The DAISY Consortium's Newsletter - October 2007

From The Editor

Welcome to the third issue of "The DAISY Planet." This newsletter is aptly named because the DAISY community is truly a global community. On a recent conference call, staff members dialed in from seven different time zones. Most are not native English speakers, some use a computer with a monitor, some use a screen reader, but all of us use technology to communicate and collaborate across the planet. This diverse staff is representative of the DAISY Consortium's many members, friends, and others who share the goal of accessible information for all.

This issue of "The DAISY Planet" gives you an opportunity to meet one of our staff, Dipendra Manocha, Assistant Project Manager of DAISY for All in India. Please take a moment to get to know a bit about Dipendra through his story and consider sharing “Your Story” in a future issue.

"The DAISY Planet" concludes our two part series on "Harry Potter and the Global Library." Is the global library a dream, or can we work a little “magic” and make it a reality? Read the article to find out what is going on in the world of DAISY and Harry Potter. Also in this issue, we celebrate along with DAISY member Benetech as expands as an international resource for readers with print disabilities. And, we hear from supporters in the international deafblind community.

Throughout the world, across the spectrum of print disabilities, the DAISY Consortium continues to grow and include increasingly diverse contributors to its work to achieve worldwide availability of publications in DAISY format, wherever print or electronic content is produced. Check out the results of last month's quiz for further proof!

September Quiz Results

In 1996, six organizations joined forces to create the DAISY Consortium. How many organizations, companies, and individuals make up the membership of the DAISY Consortium today?

  • 0% chose Answer 1: 14
  • 18% chose Answer 2: 48
  • 82% chose Answer 3: More than 100

Congratulations to the vast majority of you who knew that the DAISY Consortium now boasts more than 100 Members, Friends and Individual Supporters!

October Quiz

The DAISY production of the last book of the Potter series, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows", easily fits on just one CD. How many 2 track, standard format cassettes would have been needed for this same book?


Your Stories

Dipendra Manocha
Dipendra Manocha: DAISY for Research in developing countries

"... my story could happen to any student with blindness living in any developing country..."

Harry Potter and the Global Library (Part 2 of 2)

Part II: A Global Commitment

Part I in this two part series relayed CNIB's and Ann Saunder's "Harry Potter" experience. That article closed with a request, asking organizations around the world to let us know if they had produced "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows". Thanks to each of you who replied. The response was so good in fact that we have not been able to include all of the submissions.

In Part II we will look at some of your "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" experiences. We will also discuss the concept of the Global Library, what it means and why it is so important.

Until fully accessible commercial digital publications become the norm, organizations providing library services to individuals with a print disability are working together to create a Global Library. The DAISY Consortium, its members, and other partners have lobbied the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) regarding the need for international copyright law and copyright exceptions. Draft documents from WIPO encourage national copyright exceptions which would allow international exchange of accessible reading materials. This is an important first step.

The detailed "Harry Potter" experiences submitted by DAISY Members illustrate the need for the Global Library. We would like to thank each of you who took the time to share them with us. The number of responses was overwhelming!  

What is the Global Library and what difference will it make in the lives of people who can not read standard print?
1. Federated searching
Currently it is possible to view the online catalogues of various accessible collections, but a federated search would provide a "one stop" approach to searching all library collections for books in the format of choice. We are quite a long way from achieving this element of the Global Library, but the benefits are clear. Complicating this further is the fact at present even if such a search were possible, most libraries may loan to their registered patrons only.

2. International Inter-Library Lending (International ILL)
The MediBuS "Harry Potter" experience is one excellent example of international lending. In some countries copyright restrictions make international ILL very difficult or impossible.

3. Sales of masters
The RNIB "Potter" experience shows clearly that there are benefits when one organization creates the original DAISY master production and then makes it available for sale to organizations providing similar services in other countries. These organizations add the title to their collection and distribute the DAISY DTB or provide it online to their library users. This benefits both the producing and purchasing organizations, but most of all, it benefits the readers.

4. National copyright exception legislation
Many countries in which DAISY books are produced have national copyright exception or exemption laws. If these are not in place, costs to the organization are increased as copyright permission for each title must be requested and received.

5. Reciprocal national copyright exceptions
Such exceptions open the door for cross border exchange and/or sale of titles between libraries serving persons with print disabilities. RNIB's "Potter" experience shows that this can and is being done.

A true Global Library will include an international copyright treaty or binding international agreement that grants library-to-library exchange. Such an agreement would increase the number of DAISY and other accessible format books available to users around the world. It will involve collaborative book selection and production runs which would increase the number of DAISY books available world wide. As George Kerscher, Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium has said, this concept is not new but it is extremely complex. Beyond the Global Library is commercial production in DAISY format, so that all publications are accessible.

Unfortunately Harry Potter did not use his magic to make the elusive Global Library a reality. Are we up to the challenge of creating an accessible Global Library without magic? Yes, together we are. Your "Harry Potter" experiences demonstrate that it is no longer only an abstract concept. Goes Global is delighted to make available an expanding number of accessible books to those around the world who  qualify for the service. There are several thousand accessible copyrighted books available for download, based on permissions from publishers and authors. The Bookshare goal is to continue working with publishers and authors to expand the number of books available globally. The Bookshare team is expecting to work with people with print disabilities and partner libraries around the world.

Libraries or schools can sign up and provide books to their patrons in two ways:

Individuals can also sign up directly for the initial membership option to download up to 100 books per month, but at this time, not for the download package option.

How do users sign up?

The sign-up process is done online, with one exception. Bookshare needs to receive proof of qualifying disability to satisfy their agreements with publishers.

Which books are available?

There is a wide variety of books available on for users outside the United States. Some of the publishers which have agreed to global permissions include the following:

Bookshare also has more than 1,000 copyrighted titles in Spanish. They expect to be offering more books frequently. A page explaining how to search Bookshare's collection for the books that are available globally is also provided. When you sign up and become a member, will default to showing only the books you can download.

Why aren't all books on available globally?
Because Bookshare does not yet have permission from all the publishers. In the United States and many other countries, there are accessibility laws that permit the creation of accessible versions of books for people with disabilities. Unfortunately, these national laws are just that, national. So, to distribute books around the world, permission must be requested. Publishers and authors are almost always willing to provide such permissions, but it takes time to solicit their assistance. Authors and publishers wishing to help Bookshare grow its international collection can find more information on the author and publisher information page.


Bookshare is looking forward to working with other organizations that share their interest in building a global library for the blind and print disabled. was started to stop the incredibly wasteful duplication of scanning efforts by individuals and institutions. Bookshare believes that this duplication can be reduced and the proportion of books available to people with disabilities greatly increased. The opening of to international users is just the beginning of their contribution to this important global effort.

Techshare/DAISY Conference 2007, London UK

This year Techshare joined forces with the DAISY Consortium. The result was a well-attended and well-organized conference that offered six concurrent streams of presentations over two days. There were 25 DAISY and DAISY-related sessions, ranging from two DAISY keynote speeches, to a basic introduction to DAISY, to sessions directed toward those with more technical interests. More than 400 people from around the world attended, representing countries such as Sweden, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Iceland, France, Denmark, Korea, Germany, Finland, Canada, Brazil, Japan, India and of course the UK.

The keynote speakers on day one were Axel Leblois, Director, Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (G3ICT), and Rob Sinclair, Director of Accessibility, Microsoft. Although these were not specifically DAISY keynotes, both Axel and Rob addressed issues of interest to the DAISY community. Axel spoke of moving accessible ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) into the mainstream; his talk reinforced the idea that a larger mainstream customer base can greatly reduce the cost of technology and tools. Rob spoke of the need for and focus on inclusive innovation and design. Starting off the second day were the two DAISY keynote speakers, Jim Fruchterman, CEO of Benetech and Founder of, and George Kerscher, Secretary General, DAISY Consortium. Jim provided a brief history of how he came to be involved in the field of information access and also officially announced that is now available internationally (please see the Bookshare Feature article in this issue of "The DAISY Planet"). George provided an enlightening outline of the DAISY Road Map (strategic directions), DAISY activities, and alluded to some exciting and progressive developments. 

For those of us who attended, it was wonderful to see so many members of the DAISY Community again. Although the conference was packed with interesting sessions, people still managed to find a few moments to catch up with old friends and discuss new developments within their organizations or companies.

The DAISY Consortium would like to thank RNIB for the opportunity to participate jointly in this event and to thank all of those at RNIB who worked tirelessly to ensure that the 2007 Techshare/DAISY Conference would be a success. For additional information please go to the Techshare Web site.

Letters to the Editor

We have received several letters through the DAISY Contact Us Form/Newsletter category since our September issue. However, many of these letters have contained commercial offers by companies outside of the DAISY membership about services or products somehow related to DAISY, or requests to advertise a product via "The DAISY Planet."

Currently, editorial policy limits information about commercial products to the DAISY Marketplace where we feature innovative new tools, products and services offered by DAISY Members and Friends.  We welcome your comments on this policy, as well as your submissions to the DAISY Marketplace and Letters to the Editor.



I have a question related to an accessibility issue pertaining to the deafblind population. Is DAISY accessible for deafblind who can not hear and need braille to access the written material?


Many thanks for your time.   
R.S. (USA)

Dear R.S.

Your question is a very, very timely one indeed. There are two answers to your question. If an individual has a refreshable braille display, it is possible to read a DAISY book that has the full text of the book along with the audio or simply has the full text alone. Bookshare books, for example, have the marked up text of DAISY books, and some organizations produce books that are both marked up text and audio. More organizations are moving in this direction, and one of the reasons is that ultimately we aim to be able to produce well formatted braille files directly from the DAISY marked up source file.

One of the current DAISY Consortium projects is "Braille-in-DAISY". You can read about this project on the DAISY Web site in the Braille-in-DAISY project area. Updates on the progress of this project will be provided on the DAISY site several times a year.

This is a complicated project. As you may know, different countries have different braille codes, and print publications, particularly textbooks are becoming more and more complex in layout.