News Archive

First affordable braille reader launched

The new Orbit braille reader was launched at the Annual International Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference in San Diego, California.


The Orbit braille reader is the first affordable portable braille reader. Until now, braille displays cost on average around $3,000, putting them out of reach for many people. In contrast, the new Orbit braille reader will retail for under $400.


A refreshable braille display is a device that allows a person who is blind or partially sighted to read the contents of a display, like a computer, a text line at a time as a line of braille characters.


The Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) is one of ten organizations worldwide who were involved in creating the new technology, along with the RNIB (Royal National Institute for the Blind) in England, NFB (National Federation of the Blind) in the United States, American Printing House for the Blind, New Zealand's Blind Foundation, Perkins, the Norwegian Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted, Association Valentin Haüy (AVH), Sightsavers, and Vision Australia. CNIB provided research and development funding, expertise and testing.


In addition to CNIB contributing financially, Diane Bergeron, Executive Director, Strategic Relations and Engagement, CNIB, was a member of the product development committee which provided input on design and testing in Canada. "Reading is one of the daily human activities affected most profoundly by vision loss, and it's absolutely critical to the success of a person who is blind or partially sighted living in a sighted world," said Bergeron. 


The Orbit braille reader works over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and can read files stored on an SD card inserted in the reader. The Orbit braille reader can read translated, formatted braille (BRF) files, translated, unformatted brailled (BRL) files, portable embosser format (PEF) files and text (TXT) files.


CNIB is the exclusive supplier of the Orbit braille reader in Canada, which will be available in the fall from Shop CNIB at

More information is provided in the official press release.

Download the BISG Quick Start Guide to Accessible Publishing Today

The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) Quick Start Guide to Accessible Publishing is now available for download. This document serves as the model for best practices in creating accessible digital content for those who live with disabilities. It offers both a succinct introduction to the basics of accessibility and the market advantages to publishers of adopting best practices for those who need to quickly come up to speed.

  • Written in clear, non‐technical language
  • Translated into four languages (Spanish, French, German and Italian) and coming soon in Korean
  • Available in the EPUB 3 format
  • Free download
  • Follow this link to get this guide today: BISG Quick Start Guide

The guide addresses why and how to create, distribute, and display accessible digital content and provides an overview of these topics:

  • The critical importance of accessibility
  • The business case for making content accessible
  • Practical advice on how best to make content accessible
  • Legal requirements for accessible content

The BISG Quick Start Guide to Accessibile Publishing can help companies:

  • Make content more discoverable
  • Reach an untapped market
  • Streamline production workflow
  • Save money by creating "born accessible" educational materials

With BISG's Quick Start Guide to Accessible Publishing, publishers will discover an invaluable resource. When all digital content is also “born accessible,” the dream of equal access to information for everyone will be a reality.


The BISG Quick Start Guide to Accessible Publishing was written and compiled for the Book Industry Study Group by members of the BISG Content Structure Committee's Accessible Publishing Working Group.

RNIB partners with Benetech to deliver online resource for print disabled learners

RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) and Benetech have announced the launch of RNIB Bookshare, an online service which delivers accessible materials to schools and colleges in the UK.


RNIB Bookshare provides curriculum materials for blind or partially sighted, dyslexic or otherwise print disabled students. It offers an independent learning experience while enabling learners to read the same books at the same time as their classmates.


The new platform replaces Load2Learn, a similar service run by RNIB since 2012, and will offer an increased number of titles as well as new features such as reading apps and reading lists. It will be available from March 30th, 2016.


Neil Heslop, Managing Director, RNIB Solutions, said: “We are pleased to be working with Benetech. This partnership offers the potential to reach every student in the UK that struggles with standard print. It is so important that learners are able to access the books and textbooks they need when they need them.”


Brad Turner, Vice President of Global Literacy at Benetech said: "We recognise the importance of providing accessible materials to students, at the same time as their peers. Education plays a momentous role in supporting inclusivity and independence for students, plus providing future employment opportunities, and we want to ensure that every child with a print disability in the UK has access to educational print materials."


"Working with RNIB, we believe we can make a real difference to students who struggle with standard print, and help them fulfil their academic potential."


For more information about RNIB Bookshare please visit or call 0300 303 8313.

CSUN 2016 program available for download

The 31st Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference, also known as the CSUN Conference, will be held at the San Diego Manchester Grand Hyatt hotel March 21-26, 2016. Full details are available on the CSUN 2016 conference website. Each part of the CSUN program is available for download as a navigable DAISY 2.02 publication in addition to the HTML and EPUB files.

Welcome to Take Part 2016 - a global conference on accessible information

More than 400 delegates from around the world will gather in Stockholm on May 16th to 18th to exchange experiences and ideas on the human perspectives on inclusive publishing, universal design, and accessible information.


We are pleased to announce prominent keynote speakers such as universal design pioneer Patricia A. Moore, best-selling author David Lagercrantz (The Girl in the Spider’s Web and I am Zlatan) and George Kerscher, Chief Innovation Officer DAISY Consortium. In addition to ten keynote speakers, we offer a vast spectrum of seminars on technological advances, usability and how to reach the readers.


“Take Part will be a fantastic opportunity to gain and spread knowledge on the development of accessibility – and how to create, publish and distribute in a way that is accessible for all. We hope that this conference will increase knowledge of born accessible publications, and show how inclusion is essential to support democratic development and ensure human rights globally,” says Roland Esaiasson, Director General, MTM – Swedish Agency for Accessible Media.


Information is produced and distributed faster than ever, and it is important to include accessibility from the start. To learn more, join authors, publishers, distributors, libraries, education and accessibility advocates from the international world of reading and inclusion at Take Part 2016.


Take Part is organized by the international DAISY Consortium, the Swedish DAISY Consortium, the Swedish Library Association and the Swedish Agency for Accessible Media - MTM.


For further information, please contact:


Roland Esaiasson, Director General, MTM – Swedish Agency for Accessible Media

Phone: +46 8-580 02 750, e-mail: roland.esaiasson(at)


Anne Stigell, Project Manager Take Part, MTM – Swedish Agency for Accessible Media

Phone: +46 8-580 02 777, e-mail: anne.stigell(at)


For Media Accreditation, please contact takepart2016(at) or


The conference will be filmed. All conference materials will be made available to attendees on


Please go to the registration page and follow the instructions to enjoy Stockholm and the conference in May.

Get the latest updates on Twitter and Facebook.

WBU Press Release in honor of International Women’s Day 2016

Toronto, March 8th, 2016: International Women’s Day encourages us all to reflect on the importance of gender equality, to celebrate the successes of women, and to acknowledge the work that is still left to be done. “With women making up more than 50% of the world’s population and often being the main link for the family and connection to the community, there remains a great deal of work to be done to ensure equal rights in all aspects of life,” says World Blind Union (WBU) Immediate Past President and Chair of the International Disability Alliance, Maryanne Diamond.


For women who are blind, access to information, health, education, employment and participation in all aspects of the community must be supported to achieve equality with other women and with men. For example, blind women’s access to information is a serious issue, especially health and reproductive information. Just as sighted women want access to the latest health and parenting information, so do blind women. However, unlike sighted women, most blind women do not have access to the array of materials available due to the inaccessibility of printed materials, especially reference materials. Less than 10% of printed materials are made into accessible formats and in developing countries it’s often less than 1%. With the appropriate support and information, blind women are as effective and competent as sighted women are at raising children and caring for their families.


One way we can improve blind women’s access to information is by advocating for the universal ratification and implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty. This treaty will allow for more books and printed materials to be published in accessible formats, and for blindness organizations to share books across borders providing access to a wider variety of printed materials for blind and partially sighted women all over the world.


Learn more about the Marrakesh Treaty on the WBU campaign page.

National Federation of the Blind & Amazon Join Forces to Improve Accessible Reading Experiences

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and Amazon announced that they will be working together to increase selection, enhance accessibility, and improve reading experiences for blind students, including those who have low vision or who are deaf-blind. Amazon and the National Federation of the Blind will collaborate on improvements to Amazon's education content, platforms, and applications, and will meet on an ongoing basis to review progress and exchange ideas and feedback. Initial results of this collaboration are expected this year and beyond.


"We are seeing educational institutions embrace digital learning for its ease of access to a large selection of learning resources for students," said Rohit Agarwal, General Manager, Amazon K-12 Education. "This shift provides a great opportunity to improve accessibility for blind students. By collaborating with the National Federation of the Blind, we hope to advance accessibility for all content, platforms and applications that Amazon develops to better serve K-12 and higher education students."


"The National Federation of the Blind is dedicated to using our expertise in the development and implementation of built-in accessibility in technology to ensure that the blind have equal access to the information and tools we need to live the lives we want," said Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. "The NFB and Amazon have sought a productive collaboration to improve accessibility, and we now look forward to working together closely to improve the technologies that will make digital reading experiences better for all customers. The commitment that Amazon has made in this agreement brings us ever closer to the day when blind students of all ages will have the same digital reading experience and access to content as others, and demonstrates that access for the blind goes hand in hand with continued innovation in technology." 


More information is provided in the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) press release.

Now Available in the US: A Library of Opportunity

Open eBooks project in the United States can be a gateway to a world of learning and opportunity, delivering reading materials to students who need them most. Open eBooks help advance ConnectED initiative's vision to ensure that students have access to the best teaching and learning. More students than ever have access to a digital device - a tablet, laptop, or mobile phone. According to a national survey, 85 percent of families with young children (6-13 years old) living below the poverty line now have access to mobile devices. The current situation creates new opportunities to deliver content to students with a hunger to learn.


Open eBooks is not a federal program. It was created by a breakthrough coalition of literacy, library, publishing, and technology organizations who worked together to make the initiative possible. The following organizations - Digital Public Library of America, First Book, and The New York Public Library with content support from digital books distributor Baker & Taylor – created the Open eBooks app, curated the eBook collection, and developed a system for distribution and use. They received support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and content contributions from ten major publishers.


Students need the help of responsible adults to access Open eBooks. This includes teachers, librarians, after-school counselors, and others primarily serving students in need.


Students who have appropriate codes can download the free Open eBooks app to a mobile device, then enter their access code to start enjoying Open eBooks.


More information is available on

M-Enabling Summit 2016: Registration Is Now Open

Join us for the 5th annual M-Enabling Summit on June 13 and 14, 2016 at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel, in Washington, D.C. Early bird registration is now open!


The 2016 Summit, with its theme on "Accessible Technologies and Environments for All" is a conference and showcase exclusively dedicated to leveraging the latest information technology innovations for senior citizens and users of all abilities.


With accessible and assistive technology solutions at the forefront of the mobile industry, it is becoming an essential differentiator and competitive advantage for businesses and organizations. The M-Enabling Summit Series has been highlighting the unprecedented opportunities offered by the mobile apps, services and assistive technology industry in this rapidly expanding market.


2016 M-Enabling Summit Key Topics:

  • Mobile enabling solutions leveraging latest OS and human interface features
  • IoT, Smart Homes, and Smart Cities
  • Wearables
  • Ecosystem in support of Innovation
  • Scaling up accessibility in large organizations
  • Compliance trends
  • Higher Education best practices in leveraging information technology for inclusion

View the 2016 M-Enabling Summit agenda on the M-Enabling Summit website to register.

Bangladesh experiences presented at ZERO Project Conference 2016

Mr. Vashkar Bhattacharjee, representing DAISY Consortium's Associate Member Young Power in Social Action (YPSA), presented on the topic of accessible learning materials in DAISY and other alternative formats at the ZERO Project Conference 2016 in Vienna, Austria.


Innovative practices that remove barriers to inclusion are shared annually at the ZERO Project Conference. As a result of collaboration between different organizations, Bangladesh has created a sustainable model for producing all textbooks for students in Grade 1 - Grade 10 in accessible formats.


Mr. Vashkar Bhattacharjee and YPSA along with Federation of DPOs Sitakund received technical support from WIPO, Accessible Books Consortium, DAISY Consortium and GAATES. They partnered with Disability Rights Fund (DRF) to ensure the production and distribution of accessible books in Bangladesh and received the ZERO Project Innovative Practice 2016 Award. More information is provided on the YPSA website.

President Obama asks the US Senate to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty

For Immediate Release February 10, 2016




With a view to receiving the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, I transmit herewith the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled, done at Marrakesh on June 27, 2013 (Marrakesh Treaty). I also transmit, for the information of the Senate, a report of the Secretary of State with respect to the Marrakesh Treaty that includes a summary of its provisions.


This copyright treaty, concluded under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), advances the national interest of the United States in promoting the protection and enjoyment of creative works. The Marrakesh Treaty lays a foundation, in a manner consistent with existing international copyright standards, for further opening up a world of knowledge for persons with print disabilities by improving their access to published works.


The United States played a leadership role in the negotiation of the treaty, and its provisions are broadly consistent with the approach and structure of existing U.S. law. Narrow changes in U.S. law will be needed for the United States to implement certain provisions of the treaty. Proposed legislation is being submitted to both houses of the Congress in conjunction with this transmittal.


I recommend that the Senate give early and favorable consideration to the Marrakesh Treaty, and give its advice and consent to its ratification.




First Editor's Draft of EPUB 3.1 Available for Review

The EPUB 3 Working Group announced that the first Editor's Draft of EPUB 3.1 is now available for community review. A condensed summary of the changes being put forward for review can be found in the EPUB 3.1 Changes from 3.0.1 document. The approach taken in this first draft is proposing potentially controversial changes, therefore timely feedback is important.


The primary goal of this revision is to bring EPUB 3 more in line with the Open Web Platform (OWP). The HTML syntax of HTML5 is now proposed to have required support in reading systems, resulting in the need to enrich the markup to work in HTML and XHTML. The working group is proposing a move to the ARIA role attribute coupled with the W3C Digital Publishing WAI-ARIA Module for semantics. This first editor's draft also proposes dropping support for EPUB 2 and for a number of EPUB 3 features that are not broadly compatible with the OWP.


The EPUB 3.1 revision is also an opportunity to review the overall accessibility of the format. For more information, please refer to the EPUB 3.1 Changes from 3.0.1 document. None of the decisions proposed in this draft are final, and are open to be changed in future drafts. Those affiliated with IDPF member organizations are encouraged to join the IDPF EPUB Working Group email list to participate directly in the development process; feedback can also be provided via email to the Working Group co-chair Markus Gylling: mgylling(at)


Read more on the IDPF website.

Talking books open classics to the blind in South India

DAISY book project is a joint initiative of Kerala State Youth Welfare Board and Kerala Federation of Blind Youth Forum in South India, aimed at enriching the visually challenged community with audio content of books and other reading materials. Their website aims to serve as an archive of content created under this initiative. This is the first online digital accessible library for print disabled with the support of Government of Kerala.


Launched by Kerala Federation of Blind Youth Forum in collaboration with State Youth Welfare Board, DAISY addresses the lack of online speech engine for reading Malayalam text. More information is provided in the Deccan Chronicle.

EDUPUB Alliance, EPUB Accessibility Meetings near Baltimore, February 24-25, 2016

The next meeting of the EDUPUB Alliance, together with a related summit on EPUB Accessibility and Certification, will take place on February 24-25, 2016 near Baltimore, Maryland. The events will be co-hosted by IDPF and IMS Global, in conjunction with IMS Global's next Quarterly Meeting, sponsored by University of Maryland College.


The theme of day one will be "EPUB Accessibility as a Baseline" and will bring together speakers and participants to establish key requirements and critical tasks necessary for the EPUB ecosystem to fully support current and future accessibility mandates. The keynote speaker will be George Kerscher, Chief Innovation Officer of the DAISY Consortium and President of the IDPF Board of Directors. Day two will kick off with EDUPUB Alliance sessions focused on coordinating open standards for learning content and systems, followed by a technical workshop on EPUB certification implementation. A preliminary agenda has been published and registration is now open to all interested parties with options to attend both days ($200) or day one only ($150).  Register today on the IMS Global Learning Consortium website.

13th International Web for All (W4A) Conference: Education for All on the Web

The rapid emergence of online learning has brought many accessibility challenges. MOOCs, Big Data, and Open Content are changing how we look at education, broadening access to learning for millions, soon billions of individuals, and creating new opportunities to remove barriers to literacy, education, and the search for knowledge. With the explosive growth of opportunities to learn online, the theme of the 13th International Web for All (W4A) Conference is “Education for All on the Web.”


IBM is offering a full coverage scholarship to students with disabilities to attend the International Web for All conference in Montreal, Canada on April 11-13, 2016. There is also a $1,000 Google award for any Doctoral students doing Accessibility research to participate in the Doctoral Consortium.


Deadline for these two Students' awards has been extended until January 31st, 2016:

Free Webinar: How to Spot Dyslexia in a Writing Sample

In this 60-minute webinar on January 20th, 2016 at 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM Eastern Time, Susan Barton, founder of Bright Solutions for Dyslexia, will share how she spots dyslexia in compositions and on spelling tests. She will show many examples, and participants will get a copy of her writing sample checklist.


Susan will answer questions for 15 minutes at the end. Participants can also send her questions by email.


Susan Barton is the developer of the Barton Reading and Spelling System - an Orton-Gillingham influenced system designed specifically for parents, homeschool parents, and volunteer tutors in literacy programs. The Barton System is easy to learn and contains enough support for parents and volunteer tutors, yet is complete enough for professional tutors as well as reading and resource specialists.


About this webinar series: Learning Ally (DAISY Consortium member) partners with leading experts in the learning disabilities and assistive technology fields. On a bimonthly basis, they sponsor free webinars for students, their parents and educators.


Register today to attend live webinar or to access recording.

CSUN 2016: Full schedule now available online

Those traveling to CSUN 2016 can now begin to plan their session calendar. This event will be held from March 21-26, 2016 in San Diego. The main conference sessions are on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday and encompass a wide array of assistive technology topics, including accessible publishing and reading. View over 300 sessions approved for the conference on the CSUN 2016 website.

Tobi 2.6 enhances integration with production systems

DAISY Consortium is pleased to announce the release of the latest version of Tobi, the next-generation open source multimedia production tool. With Tobi, users can produce books with full text and audio, compliant with both the DAISY 3 and mainstream EPUB 3 (Media Overlays) specifications. It also includes the unique capability of adding accessibility enhancements, such as image descriptions, to mainstream EPUB 3 publications.


Version 2.6 streamlines the integration of Tobi in DAISY members’ production systems. For example, the new Overwrite Recording mode facilitates recording with conventional approaches. Text-to-speech based production benefits from the new capability that allows using different synthetic voices for different structural elements of the book.


The introduction of the Optimized Cleanup feature reduces data traffic over networks. This feature brings a major improvement to network-based deployments of Tobi.


Other features include the capability to add section names to the audio file names and one-click filling of default metadata values. This release also includes bug fixes and other improvements to existing features.


Please note that online installation with ClickOnce installer has been deprecated in favor of the MSI installer from this release onwards, due to .NET deployment issues.


To learn more about Tobi, please visit the Tobi project area at


For more information about the new features and bug fixes, please visit the change log at


For providing feedback, suggestions and bug reports, please go to


The Tobi team would like to thank all Tobi project contributors and supporters.

Call for Papers: 2016 IFLA Satellite Conference

You can now submit a paper for the 2016 IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) Satellite Conference Tailoring the Reading Experience to Meet Individual Needs that will take place on Thursday, August 11 and Friday, August 12, 2016.


Theme: Creating an inclusive community of readers

Title: Tailoring the Reading Experience to Meet Individual Needs

Location: Galt House Hotel. 140 N 4th St, Louisville, KY 40202, USA


Presentations will raise and discuss the following topics:

  • Facilitating the book selection process
  • Changing the role of the librarian from the Marrakesh perspective
  • Finding and sharing accessible materials and collections
  • Accessible audio book technologies
  • Serving the full spectrum of print disabilities
  • Creating inclusive communities for people with disabilities through programming and events
  • The added value of an analog service in the heart of the digital era
  • Promoting Braille literacy

This conference offers a rare opportunity for professionals from a variety of disciplines to discuss the challenges and solutions to providing timely accessible materials. Librarians from special libraries for the blind, as well as from public libraries serving blind and print-disabled patrons; educators, accessible instructional materials providers; professionals from university disability offices, and others with an interest in these topics have been invited to come together to learn, share and discuss.


Join the conversation by submitting a paper for consideration. Paper guidelines are available on the Satellite Conference website. Call for Papers deadline is March 1st, 2016.

Obi 3.8 increases adaptability to DAISY members' production environments

The DAISY Consortium is pleased to announce the latest release of Obi, popular open source navigable audiobook creation tool. Obi produces books conforming to the accessible EPUB 3, DAISY 3 and DAISY 2.02 specifications.


Version 3.8 builds on DAISY team’s continued focus on implementing members’ feature requests. 

Obi 3.8 includes the capability to configure the recording and playback modes on the run by instantaneously switching between different audio profiles; new buttons have been added to the Transport Bar and Recording Toolbar. The new command to fill missing pages makes the process of creating the structure of a book more efficient. This release also includes new preferences for adapting the features to diverse requirements of the DAISY Consortium members.


In addition, this release brings major improvements to the network based deployment of Obi. The quick cleanup feature reduces data traffic over network. The new option to record to the local drive makes recording more robust.


Obi 3.8 includes several other enhancements and bug fixes. Please visit the Obi project area to check out the full list of features and improvements:


Download Version 3.8 at


The Obi-Tobi team is committed to enriching Obi with new features to keep it abreast with new technologies and making it suitable for the large worldwide user base.

The DAISY Consortium would like to extend a special thanks to all contributors for their valuable feedback and support.

Australia ratifies landmark treaty to end book famine

Vision Australia has been advocating on behalf of Australia’s blindness and low vision community, led by Maryanne Diamond - past president of the World Blind Union and former Vision Australia General Manager, to ensure that the Australian Government took action and ratified the Marrakesh Treaty.


Australia’s blindness and low vision population is estimated to be around 350,000.


The Treaty, now ratified by the Australian Government, will allow organisations to share books directly with individuals who are blind or have other print disabilities. It also enables the international exchange of books between relevant organizations and prevents the need to duplicate production in different countries. More information is provided on the Vision Australia's website.

Brazil Ratifies Marrakesh Treaty

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry welcomed Brazil's ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty. On December 11, he received the instrument of ratification from Brazil's Permanent Representative to the WTO Ambassador Marcos Galvão. The Director of Brazil's Copyright Office Marcos Alves de Souza was also present at the ceremony, which took place on the sidelines of 31st session of WIPO's Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights.


Brazil is the 13th country to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty. The treaty comes into force following 20 ratifications / accessions.


More information about the Marrakesh Treaty is provided on the WIPO website and in the YouTube video.

National Federation of the Blind Announces 2016 Dr. Jacob Bolotin Awards

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) announced that applications are now being accepted for the 2016 Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award Program. Each year the NFB presents cash awards to individuals and organizations that have demonstrated exemplary leadership and extraordinary accomplishments in improving the lives of blind people in the United States.


Dr. Jacob Bolotin was a blind physician who lived and practiced in Chicago in the early twentieth century. He was widely known and respected in Chicago and throughout the Midwest during his career, which spanned the period from 1912 until his death at the age of thirty-six in 1924. He was particularly recognized for his expertise on diseases of the heart and lungs. Bolotin used his public speaking engagements to advocate for the employment of the blind and their full integration into society.


More information is provided on the National Federation of the Blind website.

The European Commission Proposes a European Accessibility Act

The proposed European Accessibility Act will set common accessibility requirements for key products and services that will help people with disabilities at EU level to participate fully in society.

The products and services covered have been carefully selected in consultation with citizens, civil society organizations and businesses. They include:

  • ATMs and banking services
  • personal computers
  • telephones and TV equipment
  • telephony and audiovisual services
  • transport
  • e-books and e-commerce.

The proposal for a Directive aims to improve the internal market, making it easier for companies to provide accessible products and services across borders. Common accessibility requirements will also apply in the frame of EU procurement rules and for the use of EU funds. The initiative is expected to stimulate innovation and broaden the offering of accessible products and services for the approximately 80 million persons with disabilities in the EU. More information is provided on the European Commission website.

December 3rd: The International Day of Persons with Disabilities

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) has been commemorated since 1992 to promote awareness and mobilize support for critical issues relating to the inclusion of persons with disabilities in society and development. This day works to promote action to raise awareness about disability issues and draw attention to the benefits of an inclusive and accessible society for all.


Aligned with this goal, for almost 20 years, the DAISY Consortium has helped readers around the globe by developing and maintaining accessible standards providing access to information for all and offering a rich reading experience. We will continue to advocate for equal access to information and we support the ratification of Marrakesh Treaty. With recent ratifications by the Republic of Korea on October 8th and by Mongolia on September 23rd, the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled (MVT), is moving closer towards the 20 signatories required for its entry into force. The MVT was adopted by Member States of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on June 27th, 2013.


To-date, the Treaty has been by ratified by eleven countries including El Salvador, India, Mali, Paraguay, the United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Argentina and Singapore, Mexico, Mongolia and the Republic of Korea.


For further information on the MVT and its status of ratification please go to: The World Blind Union provides a detailed summary of the Treaty on their website. The United Nations Development Program joined forces with the World Blind Union to prepare a new report aimed at facilitating Asia-Pacific countries’ ratification.

Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) International Excellence Award

The ABC is now inviting nominations for the 2016 Accessible Books Consortium International Excellence Award for Accessible Publishing. This award recognizes outstanding leadership and achievements in advancing the accessibility of commercial e-books or other digital publications for persons who have print disabilities.


Two awards will be presented, one to a publisher and one for an initiative. In making its final decision, the selection panel (comprised of various organizations working in the field of accessibility) will consider the extent to which the following elements are present in each

nominee’ s work:

  • an organization-wide commitment to making content available in accessible formats
  • accessibility standards built into production systems to make books accessible on, or close to, publication date
  • collaboration with partners in the supply chain to ensure that accessibility is maintained in delivering the product to the print disabled end- user
  • innovative practices established to advance the accessibility of e-books and digital publications for persons who are print disabled


You may nominate either your own organization/company or a third party anywhere in the world, and ABC encourages nominations of companies, organizations or individuals based in developing or least developed countries. The two awardees will be presented with trophies at the annual awards ceremony held at the London Book Fair on Tuesday, April 12, 2016.


Please submit your application on or before January 16, 2016 through the London Book Fair website.

Guidelines for Library Services to Persons with Dyslexia: Best Practices

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) is the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users. It is the global voice of the library and information profession.


Their Section for Library Services to People with Special Needs (LSN) provides an international forum for the discussion of ideas, sharing of experiences and development of tools designed to promote and improve the effectiveness of library and information services to special needs groups, and the promotion of national and international cooperation at all levels.


Guidelines for Library Services to Persons with Dyslexia - Best Practices is a great resource that can inspire all people working with people who have special needs. Go to the IFLA website to access examples of libraries and groups serving these audiences.

DIAGRAM Center: Complex Image Accessibility

Sue-Ann Ma is a Product Manager at the DIAGRAM Center, a research and development hub launched by Benetech and funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. Sue-Ann's PowerPoint presentation and November 6th session recording are now available on the Montana Accessibility Interest Group website. Sue-Ann gave a highly informative presentation on complex image accessibility. More information and link to her presentation are provided on the Montana Accessibility Interest Group website.

DIAGRAM Center: Reading Technology Survey 2015

The DIAGRAM Center is conducting a short survey to track trends in how people with print disabilities obtain and access reading materials. Your answers will help focus their research and development efforts on the most widely used reading tools and digital reading materials. This is a follow up to a similar survey that was conducted in 2012.


The survey is designed to take no more than 15 minutes and asks questions about four topics: reading devices, assistive technology, reading materials, and images.


If you are a parent, teacher or caregiver entering responses on behalf of someone else, please be sure to answer the demographic questions as that person. For example, if you are answering the survey on behalf of a child, please answer the demographic questions as the child, not yourself.


This survey is anonymous - your name and e-mail address will not be linked to your responses. Access the Reading Technology Survey now and thank you for your participation.

The European Digital Reading Laboratory appoints Laurent Le Meur as its CTO

The European Digital Reading Laboratory (EDRLab), established to host Readium Europe and IDPF Europe operations, has appointed Laurent Le Meur as its founding CTO. Laurent will take overall responsibility for day-to-day operations of the Lab. He will also set strategic direction in coordinating with Readium Foundation, IDPF and other stakeholders in the global EPUB platform.


In addition, Cyril Labordrie has been nominated as the EPUB evangelist for IDPF Europe and Readium Europe. Cyril brings a strong background in software and video game development, and project management.


"EDRLAB Board and I are very pleased to welcome Laurent and Cyril." said Pierre Danet, President, EDRLab, Board member, Readium Foundation and IDPF, and Director Innovation and Digital Technology, Hachette-Livre Group. " With their arrival and engagement we're now advancing our planning in order to actively participate in the creation of new services around the EPUB open standard and Readium open source software, in a perfect coordination and deep partnership with Readium Foundation and IDPF". More information is provided on the Readium website.


Collaboration along with access to information and knowledge provide powerful tools for promoting world peace when tragic events affecting publishing communities take place. The DAISY Consortium and IDPF support this wholeheartedly through our mission to increase access to information and content on a global basis by fostering open standards and working together.