2011 has brought challenges, achievements, successes as well as disappointments. Perhaps one of the greatest achievements has been the approval of the EPUB 3 standard with accessibility built into that standard from the ground up. And, perhaps the biggest disappointment has been that we do not yet have a binding, international WIPO treaty in support of copyright limitations and exceptions for people who are blind or have a print disability. The article WIPO SCCR 23: Outcome Disappoints in this issue of the DAISY Planet sums it up nicely.
Learning Ally: Then and Now is the last in our special 15th Anniversary Series. Even though I have personally been involved with DAISY since before the formation of the Consortium, I have learned a great deal from this series. All of the Full Members of the Consortium which joined prior to the year 2000 have been featured in this series. Thanks to each of the organizations and their team members who worked with me on the articles. I hope that you have found them as interesting and informative as I have.
The first issue of the DAISY Planet newsletter DAISY Planet newsletter was published in July 2007. Your stories, contributed articles, suggestions and letters help me to keep our newsletter relevant and hopefully interesting. I believe that the DAISY stories this year have been particularly wonderful. Working with George Kerscher on the special story Tribute to Nesbit was very emotional for me personally. I remember when George first got Nesbit and how Nesbit would recognize me (with tail wagging furiously) from across a crowded room, no matter where in the world we might have been.
We will open 2012 with Stephen King's story, introducing you to Stephen as he begins his term as the new President of the DAISY Consortium. Thanks to each of you for sharing your story with us. People have said to me that the stories "personalize" DAISY, helping us to keep in mind that it is not just a standard for accessible publications, that is a commitment and for some of us, a way of life.
As I have been wracking my brain to compose a closing for my letter to you this month I reread my closing paragraph from 2010. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I simply could not put it into words more appropriate than those. So, with apologies for being redundant, my message to you at year's end, is:
December is a time of reflection for some of us, a time when we are even more grateful for the love our families and friends share with us, a time when we open our hearts to others who may not be as fortunate as we are. It is a time for giving and for remembering those who are no longer with us or who are unable to be with us for whatever reason. I would like to send a special thank you and good wishes to all of my dear friends in the DAISY community, those people who I've known for many, many years, and who continue to share a special place in my heart.
Thanks to everyone in the DAISY Community for your ongoing commitment and dedication to making information accessible to everyone, everywhere.
On behalf of the Board of Directors and the DAISY Team, I wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous 2012!
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.
Learning Ally (then Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, known to most as RFB&D) was the first DAISY Consortium Full Member in North America. We joined the Consortium in 1999 and were the first organization in the USA to produce and distribute DAISY books. We began DAISY production in 2000 and launched our DAISY digital talking book service in 2002. For a number of years we continued to distribute our books on cassette as well, but in 2007 we went "all-digital".
This is not the first time our organization has undergone a name change. When established in 1948 to meet the reading needs of soldiers who had lost their sight in combat, the then small organization was called "Recording for the Blind". The books were recorded onto vinyl phonograph discs (how many young people today even know what a vinyl disc is?). As time passed, not only the technology changed, our user group changed. It expanded to include a rapidly increasing number of students and professionals with learning disabilities. In 1995 the name was changed to Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D) to reflect this change in user demographic.
In April of this year the name was changed again, this time rather more drastically, to Learning Ally. It was not a change we entered into lightly, as RFB&D was a long-established national institution and that name was known both nationally and internationally. However our new name reflects our vision to become an advocate and friend to those who learn differently.
Learning Ally books are produced with human narration: most are DAISY audio with structure (also known as TOC). More than 5,000 volunteers narrate and monitor (in-production quality control) our digitally recorded DAISY books, most of which are produced to meet the reading needs of students and professionals across the USA. Our annual production is around 6,000 titles a year, which is a larger number of DAISY titles than most other DAISY Consortium Member organizations produce per year.
We currently have approximately 70,000 DAISY 2.02 books in our collection and will soon be approaching 2 million hours of audio content. The heavy emphasis of our collection is on core curriculum textbooks for K-12 and college, along with popular literature titles.
Our relationship with the DAISY Consortium goes much deeper than the production and distribution of DAISY books on CD. Learning Ally has been involved in various DAISY Standard and tool development projects over the years. James Pritchett, a long standing key developer with Learning Ally was deeply involved with the writing of the DAISY 2 and 3 Specifications, as well as the latest "ZedNext"/"DAISY AI" specification. He was the leader and editor of the original DAISY Protected Digital Talking Book (PDTB) Specification in 2002. That specification made it possible to get publisher agreement to allow distribution of RFB&D/Learning Ally DAISY books within the US. Learning Ally also provided leadership in the revision to this standard. They were also very much involved in the development of the DAISY Online Delivery specification. We have contributed to the development of the ZedVal validation tool and the DAISY Pipeline suite of tools.
We see text as playing an important role in the future of our service. Our text production capacity, drawing heavily on the DAISY Pipeline as a production tool for quality assurance, XML cleanup, and audio production using synthetic speech are currently being developing. And, we are excited about the new DAISY Pipeline 2 with its capabilities for using the next generation of DAISY specifications.
Learning Ally is firmly committed to bringing DAISY to mainstream platforms. It is valuable to our membership – students at all levels of education from early grades to graduate school – will be able to use common, commercially available devices to access their books. They will not feel stigmatized or different as they will be using the same reading devices as everyone else in their classroom. We released our iOS app last year – enabling DAISY content to be played on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch devices; it has become very popular with families and tech-savvy users.
We are excited about the DAISY Consortium's involvement in the development of the EPUB 3 specification. This specification, already adopted by many publishers world-wide, promises to bring the long sought-after harmonization of mainstream and accessible formats.
As a special side note, Learning Ally (RFB&D) has a unique relationship with DAISY in that we "share" George Kerscher who began working with RFB&D in 1991 as Research and Development Director. In 1995 he took the position of Senior Officer, Accessible Information, and just two years later he began his work with the DAISY Consortium as Project Manager. He continues to work with both Learning Ally and the DAISY Consortium.
The Learning Ally You Tube Channel contains a number of videos about our student Members and others in some way connected to our services. If you would like to find out more about the history of our organization, please visit Milestones in the History of RFB&D/Learning Ally. The interview with Andrew Friedman published in the March 2011 DAISY Planet provides some insight into the shift in our organization's focus to our Members and into the future directions of Learning Ally.
At the WIPO SCCR 22 (World Intellectual Property Organization, Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights) meeting in June of this year, delegates had reached agreement on a single text – a significant and positive outcome. There were two action points tabled in June for the next meeting:
However consensus was not reached on either of these points and the outcome of the recent WIPO SCCR 23 meeting was less than positive. Based on the results of the previous meeting (SCCR 22) held in June, many had hoped that the discussions and conclusions reached at this meeting would take us closer to an international treaty supporting copyright exceptions and limitations for people who are blind or have a print disability. That was not to be the case.
In the concluding remarks from the delegation from Brazil, the disappointment and expression of urgency was clearly stated:
"With regards to the future instrument on copyright exceptions and flexibilities for persons with print disabilities, to be very honest, my delegation has some mixed feelings.
... the text that is on the table now has much more open issues than the joint proposal that was co-sponsored by a very representative number of delegations in the last session of the SCCR, in June. Due to the nature of some proposed changes and their relation with the provisions of the joint proposal of June, we are now, perhaps, more distant from the objective than we were before.
The challenge for the next session will be to converge to a more consensual text and to produce a more coherent document, which will serve as the basis for the international instrument.
We must not lose the momentum. We do not think it is fair with the VIP community to delay the conclusion of the work in this field."
The following portion of this article was written for the DAISY Planet by Chris Friend, WBU Strategic Objective Leader – Accessibility, Chair WBU Global Right to Read Campaign, and Programme Development Advisor for Sightsavers.
Between November 21 and December 2, in Geneva, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) held its copyright negotiating committee meeting, the "SCCR" (Standing Committee on Copyright). For the first week about 15 delegates from Latin and North America, Europe, Africa and Asia attended for the World Blind Union, during which the Committee dedicated two days to discussing the question of a new law to improve access to published works for people who are blind or who have a reading disability.
Despite all our efforts, WBU feels that this meeting regressed on the matter of achieving the proposed copyright and exceptions treaty.
At the previous SCCR meeting in June, we were pleased that member states from various parts of the world, including the EU, had been able to draft a single text from the four submitted proposals for a law which the Committee had examined previously. (Known as the "Chair's text").
This recent November/December SCCR meeting saw many amendments to the "Chair's text", which seem to take the Committee further from agreement on the text of a new law than it appeared to be in June 2011. WBU was particularly dismayed by the unhelpful amendments on the "Chair's text" that the EU negotiators submitted. For instance, the EU wants to remove the right for our organisations to use the new law without rights holder authorisation. Such an amendment would render the new law almost pointless. The EU also sought to limit the number and range of organisations that might be able to use the new law to those whose "primary" mission was to provide accessible books to print disabled people. Such an amendment would see many public libraries, schools and universities unable to benefit from the new law.
Nonetheless, the conclusions of the SCCR point to finalising the text at the next meeting - SCCR 24, which will take place in July 2012. They also anticipate agreement on the type of law this text will become – soft law guidelines or a legally binding treaty.
We first formally tabled our treaty proposal in May 2009 – that was two and a half years ago. This is not such a long time for what is after all a negotiation on a UN treaty, and a ground-breaking one at that. However, our patience is not endless, and we need to achieve concrete results in 2012. With continued hard work this should be possible.
The big question (not just for WBU but also people around the world who are blind or have a print disability and who want/need accessible books) is "Will the EU negotiators work constructively and urgently with other Member States to agree to a useful, effective and binding treaty in 2012?"
The Parliament aside, the EU's record on this matter so far is not encouraging. WBU urges the European Commission and Council of Ministers to also find some goodwill this Christmas and in the coming year. Come to the WIPO SCCR 24 meeting ready to be constructive. Work with us to make 2012 the year of the WIPO treaty for people who are blind or have a print disability.
The World Blind Union suspended its involvement in the WIPO Stakeholders' Platform initiative in February 2011. In our communication, we made it clear that the suspension would remain in place until agreement had been reached at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) on a new law to remove the copyright barriers that blind, partially sighted and other print disabled people face when trying to access copyrighted works.
WBU is actively participating in the WIPO Copyright Committee (SCCR) discussions to help achieve such an agreement. We also review our suspension in the light of progress in each SCCR meeting.
Regrettably, no agreement was reached in November/December at the most recent WIPO SCCR. WBU suspension of its participation in the WIPO Stakeholders' Platform therefore remains in place.
We look hopefully to the July 2012 SCCR 24 meeting where it is quite possible for member states to agree to a useful, effective and binding WIPO treaty for people who are blind or have a print disability. Should such an outcome be achieved in July, WBU would be keen to request its renewed participation in the WIPO Stakeholders' Platform.
Sincere thanks are extended to Chris Friend for providing ongoing updates and information about the proceedings and outcomes of the WIPO SCCR meeting activities relating to the proposed Treaty which will bring about global access to published works by those who require accessible formats.
The Conclusions of SCCR 23 are posted on the EIFL (Electronic Information for Libraries) website. Background information about the proposed treaty addressing copyright limitations and exceptions is available in the DAISY Planet article WIPO Copyright Committee: Stalemate Ends. Links to additional articles and information are also provided in that article. Information about the June meeting is available in the article WIPO Delegates Reach Agreement on Single Text in the June 2011 DAISY Planet.
Two very different testimonials describe the positive impact this add-in and its predecessors have had.
In the DAISY Consortium press release, Professor Norm Coombs, CEO of EASI describes the frustrations he experienced in the 1970's as an author unable to read what he had written because he could not access the typewritten words on paper. Coombs now uses the Save As DAISY add-in for Microsoft Word: "...I now can read my book in a format with chapters, headers and the ability to both skim and move around as easily as if it were a print book!"
The testimonial in the Microsoft Word Blog announcement Make talking books within Word: Save as DAISY for Office 2010 is from the Aya Makino, a Japanese mother:
"Since the DAISY Translator makes it possible to create DAISY books without learning technical skills, it's convenient for creating a child's daily homework. We urge parents of children with reading challenges to say 'Just save it as a DAISY book!'" [Aya Makino is also the representative of Chofu DAISY, a Japanese group dedicated to DAISY book production and dissemination.]
Save As DAISY was also available for Microsoft Word 2003 and 2007. This most recent version supports Office 2003, 2007 and 2010, and works in all of the languages which Microsoft Office currently supports.
Information about downloading and installing the new add-in is available at Using the Save As DAISY add-in for Word (for Microsoft Word 2010). The newly released add-in can also be downloaded from the DAISY website Save as DAISY – Microsoft Word Add-In page.
"We want to provide people with print disabilities equal access to the same information" [George Kerscher, Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium and President of the IDPF].
Tutorials for the new Save As DAISY add-in for Word 2010 are being developed and will be available in the near future. Please watch for links to these tutorials in the DAISY Planet in early 2012.
An introduction to the M-Enabling Summit, the first conference of its kind, was published in the November DAISY Planet (M-Enabling Summit: Mobile Breakthroughs). The DAISY Consortium was admirably represented at this global summit by Stephen King, President-Elect of the Consortium, and Varju Luceno, Director of Communications.
The Summit which was organized by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs (G3ict) and the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), held December 5 and 6, was attended by more than 365 people from more than 30 countries. In his opening comments, Axel Lebois, Executive Director of G3ict, provided an overview of the summit, stating that "persons with disabilities are a great market to service" and challenging participants to "continue to work together to make the world a better place for all" and to "make new things happen".
Dr. Hamadoun Touré, Secretary General of ITU introduced the second panel of the morning: "International Panel on Policies and Programs to Promote Accessible and Assistive Mobile Services for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities". As a panel member King discussed the "Role and Opportunities for Accessibility Standards". He emphasised that mobile technology is changing the world, particularly for people with disabilities. The key messages he delivered were:
Examples of global standards that have shown the way that this is possible were cited: W3C/WAI, DAISY, and EPUB.
A captioned video of the first morning of M-Enabling Summit proceedings is available on the FCC website. The "International Panel on Policies and Programs to Promote Accessible and Assistive Mobile Services for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities" begins at 98:17 in the video. Stephen King's presentation begins at 145:11.
Varju Luceno participated in the breakout "Innovator's Session – Leading Apps and Solutions for Visually Impaired Users. The slides of her presentation DAISY Reading Apps for Mobile Devices are posted on the DAISY Slideshare Channel. The DAISY Consortium exhibit introduced DAISY to many attending the Summit and reminded others that the DAISY Consortium and its membership are in the forefront of accessibility standards and accessible technology.
The M-Enabling Summit brought together key stakeholders from around the globe – organizations and companies which develop, market, create policy, and deploy the initiatives that are setting new frontiers for mobile accessible and assistive solutions. There were opportunities to network and exchange ideas with experts from industry, service providers, and organizations of seniors and persons with disabilities. Participants visited exhibits showcasing mobile and assistive technologies and learned about the latest developments and emerging opportunities during the presentations and sessions. The complete list of events and presentations is available on the G3ict website.
In less than two decades, mobile communications have emerged in most countries, reaching out to the isolated and under-served populations in both developed and developing countries. In 2011 more than 5.4 billion mobile phones were in use, almost one per human being on the planet.
Earlier this month the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) hosted an eBook Accessibility Symposium at their headquarters in Baltimore Maryland. Many of the DAISY staff team were present, and several also presented to the audience of accessibility specialists, publishers, developers and others in the field publishing and information access.
The symposium was opened by Dr. Mark Mauer, President of NFB, and was closed by Mark Turner, Director, Center for Accessible Media, Accessible Technology Initiative, CSU Office of the Chancellor, and George Kerscher, Secretary General, DAISY Consortium – with informative and thought-provoking presentations given throughout the day.
In his opening remarks Dr. Maurer made one thing very clear – he wants to be able to purchase publications just like anyone else. He stated that the current model has to change and that the model for accessible publications must be the same as the model for all published works. For this to take place, all published works need to be accessible. Jim Gashel, DAISY Board representative for NFB, reinforced this, explaining that about 11 months ago he became a "book buyer" while in previous years he had bought no more than 5 books. All of the books he has bought this year are accessible.
Markus Gylling, Chief Technology Officer for both the DAISY Consortium and the International Digital Publishing Forum, was the first speaker of the day. In his presentation "EPUB 3: a Foundation for Accessible Publishing" Gylling moved from the general (the prevalence of print disabilities, the greying population, usability & accessibility) to the specific (sound authoring practices, EPUB 3 Media Overlays, EPUB 3 & accessibility). Prior to summarizing the information presented, Gylling explained that eBooks are not only "typographical" and urged publishers to take control over the code beneath the surface of their eBooks. He summarized by stating that accessible eBooks are not for a small niche population – that the aging population and people with dyslexia make up a significant potential market that is largely untapped. He also reinforced that sound authoring practices apply to all users and that EPUB 3 is a state-of-the art foundation for accessible e-publishing that will enable publishers to design books with usability in mind. "As the eBook paradigm evolves, so must principles for usability and accessibility design" [Markus Gylling]
Romain Deltour Software Developer for the Consortium and Daniel Weck, Software Architect and Programmer for the Consortium presented information about content transformations, addressing respectively, the DAISY Pipeline 2 and Tobi.
Romain explained that the high level objective of the DAISY Pipeline 2 is to support the efficient transformation of a large numbers of documents in a short time and at minimal cost. Pipeline 2 promotes single source publishing with a focus on accessibility and quality. Romain's presentation on the DAISY Pipeline 2 project, has been captioned is now available online.
Daniel provided a clear and concise overview of Tobi, the DAISY Consortium's software tool for authoring DAISY multimedia. Features such as content validation, metadata helpers, unlimited undo and redo, and the flexible user interface were outlined. Accessibility features such as screen reader support, built-in magnification, keyboard shortcut keys were described. Daniel's Tobi presentation is available for download as a full text/full audio DAISY 3 Digital Talking Book (produced, of course, with Tobi). Note: if you do not have a DAISY player, the MP3 files can be used with any MP3 player.
In the afternoon speakers representing CourseSmart and followed by Adobe took centre stage. During the CourseSmart presentation, "Optimizing the Content Supply Chain for Accessibility", Jim Ambach and Greg Shepherd described the "remediation" of textbooks republishing them from inaccessible content to accessible content. In the long term they are looking at EPUB 3 as their output format. They stressed that publishers need to build in accessibility "upstream".
The presentation "Best Practices for Publishers: Accessible Documents with Adobe InDesign CS5.5" given by Kiyomase Toma from Adobe was both interesting and encouraging. Toma explained that EPUB 3 being approved as a standard was the "firing pistol" and that it will take time for the "pack to catch up". He also used a marathon analogy, saying generally that we have to start or we'll never catch up. It was encouraging to hear Toma say that we are living in a world where 'how we get there does matter' and that Adobe is committed to EPUB 3 in the long haul.
The second to last presentation of the day was given by Mark Riccobono, Executive Director, NFB Jernigan Institute. Upon reaching the microphone he announced that the report of the Advisory Commission on Accessible Instructional Materials in Postsecondary Education for Students with Disabilities had just now been released. The Commission was "charged with studying the current state of accessible materials for students with disabilities in postsecondary education, including barriers and systemic issues that affect delivery of materials, and writing a report that makes recommendations for improving students' access to and dissemination of such materials." [Overview of the Advisory Commission] Mark provided a brief summary of the AIM Commission Report which is available in MS Word and PDF and also can be downloaded in DAISY and BRF formats from Bookshare. In personalizing what it means for him, the significance of the change potentially resulting from the report was driven home for everyone at the Symposium.
The final presentation of the day, given by Mark Turner and George Kerscher rounded out the day nicely. The massive republishing industry in higher education in the USA was clearly described. It was further explained that market solutions are the only scalable option for accessible eContent. Kerscher reiterated that the IDPF has included accessibility in the EPUB 3 standard from the ground up.
The DAISY Consortium would like to thank NFB for graciously hosting the first full DAISY staff team face-to-face meeting on the three days following the Symposium. The meeting room, lunches and dinner helped to make the meeting a great success (and the cookies provided at coffee breaks were simply delicious).
An email was recently distributed to key DAISY lists inviting Members and Friends of the Consortium to attend a Pipeline 2 Web Service workshop. The workshop "Pipeline 2 Web Service: Integration and Interoperability" which is the first of its kind, will take place February 16 and 17, 2012, at the RNIB facility in Peterborough, UK. There is no fee for the DAISY membership to attend this one and a half day event (participants will cover their own travel and accommodation costs).
The targeted audience for this workshop is developers and system administrators. Knowledge of a programming language is preferable. The primary objective of the workshop is to provide participants with the knowledge they require to integrate the DAISY Pipeline 2 in an external production workflow, notably via its RESTful web service API.
The DAISY Pipeline 2 Overview document, the workshop agenda (in-progress) and the registration form are all available online. Suggestions and questions may be submitted to Romain Deltour, the DAISY Pipeline 2 Project Lead, at rdeltour[at]gmail[dot]com.
If you are a developer or system administrator, please be sure to register before the closing date (January 20th, 2012).
The DAISY Consortium wishes to thank RNIB for offering to host the workshop and providing lunch and coffee for the participants. RNIB will also host an informal dinner on the Thursday evening.
As Secretary General for the DAISY Consortium, I would like to thank Hiroshi Kawamura for his leadership as President of the DAISY Consortium for the past 4 years. Hiroshi is one of the founding fathers of the DAISY Consortium; his clear strategic vision for access to information for persons who are blind or have a print disability has guided us through the years.
The DAISY Consortium has made amazing strides over the past 15 years and a major reason for the success is the contributions made by Hiroshi. He has focused on high level commitments to accessibility by the United Nations, World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to name a few, and has participated directly with these organizations. His tireless work and commitment to information access strategically focused on the needs of individuals who are blind or have a print disability will continue! Hiroshi will carry on, and on, and on, as the representative to the DAISY Board from the Japanese DAISY Consortium.
Hiroshi, thank you for your strategic vision, your leadership, and your tireless work.
Secretary General DAISY Consortium
Editor's Note: Hiroshi Kawamura's story was published with the DAISY Planet in 2007. He has accomplished much since then. From all of us on the DAISY staff team and from all of the DAISY membership worldwide – thank you!
[This inquiry was posted to the Save As DAISY Microsoft Forum.]
I am from Brazil and I'm using MS Save as DAISY. I want to create books in Portuguese, but even when I change the parameter for Portuguese it created books in English. I'm using MS Word 2007 in Portuguese version. Can somebody help me please?
Please provide more information about the steps you followed for converting your Portuguese document.
The Microsoft Word Save As DAISY add-in only converts the document into either a DAISY XML file or creates a multimedia talking book using the default Text to Speech (TTS) installed on the computer. Therefore, there is no way the content or the language of the document would be altered by Save As DAISY. However while creating a full DAISY talking book if you don't choose an appropriate TTS then the narration of the text will not be correct.
So, if you are using the full DAISY option then first select a Portuguese TTS in Control Panel > Speech. If you don't have a Portuguese TTS you can easily get one, there are many options available, for example see the Acapela TTS for Portuguese.
And I suggest you use the new version of Save As DAISY released today.
• Betsy Beaumon (Benetech), Adam Witwer (O'Reilly Media, Inc.), George Kerscher (DAISY Consortium), Larry Goldberg (National Center for Accessible Media at WGBH – NCAM), and Katie Cunningham will make up the panel presenting Accessibility in a Multimedia World at the O'Reilly TOC Conference, February 13 - 15, in New York. "This panel will discuss initiatives currently underway to make images accessible and the opportunities and challenges of accessible multimedia, including the advantages accessibility brings to a general audience, such as searchability."
• 'INOSIGHT Technology' is an exciting, new innovation developed by Pillbox Design, Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and Qadex. It instantly provides information 'printed' (it is not visible to the eye) on packaging in audio format using a special 'touch pen' (an inexpensive hand-held scanner). When the 'pen' is positioned over an area of the packaging which contains printed information, the pen replicates the barcode number via a non-visible code and 'voices' the information. On a cereal box for example, information such as the ingredients, weight or volume, allergy warnings etc., are relayed to the user – much more than just the name of the product. This technology, which was one of five contestants, won the Lions' Lair, a dragons' den inspired contest, in London, UK this year. When implemented it will allow anyone whose is unable to read the print on packaged items to get information about what they are buying. For those who are blind, have low vision or other print disability, it will provide independence. Potential applications of this technology are almost endless. (See also FMGC News and MPN Magazine).
• Slides of the presentation AccessODF: Accessibility Evaluation and Repair for LibreOffice/OpenOffice.org Writer, presented by Christophe Strobbe at the AEGIS Conference in Brussels, Belgium, in November are available on SlideShare. AccessODF helps users to both evaluate and repair accessibility issues in Open Office Writer.
• The first confirmed speakers for the 6th European eAccessibility Forum have been announced. Markus Gylling, CTO of both the DAISY Consortium and the IDPF will discuss the potential of the recently approved EPUB 3 standard and its role in accessible publishing.
• The government of South Korea has made the decision that by 2015 all public school textbooks will be digital. This transition to a totally networked society will be closely tracked by scholars and industry analysts, particularly the impact of eBooks on education – not just books ported over from print, but "books that integrate media and social networking," according to one expert. In 2009 in South Korea 95% of all homes had a broadband connection. Details and additional information are available in the article Where we are in digital publishing (Asia and Pacific region)
• On December 6 the AIM Commission Released a Report on Disparities in Postsecondary Learning Material for Students with Disabilities. "The Advisory Commission on Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) in Postsecondary Education for Students with Disabilities released today a report providing Congress with vital recommendations for improving the ability of postsecondary students with disabilities to obtain accessible instructional materials in a timely and cost-effective manner." The AIM Commission Report is available in MS Word and PDF and also can be downloaded in DAISY and BRF formats from Bookshare.
• The new, free Nokia Screen Reader for mobile devices by Code Factory has just been launched. It currently runs on three Symbian Belle Nokia devices: the C5 5MP, 700 and 701 handsets. The Nokia C5 5MP may prove to be particularly useful for people who are blind or have low vision as it has a physical keypad with good tactile qualities and clean layout.
• New Designs Unlimited, LLC recently released a DAISY reading app for Android. Information has been included in the DAISYpedia article DAISY Books on Mobile Phones and Multimedia Devices.
• 'ePub3 and HTML5 - what you need to know right now' an HTML5 and EPUB 3 meeting for Publishers will take place in London, UK, on January 18, 2012. Organized by the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP), this half day briefing will give a practical overview of the features and possibilities that EPUB 3 and HTML5 can offer the academic publisher. Details are provided on the ALPSP website.
• Information about building AMIS from source and how to get the source code are available online. The instructions have been updated to reflect AMIS' new home at github along with new locations of dependency libraries. Feedback from those who use the instructions would be greatly appreciated. Please post comments, questions and feedback to the AMIS Forum.
• Improvements have been made in handling skippable items in Tobi. The list of skippable element names is also now user-configurable, with default: pagenum, sidebar, annotation, prodnote, etc. The list can be changed in the preferences dialog. This will be incorporated into the next ClickOnce / Zip updates (Tobi v1.5.3) which will be available in the near future.