The DAISY Consortium's Newsletter - April 2008

From The Editor

In March, a news item with the following heading was posted to the DAISY Web site "Second Simultaneous Print and DAISY Publication Now Available from Amazon". The book is "Alf Morris: People's Parliamentarian", written by Derek Kinrade and published by the National Information Forum. It is however not the second simultaneous print and DAISY publication. And actually, even though this detail in the news item was not correct, it is good news. Other books published in print and accessible formats simultaneously include:

  • Disability Studies: Enabling the Humanities, editors: Sharon L. Snyder, Brenda Jo Brueggemann, Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, published 2002, available from the Modern Language Association (MLA) Web site
  • The Jester by James Patterson, published 2003, information provided on the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) Web site
  • Journey to Independence: Blindness ~ The Canadian Story by Euclid Herie, published 2005 by Dundurn Press
  • Blindness and the Visionary: the Life and Work of John Wilson by John Coles, published 2006

Although this is indeed a list, it is a very short list. Our goal should be to have a global catalogue of accessible format books that parallels the print equivalent list of titles, with simultaneous publication of standard print and accessible format publications, in other words, to bring DAISY into mainstream publishing. That is one of the goals of the DAISY Consortium.

There is a very interesting article published by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) entitled VR Stream vs. iPod. The author, Clara Van Gerven, who is sighted, compares these two products. Van Gerven concludes: "I firmly believe that there is room in the mainstream market for it [VR Stream], as it is, in my opinion, the best audiobook player out there, the best device to have in the car, and the best for extra functionality – voicenotes and text-to-speech especially. You certainly couldn't get me to give mine up." There is clearly a place for DAISY books and players in mainstream markets - everybody wins.

March 2008 Quiz Results:

The March Quiz Question was: How many individual presenters were listed in the 2008 CSUN Program?

  1. 200 to 300
  2. 300 to 400
  3. 400 to 500
  4. 500 to 600
  5. 600 to 700

The answer is number 5, over 600 individuals were listed in the CSUN 2008 program. The results were really interesting, with an even 20% response for each of the five possible answers. That is a first for the DAISY Planet Quiz - a five way tie.

April Quiz

AMIS 3, Beta 1 has just been released (Marketplace**url). AMIS is an open source software DAISY reading system (player) developed by the DAISY Consortium. What makes AMIS unique is that it has been "internationalized" and supports multiple languages.

QUESTION: How many languages does AMIS now support?

  1. 5
  2. 11
  3. 19
  4. 25

Be sure to read next month's issue of
The DAISY Planet
for the answer.

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 announcements of recently updated DAISY Products and Services from our Members and Friends. Marketplace entries also appear on our home page.

The DAISY Marketplace

Your Stories

"From Dotcom, to DAISY, to DAISY For All, it was a perfect transition"

Marisa DeMeglio
(Software Developer DAISY Consortium)

UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Ratified

On April 3, 2008, Ecuador ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and its Optional Protocol, bringing the total for ratification of the Convention to 20, the required number for CRPD to go into legal effect.

"The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is one of the fastest human rights treaties ever adopted. It was developed with the active participation of country delegations and NGOs representing persons with disabilities, and includes a number of detailed mandates related to accessible and assistive Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)." Source:

Although there are other human rights treaties, the CRPD is the first legally-binding, international human rights convention developed to protect the rights of people with disabilities. "About 18% of people worldwide live with some kind of disability, including those related to aging; 10% - more than 600 million people - live with life-altering disabilities, two thirds of which are in developing countries." Source: GAID (Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies and Development). The CRPD addresses the rights of these individuals and acknowledges their right to participate fully in society. It is history in the making, and one of the many rights addressed in this Convention is the right to receive information in accessible formats.

For the membership of the DAISY Consortium and those they serve, it is a milestone. Hiroshi Kawamura, President of the DAISY Consortium, and powerful advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities, responded to the news of the ratification stating "The role of the DAISY Consortium as an international accessibility standards development organization will become more important."

What does it mean, what will change, and who is affected by the CRPD?

The 20 countries which have ratified the Convention are obliged to abide by and implement it. 126 countries have signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Ratified but have not ratified it. A country that has signed the CRPD without ratifying it is not required to implement the Convention, but by signing, those countries have indicated an interest in ratifying it in the future. They are obliged to not directly violate the intent and spirit of the CRPD.

A summary of the Convention is provided in the The Convention in Brief on the United Nations Enable Web site.

DAISY/NISO Requirements Analysis

The DAISY/NISO Advisory Committee met at the offices of in Palo Alto California, April 15-17. The purpose of this meeting was to review and analyze the requirements that have been gathered and discuss the need for a revision of the DAISY Standard. The requirements gathering process was completed March 31, 2008.

More news to follow in the upcoming weeks.

Z3986 Advisory Committee Palo Alto

International Council on English Braille joins forces with the DAISY Consortium

The provision of braille is an important aspect of giving people what they want to read, when they want to read it. The DAISY Consortium has been examining ways in which current standards can support the production of braille, leading to the submission of a number of requirements for the next DAISY Standard to support the braille transcription process.

The International Council on English Braille (ICEB) coordinates the development of English braille and is well placed to support efforts to enrich the DAISY Standard to support transformation into braille and delivery of information through refreshable braille devices. The ICEB General Assembly was held in Australia this month and members resolved that: "This General Assembly recognises the ground breaking work of the Digital Accessible Information SYstem Consortium in bringing about a revolution in reading. This General Assembly resolves to appoint the President of ICEB as liaison officer to the DAISY Consortium with the aim of creating cohesion between the aspirations of ICEB and the DAISY Consortium."

The Assembly also agreed to create a committee to address evolving requirements concerning refreshable braille. It will be essential for this effort to be closely aligned with the developments of the DAISY Consortium.

Pete Osborne, Public Relations Officer for ICEB, said, "I am delighted that ICEB and DAISY will combine efforts to create a positive future for braille in tandem with other media. ICEB's focus on refreshable braille will benefit from the depth of understanding of ways in which information can be structured and delivered as identified in the DAISY Standard. Braille readers will certainly benefit from such collaborative efforts."

As we approach the bicentenary of the birth of Louis Braille – to be celebrated all over the world in 2009 – it is hoped that this collaboration between ICEB and the DAISY Consortium will enable the power of the DAISY reading experience to be delivered through the 6 dots of braille.

For further information about ICEB, visit the International Council on English Braille Web site.

...the best accessibility with the least loss of rights...

WBU, DAISY, IFLA/LBS Collaborating

Recently Chris Friend, Chair of the World Blind Union (WBU) Copyright and Right to Read Working Group, distributed information regarding meetings he had attended with WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) and IPA (International Publishers Association). Chris has given permission for the DAISY Consortium to provide a brief summary of the highlights and points of interest in the DAISY Planet.

From March 10 – 13, Chris attended the WIPO Standing Committee meeting on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) with WBU Observer Status. The three main discussion items were Exceptions and Limitations, Protection of Broadcasting Organisations, and Audio Visual Performances. The Standing Committee turned its main attention to a one-day session on Exceptions and Limitations, which is clearly the issue of primary concern to those involved in the accessible materials arena.

Linking to this directly is the cross-border transfer of accessible reading materials. This issue of is important to the WBU, the DAISY Consortium, IFLA/LBS, and all concerned with global access to information. Chris noted that one of the issues at hand is that material is created under a Copyright Exception in one country and then imported to a different jurisdiction which is under another exception, sometimes written in incompatible language. In 2006 Judith Sullivan prepared the "Study on Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for the Visually Impaired" for WIPO SCCR. This report identifies the complexities of the legality of transfers from one jurisdiction to another (note Recommendations J, K and L).

One of WBU's objectives in its global "Right to Read" Campaign to be launched in Amsterdam on April 23, 2008, is to examine this issue. Several cross-border exercises involving a number of countries with copyright exceptions in place will be established and the publishers concerned will be approached. The documentation will be presented to SCCR under the Exceptions and Limitations agenda item to encourage WIPO and the Publishers to agree authoritatively on a model of good and acceptable practice. A second objective of this campaign will be to stimulate the 120 countries which do not currently have copyright exceptions for accessible material to form national "Right to Read Alliances". These will bring together interested stakeholder groups to lobby their governments to put in place copyright exceptions for people with a print disability using the WIPO draft model law.

These words from Chris give us a clear perspective: "Our objective must surely be to move towards a mutually acceptable way forward, giving the best accessibility with the least loss of rights to both sides [those who require accessible formats, and, the publishers]...This is a real opportunity for us to influence the thinking of the Publishers..."

The Global Library Initiative led by the DAISY Consortium and IFLA/LBS is in the process of developing a new project plan. Issues surrounding international exchange of accessible reading material remain in the forefront.

Letters to the Editor

I have been reading the DAISY Planet for the past few months. I find it difficult to navigate. I use HAL, and never manage to read all the articles. Can I suggest, for the benefit of people growing old like myself, that you start an alternative version in text format (like the one used by E-Access magazine from Headstar) or one in DAISY 2.02 type 6 (full text only). Another possibility is that used by AFB for their Access World, which provides a link to download the entire issue, which can then be read continuously.
Wimal Weerakkody is a Professor of Western Classics in the Department of Classical Languages at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka

Editor's Note

The current format is laid out in columns, very much the way a print newspaper and some print magazines are presented. An HTML version without the "style" that creates the columns has been sent to Professor Weerakkody so that we can determine if it is accessible with the screen reader he uses and if he can read all of the articles. However, one of the principles of WAI is that document presentation should work for all, and alternative presentations should not be needed. We would therefore prefer to publish one version/format that is accessible to everyone.

This is only the second report we've received since the first issue of the DAISY Planet in August last year, that anyone has had problems accessing the content, and we've received positive input from numerous people who use a screen reader. If you have had difficulty accessing the articles in the Planet, please let us know using the DAISY Contact Us form, providing details of the problem.

Wimal Weerakkody, Sri Lanka



I have a question about the project 'Save As DAISY XML - Microsoft'. In the FAQ there is the question, if the DAISY XML file could be played on a DAISY player. The answer given is, "The DAISY XML is not a DAISY book. It is the XML file from which a DAISY book can be created. There is at least one DAISY player/reading system that will be able to play a DAISY XML file since it creates a DAISY book internally, that is, the whole set of DAISY 3 files".

Can you tell me which player/system it is or where I can find more details about this?


Many Thanks,   
MS (Germany)

Dear MS

The DAISY player/reading system being referred to in the FAQ is HumanWare's VictorReader Stream. It internally generates the DAISY file set from the DAISY XML file and renders it with synthetic speech. Information about the Stream is available on the DAISY Web site in the Products and Services area. There are also other players that provide direct support for DAISY XML playback, for example, the gh Player and EclipseReader by IRTI.

We expect that more tools will begin to support playback directly from DAISY XML. If you are a DAISY player/reading system developer and your product provides direct playback support for DAISY XML, please let us know using the Contact Us form on the DAISY Web site.