DAISY Course Report - Montenegro - June 2013

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25-29 June 2013 Podgorica, Montenegro

Group photo of participants

UNICEF Montenegro had contacted DAISY Consortium Technical Support Team with the reference of UNICEF HQ New York for conducting a capacity building training. UNICEF Montenegro, which is supporting the audio book project of the Resource Center for Children and Youth “Podgorica”, requested DAISY Consortium to conduct a DAISY Book production training for the staff of the Resource Centre to equip them with the skills required to make accessible books for children with disabilities. This initiative is the first of its kind by UNICEF anywhere in the world.

Montenegro is a very small country in the Balkan region with a population of little more than 625,000. The official language is Montenegrin although Serbian, Bosnian, Albanian and Croatian are also in use. Montenegro is classified by the World Bank as a middle-income country. Montenegro is currently an official candidate for membership in the European Union and official candidate for membership of NATO. Montenegro got independence from Serbia on 3 June 2006

Objectives

The objectives of the training were set out as follows:

  • Understanding the scope, usability and functionality of the DAISY standards
  • Learning to use DAISY playback tools to play DAISY digital talking books
  • Learning to use DAISY production tools to create DAISY digital talking books
  • Understanding of the DAISY DTB file set

Outcome

The expected outcome was:

  • Ability to play different types of DAISY books on different types of players
  • Ability to provide DAISY playback training to users
  • Ability to produce DAISY books with human recorded audio and navigation (TOC)
  • Ability to convert existing audio files into DAISY books
  • Knowledge of conversion of text documents to DAISY books in synthetic voice
  • Knowledge of creation of full text books with images and human recorded audio

DAISY Consortium deputed Mr. Prashant Ranjan Verma, Training & Technical Support Consultant as the main trainer and Ms. Anusuya Das, Library Coordinator at Mitrajyothi, Bangalore, India as the assistant trainer for this program.

The trainers worked with the UNICEF staff and prepared the training plan and worked out all the logistic requirements for the training well in advance. UNICEF arranged for simultaneous translation service since most of the participants did not speak English.

A day was reserved for preparations. The trainers on reaching Podgorica on 24 June 2013 visited the UNICEF office and met the Country head to further discuss the objectives and outcome of the training. Subsequently the trainers visited the training room and installed all the required software and tested audio recording equipment. The trainers recommended some changes in the recording studio setup. An additional set of monitor, keyboard, mouse and headset was installed inside the recording cabin on the recommendation of the trainers. This was done to enable both the book narrator and the technician to control the computer in the studios. A room was setup with 10 computers and an LCd projector. Computer network was also setup by the Resource Centre with internet connection on all computers.

A total of 10 persons including two visually impaired participated in the program. UNICEF had included participants from the Library for the Blind and the text Book Publishing Agency in addition to the Resource Centre staff. These three organizations are expected to collaborate in the production of accessible books in Montenegro. The Text book publishing agency will provide electronic and print copies of books. The recording of the books will be done by students of the Drama Academy and famous actors at the time of implementation of the book production project. The Resource Centre staff is expected to manage the whole project and also depute staff for editing and finalization of books.

The first day of training started with a presentation on the need for accessibility of information, brief discussion on the alternative formats and the reasons for choosing DAISY. This was followed by demonstration of playback of various types of DAISY books in different mainstream and dedicated devices. The participants were given basic training of the AMIS and Easy Reader playback tools. The participants were also given the opportunity to try out the Victor Stream, Plextalk Pocket, NOKIA mobile DAISY2Go app and DAISY reading apps on Android tablet. The second half of the first day was used for orientation of Obi and creation of the first project.

On the second day the participants learnt the audio editing and book finalization steps in Obi and created another project by live recording. The second day ended with an exercise on conversion of existing audio files to a DAISY book.

On the third day the participants learnt the use of Save As DAISY and Tobi. Documents were formatted, converted to XML and then imported into Tobi for human voice recording. Almost all the participants were able to pick up the use of Tobi very quickly.

In the first half of the fourth day of the training program, advanced features of Obi and Tobi were explained. The participants were then given the final assignment. The participants were put into three groups and were asked to create two DAISY books on their own. They were asked to create a book in Obi with live recording in the studio and were given a choice for the second book of their assignment. They had the option of creating another book in Obi using live recording or existing audio files or they could use the Save As DAISY and Tobi combination to convert a text file into full text full audio DAISY book. The groups were given time till the final day afternoon for completion of the assignments. The groups were asked to choose those documents which had some structure (sections and sub-sections) for their assignment. The groups visited the recording studio one after another and recorded their projects. Thereafter they brought the data to the training room for editing. The groups were asked to do these exercises since the trainers wanted the participants to have some experience of the book production workflow which would be implemented after the training program.

On the final day the participants continued their work on the assignment. To the satisfaction of the trainers all the three groups submitted a book created in Obi and made good progress in the creation of the second book. The Tobi project however could not be finalized due to shortage of time. In the final session, the three groups made presentations on the books created by them. Most of the members expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the training and felt confident that with some practice they will be able to make such books. At the end common issues and their trouble shooting was discussed. The participants were given an overview of the DAISY website and the technical support options – DAISYpedia, forums and mailing lists. All the participants subscribed to the DAISY Planet and registered themselves as Obi users in order to receive regular updates from the DAISY Consortium.

Participants working in the recording studio

As usual, the comprehensive resource material kit consisting of DAISY sample books, software DAISY players, authoring tools setup files, tutorials and training videos was handed over to the participants. The trainers however felt the need for translation of the help documents since very few participants were comfortable with English. One of the participants who was fluent in English helped the trainers by translating the important notes in Montenegrain and provided it to the other participants.

The trainers prepared a document with detailed recommendation on the workflow for production of books, human resource and equipment requirements and submitted to the UNICEF representative in the meeting held on 1 July 2013. The workflow was prepared considering the availability of resources and skills at the resource centre. UNICEF will discuss it with the Resource Centre and adopt it in the project for production of text books in DAISY format which is likely to start soon. Upon request from UNICEF, the trainers also provided image description guidelines, volunteer (book narrator) training module and time estimates for various tasks namely recording, editing and finalization.

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