The DAISY Consortium's Newsletter - October 2009

From The Editor

In this world there is only one thing that never changes, and that is simply that change is inevitable, it may be slow, but it is all around us. The results of efforts to make information accessible to everyone, everywhere, are no different. Activities are escalating, and people - governments, companies, publishers and others who previously were perhaps even unaware of this issue - are being made aware that there is a need, that something must be done to bring information to those previously unable to access it because they are unable to read print.

Several of the articles in this issue of the DAISY Planet are about these changes. I hope you will find them both stimulating and encouraging. In his paper "From Better to Full Access to Works for Print-Disabled Persons" Francisco Martínez Calvo included a quote (Tucker, 1997) that explains why change was and continues to be so desperately needed:

"Imagine if you will, going to your local public library and finding that all the books are in a form that you cannot read, Braille for instance. Imagine that your library takes notice of your complaints and buys two out of every hundred books in conventional print. The chances that these two books are in the subject area that you want to read or that they are in a language you understand is very small, but you are better off than most visually handicapped readers across Europe."

This would have applied (and still does apply) everywhere, not just in Europe. I have read this quote before, but each time I read it, it moves me deeply and brings home the injustice of inequitable information access. In today's world where knowledge and information are essential simply to survive, this is not right. As Francisco wrote in the conclusion of his paper, now is the time to implement the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Equitable information access must be a priority.

Details of a few recent and upcoming events warrant mention. The papers from the DAISY2009 Conference held in Leipzig last month are now available online on the DAISY2009 website. A link to the recording of the sessions will be published in the DAISY Planet when it becomes available. Papers from the BrailleNet seminar held in Paris on October 14 are also published online (note: they are in French). The seminar was well attended by representatives from the National Library, Ministry of Culture, and several French associations of/for Visually Impaired People. Two future conferences which will be of interest are Techshare India 2010 – Bridging the Barriers, February 15-16, 2010, New Delhi, India (call for papers closes October 30) and the 26th Pacific Rim International Conference on Disabilities, April 12-13, Honolulu, Hawaii. Registration and Call for Proposals are now open.

Belated congratulations go to Niels Thøgersen and his amazing team at xml-tekst ApS in Roskilde Denmark for being awarded the Danish tender for study materials for persons with a reading disability.

"Your Story" this month is from Elke Dittmer. I had an opportunity to meet with Elke about 'her story' prior to the DAISY2009 Conference in Leipzig. Thank you Elke for taking the time share your story with us.

If you have news about your organization or company, or about issues relevant to the DAISY community, please let us know by using the Contact Us form (Newsletter category). You can also submit a comment (supportive or critical) for the Letters to the Editor column or let us know you'd like to share 'Your Story' with the Planet readers using the Contact Us form. Your input helps us to keep the DAISY Planet alive and well.

Lynn Leith

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

DAISY at ITU Telecom World 2009

DAISY at UNESCO Digital Publishing Pavilion at ITU Telecom World 2009 ITU Telecom World is held only once every few years. The theme of the event this year was "Open Networks - Connected Minds" - and the DAISY Consortium was there, October 5 to 9, in Geneva. The ultimate purpose of WORLD 2009, as outlined on the ITU website was: "To address shared global challenges in today's information society, WORLD 2009 incorporates thematic elements to highlight the reach and role of telecommunications and ICT in areas of societal change such as the digital divide, climate change, and disaster relief. With its focus on development opportunities, the event brings together corporate social responsibility and displays cases of best practices."

The DAISY Consortium was represented by Hiroshi Kawamura (President), Bernhard Heinser, Dipendra Manocha, Olaf Mittelstaedt and Shakila Maharaj. Misako Namura, attending for IFLA, Library Services to People with Special Needs Section, was also present. The Consortium exhibited under the umbrella of the thematic UNESCO pavilion: "Empowering people with disabilities through ICTs". The pavilion theme approach was a very powerful concept, bringing together organizations and companies active in the field of providing access to information. It provided enhanced visibility and continuity.

There was a great deal of interest in DAISY and the DAISY Consortium from the participants from the industrialized world and also from the developing world. Both UNESCO and ITU representatives attended the pavilion. The work of the Consortium was presented, with particular focus given to the DAISY South Africa initiative. In addition to the DAISY banner, informational materials distributed included an 'overview' brochure on the DAISY Consortium, a brochure about DAISY South Africa, and a USB stick loaded with AMIS, the HIV manual produced in South Africa in four languages (English, Afrikaans, Zulu, and Xhosa), and the content of the brochures (including .brf files).

Other organizations and companies with exhibits in the UNESCO pavilion included:

Bernhard Heinser speaking at the UNESCO pavilion, ITU World Telecom 2009Presentations were given by the organizations and companies exhibiting in the UNESCO pavilion. Bernhard Heinser, Chief Financial and Development Officer, presented on behalf of the DAISY Consortium.

A series of panel presentations took place in the Forums held throughout World Telecom 2009. Hiroshi Kawamura was a panelist in the session "Assistive technologies: Accessibility and e-health". The panel focused on trends and the evolution of accessibility and ICTs, along with assitive technology and e-health.

The Opening Ceremony address given by Dr. Hamadoun Touré is available on You Tube. Dr. Touré stated that in 2003 there were one billion mobile phone subscriptions and that by the end of this year that number will have risen to 4.6 billion. At that time there were 680 million Internet users; there are now 1.8 billion, with more than half having broadband access. He also stated that these figures reinforce his belief in the power of ICTs to make the world a better place, and that ICTs are at the center of everything we do in the modern world. "We must therefore ensure that access to ICT is simple, equitable, safe and affordable to all of the world's people...Communication is a basic human right".

The next World Telecom will take place in 2011. It will be the 40th anniversary of ITU, and the DAISY Consortium is already considering how we can ensure that our participation then will be as positive and productive as our participation at the event this year.

Inclusive eBook Publishing

Frankfurt Book Fair 2009

Frankfurt Book Fair is by far the world's biggest book fair. It is so big a bus is used to transport people between the 10 halls! Stephen King, Group Director, Prevention & International Affairs, Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and a DAISY Board member, and Michael Busboom, a member of the Technical Commission of the European Blind Union, gave a presentation organized by the UK Publishers association. The topic, inclusive eBook publishing, drew an audience of almost 50 people (standing room only), with about 30 publishers represented in the group. Participants asked many questions and took the opportunity to closely examine the demonstrations of assistive technology.

Stephen King, Michael Busboom, and Dr. Alicia Wise, Chief Executive, Publishers Licensing Society at the 2009 Frankfurt Book Fare EasyReader from Dolphin, Victor Reader Stream from HumanWare and a braille display, along with videos, helped to provide very basic education about inclusive eBook publishing. Commercial market eBook readers such as Sony eBook, Kindle, Adobe Reader and iPod Touch were also demonstrated for enlarged print fonts and the delivery of text to speech generated audio. The same book was used to demonstrate the reading experience on several different PC eBook reading programs. The audience was impressed by the improved user experience provided by software such as EasyReader. DAISY as an EPUB multimedia extension was also of interest. King and Busboom spoke about the difference between synthetic speech and performance audio, with "Wind in Willows" demonstrated using both. The characterization of the narration made people realize that they are far from being the same thing. Most of the interest was from education-focused publishers who understood the market for inclusive publishing.

The audience heard how legislation means a competitive edge particularly in education, and how the EPUB format was well designed to deliver eBooks usable by everyone. Some of the key messages delivered were:

Additional information is available on the Frankfurt Book Fair blog posted October 16, under the heading "Talking eBooks".

Thanks to the UK Publishers Association for organizing the event, to Steve and Noel of Dolphin for providing a copy of EasyReader for (unprotected) EPUB content at very last minute, and to Richard Orme (RNIB) who 'burned a lot of midnight oil' creating much of the presentation.

Improving Access to Works for Visually Impaired Persons

European Parliament Workshop

The European Parliament will hold a workshop on copyright - "Tackling Orphan Works and Improving Access to Works for Visually Impaired Persons" - in Brussels on November 10. Session II of the one day workshop will address the access issues, with papers presented by:

A debate moderated by Karin Pilsäter, Chairman of the Swedish Parliament Committee on Industry and Trade, will conclude the session. Francis Gurry, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) is expected to be present at the workshop.

This will be one of the many important activities leading up to the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR 19) meeting that will be held December 14 to December 18 later this year.

Francisco Martínez Calvo, London 2007, DAISY Board meeting Francisco's paper, entitled "From Better to Full Access to Works for Print-Disabled Persons" provides a very clear picture of past and current information accessibility issues, but more importantly it explicitly summarizes and outlines solutions for moving forward. Both short term solutions to provide better access, and long term solutions to provide full access presented.

Persons with a print disability are no longer content with that 5% of books to choose from, as they would no longer be happy with a mere 5% increase during the next ten or fifteen years. Their information needs have grown more rapidly than the production capacity of the institutions working for them. They know that technology can now offer solutions that go beyond the traditional method of adapting printed books to make them accessible. These same technologies also offer them a level of autonomy they could not dream of before...
The "Full Access" solution is here already. It is a dream, it has been a dream for many years, and now it is an attainable dream. The technology exists to produce both accessible books and accessible hardware tools to read them. We just need to put accessibility to information at the same level as accessibility to buildings, or to public transport. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities aims to achieve that. It has been signed by most countries in the world, and certainly by all countries in the European Community. Now, it is time to start implementing its principles, and the WIPO treaty for Improved Access for Blind, Visually Impaired and other Reading Disabled Persons would be a great opportunity to make a clear statement – that the European Community and the governments of all its Member States believe in this Convention.

DAISY is referenced through the paper and the DAISY Standard is put forward as one of the important solutions. Section 2.3.2: "DAISY – From a book for the blind to a book for all" provides an excellent overview. If Francisco Martínez Calvo's paper is available online following the Workshop in Brussels, a link to it will be provided in the DAISY Planet.

Information regarding preparations for the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR 19) meeting, events leading up to it, and the results of that potentially critical meeting in December will be published in future issues of the DAISY Planet.

Man Booker Prize 2009: Rules Change

Publisher Files Required

Earlier this year a number of changes in the rules of entry for the Man Booker Prize for fiction (previously the Booker Prize) were announced. To those not directly involved in the literary community, this may not seem to be of particular importance; however, one of the changes introduced is that publishers of 'long listed' novels must provide the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) with an electronic text version to facilitate the production and distribution of braille, large print and talking book formats of those titles on a not-for-profit basis.

What impact does this rule change really have? "A ground-breaking decision by the Booker Prize Foundation means that for the first time, every book short listed for the Man Booker Prize, including Hilary Mantel's 'Wolf Hall' [2009 winner] was available to blind and partially sighted readers at the time the winner was announced (10.30pm Tuesday 6 October)." Also from the press release "Mantel's 'Wolf Hall' Available To Blind And Partially Sighted Readers" published on "Once again, the Man Booker Prize have shown a fantastic commitment to blind and partially sighted people's right to read and are the first book prize to introduce a clause like this. RNIB's Julianne Marriott says: 'The Man Booker Prize has taken a significant step to bring new writing to blind and partially sighted people...At RNIB we applaud the continued commitment of the Man Booker Prize to blind and partially sighted people's right to read and invite other book prizes to follow their lead and work with us.'" RNIB was able to begin production of the short listed titles, using the electronic text files provided by the publishers, on the day the list was announced. It is important to note that, as in previous years, the accessible format production was funded by the groups connected to the prize (the Man Group plc Charitable Trust has paid for the production of the Talking Book versions and the Booker Prize Foundation for the braille and large print versions).

Right to Read logo Many countries have literary prizes such as the UK's Man Booker Prize. The challenge for every organization creating accessible content is to use the Man Booker example to encourage the award granting group in their country to follow suit and provide the electronic text file to support the simultaneous release of accessible formats. Following RNIB's lead in this area, WBU's Global Right to Read (R2R) Campaign has researched literary prizes around the world and plans to work with DAISY, IFLA Libraries Serving Persons with Print Disabilities Section (LPD) and World Blind Union (WBU) Member organisations to seek the addition of a similar requirement in the nomination rules of other leading literary prizes in about twenty countries.


"The Day It All Changed"

Was October 19th really The Day It All Changed? "BookServer: Distributed Vending & Lending Over the Internet" is the result of the visionary efforts of Brewster Kahle, Internet Archive Founder and Chief Librarian. The description of the October 19th demonstration of BookServer posted on does make one think that it may very well be a day to remember.

BookServer "is a growing open architecture for vending and lending digital books over the Internet." It is built on open standards - on open catalog and open book formats, including EPUB and DAISY text-only books. In the list of who benefits and why, which is provided on the BookServer website, almost all are in some way (if not directly) relevant to communities and individuals striving for equitable information access for everyone:

In the notes from the October 20th blog post about Kahle's demonstration, it is noted that BookServer (a project of the Internet Archive) is not yet "ready for prime time". In the article "BookServer: A Plan to Build an Open Web of Books" at ReadWriteWeb it states that although the project is in the early days of development and may take years to complete, "BookServer's to provide universal access to book data made available in open formats." Although it is still being developed there is a BookServer project page, and it is possible to search for a book. Criticism at this point deals largely with the current content, much of which was written in the 1800's or early 1900's.

In March on the US based website Free Government Information (FGI) Carole Moore, chief librarian at the University of Toronto, said this about Kahle: "Brewster is a visionary who looks at things differently...He is able to imagine doing things that everyone else thinks are impossible. But then he does them." BookServer may provide access to millions of books that people unable to read print or inaccessible electronic formats have never before been able to access. October 19, 2009 may be a day to remember and it may well be the day it all changed.

Letters to the Editor

Hi Lynn,

Thanks for mentioning Daisy Producer in the DAISY Planet. I just wanted to add a small correction: the license for Daisy Producer is currently the GNU Affero General Public License which "is based on the GNU GPL, but has an additional term to allow users who interact with the licensed software over a network to receive the source for that program. We recommend that people consider using the GNU AGPL for any software which will commonly be run over a network." We might change the license terms at a later point, but it will certainly remain an open source license.

Christian Egli,
Swiss Library for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Editor's Note: Many thanks for your input and apologies for the inaccuracy in the article in the September DAISY Planet. The wording has been corrected.

Dear Lynn,

Thank you very much for the excellent information about our conference, DAISY2009, you have provided in the September DAISY Planet. We really enjoyed having the whole DAISY family here in Leipzig and it makes me personally proud that the results of the conference were mention in so many of the articles.
Currently DZB is working on a DAISY version of the recorded sessions, which will be available on the DAISY2009 conference website. As soon as it is finished, I will drop you a note to share it with everyone in the DAISY Planet.
I wish you personally, and all the DAISY folks, further success in our challenging work together.

Best regards,
Dr. Thomas Kahlisch,
Director DZB Leipzig

Hi Lynn,

It was good to catch up at in Leipzig. The newsletter [September DAISY Planet] looks good and covers some really interesting areas - great stuff.

Trish Egan,
General Manager Marketing & Fundraising,
and DAISY Board Representative for
Vision Australia

Hi Lynn,

I have read the September issue. Packed with great information from the conference. Always high quality information on what DAISY is doing.

Gilles Pepin
CEO, HumanWare



I'm a visually handicapped - not blind - person from Florence, Italy and I am a student. The Italian Serviziodel Libro Parlato (Service of the spoken book) introduced me to the system DAISY, and I am interested to get software to read DAISY files on my PC. Unfortunately, my Operating System is MAC and they said to me that TPB Reader is available for Windows only. Is it possible to get that software for MAC or Open Source?

Your reply would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your attention.


Many Thanks,   
Sara (Italy)

Dear Sara,

There is work being done on the development of a DAISY player for Mac, but there really isn't a great deal available yet for Mac users.

Olearia will be an open source DAISY player; development work is being done on this DAISY player for Mac at Curtin University in Perth, Australia. A beta version of Olearia is available. When completed Olearia will offer the following features:

  • Playback of DAISY 2.02, DAISY/NISO 2002 and DAISY/NISO 2005 books
  • Playback of text only DAISY digital talking books (Bookshare and NIMAS)
  • Support for skippable content (Notes and sidebars)
  • Support for MacOS X features such as VoiceOver, braille displays and Spotlight

Emerson is a cross platform (Windows, Macintosh and Linux) DAISY and EPUB software reader. More information, including a Wiki with a User FAQ, and a download page are available on the Emerson-reader site.

When available, updates and information about these and other DAISY players for MacOS that may be developed, will be provided in news and in the Marketplace on the DAISY homepage.

Additional note: AMIS is the current free, open source DAISY player for Windows OS developed by the DAISY Consortium. TPB Reader is no longer supported.

Best Regards,    
- DAISY Editorial Team

Tech Tips

DAISY Consortium Forums are the place for you to post your questions, get answers, and find answers to questions others have posted. Subject areas currently listed on the DAISY Forums are:

  • How to use these forums
  • Training and Technical Support
  • AMIS
  • DAISY in Higher Education
  • Obi
  • Pipeline
  • Save as DAISY Microsoft
  • Web Accessibility
  • ZedNext

Another option you can use to get answers to your questions is the DAISY Contact Us form. A link to the form is provided at the top of each page of the DAISY website.