The DAISY Consortium's Newsletter - January 2008

From The Editor

In the DAISY world there is never a quiet or dull moment. Activities in the latter part of 2007 and already in 2008 have kept many of us very, very busy.

Two of our major projects, "Save As DAISY - Microsoft" and "DAISY OK" must have sample content. Requests for content have gone to many of the DAISY lists and news items on the DAISY Home Page have been posted. The Requirements Gathering process for the DAISY Standard was announced in the last quarter of '07, and a Call for Review for the 2008 DAISY Structure Guidelines was announced early this month. See the Feature Article: 2008 DAISY Structure Guidelines.

Collaboration and its importance in supporting the widespread adoption of the DAISY Standard have been featured in several issues of The DAISY Planet. We ask that you put on your very best "collaborative hats" and spread the news about the need for sample content and input from your organizations or companies.

DAISY content (books, magazines, timetables and so on) is being produced by many of your organizations. Many groups work with content initially in Word format. Please take a bit of time from your busy schedules to identify and submit sample content for "Save As DAISY" and "DAISY OK". Submitted samples will be used for no purpose other than the purpose defined in the two respective requests for content. Full details and an online submission form for samples in Word format are available in the Save As DAISY project area of our Web site. Information about the DAISY OK Project is provided. To reach us regarding DAISY content submission, please use the Contact Us form, (DAISY OK Project category).

As 2008 begins, the editorial team of The DAISY Planet would like to thank you for your continued support and contributions to The Planet.

To start off 2008 with something new, we have added a "Tech Tips"
section to the DAISY Planet. If you an idea for a technical tidbit that you
think would be of interest to others, please send it using the Contact Us form, (Newsletter category).

DAISY Marketplace

The following links are to new or recently updated DAISY Products and Services from our Members and Friends. Marketplace entries also appear on our home page.

The following links are to recently updated DAISY Tool and product entries on the DAISY Web site. Marketplace entries also appear on our home page.

The DAISY Marketplace
 

Your Stories

8
Meet Bradley, our very first DAISY expert.
He had learnt how to use the DAISY player in about 10 minutes.

Tom Dinning: "DAISY has so much to offer that I wonder
why we would do it any other way."

Math and Diagrams in APS Journals to be Accessible

ViewPlus Technologies and American Physical Society (APS) Join Forces

ViewPlus Technologies, Inc. (a Friend of the DAISY Consortium) and the American Physical Society today announced a collaborative, experimental project that will develop cost effective, timely, streamlined procedures for converting APS XML documents to DAISY format. All content in APS Journals, including mathematics and figures, will be accessible.

"I am excited that the American Physical Society may be able to offer its journals in DAISY format" says Dr. George Kerscher, Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium. "This new project is a tribute to the APS advanced XML publishing methods and to DAISY's development of standards that include accessibility to math and figures. By offering material in the DAISY format, the APS is opening its ranks to a whole new group of scientists with print disabilities..."

The new DAISY SVG plug-in expands DAISY's capabilities, allowing the ViewPlus SVG-based IVEO system to make DAISY figures accessible by "audio/touch". Through a grant from the National Eye Institute, ViewPlus will utilize and expand their IVEO Hands-on Learning System technology to make the entire APS journal accessible – text as well as previously inaccessible diagrams and math. "This project has been my dream for two decades" says Prof. John Gardner, ViewPlus Founder and President. "The technology developed through this grant will eliminate a giant hurdle for blind people who are pursuing careers in math and science."

APS is the leading publisher of international physics and physics research journals, including "Physical Review Letters", "Reviews of Modern Physics", and the "Physical Review" series. The procedures coming out of this collaborative project will hopefully serve as the basis for other technical publishers to provide their publications in DAISY format.

Complete details are available in the press release on the ViewPlus Technologies Web site and on the American Physical Society Web site.

Braille In DAISY Project: Report Published

A report in support of the Braille In DAISY Project, commissioned by the DAISY Consortium, generously funded by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and written by Jennifer Sutton, identifies the primary trends, questions, and issues of concern to producers, software developers, and others interested in the production of braille from DAISY XML or other XML sources.

Much of the information presented, as well as the conclusions and recommendations draw upon responses to a survey developed for this purpose. Ms. Sutton has captured and consolidated feedback from many interested organizations and companies. Braille In DAISY Working Group members have contributed significantly to the report via their contributions to the meetings and discussions. Information about the requirements of various audiences, from students to mainstream publishers, is presented, as are some of the overarching questions for consideration.

Despite the relatively small number of braille readers worldwide, braille remains the preferred reading medium of many, and is still very much in demand. It is however costly and time consuming to produce. A very oversimplified statement of what many of the audiences identified in this report want is "better" braille, than can be produced today, more quickly, at a lower cost. A challenge indeed!

The complete report is available on the DAISY Web site in the Braille In DAISY Project area. The DAISY Consortium would like to thank Ms. Sutton for administering the survey upon which the report is based, and for preparing a comprehensive report that will be of interest to many.

Louis Braille's 199th Birthday

Many of you are aware that January 4 is Louis Braille's birthday. It is fitting that the DAISY Consortium Report on the "Braille In DAISY Project" should be released in the month of Braille's 199th birthday.

Huseby Contributes Staff Resources to DAISY Community

DAISY Member organizations, no matter how large or small, can make a contribution to DAISY Consortium developments. Huseby Kompetansesenter - HK (Huseby - National Resource Centre for Special Education of the Visually Impaired) joined DAISY as an Associate Member in 1997. In 2006, Huseby, together with other Norwegian Associate Members, establish the Norwegian DAISY Consortium, which became a Full Member of DAISY.

In the early years of Huseby's involvement with DAISY, they participated in standards development, and in 1999 a talented young man by the name of Per Sennels joined the Huseby staff team. Per has carried on Huseby's tradition of collaboration, and in 2008, Huseby will commit 20% of Per's time to the further development the DAISY Pipeline. As Huseby is not a large organization, this is a significant commitment of human resources.

Over the years Huseby's contribution has been in the area of software development, starting with the DTB tester DTBD, the Structure Modifier, which could be used to add skippable content to a DAISY 2.02 book, and the Skippability Tweaker (a collaborative effort between Per, Markus Gylling and Edmar Schut). Per was also involved in developing the "DAISY 2.02 Skippable Structures Recommendation".

Collaboration is a two way street. Huseby has contributed and continues to contribute to the work of the DAISY Consortium. But much, or at least some of what they have done with the DAISY Consortium, would have been needed to further for their internal production processes. Collaborative efforts with other, very skilled people, creates better results - results that are suitable for other organizations to implement as well. And, at least as important for Huseby is the fact that their work with the skillful people involved with the DC (listening to their experience, looking at their ways of working, investigating their computer code etc.) has enabled the Huseby team to improve their skills and competence. It is quite possible that this is one of the reasons that Huseby, a rather small producer of DAISY books (both in terms of number of people and number of books) is considered as one of the most competent producers of DAISY books in Norway, and the most competent when it comes to XML-based production. Today, they produce better books in a better way than they did seven or eight years ago. This is partially because the Huseby team has been able to draw on the knowledge of other producers and developers.

"It has just as much been a learning experience, as a contribution experience" writes Per Sennels. "Markus Gylling has often been a guide in sometimes unknown terrain, and has pointed out some interesting technological directions. The first time was during the 2001 DAISY Technical Conference in Los Angeles; he mentioned XML, a term that I at that time had heard only a few times. I found a book store in LA, bought my first book on XML technology, and read it during the flight home. Life wasn't the same after that."

Currently Per is working with XSLT-based systems for transforming XHTML documents to DTBook compliant XML files. This will become a module in the DAISY Pipeline, and will be part of a system for transforming DAISY 2.02 DTB's into DAISY 3.0 DTB's.

2008 DAISY Structure Guidelines: Call for Review

The DAISY Structure Guidelines serve as the primary resource for information about structuring DAISY content and the elements used to markup DAISY XML. The 2008 Release of the DAISY Structure Guidelines is now available on the DAISY Web site for review and comment.

Numerous updates and improvements have been made. Samples which include page images, corresponding DAISY markup, and alternative NIMAS markup have been included. A "Show/Hide" feature has been added, allowing users to display or not display these images and examples. Screen reader users should use the space bar to activate the "Show/Hide" button.

Sections on "Poetry and Prose", and, "Mathematics" have been added. There is also a "Miscellaneous" section which includes several parts specific to NIMAS.

The review period began January 9, 2008 and runs through to February 15, 2008. Following the review period and approval, the 2008 Structure Guidelines will be available for download.

Your input is important as it has been since the first release of the DAISY Structure Guidelines in 1999. Please use the Issues Tracking form on the DAISY Web site to submit comments or suggestions. Both the Issues Tracking form and information about submission are provided.

Letters to the Editor

Please remind your readers about the Accessible e-books conference that will be held January 28, 2008 in Paris, France. Information about the conference plenary session, demos and workshops is available on the European eAccessibility Forum Web site.

Markus Gylling of the DAISY Consortium will be speaking at the opening session. Bernard Ourghanlian, Microsoft France Chief Technology and Security Officer, and, Philippe Beraud, Consultant Architecte, Direction Technologies et Sécurité, Microsoft France will be presenting in a plenary session and in a Workshop about the Microsoft/DAISY "Save As DAISY" plug-in that will be released in March.


Dominique Burger, Assoc. BrailleNet

I am a scientific researcher in the field of physics, working with a company in France that focuses on the industrial, health, communications and atomic energy fields. I am also blind. There are very, very few scientific books or journals (in English or any other language) that I can read, and I have problems scanning and reading books in .pdf format. I'm sure there are others who need to be able to get accessible scientific publications. Are their sources for this? Are there conversion tools that could help?

Editor's Note:

This inquiry was received in December. CP was referred to Prof. John Gardner who was able to provide him with some useful information. The timing of CP's letter is really rather incredible. See the Feature Article Math and Diagrams in APS Journals to be Accessible.


Dear DAISY

Dear DAISY,

I work for a publishing house in Stockholm, Sweden. We produce talking books and audio books, a lot of which are produced in the DAISY format. I just visited the Web site of a print company and realized that there are several common logotypes that can be used on the disc labels to signify that a product and its contents complies with certain standards, for example, the Compact Disc logo for CDs and CD-audio. I am just curious to know whether there is a similar logotype that can be used to signify that the disc contains a DAISY book. For now, we just print out "DAISY" in text on the disc label but if there is a standardized logotype for DAISY discs it would not only look neater to use it, it would probably also be easier for the users of our products to recognize the book as a DAISY book.

 

Many Thanks,   
JLB (Sweden)

Dear JLB

Yes, there is a DAISY logo without the word "Consortium" which can be used on DAISY book discs, and is used by many organizations which produce DAISY content around the world. It is available for download on the DAISY Web site. Please review the DAISY Consortium Logo and Trademark Policy and License before using any of the DAISY logos.

Please note, the DAISY Consortium is in the process of developing an online self-certification process that will allow member organizations and companies to certify their DAISY materials and tools as "DAISY OK". Organizations and companies which are certified will be able to use the "DAISY OK" logo. We plan to have this in place in the first half of 2008.

Tech Tips

RSS: Get DAISY information and updates delivered to your desktop with Real Simple Syndication (RSS)!

See RSS Feeds.