The DAISY Consortium's Newsletter - August 2013

From The Editor

Perhaps it is only my perception, but it seems to me that more and more people, organizations and companies are speaking out about the need for accessible information. It also appears to me that more people consider it to be a requirement, a right, not something that can be pushed aside or ignored any longer. If I am right, that is very good news for all of us. Two lawyers have written about this in major publications over the past two months.

• In a Letter to the Editor in the New York Times, Lainey Feingold, a disability civil rights lawyer working with the blind community on technology and information access issues, responded to the article "Most of U.S. Is Wired, but Millions Aren't Plugged In", Business Day, Aug. 19:
"Your reporters rightly covered the digital divide based on race, age, education, class and geography. Disability deserved to be covered as well…the disability divide has two major components. First, disability cuts across and magnifies all other factors you mention.
Second, and equally important, there is a digital divide for people with disabilities because of a lack of accessible online content…"
Ms. Feingold followed that letter with the article The Digital Divide and People with Disabilities on the Law Office of Lainey Feingold website.

• The second article was published in the Toronto Star (August 26): Pan/Parapan Am Games sends blind lawyer inaccessible invitation. David Lepofsky, a long time disability advocate spoke out about the format of the invitation to an event announcing province-wide plans for the games. The invitation attached to the email was an image file that was not accessible with a screen reader.
"I don't think anybody is being malicious; they never are," Lepofsky said. "People don't say, 'Let's create an inaccessible document so blind people can't read it.' That's not what we're fighting against. We're fighting against people who do exactly this … they don't think about it and they get it wrong."

There have been numerous articles written about the Coalition of E-Reader Manufacturers (Amazon.com, Inc.; Kobo Inc.; & Sony Electronics Inc.) which has submitted a Petition for Waiver to the US Federal Communications Commission to exempt e-readers from accessibility laws. Amazon and Sony Don't Want to Build E-Readers for the Blind (BloombergBusinessweek, August 8), Are Amazon, Sony, Kobo and company dissing on disabilities? (TeleRead, August 7) and Amazon, Kobo and Sony petition FCC to exempt e-readers from accessibility laws (gigaom, August 7) are just three. I smiled when I read Scott Pruett's comment on the gigaom article of August 7: "…it's time to remove the word 'accessibility' and think usability for all… *sigh*". Although this wasn't indicated in his comment, I am fairly certain that Scott Pruett is the Co-founder of Universal Design Partners. Well said Scott, very well said. If something is usable by everyone, it is, 'de facto' (meaning 'in reality'), accessible. (Note that unfortunately not all of the comments are supportive of the need for accessibility in e-readers.)

Now that I have gone on at great length about things not even mentioned in this issue, I'd like to thank Francisco Martínez Calvo for providing me with his paper on the Marrakesh Treaty which formed the foundation of the first article in this issue: WIPO Treaty: Reflections & Reactions. I'd also like to thank Prashant Verma for providing me with the draft reports on the presentation and training he gave for the Publishers' Association of South Africa upon which I used as the basis for the second article Inclusive Publishing Tops Agenda for South African Publishers' Association. The third article AAP EPUB 3 Implementation Project illustrates how the Association of American Publishers is highlighting the importance of eBook accessibility. Kudos to the AAP. Although there are only three articles in this issue, the first and second are somewhat longer than most, and with two months passing since the last DAISY Planet issue, the columns are full of information.

Taiwan Digital Talking Books Association (TDTB) has translated the article Readium.org Open Source Foundation which was included in the March 2013 DAISY Planet. The Chinese translation of Readium.org Open Source Foundation is posted on the TDTB blog. Thanks go to TDTB, a long-time Associate Member of the DAISY Consortium, for translating the article (and several other articles previously) and making it available online. Ms. Ludy Lee joined TDTB in 2006 and has been Secretary General for that organization until this summer. I will be publishing Ms. Lee's story in a future issue of the DAISY Planet.

And just before closing I would like to say congratulations to Bookshare which now has more than 200,000 titles in its every-expanding collection.

The story this month is from Kartik Sawhney. As has happened before, once I heard about Kartik I read everything I could find about him online. Kartik is an incredibly bright and talented young man who is now in the USA on a full scholarship at Stanford University. His story is uplifting and I'm sure you will enjoy reading his story as much as I have. Thank you Kartik for sharing your story. I wish you all the best as you begin your university education in the USA.

Thanks to everyone who has written to me with ideas, articles and suggestions for this issue of the DAISY Planet. Your input helps me keep our community up to date on what is going on in the world of information, access and publishing. 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).

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

Publishers' Corner

• The International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) in partnership with Frankfurt Academy, will present What Makes an E-Book Beautiful?, a seminar on eBook design at the Frankfurt Book Fair on October 10. Speakers include Luc Audrain, head of digitalization of Hachette-Livre, Liisa McCloy-Kelley, VP and Director of eBook Development and Innovation at Random House, Samuel Petit, co-founder of ActiaLuna, and Markus Gylling, CTO of IDPF and the DAISY Consortium. Information about this seminar is available on the IDPF website.

• The EPUB 3 resources page on the DAISY website is maintained to track information on the DAISY and EPUB 3 standards, tools and inclusive publishing best practices. Links to the resources are provided.

• The 10 Tips for Creating Accessible EPUB 3 Files on the DIAGRAM Center website provide information and examples of the key concepts for creating accessible EPUB 3 content. (Each of the 10 headings is a link to a detailed description and examples for that tip.)

EDUPUB: A Workshop on Digital Publishing for Education will be co-hosted by the IDPF and Pearson, on October 29-30, 2013, in Boston, USA. Co-chairs are Paul Belfanti (Director, Content Architecture, Pearson North America) and Markus Gylling (CTO, IDPF and DAISY Consortium). "The goal of the workshop is to bring together major players in the global K-20 education market – including publishers, educators, platform and solution providers, standardization organizations, content distributors, and accessibility organizations – to advance implementation of EPUB 3…as the standard delivery format for e-textbooks. (Pearson press release, Digital Journal, August 8; additional details about EDUPUB are available on the IDPF website.)

Accessible publishing – technical guidance on the RNIB website provides links to both generic and specific resources for accessible publishing.

Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, has published the second edition of Molecular Biology, as an enhanced EPUB 3 book. It is available from Apple iBooks and VitalSource. Full details of the multidimensional, interactive digital format, including animations, "hot spot" interactive learning widgets and "drag and drop" widgets are available in the Elsevier press release.

• The EPUB 3 samples list available on Google Code was updated at the end of June. The samples can also be viewed on the Feature Matrix.

• The topic of the "eBook Ninjas" podcast (Episode 108) is eBook accessibility. Iris Febres who spoke at NewPub CPH, participated in the podcast which covered devices a11y (at about 00:49:50); Ms. Febres feedback from NewPub CPH is at approximately 01:00:52. Using Tobi (the DAISY Consortium's authoring tool for DAISY and EPUB 3 talking books) for "Read Aloud" book creation is discussed at approximately 01:09:43.

• Alberto Pettarin, software developer, co-founder and CTO of Smuuks discusses the partnership between Il Narratore audiolibri, and Smuuks, as well as book by book by Maurizio Falghera in the article Alberto Pettarin on Audio eBooks and Multimodal Reading in a recent issue of DAISY TechWatch.

WIPO Treaty: Reflections & Reactions

The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled which was adopted by the WIPO Diplomatic Conference in June is on the WIPO website in the five official UN languages in Word and PDF formats. The complete document was published July 31.

Since the end of June when the previous issue of the DAISY Planet was published I have been planning to write a follow-up article on the 'Marrakesh Treaty'. Earlier this month Francisco Martínez Calvo, the representative for ONCE on the DAISY Board of Directors provided me with a document he had written that would serve as the basis for the presentation on the Treaty that he would give at the IFLA World Library and Information Congress, 79th IFLA General Conference and Assembly (August 17-23 in Singapore). Francisco Martínez Calvo has been involved in the struggle for this Treaty since 2003 when he was invited as a representative of the DAISY Consortium to make a presentation to delegates of the WIPO SCCR on Technological advances benefitting visually impaired people. He has an understanding of the background and the outcome that very few people could have. No matter how hard I tried I could not possibly improve upon what he has written. Therefore, with his generous permission, I will provide excerpts of the highlights from that document. That will be followed with a list of additional resources and sources for further reading about the Treaty, the "Miracle in Marrakesh".

Excerpts from "The miracle of Marrakech: The WIPO Treaty for the Visually Impaired"

by Francisco Javier Martínez Calvo
Employment, Education and Culture
Organización Nacional de Ciegos Españoles (ONCE)
Madrid, Spain

Photograph of the opening slide of the presentation given by Francisco Javier Martínez Calvo at IFLA LPD in Singapore "In his opening speech, Mustapha Khalfi, president of the Marrakech Diplomatic Conference, said: 'We will have a treaty!' And then he said it again, and louder this time. Then, in his authority as Minister of Communications of the Kingdom of Morocco and with a half-smile on his face, he threatened to close the Marrakech airport and even the Moroccan air space until the treaty was adopted. We all wanted that treaty, but it could not be just any treaty – a trophy treaty, as it was referred to by some delegates. It needed to be a treaty that solved a problem. For WBU (World Blind Union), it was either that kind of treaty or no treaty at all.

The road to Marrakech was a long, winding, and tough one that took 4 years to travel and 26 more to pave. At first, asking WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) member states to work on a treaty on exceptions and limitations was seen as unnatural by most of them. They found it hard to understand why such a treaty was necessary, and they failed to understand that nothing in the proposed text would harm the international copyright regime…

Dan Pescod, Vice Chair of the 'Right to Read' Campaign and Campaigns Manager for the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), started one of his many useful briefing notes with a quotation from Mahatma Gandhi – 'First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.' When I read this, we were in the 'fight you' phase, and it was amazing to see how faithfully all the stages of a winning strategy of nonviolent activism were being reproduced in our own fight for the treaty. Thus, not only at that stage but even minutes before the treaty was adopted in Marrakech, none of us were sure of winning in the end. It was not until we could hear the sound of the gavel certifying the adoption of the treaty that we could breathe a little easier…

And a few minutes before 11 in the evening on the 25th, the deadline was met. The text was stripped down to its bare essentials, the four 'red lines' that neither side was willing to cross have been wiped out from the text, and – surprisingly enough – the spirit of the original treaty was still there. Everything that blind and visually impaired persons and those with other print disabilities had asked for in 2009 was there…

Chronology

Francisco Javier Martínez Calvo speaking at IFLA LPD in Singapore …in November 2004, at the SCCR/12 meeting, Chile requested that a new item would be added to the agenda under 'other issues for review'. Those issues were no other but 'exceptions and limitations to copyright and related rights for the purposes of education, libraries and disabled persons'. This new item – alien as it was to the nature of these meetings – has never left the SCCR agenda since…

Earlier in that year [2008], on July 24-25, the World Blind Union (WBU) and Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) had met in Washington to decide on the draft that some WIPO Member States would submit to the SCCR to put in black and white the needs of persons with a print disability. Judith Sullivan, Christopher Friend from the WBU, Jim Fruchterman from Benetech (Bookshare), George Kerscher from the DAISY Consortium, Winston Tabb from IFLA, and many others who have proved to be of capital importance in achieving the goal were there.

In October 2008, a first WBU Proposal for WIPO Treaty for Improved Access for Blind, Visually Impaired and other Reading Disabled Persons was finally drafted. On May 2009, at the 18th session of the SCCR, Brazil, Ecuador, and Paraguay put forward the treaty proposal…

DEFINITIONS

What types of books can we adapt and share? Any publicly available literary or artistic work in the form of text, notation, related illustration, and audiobooks.

To what extent can we adapt that book? To the extent necessary for a print disabled person to have access as feasibly and comfortably as a person without a print disability, while respecting the integrity of the work.

What is an 'authorized entity'?

Authorized entities also need to follow certain practices in order to guarantee the peace of mind of rights holders:

And who benefits from this treaty?

EXPORTATION AND IMPORTATION OF ACCESSIBLE FORMAT COPIES

Sitting at the head table, left to right: Koen Krikhaar, Francisco Javier Martínez Calvo, Hiroshi Kawamura (speaking) and Dipendra Manocha Article 5 was always considered to be the heart of the matter…Expanding the benefits of this exception to an international level was a very different matter.

Where and whom can authorized entities send their accessible format copies to? As long as they have been produced in a lawful manner (i.e., making use of the national exception), authorized entities can distribute and make available those copies to any other authorized entity or to a beneficiary person in another Contracting Party.

Authorized entities carrying out this service need to make sure that the person receiving the materials falls into the definition of beneficiary person. This can be done either through the authorized entity they belong to or, failing that, by asking the beneficiary person to produce some 'proof of disability'. Nothing that institutions serving persons with print disabilities have not being doing for decades…

CONCLUSION

Having an instrument like the Marrakech Treaty was nothing but a dream only four years ago. A dream that not many believed it would come true one day. It is an international, legally binding instrument, but it is just that – an instrument. It cannot be considered the solution to the 'book famine' either, but part of the solution. And now it is time to make this partial solution work."

Editor's Note

First I wish to thank Francisco Martínez Calvo for providing me with this document and for giving me permission to excerpt it in the DAISY Planet newsletter. There are 2 additional important points he has also noted:
• The treaty will be open for signature until June 28th, 2014, one year after its adoption.
• The treaty will only enter into force after it has been ratified by 20 countries.

The list of countries which signed the Marrakesh Treaty on June 28 in Marrakesh is available on the WIPO website. No additional countries have signed since the WIPO Diplomatic Conference. Countries are not expected to ratify the Treaty before September.

Resources & Further Reading

The report Study on copyright limitations and exceptions for the visually impaired by Judith Sullivan was presented at the SCCR in September 2006. Francisco describes this 233 page document as follows: "[it is] still the most exhaustive and comprehensive report available on the matter, and it not only provides an excellent overview of exceptions and limitations in existing international treaties, but also specific norms on the matter in more than fifty countries in all continents." This is an important document that helped to lay foundation for the long road to the Miracle in Marrakesh.

On August 29 Jim Fruchterman, founder of Benetech, was the presenter for the EASI webinar Getting a Treaty! (More Access to Publications) (both the audio recording of the webinar and Jim's blog about the Treaty are on this EASI webinar link). Jim Fruchterman has been involved from the original drafting committee effort to the command celebratory performance by Stevie Wonder at the close of the Diplomatic Conference.

Photo Credit

The photographs included in this article were taken by Serena Toh, IFLA HQ, and posted on Flickr – IFLA WLIC 2013 Session 134 – Search, find and read. They are copyrighted under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic which allows sharing and remixing of the photographs with attribution given.

Inclusive Publishing Tops Agenda for South African Publishers' Association

Is it be possible that the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled already has people in the publishing industry thinking about what impact it may have on their business? It would seem so.

Prashant Verma and Bhavi Mehta leading the training program for publishers in South Africa Following discussions between Ms. Shakila Maharaj, (Managing Director, DAISY South Africa), Dr. Nicol Faasen, (Chairman of Copyright Committee, Publishers' Association of South Africa – PASA) and Dipendra Manocha (Developing Countries Coordinator and Lead Training & Technical Support for the DAISY Consortium) arrangements were made for an "Introductory Training Program on Accessible Publishing" and a presentation at the AGM of PASA.

Prashant Ranjan Verma, Consultant Training & Technical Support for the DAISY Consortium delivered the presentation "Inclusive Publishing – The key to Digital Accessible Books" at the PASA AGM on August 15 and on the 16th and 17th led an "Introductory Training Program on Accessible Publishing" for PASA representatives.

Inclusive Publishing – The Key to Digital Accessible Books

Publishers, members of PASA, had been looking for ways to improve their production, increase sales and support the distribution of publications that are accessible to all readers, including persons with print disabilities, on a variety of platforms. The key messages delivered at the PASA AGM were:

The slides of the presentation given for PASA are available on DAISY Consortium Slideshare page.

Introductory Training Program on Accessible Publishing

Two participants at the training program for publishers in South Africa This two day training program for publishers was funded by a grant from the FP&M SETA. Between 10% and 15% of people in the developing world have some degree of print disability, and it is this group that stands to benefit greatly from 'born accessible' digital publications. Creating accessible material also makes good business sense for publishers as it will extend their markets to include this previously unserved group of readers and at the same time enhance their corporate social responsibility profile.

The 33 participants from the publishing industry included book production consultants, typesetters, administrators and designers. Some were freelance publishers and owners of small companies. Large international publishers such as Pearson, Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press and MacMillan also participated.

The Trainers

Bhavi Mehta assisting one of the participants at the training program for publishers in South Africa The training program was led by Mr. Verma who was assisted by Ms. Bhavi Mehta, a freelance book designer from India. Mr. Verma has more than 10 years' experience in accessible digital book production and training. Ms. Mehta is aware of the current workflows in the publishing industry and has a good understanding of accessibility requirements.

Topics Covered

Some of the subjects discussed during the two days were:

Shakila Maharaj, DAISY South Africa: Comments on the Program

"We are delighted to report to the international DAISY community that again in South Africa we have had the opportunity to conduct another ground breaking initiative – DAISY/EPUB 3 training for publishers in August 2013! …

33 participants underwent the training but equally important was the awareness raised and the shift in attitude of the publishers to commit to the production of accessible literature for the print disabled community…

DAISY SA wishes to express its gratitude to the international DAISY Consortium, DAISY India and specifically to the following persons who were instrumental in establishing another DAISY milestone, namely, Dipendra Manocha, Prashant Verma, Bhavi Mehta and Nicol Faasen…"

Credits

Thanks go to Prashant Verma Consultant – Technical Support and Software Testing with the DAISY Consortium for providing the draft reports on the PASA AGM presentation and training that were used as the basis for this article.

Afterword: DAISY Training Reports and Slide Sets

Many DAISY Consortium training reports are posted on the DAISY website. In addition, numerous DAISY Consortium presentation slides are available on the DAISY Slideshare page.

AAP EPUB 3 Implementation Project

Association of American Publishers Initiative Highlights Accessibility

"Through EPUB 3's innovative assistive features, people who are blind or have other print disabilities will have access to the same titles, at the same time, as all readers"

AAP publishers have embarked upon other activities in order to advance the adoption of EPUB 3, however this project is the "most extensive and potentially transformative to date". The initiative supports the establishment of EPUB 3 as the standard global distribution format for eBooks and its rapid implementation in the mainstream marketplace.

The AAP announcement acknowledges in the first paragraph that this project is being developed "with the support and engagement of leading advocates for people with disabilities." It also identifies "expanded accessibility for people who are blind or have other print disabilities" as being in "the core set of baseline features critical" to EPUB 3 acceptance.

At the time the article was published near the end of July AAP publishers were recruiting representation from all stakeholder groups to participate in the two central efforts of this project, the first of which was a working group meeting to identify baseline accessibility features for the EPUB 3 files and for metadata, and to plan the program for a workshop that will take place September 10 in New York City where participants will define and prioritize actionable projects.

Source: AAP EPUB 3 Implementation Project, July 24, 2013 by Ed McCoyd, Andi Sporkin (further information is available in this news release)

Letters to the Editor

Hi Lynn,

I concur with the National Federation of the Blind's commendations to the U.S. Department of Education for issuing a guidance letter to States and public agencies on June 19, 2013 stating that under IDEA, schools must provide braille instruction to all students who are blind, visually impaired and/or who have limited vision, if the approach is appropriate for them.

This will help ensure that they have the same access to the general education curriculum as their non-disabled peers. I'm happy for the students who will benefit from braille instruction and for their parents who will be able to watch them flourish in school!

Leslie Siegel,
Educator,
USA

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

Editor's Note: Leslie read about the braille guidelines and the NFB commendation in the DAISY news entry DOE Commended for New Guidelines on Braille Instruction posted on June 21.

Dear DAISY

I have read the text of the WIPO treaty, and I have a few questions about it. First, has Canada signed the treaty? Second, am I correct in believing that if I had an audiobook from the CNIB, or another recognized entity, such as BBC Audiobooks, Mary and Jack, who were beneficiaries from the US and the UK, respectively, needed access to that book, I could send them my copy of the audiobook legally thanks to this treaty?

Also, I don't understand what the significance of commercial availability of accessible books being removed from international copyright restrictions in this treaty means for the blind/visually impaired community. Can you explain it to me?

Thanks a lot, and this is truly a miracle for the blind and print disabled community!

Carrie Francis,
Canada

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

Dear Carrie,

Your questions are repeated below, with the answer following each question. (I have consulted with several people who are experts in this area to ensure that the responses are correct.)

1/ Has Canada signed the Treaty?
Canada did not sign the Treaty. With many countries the country delegate must return to his/her country of residence and discuss the issues covered in the Treaty with other government officials before the country can sign.

2/ Can you send a book from an authorized/recognized entity (such as CNIB) and legally send it to other people who qualify under the terms of the Treaty?
Only authorised entities are allowed to produce and distribute accessible formats across borders. As an individual you would not be able to share a book obtained from an authorised entity like CNIB and produced under the Treaty with friends in other countries. If you have bought a commercial accessible book, then you are subject to the conditions of that purchase. Many such digital purchases are not in fact purchases but rather licences to access the work which remains the property of the seller. Also some digital purchases will not allow you to transfer an eBook from your machine to someone else's reader.

3/ I don't understand what the significance of commercial availability of accessible books being removed from international copyright restrictions in this treaty means for the blind/visually impaired community. Can you explain it to me?
The issue of commercial availability was one of the more difficult issues to be resolved. My understanding is that if a commercially available book is in a format that is accessible, and that it is available at approximately the same time and similar price, that authorized entities may not produce and distribute an accessible copy. If a different format, for example a braille file, is required, and that is not available, then I believe an authorized entity may produce and distribute that required format. Also, if the content needs to be 'enhanced' for the book to be fully accessible, for example if there are images that must be described, then an authorized entity may be produced. The briefing note WBU prepared for issue to member state negotiators in Marrakesh will hopefully clarify things further for you on this point.

Bits & Pieces

• The Springer, a leading global scientific, technical and medical (STM) publisher, has signed an agreement to provide Bookshare access to copyrighted digital accessible books, with world rights to its titles. Additional information is available in the Springer press release

• The National Library of Jamaica (NLJ) now has an online portal of DAISY books and are also part of the TIGAR project.

• The data for the study Identification Of Gaps In The Area Of Availability Of Reading Material In Accessible Format For Persons With Print Disabilities In Selected Developing Countries was conducted in late 2012 by the DAISY Developing Countries Alliance in partnership with the World Blind Union. 76 languages and other vernacular languages in 24 countries in Asia, Africa and South America were covered. The slide presentation Challenges in Developing Countries which examines the study was presented by Dipendra Manocha (Developing Countries Coordinator for the DAISY Consortium) at IFLA World Library and Information Congress this month.

• The General Call for Papers for the 29th CSUN Conference (2014) will open on Monday, September 9, 2013 and will close on Friday, October 11, 2013. The Scientific/Research Track Call for Papers has been open since July 24 and will close on September 30. Details are provided on the 2014 CSUN Conference page. Dates and venue: March 17 - 22, 2014, Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel, San Diego, CA, USA.

TechShare India 2014 will take place February 13 – 14, 2014 in New Delhi, India. The Call for Papers is open until September 12. The focus areas for this conference are Education, Employability, Accessible Technology, Laws, and, Policies & Standards.

• The audio of the highlights of the 2013 NFB National Convention which took place July 4 - 6 is now available. The page will be updated on a regular basis with additional highlights. (Highlights from the 2008 to 2012 Conventions are also available.)

• Bookshare has added accessibility metadata to its online library of more than 200,000 titles. Details are available on the Accessibility Metadata Project website.

• In Eyes On Success Episodes 1332 Matthew Janusauskas, Technical Product Manager for Victor Reader Products at HumanWare, talks about the newest Victor Reader products – the portable Stream and the Stratus desktop version.

An Overview of New Features and Bug Fixes in Victor Reader Stream Version 4.1.6 from HumanWare by AFB (American Foundation for the Blind) is available in the July issue of AFB AccessWorld Magazine.

• The Obi Project main page on the DAISY website has been updated with a new 'look & feel' and clearly presented information. Obi is the DAISY Consortium's open source audio book production tool that creates digital talking books (DTBs) conforming to DAISY 3 (officially, the ANSI/NISO Z39.86) and DAISY 2.02 Standards. One of the new features is a world map showing Obi usage in Europe, Asia, Australia, America & Africa.

Fred's Head blog from the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) provides a compiled table of (and links to) YouTube videos that are intended to be a "resource for teachers, parents, students, and others who are blind or visually impaired or who work in the field of blindness". The information presented in the table is presented by topic, video title (which is the link to the video), name of presenter or creator and video runtime. The list is not comprehensive however additional videos will be added in the future.

atis4all collaborative portal on Assistive Technologies (AT) and inclusive solutions is the result of two European Thematic Networks involving 43 leading institutions from 16 European Countries. It offers reliable information on ICT ATs, inclusive solutions and R&D initiatives, and fosters online discussion, exchange of knowledge, expertise and sharing of information.

Pyxima which won the Trends Gazellen "Starter of the year 2012" has been nominated for the 2013 IWT Award in the category of companies with a positive impact on society. Pyxima is a Friend of the DAISY Consortium.

• Physics Central, a website of the American Physical Society, features the Podcast: Physics for the Blind. This podcast is an interview with John Gardner, a retired physicist and founder of the company ViewPlus.

• Two articles about information accessibility projects in Europe appear in EURONEWS ISSUE 22: "ICT for Information Accessibility in Learning" on page 3, and "Portugal: The DAISY Project and Web Accessibility" on page 12.

Twitter has launched a blog focused on improving Twitter accessibility: "As we're committed to accessibility going forward, we'll use the Engineering Blog to announce future improvements as they're available." From that blog: "Our goal was to provide a first-class user experience for consuming and interacting with timelines using the keyboard."

Tech Tips

Version 1.6 of DAISY Pipeline 2 was released in late July and is available for download. Alternative packages available are an installer for the "Desktop Web UI" distribution, the "CLI" distribution, the "Desktop Web UI" distribution, and the "Server Web UI" distribution (individual downloads for each package are in the download list). This release includes many bug fixes and improvements but does not introduce new scripts. Notable improvements include support for converting MathML in the DTBook to EPUB 3 and DAISY 3 to EPUB 3 conversion scripts. Full details are provided in the release notes.

• Version 2.1.1.0 of Tobi, the DAISY Consortium's DAISY and EPUB 3 multimedia production tool was released earlier this month and is available for download. This release includes a number of important fixes and improvements. The most recent release of DAISY Pipeline 2 (V 1.6) is now supported, simplifying the conversion process from DAISY XML to EPUB 3 text-only, as well as conversion of DAISY 3 full-text, full-audio books to EPUB 3 content with media overlays within Tobi. Text navigation is now more reliable, which will be beneficial for content creation processes including recording with human narration, as well as TTS generation. Full details of the changes in this release are available in the Change Log on the Tobi Project page. Feedback, queries & suggestions can be posted to the Tobi forum.
Thanks go to Association Valentin Haüy and Institut National des Jeunes Aveugles, France, for the Tobi French translations, and to all of the contributors to the development of this open source software.

• From How-To Geek:
° Debunking Battery Life Myths for Mobile Phones, Tablets, and Laptops;
° How to Increase Your Windows Laptop's Battery Life (includes numerous tips);
° Myths: Does Deleting the Cache Actually Speed Up Your PC?;
° How to Recover a Deleted File: The Ultimate Guide;
° Windows Reliability monitor tool (allows you to review your computers reliability and problem history);
° How to Send Large Files Over Email.