The DAISY Consortium's Newsletter - May 2010

From The Editor

The month of May has presented me with an interesting conundrum. How was I to decide which article would hold the position of Article 1? It is most often not too terribly difficult to determine the 'correct' sequence for the articles, but this month was truly a challenge. What tipped the scale and caused me to decide to place WIPO Wants to Hear from YOU as the first article and Brewster Kahle and the Internet Archive as the second? In reviewing past issues of the DAISY Planet I noted that in every issue that contained an article about the proposed WIPO Treaty, that article was in first position. If there had been a way to publish two 'first articles' I would have done it. I hope that you find the article about the interview with Brewster Kahle as interesting as I found the interview itself. He is truly the digital librarian, and, he is a staunch supporter of knowledge for all.

It is hard to recall a single month in which so many DAISY Consortium activities have presented reasons for 'banging-the-big-drum', and it will be difficult to top May 2010:

You will find information about these and other DAISY and DAISY-related activities and news in this issue of the DAISY Planet.

Your Story this month is from Avneesh Singh, a young man with dreams and aspirations of becoming an engineer, but things do not always turn out as we plan or expect...sometimes life has a way of making things work out nonetheless. I'm sure you will find Avneesh's story very interesting.

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). Letters to the Editor are most welcome. You can also to share 'Your Story' with the Planet readership using the Contact Us form (or let us know if you know someone with a story to tell).

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 DAISY Marketplace

WIPO Wants to Hear from YOU

Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) – Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for Persons with Print Disabilities

From May 26 - 28 in Geneva, WIPO held open-ended consultations addressing the issue "Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for Persons with Print Disabilities". Closed consultations for Member States only were conducted on May 26, and consultations for Member States, Inter-Governmental Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations were held May 27 and 28. Just prior to these meetings WIPO established an On-line Forum - Towards International Consensus seeking input on the issue of access to copyrighted works. Information about the WIPO Forum is provided at the end of this article. This is your opportunity to express your views on these critical issues.

WIPO Consultation Meetings

Chris Friend (WBU Strategic Objective Leader - Accessibility Chair WBU Global Right to Read Campaign and Programme Development Advisor for Sightsavers International) has provided a short report summarizing the highlights of the meetings held last week. Mexico has now formally joined Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay as a sponsor of the WIPO Treaty for Improved Access for Blind, Visually Impaired and other Reading Disabled Persons (the treaty was initially proposed by the World Blind Union (WBU)). The new Mexican Ambassador to the UN in Geneva has a visual disability. The meeting began with several Latin American countries stating their support for the Treaty. The four sponsors Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay and Mexico tabled a schedule for the Treaty initiative progress. The timetable calls for a line by line examination of the Treaty at SCCR 20 and 21 (respectively June and November 2010) and SCCR 22 (May 2011), and formal request for a Diplomatic Conference to be held in the first half of 2012.

Justin Hughes, the US Delegation Leader, then presented a proposal for a recommendation entitled Consensus Instrument (draft). Friend reports that the US proposal is far short of what the WBU and its partners are seeking in the adoption of the Treaty and that the proposal is not seen as a reasonable solution to the Import/Export problem (Treaty Article 8) and the problem of the "Book Famine":

In conclusion Chris Friend noted:

This in effect means that the US recommendation would only be able to be instigated by the 50 countries which currently have exceptions (reference Judith Sullivan Report). In promoting the use of Trusted Intermediaries over the adoption of exceptions, the US proposal fails to include any protection of exceptions over contracts (Treaty Article 7).

The paper Right to read briefing: why we need a WIPO treaty and not a WIPO recommendation or declaration outlines the differences between the two approaches and explains why the latter is necessary.

In three weeks time, June 21 to 24, WIPO SCCR/20 will be held, and it is expected to be a very interesting few days. Highlights and the outcome of that meeting will be reported in the June issue of the DAISY Planet.

Additional information and further insight are provided in the article WIPO Proposals Would Open Cross-Border Access To Materials For Print Disabled posted May 28 on the Intellectual Property Watch website. Also of interest is the short white paper International Copyright Exception by George Kerscher, Secretary General, DAISY Consortium:

First, with an international copyright exception, there would be extensive immediate gains. Primarily, it would be possible for existing libraries and service organizations to share content they produced across national borders...The libraries in each country would continue to distribute content to their patrons under their current national laws. The only change is that the libraries would legally be able to share their productions of accessible versions with each other. This immediate gain is based on the collections that have been developed by these libraries through the years.

WIPO Forum

"The Forum, which will remain open at least until June 20, 2010, is designed to stimulate debate, enhance understanding, and broaden awareness of the question...The outcome of those consultations will be submitted for the consideration at the next session of the SCCR (20th) in Geneva from June 21 to 24."

The Forum page is a blog – anyone may submit a comment on the proposed treaty. "This blog seeks comments from the general public on the possible benefits or concerns about this draft treaty proposal (or any other future proposals on this topic), including its objectives and possible courses of action that would facilitate access by VIPs." The Forum and blog are located on the Vision IP website, created by WIPO to host information about the issues of copyright and related rights. All comments posted to date are in favour of the proposed Treaty. This is your opportunity to let WIPO know how you view this issue. Opportunities such as this are rare – be sure to post your opinions to the WIPO Forum page (to submit a comment, go to the bottom of the Forum page).

Additional Background Information

For background information about WIPO SCCR and copyright/access issues and activities please read the following DAISY Planet articles:

Brewster Kahle and the Internet Archive

An Interview with The Digital Librarian

Internet Archive logo Since the May 6 press release there have been numerous articles and posts published about the Internet Archive (IA) and its Open Library initiative. Last week I was fortunate enough to be able to speak with Brewster Kahle, the founder and chairman of the board of IA. This article is based on that telephone interview, with many of the questions (Q) and answers (A) included. Note: Open Library is an initiative of the Internet Archive. Books can be downloaded from the Open Library site and can also be contributed to that same site (important links are provided at the end of this article).

Q: How did you become aware of the fact that people with a reading disability require published material in an accessible format? Not everyone understands this.
A: Other than a rather vague understanding I became aware of this need through talking with Jim Fruchterman of Bookshare many years ago. When we started digitizing 'en mass', he was involved in the initial launch of the Open Content Alliance.

Q: How and when did you decide that DAISY was the accessible format that IA would produce and make available?
A: I wasn't aware that there were any other choices.

Q: I'm sure you are aware of EPUB - any thoughts on it?
A: EPUB came from DAISY. I think it is fantastic. DAISY led the publishing industry in this area. In this case the print disabled community is leading in an important way.

Q: On March 31 you posted the article Two Million Free Texts Now Available (also published on In the opening paragraph you stated that "Internet Archive has been scanning books and making them available for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public for free on since 2005." What was your 'passion' before the Internet Archive and what inspired you to create IA?
A: Since 1980 I've been working to try to make a great library that would necessarily be digital, with universal access to all knowledge. So I've been working on technologies, law and policy to get there since then. But there were still many pieces missing. By 1996 I could start building the library - that's the year IA was founded. We've been digitizing since 2001. Books have been going in since 2001 - the Million Books Project. We launched our own digital scanning in 2005 - it is all part of same trajectory.

Q: Later in that same article you wrote "Internet Archive partners with the University of Toronto and over 150 libraries and universities around the world to create a freely accessible archive of texts representing a wide range texts which include non-fiction and fiction books, research and academic texts, popular books, children's books and historical texts." What format are these books in?
A: They're published in a variety of formats depending upon where the come from. Not all of the content in IA is text. We've scanned images in jpeg2000 [an image compression standard and coding system]. Other formats include PDF, OCR, EPUB, MOBI, DAISY and MARC records. Our goal is to make the content in IA relevant to as large a population as we can.

Q: Approximately what percentage is in DAISY format?
A: While we have over 2 million texts on we say there are over 1 million books because many of our texts are not books and not integrated into the site. Some books do not lend themselves to DAISY with the automated processes we are using and not even all of our DAISY books will provide a satisfying reading experience. Editor's Note: Because the IA process of creating DAISY formatted books is automated, the books may not be structured to a great degree and thus the navigation may not be what people have come to expect from DAISY.

Q: Right now unrestricted (old) titles are available in DAISY format to everyone, everywhere, but new titles (in copyright) are available to individuals in the US who are patrons of the US Library of Congress. Do you see this changing? Are you considering establishing similar 'trusted intermediary' relationships with organizations of/for the blind in other countries? I understand that IA is incorporated in Canada and in the Netherlands.
A: They are organizations which we are closely aligned with; they are not subsidiaries, they are separate stand alone non-profits, 'sister organizations'. I don't really understand what trusted intermediary means. There are a lot of discussions and meetings about this. We are brand new to it and are learning quickly. Our goal is very much along these lines but we are at step zero in terms of making information available. We are leading with a gift. IA is looking for input from all around the world as to how to distribute these books to people internationally. Editor's Note: I felt that Brewster's response to this was very humble in light of the work already done by IA.

Q: How is the cross border exchange an issue for IA?
A: We have been talking with folks all over world to provide broader access to these materials.

Q: Bookshare has established partnerships with numerous publishers which have then granted Bookshare international distribution rights for their publications. The IA's current approach is receipt of books by 'donation'. Is the Bookshare approach something that the IA might consider?
Open Library logo A: We would like to work with publishers. However our focus so far has been in digitizing books, building a broader library. The focus is different. We do not want to duplicate the efforts of others. We are interested in working with publishers but IA's strength right now is mass digitization and automatic processing. Our cost to digitize is 10 cents per page, that's $30 for a 300 page book. I would like to see funding for a million books. I'm hoping people will come forward with funding for a 100K books, then a million. Editor's Note: see the Library Journal article Mass digitization efforts with Open Library project offers new access, May 6, 2010 by Josh Hadro for more information about the IA's "international book donation campaign to further bolster its stores."

Q: The IA website banner is "Universal access to all knowledge" which has a similar 'ring' to the DAISY Consortium Mission: "The DAISY Consortium's mission is to develop and promote international standards and technologies which enable equal access to information and knowledge by all people with print disabilities and which also benefit the wider community." Is the banner your ultimate goal?
A: They are quite similar. The focus of both is international, and both are about bringing information and knowledge to folks everywhere.

Q: There was an interesting article in The Washington Post last week, A Field Trip to the Internet Archive. After having read it one of my DAISY team members wondered: "What would it take to make DAISY his preferred file format for long-term storage or do you have a preferred file format?"
A: We scan and produce images of pages. Everything else is derived from those files. Our DAISY books are from OCR, from images of pages. They may be corrected/edited after the fact to create DAISY format. What we are doing is creating DAISY 'on the fly' so as the technology gets better, recognizing 'navigation signals' in the files, it can affect all of the books right away as opposed to creating 'static DAISY files'. The archival master files are original images of books and metadata about the books. There is a whole ecosystem of figuring out what a book is. We are finding folks are excited about DAISY format, but it is too early to figure out what the usage will be. We are getting thousands of downloads of our DAISY books - I'd like it to increase to millions.
We are excited about doing what we can, and we are learning. The books not fully corrected because our process is automated. There will be errors and we do not have the technology to take user input to correct them. We are working with other projects to correct this.
We work with over 150 libraries around the world - which is where books come from. The Sloan Foundation is a funder. The California state libraries and the Kahle/Austin Foundation have all helped in funding. The University of Toronto and many other libraries have also helped.

Brewster Kahle - Closing Comments

We have a book drive underway and have funding to scan the first 10 thousand books that are donated to IA. If libraries, organizations, universities and others have books which they've not yet scanned - send them to IA. If a group or individual has more than 100 books, they should call IA. For large collections IA will pay for and arrange shipping. We are interested in receiving donations of books which we can scan - interested in both physical and digitized books.

We are very excited about this project and have received a warm reception from the accessible information community. Folks have been supportive and helped us to learn. We are looking for help. We want our books to be better formatted and we want to get them to more folks around the world. IA wants to find mechanisms to get books to everyone who needs and/or wants them.

The IA is a world-wide community project with scanning centers in five countries. People should be scanning everywhere. We would be interested in being a hub that reformats scans from others. It is easy to upload to IA. We want to participate in the efforts underway within the print disabled community to establish an accessible e-library. The technologies we use are all open source.

We are interested in new ways of distributing, in the US and beyond, and IA has taken the first step. Free is important - it's a step. We have a primary mission to serve people with a print disability - its' part of our mission of universal access to knowledge. It is wonderful to be welcomed into this community. Interestingly enough there is some sense of justice that folks with a print disability, at least those in US who have a Library of Congress content access key, have the best digital library ever built.

Editor's Closing Thoughts

It was both interesting and inspiring to speak with Brewster Kahle. He is most certainly a man with a mission and a passion, and fortunately for all of us who believe in universal information access and the power of reading the DAISY way, Brewster is also a believer. His passion to create a 'great digital library with universal access to all knowledge' has spanned 30 years.

Thank you Brewster for taking time from your incredibly busy schedule (that is an understatement) to talk with me and for sharing your thoughts with the DAISY community around the world.

Important Links

ZedAI: First Major Public Draft Released

Next Generation DAISY XML One Step Closer to Final Release

On May 21 an email announcing the release of the first major public draft of ZedAI, the DAISY (ANSI/NISO Z39.86) Authoring and Interchange Framework was distributed to all DAISY lists. A news entry went out through the DAISY RSS feed and was posted on the DAISY homepage. This project, which is both complex and far-reaching in terms of outcome is on schedule and is of great importance to the DAISY community, to publishing standards generally, and to educators and many others. ZedAI is the next generation DAISY XML.

ZedAI is one of two parts that will make up the next DAISY Standard: Part A, the Authoring and Interchange Framework (commonly referred to as ZedAI) and Part B, Distribution (commonly referred to as ZedDist). The final release of ZedAI is scheduled for February 2011.

This highly collaborative effort began in early 2008 with a formal Requirements Gathering process. Oxygen XML Editor logo The work of the ZedAI Working Group is sponsored by Oxygen XML Editor. Representation is widespread, including working group members from Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, the UK, Australia, the United States and Canada.

This release is primarily but not solely intended for review by the existing DAISY/DTBook community. Review of ZedAI and feedback are being sought. A list of the ZedAI aspects which the Working Group is most interested in receiving input on is provided on the ZedAI User Documentation page. Each aspect is clearly explained and links to the Issue Tracker and ZedAI Forum are provided to facilitate feedback.

Information for users is provided on the ZedNext homepage/wiki including a list of the "highest level goals" for the development. The new DAISY Standard will be the successor to the ANSI/NISO Z39.86-2005 standard (DAISY 3).

For a gentle introduction to ZedAI read the Zed Wiki ZedAI Introduction. See also the ZedAI FAQ. The review phase will continue until the end of the third quarter of 2010. Updated working drafts based on feedback from the community will be made available during the review phase.

Congratulations are extended to the ZedAI Working Group not only for releasing the first major public draft, but for making the release on schedule!

DAISYpedia: Phase 1 is Live

Out with the Old, in with the New

Everyone who has access to the Internet knows about Wikipedia, and probably uses it from time to time. For five years the DAISY Knowledge Network (DKN) has been on the DAISY website, and initially it was utilized quite heavily. However, Google Analytics usage reports clearly showed that a new type of information resource was needed to meet the knowledge needs of the ever-growing DAISY community. On May 24 Phase 1 of DAISYpedia went live on the DAISY website and the DKN was 'put to bed'.

At some point the DKN had become a dinosaur. Why did this happen? Did people stop contributing and updating content? If yes, why? What were the strengths of the DKN? What were the weaknesses? What should be done differently? If people's habits of consuming information have changed, how can we adapt to this change? What is our audience? How can we keep DAISYpedia fresh and current? These and many other questions were and are being addressed.

Efforts to design a powerful medium for a content repository that would include information about DAISY and DAISY-related topics have been ongoing and will continue with a phased in approach as this knowledge tool is refined and further developed – Phase 1 is just the beginning. The DAISYpedia project has been somewhat of a recycling/reinventing project as it started with transferring still relevant DKN content to the DAISY Consortium's new Drupal content management platform. Information architecture was developed as the project evolved.

To date the following DAISYpedia project task (in addition to infrastructure and design) have been completed:

In Phase 1 DAISYpedia is available for everyone as an information repository, however it is clear that for it to remain viable and current, it will be necessary for new entries with new information to be regularly added. The logistics of this are being reviewed; for those who may not be aware of this, Wikipedia encountered problems with the accuracy of some of the information submitted, and the DAISY Consortium wants to avoid a similar situation. As a result, it will be possible in Phase 2 for members of the DAISY community to contribute to DAISYpedia, but this will be implemented in stages. Processes and 'rules' for contributions will be well-defined. Initially people may be contacted and asked for contributions and the evolution of the content gathering process will probably look something like this:

  1. via email
  2. web-based form
  3. Wikipedia-like environment where content is submitted and reviewed by DAISYpedia editors prior to content publication

Guidelines for submitting DAISYpedia content are available.

DAISYpedia permissions allow viewing by anonymous users, login is not required, anyone and everyone can use it. If you would like to provide input into the development of DAISYpedia or comment on Phase 1, please use the Contact Us Form on the DAISY website, or post a comment to the DAISY Forums.

Kathy Kahl, the DAISY Consortium's Information Systems Engineer, and Prashant Verma, DAISY Consortium Consultant - Technical Support and Software Testing, have been instrumental in the development of DAISYpedia.

Times have changed - fresh content and community collaboration have become increasingly important - products, services and ideas without community support will not thrive.
(Varju Luceno, Communications & Marketing Specialist for the DAISY Consortium)

Letters to the Editor

Hi Lynn,

Thanks for your excellent report about the European eAccessibility Forum in the April DAISY Planet.

Kind regards,
Dominique Burger,
President of BrailleNet

Editor's Note: My thanks go to Romain Deltour for his copious notes upon which the article was based.




I am the coordinator of the Nigerwives Braille Book Production Centre which was founded in 1995. We pioneered the computer production of brailled books and also offer computer training and Maths workshop for the blind and set up general reading corners in institutions where blind students are enrolled. We have recently become involved in setting up a resource/access centre for blind students enrolled in the university of Lagos. We want to introduce the production of DAISY material at this centre and have a Victor Reader DAISY player. We now need to learn to produce DAISY material. Sister Catherine of Zimbabwe has recommended the use of MYStudio PC which I understand is obtained through membership of Daisy, which I also read costs $1000 a year - which we cannot afford.

I am attending the ICEB Executive meeting which follows the Sight Village in Birmingham in July and intend to use the opportunity to work out what is the way forward in obtaining the most suitable software and learning how to use it. I have read DAISY in Education on your website and it seems there are several options. I would appreciate any advice you can give me and also more information on obtaining MyStudio PC which has been recommended to me.

Thank you for any help you can offer.

Nigerwives Braille Book Production Centre


Dear J.O.

It is wonderful to read about your Centre in Nigeria. I am sure that you have positively touched many lives. It seems that your centre is a non-profit organization. You could perhaps join the DAISY Consortium as an Associate Member. As Nigeria is a low income country according to the World Bank's classification the yearly membership fee for your organization would therefore be $435 for Associate membership. More information about joining DAISY is available on the DAISY Consortium website on the Get Involved pages.

Yes, MyStudio PC can be obtained via DAISY Consortium membership, you can read more about MyStudio PC on our website in the Tools & Services area.

We also have developed a free DAISY Production tool called Obi, you can read more about and Obi on the Obi Project page on the DAISY website.

If you have Microsoft Word on your computer, you could also produce DAISY books from well-structured Microsoft Word documents by using a free Microsoft Word add-in which can be downloaded from our website. Additional information about this is provided in the Microsoft Word add-in overview: Microsoft Case Study and Installation Instructions are also available.

OpenOffice is a free, open source alternative to Microsoft Office. odt2daisy - Open Office DAISY Export is a free tool for convert well structured Open Office files to DAISY.

Free software players to play DAISY books and other DAISY content are also available, for example self-voicing AMIS (the DAISY Consortium's open source DAISY player) and the Dorina DAISY Reader(DDR) the Firefox add-on.

If you need to convert your files to different formats, you may can download and use the DAISY Pipeline which is a DAISY Consortium conversion tool that is free for download.

We wish you and the Nigerwives Braille Book Production Centre much success in your efforts to make information available in accessible formats.

- DAISY Editorial Team -

Bits & Pieces

• At the DAISY Consortium meeting of the Board of Directors held May 28 - 29, the Board unanimously approved the DAISY Online Delivery specification. The Board sent thanks to the Working Group for a job well done. There was a huge round of applause following the decision.

• The Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) in the UK launched a new 'Print Disability Licence' on May 28. This free licence allows organisations to reproduce copyright works in accessible formats such as large print, braille or audio which are accessible to people with print disabilities for circulation to people with print disabilities in the community.

"The licence has been upgraded to reflect a recent widening of the definitions of print disability to include not just those people who have a visual impairment but also those with another disability that prevents them from reading books as easily as others. The definitions now include dyslexic readers following a request by the industry's Accessibility Action Group and the Right to Read Alliance." Full details are provided in the CLA press release.

• There were more than 110 exhibitors from all over the world presenting products and new ideas at SightCity 2010. DAISY was definitely one of the major topics at the fair. Olympus presented the new generation of their audio recording and playback devices; model DM4 which has DAISY playback support will be available later in 2010. All other playback manufactures presented software updates or new models like the BookSense DS, which will have a display to support persons with reading disabilities. Plextalk presented their DAISY online distribution developments and the use of WIFI connectivity. Generally speaking, all of the manufactures were waiting of the approval of the DAISY Online Delivery protocol specification by the DAISY Board at the end of May in Zurich, Switzerland.

German Central Library for the Blind (DZB) presented the print version of the DAISY2009 proceedings and information about the new conference event, BRAILLE21, which will take place September 2011 in Leipzig, Germany.

Tech Tips

Tobi logoVersion 1.0 of Tobi, the DAISY Consortium's open source multimedia content creation tool, is now available. Tobi produces full-text full-audio DAISY 3 (ANSI/NISO Z39.86-2005) Digital Talking Books. Current Tobi ClickOnce users will automatically get the update the next time they launch the application.

Tobi users should update their DAISY Pipeline installation as an update patch for the Pipeline GUI which fixes the DAISY 3 to DAISY 2.02 downgrader and makes it compatible with Tobi output is available. Details are in the Pipeline blog announcement.

The user manual and other essential information are on the new Tobi project site. Support is provided through the Tobi public forum. Additional details are available in the April DAISY Planet articles Tobi: 1st Release Candidate Coming This Week and Tobi Peaks Interest with Live Demonstration.

Congratulations to Daniel Weck and the Tobi development team.