The DAISY Consortium's Newsletter - April 2009

From The Editor

News items are reported regularly on the DAISY homepage and although some of the topics covered there are also included in the DAISY Planet, our newsletter format allows us to provide additional details, give you more in depth information, and cover topics which do not appear in the homepage news.

There are six features articles of varying lengths in this issue of the Planet. A great deal of interest was expressed about the article E-book Access Threatened in last month's Planet (many thanks to those who wrote to us about it). If you who are interested in this important struggle for equitable information access, the article Kindle 2 TTS Update: Reading Rights Coalition in Action should be on your required reading list.

Details about the newest release of the DAISY Pipeline and about the DAISY Online Specification are provided. The review period for the Online Specification ends May 15. If online delivery of DAISY contest is important to your organization or company, please ensure that you or your technical team review the specification.

 

Two articles about DAISY books available for download are also included in this issue. For those who are French speaking, the free, downloadable French language public domain titles offered by BrailleNet will be of interest. If every organization with public domain DAISY books made them freely available for download, many people around the world would benefit.

There are two DAISY Conferences lined up for this year. 2009 New Age of DAISY will be held in Seoul, South Korea, June 3 - 5 in conjunction with the DAISY Consortium Annual General Meeting. The DAISY International Technical Conference will be held September 23 - 25 in Leipzig, Germany; early bird registration closes May 31. A spring update on this conference will be provided in next month's DAISY Planet.

The next WIPO SCRR meeting will be held at the end of May. The proposed WIPO Treaty for Equitable Information Access is on the agenda. Information and outcomes from the meeting will be reported in an upcoming issue of the DAISY Planet.

This month's Your Story is from Daniel Weck, and although he is a self-proclaimed "geek" he writes exquisitely, and almost always wears a warm smile.

Lynn Leith
Editor

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

The DAISY Marketplace

Keys to Copyright Change

International Collaboration

Tower This month in London, England, two events accelerated the ongoing work to promote equitable information access and the proposed World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) treaty: the WIPO Stake Holders Meeting and a key panel session at the London Book Fair (LBF).

LBF Panel: Making e-books easy for everyone to read

The LBF, the global marketplace for rights negotiation and the sale and distribution of content in formats ranging from print to digital channels, was held April 18 to 22. George Kerscher, Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium and board member of the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) was invited to participate in one of the key panel sessions: Making e-books easy for everyone to read: what publishers and the print-impaired need to know about one another. Organized by the Publishers Association, the Publishers Licensing Society (PLS), the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and the Right to Read Alliance, the panel was chaired by Helen Fraser of Penguin. Panel members were Graham Bell of Harper Collins, George Kerscher representing the IDPF, Richard Orme of RNIB (a Full Member of the DAISY Consortium), and Alistair McNaught of JISC TechDis. This was a high-profile event with an audience that included representatives from WIPO, the World Blind Union (WBU), and a variety of types of publishers. The organizers were particularly interested in identifying the range of teams, skill sets and systems within stakeholder publishing companies that could lead to increases in the number of accessible books that are produced by publishers themselves.

The span and breadth of representation on the organizing team, on the panel, and in the audience demonstrate that the issues of copyright and information access are known by many groups worldwide; they are no longer a matter of importance only to those who require information in an accessible format and those in the field of information access.

WIPO Stakeholders Platform Meeting

The WIPO Stakeholders Platform meeting was held on April 20th, aligned with the LBF. Both Chris Friend, Chair, WBU Strategic Objective Leader - Accessibility Chair WBU Global Right to Read Campaign, and George Kerscher were in attendance, as were representatives from RNIB and Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), and other involved parties.

Major outcomes from this meeting include the formation of a Working Group which is charged with designing a 'Trusted Intermediary Model', describing it in a way that is acceptable to both the rights holders and those who require information in an accessible form. In this instance trusted intermediaries will often but may not exclusively be libraries which work with the publishers (rights holders) and also with the end users. These libraries would also work with other trusted intermediaries such as libraries in other countries. The Working Group, which is under the WIPO Stakeholders Platform, has been asked to report back by the end July. It is hoped that in the second half of the year a pilot will be approved to begin trans-national sharing of content. It is expected that a relatively small number of organizations would be involved in this initial pilot. Developing countries will be involved. Ambassador Aswan Singh from New Delhi volunteered to help manage the process.

The image of the Tower Bridge in this article is provided courtesy of FreeFoto.com.

Kindle 2 TTS Update

Reading Rights Coalition in Action

In the March 2009 DAISY Planet the lead article E-book Access Threatened provided information about the Kindle 2 text-to-speech controversy. On April 7 in New York City in front of the Authors Guild headquarters, members and supporters of the Reading Rights Coalition participated in a successful, informational protest against the removal of the text-to-speech from Kindle 2 e-books. Later this month, on April 25 - 26, at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, members of the Reading Rights Coalition manned a booth to hand out flyers, solicited signatures for the petition, and informed readers, authors, and publishers about the issue of text-to-speech on the Kindle 2. Chris Danielsen of the National Federation of the Blind distributed a report on this event to Reading Rights Coalition members. The following is excerpted from that report.

At different times each day, authors participated in panel discussions, which members of the Coalition attended. At each of these discussions ... we raised the question of whether the authors on stage would support text-to-speech on the Kindle 2 for all readers. Mary Higgins Clark, bestselling writer of suspense novels, and her daughter Carol Higgins Clark, a successful novelist in her own right who also collaborates on works with her mother, agreed before a packed crowd to make sure that all of their works would be available with text-to-speech. ... At a panel called Writers as Activists the crowd erupted into spontaneous applause when another activist from our Coalition raised the Kindle 2 issue and asked the authors whether they would support text-to-speech for their books and equal rights for readers with print disabilities. ... The publishers we spoke with were either supportive or open to further discussions with the Reading Rights Coalition. Public support was overwhelmingly in our favor, with hundreds if not thousands of visitors to our booth signing our petition.
There remains much follow-up work to do in the wake of this success ... While we gained a great deal of support, it is clear from some of our discussions that more work needs to be done. ... we feel that a great deal of work was done to educate the public and the book industry about this critically important issue and that the tide is beginning to turn in our favor.

Further information, related documents and a discussion forum are available on the Reading Rights website. As of April 30, petition signatures total 6865. Regardless of where you live, if you support the right to read, please consider signing the online petition if you have not yet done so.

DAISY Pipeline: the Power of Open Standards & Collaboration

 

DAISY Pipeline logo Earlier this month the DAISY Consortium announced a new release of the DAISY Pipeline. This release (v20090410) includes numerous improvements and new features, including:

In addition to the development work done by the DAISY Consortium software development team, contributions have been received from at least five other groups. MathDaisy logo A 'first' in this release of the Pipeline is the inclusion of the first commercial transformer, the MathDAISY plugin from Design Science. The many beta testers and bug reporters around the world help to round out the collaborative, community approach of the DAISY Pipeline. Ongoing improvements in the DAISY Pipeline are possible because of the collaborative efforts of and contributions from Members and Friends of the DAISY Consortium and the global Open Source community.

"...the capabilities of Pipeline will allow us to do what we otherwise could not afford to do." David Nelson, Product Development Coordinator for Attainment Company.

Additional information is available in the DAISY Pipeline Project area and in the DAISY Consortium press release.

DAISY Online Specification Update

Call for Review

DAISY working group In 2007 the DAISY Online Working Group began the development of the DAISY Online Specification. They worked in earnest with a formal requirements gathering process; a common DAISY online delivery standard was urgently needed. On the 15th of this month the public call for review of the Specification was announced.

DAISY Online is a Web Service API (Application Programming Interfaces) which stipulates industry standards for maximum interoperability. This tremendously flexible Standard has been designed to enable compliant entities to seamlessly communicate with other entities in the DAISY Online environment. Security has been built into the Specification from the beginning of the development process. Features include:

The suite of five documents which accompanies the Specification is available in the DAISY Online Project area. Detailed descriptions of all functions which are divided into distinct categories are provided. All of the documents are cross-linked. The Primer is still in draft form but will be available by the end of May. It will encapsulate a best practices guide and provide examples.

During the development phase test implementations have been established, both service providers and reading systems (DAISY player). The test implementations are on different platforms and all functions have been tested.

During the review phase comments should be submitted via the DAISY Contact Us form on the DAISY website. The review period closes May 15. The DAISY Online Standard will be presented for approval at the June meeting of the DAISY Consortium Board of Directors.

Additional information about the DAISY Online Standard and links to the documents are located in the DAISY Online Project area.

BrailleNet DAISY Downloads for All

Free French Public Domain Titles

BrailleNet logoBrailleNet, the developer and 'home' of Le Serveur Hélène, has very recently announced that it has made all of the public domain French books in its collection freely available to everyone for download. DAISY is the central format of 'Hélène', BrailleNet's digital library.

The 679 books from Serveur Hélène that are in the public domain can be dowloaded in multiple formats including XML DTBook, DAISY 3.0 (ANSI/NISO Z39.86 2005) and HTML (conforming to XHTML 1.1). BrailleNet is using tools such as the Save as DAISY add-in for Microsoft Word and odt2dtbook to create titles in DTBook XML from other formats; the DAISY Pipeline is then used to create the DAISY 3.0 books files.

The Serveur Hélène collection is the first collection of French language books that is made freely available in DAISY format. The titles may be used for both tool testing and, of course, for reading! L'Association BrailleNet has established a free DAISY book download service that will benefit French language readers around the world.

RFB&D® Launches DAISY Download Service

RFB&D logo The RFB&D® collection is one of the largest of its kind in the world, comprised of more than 51,000 accessible academic texts and literature. This week Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic announced a new download service which allows its members in the USA to download DAISY books (branded and marketed by RFB&D® as AudioPlus®, DAISY format audiobooks). This new service offers DAISY books which "feature the full navigation, bookmarking and variable speed control that make DAISY the premiere format of accessible audiobooks" (source: RFB&D® press release). Downloadable DAISY books provide users with significantly improved access to the information and navigation through the content.

Some of the benefits of this new service for RFB&D's members include:

Additional information is provided in the RFB&D® press release and on the RFB&D® website. RFB&D® is a Full Member of the DAISY Consortium.

Letters to the Editor

I enjoyed reading the story of Shinano Kenshi and DAISY. I was an enthusiastic participant in that meeting in December 1995 at the Shinano Kenshi premises...when the DAISY Consortium was not a reality yet.
From:
Pedro Zurita/Spain

Now I understand the issue with Kindle, thank you.
From:
K. Ward/USA

Excellent edition. You really provided a lot of information. I especially liked the article on Kindle 2 TTS.
From:
Peyton Stafford, Director Global Library & Inst Services, ReadHowYouWant

Editor's Note: see also the The Accessible Librarian Blogspot post by Ms. Stafford Without a doubt, this is the best summary of the Kindle 2 TTS issue to date. It's a matter of basic accessibility to content.

Let us know what you think. Please use the Contact Us form (Newsletter category).



Dear DAISY

Dear DAISY,

We are a publisher of books (and software) for special needs students - primarily cognitive learning disabilities. Our books are for the 2% of students outside of standard curriculum requirements. We would like to start providing NIMAS text files, DAISY 2.02 DTB file sets, and DAISY 3 DTB file sets as standard parts of our publication releases. Here is my question:
Are we allowed to use the data produced (including audio) by the DAISY Pipeline transformation tool kit? We are a small for-profit business, and the capabilities of Pipeline will allow us to do what we otherwise could not afford to do. Thanks!
David Nelson, Product Development Coordinator for Attainment Company

 

Many Thanks,   
David (USA)

Dear David

The DAISY Pipeline is open source and the output is free to be used by your company for sale or whatever distribution you like. You probably know that MP3 is still under patent and Thompson controls the licensing. Also depending on any TTS (text to speech) you use, it may have its own licensing requirements. All the DAISY tools however are free and clear.

Tech Tips

AMIS AMIS 3 Release Candidate 2 is now available. The major notable improvement over RC 1 is that for large books, subsequent load times are greatly reduced. This means that the first time a book is opened there may be a slight waiting period, but each time it is opened subsequently, it will load quickly.