Presentation: DAISY 101

Original Author(s): Gaeir Dietrich
Overview of DAISY presentation at CSUN 2009.


by Gaeir Dietrich
Acting Director High Tech Center Training Unit of the California Community Colleges
Co-chair DAISY in Higher Ed Working Group


  • Digital
  • Accessible
  • Information
  • System

What are the benefits of DAISY?

  • Structure and navigation VS a “flat” reading experience
  • Portable
  • Ever-expanding standard

DAISY Features

  • Have the ability to go to specific pages and sections
  • Can add, search for, and remove bookmarks
  • Have the ability to skim the text
  • Portable
  • Worldwide standard for Digital Talking Books (DTBs)

Expanding Vision

  • DAISY is designed to incorporate new features and functionality
  • Expandable
    • “Cheese pizza” analogy
  • First expansion
    • MathML

Some Definitions

  • E-text
    • Text a computer can read, also called electronic text, digital text (e.g., e-mail, Word docs, etc.)
  • MP3 and WAV
    • Two formats for sound on the computer; MP3 is more compressed (i.e., smaller) than WAV
  • WMA (Windows Media Audio)
    • Another sound type—belongs to Microsoft
  • Text-to-Speech (TTS)
    • Text that is made audible by a computer-generated “voice”

DAISY vs. …

  • E-text
    • DAISY has structure: headings, pages
  • MP3
    • DAISY is navigable, bookmarkable, players remember where you left off
  • E-text with TTS
    • DAISY has navigation, bookmarks

So Many DAISYs…

  • DAISY is
    • DAISY Standard
      • An open-source standard for digital audio
    • DAISY Consortium
      • Group that oversees the standard
    • DAISY format
      • The format for DAISY books
    • DAISY books
      • Electronic books in the DAISY format

What’s inside a DAISY?

  • DAISY 2.02 Folder or
  • z3986 folder

Where’s the text?

  • Not all DAISY books are the same
  • DAISY will vary a bit depending on
    • How it was produced
    • How much mark up was done by the producer

DAISY “Flavors”

  • Text Only
    • Format used by Bookshare
  • Structured Audio
    • Audio only
    • Format used by RFB&D (Learning Ally)
  • Audio and Full Text
    • Can be created with commercially available publishing tools

Text Only…but It’s Audio

  • Text Only DAISY books
    • Are played with a DAISY player that does text to speech (TTS)
    • Are smaller files because they do not already contain audio
      • Audio is BIG!!
    • Can be used with whatever “voices” you have

Why can’t I see it?

  • Audio Only DAISY books
    • Are usually human narration
      • Recordings of a person reading aloud
    • Adding the text to these books requires the text and audio to be synchronized
      • Kind of like captioning
    • Usually have a “navigation structure” that can be seen

Best of Both Worlds

  • Full Text Full Audio DAISY
    • Has both text that can be seen and sound that can be heard
    • Audio comes as part of the book
      • Do not need TTS or voices
    • Audio may be human narration or machine generated

Playing DAISY: in General

  • Requires a DAISY player
  • Software and hardware players available
    • Software—free to $300
    • Hardware—$195 to $995
  • DAISY players also play MP3 files
  • DAISY players allow you to control speed and pitch

Playing the Flavors

  • Text only
    • Requires a DAISY player with built-in text to speech (TTS)
  • Audio only
    • Human narration—no text to see
    • Works on any player
  • Audio and full text
    • Speech can be human or TTS (usually TTS)
    • Text and graphics can be seen


Playing Bookshare DAISY

  • Text-only DAISY
  • Requires player with TTS built in
  • Software player comes free with membership
    • Note: Membership free for all students
  • Can also play on other systems
    • OpenBook, Kurzweil 1000/3000, WYNN

Playing RFB&D (Learning Ally) DAISY

  • Audio-only DAISY
  • Requires RFB&D (Learning Ally) authorized player
  • Can purchase players through RFB&D (Learning Ally)
  • Other players can be sent to RFB&D (Learning Ally) to have “key” installed
  • User requires code to “unlock” books
  • RFB&D (Learning Ally) players can play other DAISY books
  • Players have firmware upgrade from DAISY 2.02 to DAISY 3

Please Note

  • The downloadable RFB&D (Learning Ally) books
    • Are not DAISY
    • Are MP3
    • Do not have navigation
    • Features will depend on player used
    • Can be played with DAISY players or MP3 players (iPods, iPod Touch, Zen, etc.)


  • RFB&D (Learning Ally)
    • Free for students
    • Audio only
    • Human narration
    • Requires RFB&D (Learning Ally) authorized hardware/software
    • Requires “key” to unlock books
  • Bookshare
    • Free for students; small fee for others
    • Text only
    • Synthetic speech (TTS)
    • Software player comes with membership
    • Playable on some hardware players with TTS built in

National Library Services

  • NLS books will have very limited mark-up
    • No page numbers
    • Heading level navigation

Sources of DAISY Books

Grow Your Own DAISYs

  • Commercial software available
  • Can begin with text and convert into Audio Full Text DAISY
  • Check these vendors
    • Dolphin
    • IRTI
    • American Printing House for the Blind
  • Save As DAISY add-in for MS Word
  • odt2daisy (Open Office add-in)


  • Victor Reader Stream
  • Dolphin Easy-Reader


  • Why is DAISY better than MP3?
  • What good is an audio-only DAISY book for a student with a learning disability?
  • What good is a text only DAISY book?
  • If someone has a Word file and can use it with a screen reader, why would he/she need a DAISY book?

Thank You!

Gaeir Dietrich

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This page was last edited by LLeith on Thursday, June 9, 2011 13:47
Text is available under the terms of the DAISY Consortium Intellectual Property Policy, Licensing, and Working Group Process.