, delete, insert, replace.
  • Use existing audio files (automatic up/down-sampling, bulk import).
  • Playback with increased rate, pitch preservation.
  • Modify audio fragments using external WAV editing applications.
  • Configurable colour scheme and visual style.

Text Synchronisation

  • Sequential recording: move automatically to the next phrase.
  • Easily break-down long recordings: "split and shift" function, to incrementally map audio and text.
  • Configurable granularity level, e.g.: record sentence by sentence, or whole paragraphs at a time.
  • Check missing audio, at a glance (list of "missing "empty" recording slots in the text content).
  • Option to use TTS (synthetic speech), support for SAPI 5 voices.

Supported Formats

  • DAISY 3 / DTBook XML, Digital Talking Books using the ANSI/NISO Z39.86-2005 standard (also see the NIMAS framework).
  • MathML-in-DAISY (embedded mathematical equations / formulas), and MathML within EPUB3 HTML5 documents.
  • EPUB 3 Media Overlays (industry e-book standard based on HTML5, successor to DAISY 3)
  • Experimental support for the DAISY Pipeline2 is included, to migrate from DTBOOK, DAISY3, DAISY2.02 to EPUB3.
  • Audio: MP3 and uncompressed WAV (decoding and encoding), MP4-AAC (decoding).
  • Support for Scalable Vector Graphics images, and inline SVG markup.
  • DIAGRAM XML (see below).

User Interface

  • High-quality scalable vector graphics, magnification for touch-screen or low-vision users.
  • Fully keyboard-accessible, designed for screen-readers (JAWS, NVDA, etc.).
  • Customisable keyboard shortcuts.
  • Support for Windows high-contrast colour schemes.
  • Search tools, to quickly find listed items using keywords.

Notable Features

  • Reliable undo / redo.
  • Navigation by headings and page numbers.
  • Split / merge project, based on any arbitrary document markers.
  • Fix minor typos (text-only editing, no structure / markup changes).
  • Cleanup: remove unused files and WAV data from the project folder.
  • Dedicated metadata editor, with built-in error checking (DAISY only, EPUB support is incomplete).
  • Integrated content validation: EpubCheck and ZedVal (DAISY) to verify file sets at import and export time.

Image Descriptions

  • Dedicated editor for the DIAGRAM content model, with unique support for audio narration.
  • Import existing DIAGRAM XML, or create from scratch.
  • Basic and advanced modes (the latter provides a rich metadata editor).
  • Option to include descriptions in the exported publication, integrated into the content document (DAISY only, not EPUB).
  • See all images in the document in a single navigation list.

Out of Scope

  • Tobi is neither a word processing tool, nor an XML editor. To prepare well-structured text, consider using the Save-As-DAISY addons for Microsoft Word and OpenOffice Writer.
  • Tobi is not suitable to author structure-only audio books (e.g. NCX-only DAISY). You may want to use Obi.
  • Tobi is not designed for automated production. See the DAISY Pipeline.

Wish List

  • Support for VST audio plugins (current workaround: use external audio editor).
  • Basic structure editing (e.g. delete unwanted sections, merge multiple book parts, split paragraph into individual sentences).
  • Browser-based text renderer, to display the document based on its CSS styles (EPUB 3 / HTML5).
  • Fully-fledged EPUB 3 metadata editor and validator.
  • More?


Want to contribute? Read below...


Collaborative Open-ness:

  • Tobi is available free of charge, and is distributed under open-source licensing which allows commercial development (dual LGPL / BSD).
  • The application is based on a plugin architecture that facilitates adding extra features (extensibility is part of the core design).
  • Tobi and Obi share a large codebase (the Urakawa SDK), to reduce development costs.
  • In addition to user-interface localisation, we also accept translations of manuals, guidelines, etc.
  • The DAISY Consortium produces its own training material, and publishes + curates videos tutorials too. Contributions welcome!


Let us know if you wish to help!


Roadmap Overview:

Calendar year 2013

  • Application deployment: obtain feedback regarding integration requirements that meet specific organisational needs.
  • Software maintenance: bug fixes, improvements, review and possible implementation of requested features.
  • Processing of contributions such as user-interface localisations, documentation translations, etc.

Project Vision and Mission

The Tobi project is one of the building blocks of the DAISY Consortium strategy:

  • Achieve excellence in accessible electronic publishing, by providing reference implementations of the latest specifications developed or adopted by the DAISY Consortium, and by promoting open standards and practices that contribute to an inclusive publishing ecosystem.

  • Collaboratively develop open-source multimedia production tools that are accessible, customisable, and with global language support, for individuals, publishers and technology implementors across the world, in order to spread the benefits of advanced accessible content to all users, including those with low resources.

The combined project charter 2014 - 15, defining development plan for Obi and Tobi in 2014 – 2015 was approved by DAISY Consortium board in October 2013, Beijing board meeting. The roadmap of the project is defined to contribute to the implementation of DAISY Consortium’s strategy of inclusive publishing, and serve the members as per their priorities captured in the Obi-Tobi survey.


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