The DAISY Consortium's Newsletter - September 2011

From The Editor

From time to time there is sad news to share with you, and this is unfortunately one of those times. This month the world lost two individuals who have made outstanding contributions during their lives.
Michael Stern Hart was the creator and founder of Project Gutenberg. His goal was to make books freely available via computer – when the Internet was still in its infancy. It all began in 1971 with Hart typing the US Declaration of Independence into a computer to transmit it to other users on a computer network. The digitization and distribution of literature which spanned over 40 years, was Hart's life's work. There are now 36,000 books in Project Gutenberg, a free online library. Would e-books be where they are today if Michael Hart had not believed that books should be available, free, to as many people as is possible – and acted on that belief? Hart was 64.
• Although many of you may not have heard of Tim Perdue, you have probably benefitted in some way by his work. Perdue was one of the original four developers who co-founded SourceForge, a collaborative, open source software development and distribution resource that now connects more than 46 million consumers with these free, open source projects and serves more than 2,000,000 downloads each day. Perdue was 37 years old.

And now onto more uplifting topics...

The next DAISY Board will be held in São Paulo, Brazil, on November 2 and 3. The Board meeting will be followed by a DAISY Conference on November 4 and 5. Both the meeting and conference are being hosted by the DAISY Latino Group and will take place in the Meliá Jardim Europa Hotel. Information and the conference registration form are available on the Conference website.

The third article in this issue of the DAISY Planet, "Unlocking the power of books for people with disabilities" highlights some of the points made by Lynn Itani in the article which was published in the WHO Bulletin. Ms. Itani has written the article in clear, easily understood language. It covers a range of issues which are of importance to the DAISY community and everyone else who is concerned with information access for people with a print disability. She has done her research well and I highly recommend that each of you takes a few minutes to follow the link to her article and read it in its entirety.

The Taiwan Digital Talking Books Association (TDTB), an Associate Member of the DAISY Consortium, has translated the article World Report on Disability: a First which was published in the June DAISY Planet. The Chinese translation of 'World Report on Disability: a First' is posted on the TDTB Blog. I'd like to thank Ludy Lee of TDTB for making it possible for people in the DAISY community whose first language is Chinese to read the article in their native language.

Although this isn't new, if you haven't yet viewed it, the video of Jim Fruchterman's keynote at the O'Reilly TOC 2011 Conference is well worth watching. He introduced his keynote, Making Books Truly Accessible, saying that he wants to talk about something that is important to him and to society: "taking care of the most disadvantaged people in our communities". And, one way of doing this is by making the book truly accessible. Fruchterman, who is speaking to an audience of publishers, touches on topics that range from "dueling moral high grounds" (publishers' rights and the civil rights of people with disabilities) to untapped markets and opportunities, to DAISY, EPUB, DRM and copyright.

Approval of the motion to elevate the EPUB 3.0 Proposed Specification draft of September 8, 2011 to a final Recommended Specification is expected in early October. This month Markus Gylling was seconded to the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) as their CTO via the DAISY Consortium. He will continue to serve in parallel as CTO of DAISY. An interview with Markus is planned for the October DAISY Planet. Please watch for news about the EPUB 3 approval on the DAISY homepage, on our News page or via the DAISY News RSS, and be sure to read the interview with Markus in the next DAISY Planet.

A report on the Braille21 Congress is planned for the next issue of our newsletter. Although I did not attend the Congress, the organizers have agreed to write a report for publication in the October Planet. Today is the last day of the three day event.

Thanks go to thanks to Neil Jarvis, Executive Director for Access, Innovation & Enterprise at the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind, and RNZFB representative on the Board of the DAISY Consortium, for writing this month's DAISY Consortium 15th Anniversary Series article.

Pyxima (Social Interest Software Services) joined the DAISY Consortium as a Friend less than two months ago. They have come into the DAISY community with interest and enthusiasm, submitting the article Flanders (Belgium) Begins Online DAISY Distribution for publication in this issue of the DAISY Planet. If your company or organization has news that may be of interest to the worldwide DAISY community, you can get in touch with me directly by email or by using the DAISY Contact Us form (Newsletter category). Articles and suggestions for articles are always welcome, as are Letters to the Editor and Stories. Right now there is a great deal of interest in DAISY mobile applications – if you have news to share about existing apps or apps under development, please contact me.

Thanks to each of you who has sent suggestions, articles or stories for the DAISY Planet. The Story this month is the first of a two-part story, and it is a first – it is about a couple, Prashant and Veena Verma. Their story is about challenges and hopes, drive and persistence. I am sure you will find it as inspiring as I have. Part 2 of Prashant and Veena's story will be published with the October DAISY Planet.

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 DAISY Marketplace

RNZFB: DAISY is the best way to publish and read

DAISY Consortium 15th Anniversary Series

RNZFB  logo The timing of this article in the DAISY Consortium's newsletter is of particular significance for the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB). We have reached the stage in our cassette-to-digital conversion project where we expect to have all of our current talking book borrowers receiving the digital service by the end of 2011. The journey has been a long and at times arduous one, but it has been worthwhile.

The RNZFB has been a supporter and advocate of DAISY from the very start. We have contributed technical expertise and staff time to various DAISY Consortium projects over the years and have been proud to do so.

Map of the Tazman Sea located between Australia and New Zealand. This image is in the public domain and is from the Wikimedia Commons. In 2010 we were able to commit to the Consortium by becoming a Full Member. Initially the RNZFB was as part of ANZAIG: the Australia New Zealand Accessible Information Group. ANZAIG was made up of a variety of organizations on either side of the Tasman Sea, coming together to promote DAISY. The group was led by Vision Australia (VA) and the RNZFB. Both VA and the RNZFB decided to make their own individual commitments to the DAISY Consortium, and each organization joined as a Full Member.

The RNZFB began digitally recording content for its talking book library a decade ago. While this did mean that we had to convert the recordings back into an analogue form for use by the cassette library, it has at least made the transition to our digital service easier and quicker than it might have been. We also began exploring possible distribution options some years ago.

By 2008, we were able to commence a full-scale project which would take the library and its borrowers from analogue to digital, specifically to DAISY.

We took a detailed business case to our Board in November of that year. It outlined how we would make the transition, by when and at what cost. The economic climate caused by the global financial crisis, and natural disasters at home in the form of earthquakes, had a serious impact on our ability to raise funds to pay for the transition. It is therefore with a sense of achievement that after just three years we are able to switch off the old analogue system and focus on the second phase of the project which is to increase content available to our borrowers.

Photograph of a cake made to look exactly like a Plextalk PTX1 DAISY player Our current digital service is provided via multi-book DAISY CD. We are able to fit from three to five books on a CD, depending upon the size of each of the books. The first borrowers to receive DAISY books on CD from the RNZFB were part of a pilot which began in November 2009. Since May 2010 the full-scale transition of all our borrowers from cassette to DAISY CD has been underway.

Neil Jarvis and Mary Parkinson cutting the DAISY player cake The financial climate in which we have had to operate has meant that we have literally had to fundraise as we go. It would have been much easier had we been able to buy all our new DAISY players and roll them out at a speed which worked best for us – a path which we originally anticipated in 2008. However, budgetary constraints have made it necessary to acquire players only when designated funding was in place. We celebrated the arrival of our first batch by having a morning tea for our staff, with a cake which we'd had specially made to look exactly like the Plextalk PTX1 DAISY players which we would soon begin to dispatch to our borrowers.

RNZFB DAISY players being dispatched to a courier for distribution to borrowers At this point I must pay tribute to our fundraising team. They have led a fabulous capital campaign which, when completed, will have paid for all the DAISY players we require for our borrowers as well as for production and distribution equipment and brand new content for our borrowers to read. We now have 6,000 titles which are either in our catalogue or soon will be; a thousand have been produced or purchased in 2011 alone.

RNZFB contributed significantly to the early development of the DAISY Online Protocol and we are keen to embrace the benefits which online distribution will also bring. In 2012, we will embark on our first steps to make online delivery a reality in New Zealand. We will use the DAISY Online Protocol to deliver content to a pilot group of borrowers in the first instance, before later opening up the service to anyone who wishes to receive content in that way.

We are committed to the take-up of DAISY beyond our own library. In 2008-2009 we participated in a pilot project which was designed to assess the likely demand for DAISY in an educational context. The pilot proved what we always knew anecdotally: that demand was there. Our aim now is to equip the professionals on the ground who work with our school aged clients to be able to produce DAISY textbooks themselves in addition to the DAISY books which the RNZFB may produce.

It's an exciting time for the RNZFB and for DAISY in New Zealand. We are proud to be closely associated with the development of the DAISY Consortium and look forward to many more years of fruitful collaboration. RNZFB strongly believes that DAISY is the best way to publish and the best way to read.

Neil Jarvis is the Executive Director for Access, Innovation & Enterprise at the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind. He represents the RNZFB on the Board of the DAISY Consortium. Many thanks to Neil for writing this article for the DAISY Planet.

Flanders (Belgium) Begins Online DAISY Distribution

This article was submitted by Bert Paepen and Jurgen Berden of Pyxima, a Friend of the DAISY Consortium.

Since June 2011 the Flemish talking newspaper AuDioKrant has been distributed online on the new online DAISY platform.

AuDioKrant logo AuDioKrant ("audio newspaper") was one of the first daily spoken newspapers in the world when it was launched in 2008 by Kamelego. Two popular Flemish newspapers, De Standaard and Het Nieuwsblad, are produced overnight in DAISY (full text and audio) using the computer voice "Ellen" and distributed on CD. It is the complete newspaper including all of the articles from the print publication.

As physical CD distribution imposes severe time constraints on the production, Kamelego started looking for online distribution alternatives in 2009. The DAISY Online Delivery Protocol, approved by the DAISY Board of Directors in 2010, was a perfect solution.

Anderslezen.be logo Two other Flemish organisations, PHK (Progebraille - Helen Keller) and Luisterpunt (Flemish Library for Audio Books and Braille) which distribute DAISY audio magazines and books, joined the project to build a common online distribution platform called anderslezen.be for all accessible reading material in Flanders. Today the platform hosts two daily newspapers and in the coming months both magazines and books will be added. At that point all accessible reading material in Flanders will be available from the same place!

In order to support as many readers as possible, the platform allows access in various ways, including online network DAISY players, web browsers and podcasting. Both downloading and streaming are possible.

How Does It Work?

Content providers publish new titles on the online platform. When titles are requested they become available in the clients' online bookshelves. From the bookshelf it is possible to begin reading immediately or to download DAISY books. In a typical scenario you can download a title via podcast to your mobile DAISY player and read it on the way to work. During lunch break you can continue reading on your computer using a web browser DAISY player. Back home, you can finish reading on an online network DAISY player like the Plextalk PTX1 Pro (the world's first DAISY Online Delivery standard compatible player).

Online DAISY logo Anderslezen.be uses the "Online DAISY platform" built by Pyxima, a software provider specialising in software services with a social impact. "Online DAISY" is the platform for the online distribution of DAISY digital talking books through web downloading, online reading, podcasting and direct delivery to DAISY players using the DAISY Online Delivery Protocol. Although the platform's roots are in Belgium, it is available to organisations around the world to distribute their books online without additional expensive developments. For more information about using the Pyxima Online DAISY service, visit the Online DAISY website or follow us on twitter at onlinedaisy.

The "tailored DAISY" function is unique to the platform. The audio newspapers, for example, are customized to readers' preferences. A newspaper delivered to someone who is interested in economics but not in sports or media will receive the newspaper without the sports or media sections.

Pyxima logo Since our first trials our test readers were very enthusiastic about online reading – it is fast, convenient and gives the reader a great deal of freedom. When streaming with the online service on a DAISY player, navigating within a DAISY book is even faster than it is when using a CD. For content providers, online distribution is easier and less expensive than preparing and distributing physical media such as CDs.

Although CD's will not disappear for a few years, online reading of DAISY titles is here now, with benefits for both producers and readers. Approximately 61% of European households have a broadband Internet connection and that number is growing yearly by 5% – online reading will be possible for everyone in the near future. The goal of the Online DAISY platform is to improve the availability of accessible reading material and contributing to the principle of "information access for all".

Thanks to Pyxima for submitting this article for publication in the DAISY Planet.

"Unlocking the power of books for people with disabilities" by Lynn Itani

Bulletin of the World Health Organization

In her article Unlocking the power of books for people with disabilities, Lynn Itani looks at the issues surrounding "one of the biggest barriers faced in what is often described as 'the information age'" – the lack of access to information:

"But the situation is beginning to change. For Sobhi and Kholeif the most important development has been the development of the Digital Accessible Information SYstem (DAISY) and its relatively recent emergence in Arabic...In the same way that sighted people might glance at a heading and skip to the section of interest to them, DAISY books are designed so that users can navigate through them with flexibility."

Ms. Itani describes the introduction and importance of DAISY in Egypt, specifically the impact it has had on two individuals who were early adopters of DAISY and the efforts of the Library of Alexandria, an Associate Member of the DAISY Consortium since 2008. DAISY is relatively new to the Arabic speaking world, in part because of complexity of the Arabic script and the fact that it is a right to left script. Both the revised DAISY and EPUB standards will support right to left scripts, and production tools and DAISY players/reading systems are now beginning to provide this support as well.

In her article Ms. Itani also looks at the need for accessible information for people with severe dyslexia:

"For 18-year-old Mai-Linn Holdt, a resident of Oslo, Norway who has a severe form of dyslexia, nothing short of total accessibility is acceptable, starting with screen-reader-enabled web sites and books available in DAISY format. 'Even in most western countries, one has to turn to the 'blind-libraries' to get books in DAISY format,'" Holdt says. "Young kids with dyslexia would like to do as their friends [without visual disabilities] do; go to the local library, look over the shelves and then get both the printed book and the DAISY book at the counter." [Mai-Linn Holdt's Story was published with the June 2010 DAISY Planet.]

The author has identified major concerns significant and changes that are taking place, including the importance of the adoption of an XML based workflow by publishers and of EPUB 3.

"Many publishers, including WHO, are leveraging this technology to publish in accessible formats. As Shakespeare points out, the World report on disability was published with a summary that is available in DAISY as well as in other accessible formats, including accessible PDF (portable document format), Braille and EasyRead versions – in all six United Nations languages. 'We believe this is the most accessible report in the history of WHO, probably of the UN itself,' Shakespeare says." [Tom Shakespeare, is a technical officer in the Disability and Rehabilitation team at WHO. He was an editor and author of the World report on disability.]

The article concludes with:

"The development of tools like DAISY and accessible ebooks brings the realization of those rights [access to information] closer, but they are only tools and of value in so much as they are made available by the people who need them. In the words of singer Stevie Wonder, an active supporter of WIPO's Vision IP initiative, we need to give people living with disability 'the tools to think their way out of poverty and the darkness that is created when the mind does not have access to something as simple, but as powerful as a book'."

Source: WHO Bulletin, Volume 89, Number 9, September 2011; direct link to the complete article: Unlocking the power of books for people with disabilities.

Read2Go: an App for Anyone

Read2Go logo The Read2Go app can be purchased and used by anyone, anywhere, who wishes to do so – Bookshare membership is not required. Titles that are freely available are largely those that are in the public domain. It is possible to search for these titles using the Advanced Search feature in the "Books to Search" field on the Bookshare website and selecting the category "Freely Available". A recent search for these books brought a result showing over 4,000 titles.

To access Bookshare books that are 'in copyright', membership is required. Benetech recently reported that there are now approximately 40,000 Bookshare titles available in many countries around the world and that there are currently users in 28 countries. The copyright exception in US does not apply to people outside of the US. However, even though there are not as many 'in copyright' titles available internationally as there are to people within the US (now in excess of 125,000), the number of internationally available titles is increasing rapidly. One of the primary reasons for this is that approximately one quarter of the books (electronic files) that Bookshare receives from publishers now comes with rights to make the books available internationally to Bookshare members. In February, in his keynote speech Making the Book Truly Accessible given at the TOC 2011 Conference, Jim Fruchterman, President and CEO of Benetech, stated that there were around 25,000 titles available internationally. The difference in the two figures, 25,000 as compared to 40,000, illustrates the rate at which the number of internationally available titles is increasing. Titles that are available internationally to Bookshare members can be found using the same Advanced Search feature in the "Books to Search" field noted above and selecting the category "Books Available Worldwide".

Since the article Era of Mobility: DAISY on the Go was published in the August DAISY Planet, Version 1.0.1.1 of this app from Benetech has been released. This version has the following new features and fixes:

Details about these improvements are provided in What's New in Version 1.0.1.1. Additional information about this app is provided in the September 8 PRWeb press release. A captioned video about Read2Go provides an overview of its functions and features as well as instructions about how to use it. Read2Go is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, and requires iOS 4.0 or later (to download Read2Go, users need to have iTunes). The Read2Go app can be downloaded from iTunes.

"Creating Enhanced and Accessible E-books to Open Significant New Markets"

A webinar directed toward an audience of publishers and advocating for accessibility was promoted with questions and statements such as "Are your e-books available to people with reading disabilities? If not, you are missing out on a significant percent of the marketplace." "Making your content accessible isn't just the right thing to do, it makes good business sense."

This week George Kerscher, Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium & President of the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) was the lead speaker for the webinar "Creating Enhanced and Accessible E-books to Open Significant New Markets". George was the first of three speakers for this free webinar, followed by Tom Starbranch, Accessibility and Compliance Manager for K-12, Chair, AAP Serving Students with Disabilities Committee Member and NIMAS Standards Board, and Eric Freese, Director/Solutions Architect for Aptara.

The webinar slides are available online. If you had registered for the webinar but were not able to participate, the archive is also available. As indicated by the title, the focus was on accessibility and publishing. Both DAISY and EPUB 3 were featured throughout the webinar. Kerscher covered the EPUB 3 key accessibility features. He explained that the DAISY Consortium has played an integral part in the development of EPUB 3 and stated that the DAISY Consortium will advocate for EPUB 3 content which has the features and functions necessary to make the publication fully accessible. The key phrase here is "fully accessible".

It was clear from Kerscher's comments that accessible EPUB 3 will offer all readers more freedom and flexibility and that it will be a blend of what DAISY has done and what the commercial market wants and needs. This single standard will meet the information and reading needs of all consumers, regardless of ability or disability.

Letters to the Editor

Hi Lynn,

Thanks for the feature article on the 5th Africa Forum.

Chris
Chris Friend is Strategic Objective Leader Accessibility, World Blind Union (WBU); Chair, Global Right to Read Campaign; Programme Development Advisor, Sightsavers International. He lives in the UK.

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Dear Lynn,

I've just finished reading the August DAISY Planet. Because there was no July issue, this month was understandably longer.

A question. A friend of mine who has myopia magna but who can still read anything taking advantage of her residual sight, uses the iPhone 4 with great satisfaction. Occasionally she likes, especially when she is on the move, to listen to DAISY books. She has not yet succeeded in downloading a suitable application to read DAISY books with her iPhone 4. If there are such applications, please inform me.

Warmest regards,
Pedro Zurita,
Spain

Editor's Note: I referred Pedro to the article Era of Mobility: DAISY on the Go in the August DAISY Planet and suggested that two of the apps mentioned, Read2Go (from Benetech/Bookshare) and InDAISY may be suitable for his friend. The article Read2Go: For Everyone in this issue of the Planet provides an update and additional information about Read2Go which anyone can purchase.

Dear DAISY

My name is Selahattin and I am from Turkey. I am totally blind and work as an Assistive Technology specialist. Accessible content production is my interest and the DAISY Consortium web site is one of the addresses that I visit very often. I've been reading your invaluable contributions to the blind community all around the world by supporting content production in DAISY format. The stories I've been reading in DAISY Planet newsletter are inspirational and incentive for those who are providing services for the blind.

The number of organizations providing books in DAISY format is increasing with every passing day. However, the print disabled community is still far beyond benefiting from the advantages of DAISY in my country.

Although we have several libraries serving for the blind, there is no DAISY production facility in the country. As a blind person and Assistive Technology specialist, I'm not happy with this situation. I'm willing to dedicate my time to introduce DAISY to the Turkish blind community and service providers. The reason why I have decided to contact you is to receive your guidance for achieving this goal. Before outlining the current situation of the accessible book production in Turkey, I would like to provide you with some brief information about my work in the area of Assistive Technology.

When I was studying at the university, I was invited by the National Federation of the Blind to the USA to receive training on using computers with screen readers and reading systems developed for the blind. During that period we worked with Blaizy Engineering, an Assistive Technology company, and produced a Turkish version of their note taker, Braille 'n Speak. After returning to my country, I gave computer training to the other blind colleagues studying at my university.

The next step was to form a blind association with my friends. We established a computer lab and organized courses for several years. I'm proud to say that many blind friends were trained in our facility. I served as branch president and secretary general of our association for 6 years. Another service provided by our association was Braille book production. Then I was nominated by the Education Ministry as a computer trainer for the teachers working at the blind schools all around the country. My training program covered the techniques of using a computer with Screen Readers. It gave me a chance to share my experience with teachers.

We have now 15 schools for students who are blind in Turkey and all of them have computer labs serving blind students. Other exciting work for me was localization of software applications developed for blind and visually impaired users. I've done Turkish localization of Window-Eyes Screen Reader software by GW Micro, and ZoomText Screen Magnification software by AI Squared. Now both applications are available in Turkish and used by many friends.

My current dream is to introduce DAISY and to DAISY implementation in my country. Our libraries providing services for the blind are producing talking books in MP3 format without navigation options. Central government and local authorities are willing to support library services for people who are physically handicapped. This is true for many publishing houses, and copyright holders as well. Another advantage is that our National assembly issued legislation in 2007 mandating that publications protected by copyright law can be reproduced in special formats for blind and visually impaired people, without any permission or charge.

At this point, the biggest challenge we have is lack of know-how in producing DAISY content. In order to cope with this issue, I have read manuals of several production applications. However, I believe that interactive or audio training would be the best solution.

The initial step of my action plan is to compose a group to receive comprehensive training. Then this group can organize training programmes for the libraries and other organizations who want to produce DAISY content. Therefore, I've been seeking training opportunities required for starting a first implementation of DAISY production.

I would like to thank you very much in advance for your time and look forward to receiving your feedback and suggestions at your earliest convenience.

With best regards,
Selahattin,
Assistive Technology specialist,
Turkey

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Dear Selahattin,

I have been in touch with both Varju Luceno, our Director of Communications, and Dipendra Manocha, our Developing Countries Coordinator (and also the person responsible for training and support with the DAISY Consortium). Our suggestions and the information that we think may assist you in your efforts to implement DAISY in Turkey are as follows.

It may also be useful to start by exploring DAISYpedia. When you go to the list of articles at Publishing the DAISY Way you will notice that links to Craig Mill's video tutorials have been added (for Tobi, the Microsoft Save As DAISY add-in, and ODT2daisy which is an OpenOffice.org Writer extension for exporting to DAISY 3 – as examples).

Craig has created several videos. Links to these and other videos are provided at the right side of the page for this video Create an accessible document - part 2. Two others which may be of particular interest are: Using the Pipeline and AMIS video and Using Tobi to author DAISY multimedia. There are also Easy Publisher tutorials at this page, explaining how to create DAISY content with Dolphin's Easy Publisher.

Prashant Verma, a member of the DAISY Consortium training and support team, has created an Obi video tutorial (note, this may now be a little bit outdated). In addition, there is a text-based web tutorial on Obi available on the DAISY Forum of India website.

These three things might be good to start with:

Obi for creating DAISY audio books with structure
• Translation/localization of AMIS
Microsoft Save as DAISY or ODT2daisy for producing full-text books with synthesised voice


Both AMIS and Obi can be (and have been) translated for use in other languages.

The DAISYpedia article DAISY Books on Mobile Phones and Multimedia Devices might also be relevant as the growth in mobile devices in Turkey is likely in line with the growth in the rest of the world. Additional details about DAISY apps for mobile devices are provided in the article Era of Mobility: DAISY on the Go in the August issue of the DAISY Planet.

Thank you for your positive words about the DAISY Planet - it brings me great pleasure to know that people in countries around the world find it both useful and inspirational. I hope that you will find additional information in future issues of the DAISY Planet that will help you to implement DAISY in Turkey.

----------------------------

Dipendra Manocha arranged a Skype call with Selahattin and Prashant Verma, and has reported that it was very fruitful. Skype-based training sessions have started and Dipendra says that Selahattin is progressing well; after a few more sessions he should be able to begin DAISY production.

Bits & Pieces

Technology and Print Accessibility, a radio interview that took place on September 7, features George Kerscher, Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium & President of the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), and Jim Fruchterman President and CEO of Benetech. Kojo Nnamdi, the host of the WAMU FM American University Radio show, introduces the issues and guests. The discussion moves through the past, present and future of accessible information. The interview with Kerscher and Fruchterman, which is both informative and interesting, fills the first 34 minutes of the 53 minute call-in radio show.

• The Sixth Annual IGF Forum is being held in Kenya this week at the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON). The theme this year is "Internet as a catalyst for change: access, development, freedoms and innovation". Hiroshi Kawamura, President of the DAISY Consortium, participated in the Workshop "Implementing Good Practices in Accessibility for an Inclusive Society" on Wednesday. The title of Kawamura's presentation was "Implementing Accessibility in Published Knowledge DAISY 4 and EPUB 3 Development". Information about this workshop is provided on the Internet Governance Forum website, including a concise description: "Access to information by people with disabilities has been widely recognized by many WSIS and IGF declarations. On 3rd May 2008, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) entered into force, turning the intent of these declarations into an internationally recognized human right. Access to information by everyone, including by people with disabilities, is no longer an option." The workshop was organized by the Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability (DCAD).

Bookshare/Publisher update: Random House, which offers digital services to smaller publishers, has informed Bookshare that all 26 of their clients are making their content available to Bookshare through Random House's distribution service (Future Random House clients will also be covered under this agreement). The UK division of SAGE Publications has also signed with Bookshare. SAGE Publications are champions of accessibility, publishing over 630 journals & over 700 books a year across a broad range of subject areas. Two additional university presses have also joined Bookshare: the University of North Carolina Press and Wesleyan University Press.

• Issue 13 of the Publisher Accessibility Newsletter was published earlier this month. This newsletter is produced quarterly by industry trade bodies and licensing/standards organizations under the umbrella of the Accessibility Action Group. Articles cover international topics as well as information reported from the US, Europe and the UK.

IVONA Software has announced the availability of two new American English voices: Salli, a teenage voice, and Ivy, a child voice, available to companies developing applications for young people. Details and a link to sample these voices are available on the IVONA website.

• A National Federation of the Blind (NFB) Access Technology Blog posted this month discusses the improvements to Google Apps for screen reader users. It looks at some of the changes, and describes the differences observed with different browsing configurations. "One of the most significant enhancements to Google Apps, and probably the biggest differentiating factor when deciding which browser to use with them, is the behavior of buttons and toolbars. Firefox users will observe that buttons now identify their purpose. Previously, and still in Internet Explorer, buttons would identify to screen access packages as "button 0", "button 1", etc. Additionally, these buttons can now be activated with the keyboard, and do not require the emulation of mouse controls. This behavior is consistent across Google Docs, Google Calendar, and Google Books." More information is available on the NFB Blog.

Ulverscroft/IFLA Best Practice Awards: The Ulverscroft Foundation and the IFLA Libraries Serving Persons with Print Disabilities Section announced that the Foundation has agreed to provide renewed sponsorship of 10,000 GP Pounds in 2011 to continue the best practice development program which started in 2003. The program provides an opportunity for personal and professional development encouraging worldwide applications from all persons interested in improving library services for people with a visual disability. Applications are to be submitted by October 31, 2011. Details about the application forms and instructions are provided on the Ulverscroft/IFLA Best Practice Awards website.

• The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) and the Dollywood Foundation recently announce a partnership that expands Dolly Parton's Imagination Library (DPIL) program to provide young blind and visually impaired children with accessible books. Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, a part of the Dollywood Foundation, partners with local sponsors in 1,300 communities in 3 countries (the US, UK and Canada) to provide a quality, age appropriate book each month to preschool children enrolled in the program. Ms. Parton is passionate about literacy.

Tech Tips

• How to create a text-only DAISY book: First convert the document using the Save as DAISY add-in for Microsoft Word or the ODT2daisy - OpenOffice.org Writer Extension to create a DAISY compliant DTB XML file. Then use DAISY Pipeline to convert this XML file into a text-only DAISY book. You may read the short how-to guides on DAISYpedia which explain the use of Save As DAISY add-in and DAISY Pipeline. There are tutorials and a video about these tools in the "Save as DAISY" section of DAISYpedia.

Tobi 1.5 with a DIAGRAM image descriptions editor feature is due to be released in the near future. Watch for the announcement in News on the DAISY homepage or via the DAISY RSS Feed.

EPUB 3 support is planned for a new release of Tobi in early 2012.

Tobi was the topic of a recent EASI Webinar. The Tobi Webinar archive is available on the EASI website. The Tobi webinar slides are also online.

• There are 3 archived DAISY webinars available on the EASI website: "Word to DAISY Add-In", "AMIS DAISY software player" and "Tobi".

Obi 2.0, a major release which will support the creation and editing DAISY audio NCX books of any size will be released in the very near future. Watch for the announcement in News on the DAISY homepage or via the DAISY RSS Feed.