A wide range of topics are covered in this issue of the DAISY Planet which includes articles on international copyright treaty, the TOC Conference, new tools from Bookshare, modernization of the UN Free Post for the Blind rules, and a workshop for educators in India. I also want to point out that the information presented in one of the regular columns, Publishers' Corner, is intended not just for mainstream publishers – many of the points will be of interest to DAISY Member organizations creating accessible content, small publishing houses, self-publishers and others. If you haven't yet read this relatively new column, please take a moment to go through it this month.
The 28th Annual CSUN Conference is underway as I write. Once again the DAISY Consortium has produced and made the conference program and hotel menus available; this year the information is in DAISY, accessible HTML and EPUB formats for download from the DAISY website. The text to speech voice used was provided by IVONA Software. Numerous DAISY Consortium Members and Friends are exhibiting their products and services, and some are presenting sessions. An article featuring CSUN highlights will be published in the March DAISY Planet.
HumanWare one of the DAISY Consortium's first Friends, has special reason to celebrate at CSUN this year. Congratulations to HumanWare, a global leader in assistive technologies for people with a print disability, and to Gilles Pepin, the company's CEO, as they celebrate their 25th Anniversary at CSUN. (I do wish I were there!)
Varju Luceno, Director of Communications for the DAISY Consortium applied for and received, on behalf of the Consortium, the CyberAlert PR Grants Program for one year of media monitoring service at no cost. More than 200 applications were received, and 20 grants were awarded for 2013. Congratulations to Varju – the grant will be most helpful in gathering and sharing relevant news with the DAISY membership.
In late January the DAISY Consortium's Obi/Tobi development & deployment team conducted an online survey of DAISY Members. The purpose of the survey was to help the team prioritize further developments of the features in Obi (DAISY audio with structure authoring) and Tobi (DAISY and EPUB 3 full-text and audio authoring). The Obi/Tobi team was extremely pleased with the level of response and the helpful information provided, and wish to thank all of the organizations which participated.
Earlier this month Seven Principles: Developing New Social Enterprises with Benetech by Jim Fruchterman, CEO of Benetech was posted on CSRwire Talkback. I found the article extremely interesting and thought that many of you would also. Some of you will already know about Benetech's history which is presented in brief, but the 7 principles which are under the heading "The New Project Framework Model" provide food for thought for both new and existing social enterprises. In fact, they may just nudge some to rethink how and why decisions are made and actions are taken. Thank you for sharing this Jim.
Part 2 of Maryanne Diamond's story is featured this month. In Part 1, we had the opportunity to read about some of the experiences and challenges she faced earlier in her life – before her years with the World Blind Union (WBU). Maryanne's achievements are many, as you'll find when you read the second half of her story. Perhaps one of the things that illustrates how truly great a leader and person she is, is her acknowledgement of the efforts and contribution of others: "Of course, none of this can be achieved by one person. It is about a team working together." She is Immediate Past President of the WBU. Maryanne, if you are ever planning to come to Southern Ontario, let me know – I would love to meet you in person!
Thanks go to everyone who has provided ideas, articles and suggestions for this issue of the DAISY Planet, with special thanks going to Dan Pescod for his input into two of the articles this month. Ongoing input from around the world helps me to provide our community with the information it needs to remain up to date on issues of importance and interest. DAISY stories provide insight into the lives of people we might not otherwise have ever come to know. You can reach me by email (you will have my address if you receive the DAISY Planet email notice) or you can use the DAISY Contact Us Form (DAISY Planet Newsletter Category).
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 IDPF (International Digital Publishing Forum) in collaboration with Reed Expositions and the French Publishers Association (SNE) will present the IDPF HTML5 & EPUB 3 Seminar. This technical seminar on HTML5, EPUB 3, and digital book production will take place on March 25, 2013 at the Paris Book Fair (Salon du Livre). The day-long program (bilingual French/English, with simultaneous translation) will cover details about HTML5 and EPUB 3 from a publisher's perspective, and provide practical examples of best practices and emerging tools for cost-effectively producing, managing, and distributing digital book content and metadata. Information about speakers and a link for registration are in the IDPF Seminar announcement Daniel Weck, Software Architect with the DAISY Consortium will be one of the numerous high profile speakers.
• The page 9 Tips for Creating Accessible EPUB 3 Files is available on the DIAGRAM Center website, in the Standards and Practices area. Explanations, and in some cases examples, are provided.
• IDPF Digital Book 2013 will take place May 29 to 30 at NYC Javits Center in conjunction with BookExpo America (BEA). The theme of this year's conference is "Advancing Publishing in a Digital World".
• The article O'Reilly's journey to EPUB 3: Upgrading to EPUB 3 is not a trivial undertaking on the TOC website is not only an announcement that O'Reilly has officially upgraded to EPUB 3 (and that their ebook bundles will now include EPUB 3 files, in addition to Mobi and PDF files). All O'Reilly ebooks released in 2013 are now available in EPUB 3 format, and, they are also updating and rereleasing their backlist ebooks in EPUB 3. The article explains why they've made the decision to make this change now and looks at the challenges of upgrading to EPUB 3.
• A set of demonstration and test EPUB 3 books is available for download on the AZARDI infogridpacific website. The "focus" of each sample is given below the sample heading. The first four are "fixed layout" examples, followed by an EPUB3 SMIL Audio overlays book and several others including one that focuses on multi-language presentation/fonts for languages. Another page on this website, EPUB3 WORLD has links to demonstration and free EPUB3 files from around the world.
The article Ebook Innovator Inkling Releases Free Digital Publishing Kit on the PCMAG.COM website provides a detailed overview of Inkling Habitat, the new software suite from Inkling. This new set of collaborative online digital publishing tools will be the first online, collaborate, free, and open digital publishing environment for professionals. Digital books created with Habitat can be exported to any standards-compliant EPUB platform.
Inkling Habitat is standards-based. The content is HTML5, and can be built to fully standards-compliant EPUB 3. Detailed information and a video are provided on the Inkling Habitat site.
See also: Inkling Takes Dead Aim At Apple And Amazon With New Google Search-Friendly Digital Publishing Tools and Inkling Habitat brings sleek digital book creation to the cloud. Will it dent Amazon?.
• Markus Gylling's slides IDPF & EPUB Update, presented at the eTernity project launch in Brussels on January 16, are available online. Markus is CTO of both the DAISY Consortium and the IDPF. Daniel Weck, Software Architect with the DAISY Consortium, was also present.
• BISG (Book Industry Study Group) will present a live webcast What's new and on the horizon for EPUB 3 on Wednesday, March 6. Information about the webcast, including registration details are provided. Bill Kasdorf (VP of Apex and Chair of BISG's Content Structure Committee) and Markus Gylling (CTO of the IDPF and the DAISY Consortium, and Chair of IDPF's EPUB 3 Working Group) will provide an overview of recent and upcoming EPUB 3 developments.
In December the decision was made by WIPO Member States to convene a Diplomatic Conference in June 2013 to conclude a treaty on limitations and exceptions for visually impaired persons and persons with print disabilities. (Additional background and information is available in the article Landmark WIPO Decision: Will 2013 be the 'Year of the Treaty'? in the December DAISY Planet.)
In an effort to ensure the success of the June Diplomatic Conference, a five day WIPO/SCCR Special Session was also scheduled at that December meeting. The meeting to revise the text of the draft treaty took place last week, February 18 - 22 in Geneva.
The discussions dealing with the text revision were not open to NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) representatives. Only government regional coordinators and a small number of country delegates participated in those discussions. At WBU's (World Blind Union) request, however, on February 19, a live audio feed was broadcast in the plenary room for NGOs and observers, allowing them access to some, but not all of the discussions. However, WIPO imposed a strict ban on external communication by NGOs, meaning that they were therefore not allowed to report on the informal discussions via email, tweeting, blogging, etc.
Progress was slow. Nonetheless a revision of the text was issued on the second day of the session. Issues such as commercial availability of publications remained unresolved.
No revised text was issued on the third day and consensus among the members of the small group working on the revision of the text was not reached. Copyright issues that are not directly related to the need for or purpose of the proposed treaty dominated much of the discussion and hampered progress.
Another text revision was issued on the fourth day of the session with a view to reaching agreement before the end of the session on February 22. The atmosphere was tense, people were anxious that time was running out.
On the final day another text revision was issued, with several Articles removed and other changes. Many present consider that this text means that contentious issues relating to the copyright system as a whole have now been addressed. However, WIPO delegates will meet again in April to deal with some important issues that remain outstanding in the text. Cross-border exchange of accessible format copies, which is fundamental to the proposed treaty, is not yet fully resolved. Another issue considered by some to not yet be adequately addressed is how the treaty could be drafted to ensure that it is not used for accessible format books which are already available commercially.
In his report WBU's "books without borders" treaty campaign edges forward dated February 25, Dan Pescod, the lead for the WBU at the WIPO Special Session, wrote in conclusion:
"Last but not least, on Friday 22nd February...the Director General of WIPO, Francis Gurry, signed the agreement for the Marrakech diplomatic conference to go ahead.A Webcast of the WIPO Special Session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) which took place February 18 to 22 in Geneva, Switzerland is available on the WIPO website.
This reflects a confidence that the agreement on the text at the meeting really does open the way to conclusion of a treaty this June 2013. If that happened, it would be an historic moment and would open a new chapter in our work to secure blind and partially sighted people's right to read."
Resources for this article and sources of additional information:
· WIPO Delegates To Clean Text Of Blind Treaty Before Diplomatic Conference In June (Feb. 15)
· Closed Discussions At WIPO On Treaty For Blind, As New Text Emerges (Feb. 19)
· Blind Treaty Discussions Could Wander, All Sides Ask For Focus (Feb. 20)
· WIPO Negotiations: Latest Text Of Treaty For The Blind Is Short On Progress (Feb. 21)
· WIPO Blind Treaty Text Shapes Up On Last Day; More Drafting In April (Feb. 23)
· WIPO is the World Intellectual Property Organization (SCCR is the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights)
Thanks go to Dan Pescod for his input on this article.
This annual event, held in New York February 12-14 inspired, and at the same time, also made attendees wonder. The main focus was once again on new business models, workflows, apps and formats – theories and practices for navigating the continually changing publishing landscape.
The future of digital publishing is still a moving target, but big publishing houses are now extensively using data and relevant available research to formulate strategies for coming years. At the same time agile small shops and start-ups are catching up by finding niches and utilizing their efficiencies to compete for customers' attention and loyalty. Futurists took the stage several times – could this be a sign of an even more uncertain future than 12 months ago?
The DAISY Consortium was a TOC Media Partner – every attendee received accessible publishing guidelines in their conference bag: Top Tips for Creating Accessible EPUB 3 Files.
Videos from the conference which are available on the O'Reilly YouTube Channel feature many interviews and captivating discussions. This article focuses on accessibility related events.
The panel Born Accessible, was moderated by Betsy Beaumon (Benetech) with George Kerscher (DAISY Consortium and IDPF), Larry Goldberg (National Center for Accessible Media at WGBH (NCAM), Doug Klein (Nook Media, LLC), and William Chesser (Ingram/Vital Source®).
George Kerscher demonstrated how he uses JAWS to read / navigate publications and why it is important to structure publications properly. He explained that good reading system would allow users to read with eyes, ears and/or fingers, whatever their preferred mode of reading is. At present there is no effective methodology available to evaluate reading systems for accessibility; the DAISY Consortium is working on a solution that should be available later this year.
Larry Goldberg acknowledged Apple's efforts in making digital devices accessible and demonstrated how VoiceOver works. He also showed how multimedia objects (videos) can be made accessible via captioning.
Betsy Beaumon shared Benetech's project – Bookshare Web Reader that was created in collaboration with the IDPF – and was built on top of the Readium Chrome add-on by adding accessibility features. She stressed that Benetech / Bookshare wants to ensure that all users benefit from accessibility. One of the goals of the DIAGRAM Center, in addition to making images in textbooks more accessible, is to make the book discovery process more accessible.
Doug Klein spoke about the book discovery process, including inclusive retail discovery; disabled users should have access to physical stores, book reviews and accessible content on websites. Metadata should be used to make digital content easily discoverable via search engines. Beautiful digital magazines come with carefully designed content – rich metadata and multiple display options should be built in to satisfy user needs and take into consideration how the content is rendered on multiple devices. He also stated that content distribution options should be carefully considered.
William Chesser emphasized the importance of accessibility in education and stated that MathML and alt text should always include enough relevant information to make math accessible. Ingram collaborates closely with NFB (National Federation of the Blind) to make their products and services more accessible. The new EPUB 3 version of Ingram's Vital Source Bookshelf is based on HTML 5. It supports rich media, interactivity, global languages, and enhanced accessibility features.
There is a link to download the PowerPoint presentation for this panel discussion on the TOC website on the page for the Born Accessible panel.
End To End Accessibility presented by Dave Gunn (RNIB - Royal National Institute of Blind People), Sarah Hilderley (EDItEUR), Doug Klein (Nook Media, LLC), and Rick Johnson (Ingram/Vital Source®) highlighted the challenges faced by people and organizations at each part of the supply chain.
Dave Gunn opened the presentation and shared briefly what is being done currently in the field of inclusive publishing in the UK and described in general what the major challenges are. The need for inclusive publishing and what it entails was touched on by all of the presenters. Designing for accessibility now means designing for users who are mobile and content needs to be accessible on a variety of mainstream devices.
It was explained that there will continue to be instances were specialized devices will prevail, but no excuses should be used for not making mainstream digital devices accessible. Many revolutionary new technological ideas have been born by technologists' willingness to adapt a product or service to a specific user need or situational disability – later these ideas have found their way into mainstream, benefitting everyone.
With multimedia becoming more and more complex there is a growing need to educate and guide all users on how to navigate new interactive realms that consist of various user interfaces, devices and formats – all this can be overwhelming for some people.
From content creation to reading systems (both hardware devices and software), to the user experience and content discovery, from retailers to libraries – all involved parties need to understand the implications of their decisions in relation to accessibility. Continued advocacy and support efforts are required if the mainstream is to understand the need for inclusive publishing, accessibility and good practices, and how this benefits everyone.
Thanks go to Varju Luceno, Director of Communications for the DAISY Consortium, for providing this article for publication in the DAISY Planet.
At the recent ATIA Conference in Orlando, Florida, Bookshare announced and introduced two new tools that improve the accessibility of content and make Bookshare quicker and easier to use. The Bookshelf and Bookshare Web Reader are free to Bookshare members around the world, and people are already excited about features such as organizing their books into bookshelves by topic, author, books-to-read, etc. The Web Reader allows Bookshare members to open and read books directly in a browser; no downloading or separate software are required. The Bookshelf allows members and sponsors to organize reading for themselves or for their students.
Bookshare member Dan Barrett likes the new tools because he doesn't have to download books, store them in potentially disorganized, overloaded folders, and remember where he put them: "This way, my hard drive is lean and mean, while my library is BIG and BOLD. Opening a book with the Web Reader couldn't be any better than it already is! In fact, the only way to improve it would be to give money away while a book is being downloaded. That's how good the process is."
Educators can use Bookshelves to get books to students easily and quickly. They can also use this feature as a way to find and store titles for later use. If teachers place books on bookshelves for students, students with individual memberships can log in from home and read immediately with the Web Reader. There is no need to download or transfer a book to a thumb drive or CD – it's right there and ready for reading. Educator Nora Bardi said: "The Bookshelf will be very valuable. I can simply keep the Bookshelf current and students can independently get what they need."
Adding a book to a Bookshelf is straight forward: when the book is located, select "Add to Bookshelf" rather than choosing one of the download options. Books can be added to "My Favorites" or any Bookshelf a user wants to create. An educator can use Bookshelves to assign the same book to multiple students – each book is individually fingerprinted when the student downloads or opens the book.
Betsy Beaumon, Vice President and General Manager of the Literacy Program at Benetech said: "We expect members will read more because they will access their books more quickly and have just one click to begin reading."
The Bookshare Web Reader allows individual members to simply click the "Read Now" link rather than choosing a download option. After a few moments, the book will open in a browser. Icons for the Table of Contents and Settings provide navigation and display options to adjust font size, colors and display format.
At the present time this tool is optimized for those with learning disabilities, physical disabilities, or low vision. The Bookshare Web Reader is compatible with Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and IE 9.0 and above. Sighted readers should use Google Chrome because it takes advantage of new features in the Google Chrome browser that enable multi-modal reading, with word-by-word highlighting and text-to-speech using the computer's built-in voices. (Note that when "Read Now" is selected for the first time, there will be a prompt to do a one-time installation of a Chrome extension.) Screen reader users should use Internet Explorer, Safari, or Firefox. The screen reader will provide the text-to-speech for reading. (The Bookshare Web Reader is not currently available on tablets or other mobile devices.)
Further details about functionality, use with different browsers, and training, are available on the Bookshare website.
The Top Tips for the New Bookshare Web Reader and Bookshelf page includes links to first-time users' guides, tips for both of the new tools, Frequently Asked Questions and more. Near the bottom of the page there are links to training videos on YouTube for: Bookshelf for Organizations, Bookshelf for Individuals, and Bookshare Web Reader. A link to sign up for additional training is also provided.
Thanks go to Betsy Burgess, Public Relations Consultant with Benetech Literacy Programs, Bookshare, for providing the information for this article.
A workshop on the benefits of inclusive publishing for educators of persons with a print disability was held at the National Association for the Blind (NAB) in New Delhi, India, on February 1. It was organized by the DAISY Forum of India and Assistive Technology Development Organization (ATDO) and was facilitated by Mayu Hamada from ATDO and Prashant Ranjan Verma from the DAISY Consortium.
In India people working with persons with dyslexia, autism and other intellectual disabilities are still largely unaware of the benefits of reading materials in DAISY and EPUB formats. Educators in this field are still not using the available DAISY and EPUB books. The primary purpose of this workshop was to share the benefits of accessible digital books for persons with intellectual and sensory disabilities.
Demonstrations of the different types of DAISY and EPUB books were given, and participants were able to experience the benefits these accessible formats have for learners with different disabilities. Both mainstream devices such as computers and mobile phones and dedicated devices such as portable digital book readers were on display.
During the second half of the workshop, an overview of production of DAISY and EPUB content was provided, using free and open-source authoring tools like Save As DAISY and Tobi. The workshop also included an orientation to the various sources of accessible books available in India and resources for learning production of DAISY and EPUB content.
Participants included special educators, teachers, co-ordinators, faculty members and others.
The Universal Postal Union (UPU) is the United Nations body whose rules govern the exchange of international postal items. The part of those rules dealing with free post for persons who are blind (referred to as "literature for the blind") was written in the 1950s and had not been updated since that time. These outdated UPU regulations allowed 'literature for the blind' to be sent across national borders, free of postal charges, but only for materials that were "Braille literature" or "Sound recordings for the blind".
Much has changed over the past 60 years, including the formats of accessible reading material. However, a significant percentage of accessible reading materials, including, for example, DAISY books on CD, are still distributed by post. Libraries and other organizations providing these materials are usually great distances from the people they serve. The free postal service permitted by the UPU regulations is therefore of great importance to them. In 2008, the government of Luxembourg tabled a WBU-inspired proposal at the Universal Postal Union's four-yearly Congress. The goal of the proposal was to modernize the rules on the international exchange of postal items for individuals who are blind, thus ensuring that "new" formats were covered by the regulations.
Since 2008 the proposal has been through numerous UPU Committees, all the while with the World Blind Union (WBU) working within these committees to refine it to meet general approval. It should be noted that the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) took a leadership role to bring about the revision to the law. The WBU's efforts were supported countries such as Italy, Germany, Japan, the UK and the USA, which helped to ensure that the revised rules would both meet the needs of individuals who are blind and at the same time be acceptable to the world's postal operators and governments. This effort generated a new proposal, presented to the UPU Congress in Doha, Qatar, by Italy on behalf of the UPU.
In Qatar, in spite of a number of countries requesting that the matter be referred for "further study" (once again), Barbados, Japan, New Zealand, Nigeria, the UK and others, intervened in support of the proposal to modernize the rules. It was therefore put to a vote, the outcome of which was overwhelmingly in favour of the proposal. The modernized UPU rules defining "items for the blind" will therefore appear in the revised version of the UPU's Convention (that is, it's 'rule book').
International postal items 'for the blind' (exempt from postal charges) can now be sent between any combination of organizations of and/or for individuals who are blind or have partial vision, including organizations such as 'libraries for the blind'. These items now include: "correspondence, literature in whatever format including sound recordings, and equipment or materials of any kind made or adapted to assist blind persons in overcoming the problems of blindness".
This change does not require countries to change their national laws or rules regarding 'literature for the blind'. If for example a country currently allows braille to be sent domestically under its free postal system, it will not be required to broaden its national scheme as a result of the UPU decision. The UPU only governs international postal exchange. However, a country receiving an item defined under the revision from a sender in another country would be expected to accept it as "items for the blind" and deliver it to the designated recipient. The new UPU rules require this, regardless of the range of items identified by the national laws in the receiving country as "items for the blind".
Thanks go to Dan Pescod, Vice Chair of the WBU's Right to Read Campaign, and International and European Campaigns Manager for the RNIB for providing the information for this article.
We are getting an increased number of DAISY app iPad related questions. Do you or DAISY have any reports on what DAISY apps have been the most recommended for iPads or Android devices?
W. Ross Macdonald School for the Visually Impaired and Deafblind
In the section
Reading the DAISY Way on the DAISY website in
there are two sections that may provide you with the information you are looking for:
· DAISY Books on Mobile Phones and Multimedia Devices and
· Mobile Applications: there are three links under this heading that you can access from the main Reading the DAISY Way page.
You can also watch for updates in DAISY News on our homepage (there is an option for our news RSS feed as well), follow DAISY on Twitter, read the DAISY Planet and our new bi-weekly e-news brief DAISY TechWatch which focuses on new e-reading technologies and related developments. (Note: Google Chrome does not effectively handle RSS feeds.)
Hope this helps.
• CSUN 2013, as it happens, is featured on Curb Cut which is posting information, links to sessions, audio coverage, resources, twitter feeds, videos and more. The CSUN tweetup is another way to follow the Conference highlights and activities.
• The 7th European e-Accessibility Forum: Developing e-Accessibility as a Professional Skill will take place March 18, 2013, at Cité des sciences, Paris, France. The list of the first speakers is posted on the Forum website. The Registration Form is also online.
• Slides of Stephen King's presentation given at the conference E-books and accessibility : ugly duckling or adolescent swan? earlier this month are posted on the DAISY Consortium's Slideshare area. The event was organised by JISC TechDis, EDItEUR and the UCL Centre for Publishing, for librarians, disability resource staff and publishers. Stephen is President of the DAISY Consortium and Director, International Affairs, with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).
• The ATIA (Assistive Technology Industry Association) e-newsletter for February provides highlights from the recent conference as well as an interview with David Banes, CEO of the Mada AT Center of Qatar, the first regional AT center in the Arabic speaking world (and a Member of the DAISY Consortium).
• The report Sight Impaired at Aged Seven has been released by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and the RLSB (the Royal London Society for Blind People). The media release Children with vision impairment need more early years support if they are to have the same life chances as sighted peers, warn leading charities provides an overview of the report.
• The DAISY TechWatch issues for February are: Issue 2013-02a with Upcoming Events and "What's New", with Victor Reader Stream as the featured product and with a "Quick Interview" with Dave Gunn of RNIB; & Issue 2013-02b which includes "Upcoming Events" with a focus on CSUN and "What's New" links. The "Featured Product" is BookPort DT, and the "Quick Interview" is with Chris Mottes: "Making Audio Editing Easy".
• The Round Table on Information Access for People with Print Disabilities Inc has a broad membership of education, government, business, alternate format producers, community and disability organisations throughout Australia and New Zealand. The theme of the 2013 Round Table National Conference which will take place May 25 to 28 in Sydney Australia is "Digital Literacy: Making the World Accessible".
• Learning Through Audio (a cautionary tale) is a short article written by a teacher about a study unit in a course he has been taking: Inclusive Technologies for Reading. This pilot online course was offered by Load2Learn. In the conclusion "So what have I learnt?" the teacher wrote "The most important of which for me, is that I no longer regard access to audio as the straightforward and simple solution I once thought it. I've realised there are potential barriers to overcome and it's made me rethink how to effectively support visually impaired pupils, so they develop the skills and ability to make the most of audio in all its forms."
• Two of the Eyes On Success (formerly ViewPoints) programs featured NLS, the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in the US. Program number 1306 provided an overview of NLS Services, History & Technology (Feb. 6) and in program number 1307 the NLS Digital Audio Player & BARD were discussed, with demonstrations of both (Feb. 13, 2013). Program number 1308 "Progress in Speech Synthesis" (Feb. 20, 2013) was an interview the director of innovation for text to speech at Nuance Communications, about the history, current technology and future goals of speech synthesis. Links to the shows and show notes are on the Eyes On Success website.
• Copyright for Librarians (CFL), an online open curriculum on copyright law, has produced the textbook, Copyright for Librarians: the essential handbook (developed jointly by CFL and Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society). It is available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Polish, Romanian/Moldovan, and Russian and is designed to provide librarians in developing and transition countries with general information concerning copyright law in addition to the aspects of the law that most affect libraries. The textbook can be downloaded in a variety of formats (including EPUB and MP3) at no cost. CFL is a joint project of the Harvard University Berkman Center for Internet & Society and Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL).
• Accessibility in India Community Group is a new W3C Community Group which focuses on accessibility awareness in India. The Chair of the Group is Shilpi Kapoor, the founding director of Net Systems Informatics (I) Pvt Ltd. and BarrierBreak Technologies which is a subsidiary of Net Systems Informatics, a Friend of the DAISY Consortium.
• The UK Telegraph article Voice recognition will smash its way into the Black Mirror opens with "The use of voice recognition is something that has been with us for two decades, but it has never quite reached critical mass…until now", and highlights Nuance, a Friend of the DAISY Consortium. The author writes: "Voice recognition will fundamentally change the way we live and behave…"
• How-To Geek has posted The Best Free Programs and Websites for Converting Units and Currency. Brief descriptions and links to the many sites listed are given. Editor's Note: I do not have information about the accessibility of these websites.
• Reminder: registration for the first National Federation of the Blind (NFB) Tactile Graphics Conference (April 12 & 13) is open. The agenda and link for registration are on the conference website. The site also includes a link to the new NFB YouTube video Tactile Graphics and STEM Education for the blind.
• The XML Prague 2013 Conference Proceedings are available online in EPUB, PDF and MOBI formats; the proceedings contain conference papers. XML Prague which is in its eighth year, is a conference on XML for developers, markup geeks, information managers, and students, focusing on new advances in XQuery, digital books and publishing tool chains. "XProc at the heart of an ebook production framework" was presented by Romain Deltour, software developer with the DAISY Consortium.
• The post How to know if my epub is in EPUB 3 format? on MANTANO Support, explains what to do, where to look, and what to look for in an EPUB book to find out if it is an EPUB 2 or EPUB 3 book.