First and foremost this month I would like to thank two people: Bart Simons, an Accessibility Consultant, and Prashant Verma, a consultant on the DAISY team. Bart brought to my attention that there are usability issues for people who read the DAISY Planet with a screen reader, and Prashant who has shared the method he uses to read our newsletter with a screen reader in the article Reading the DAISY Planet with a Screen Reader. Bart's email is in this issue of the Planet, in the Letters to the Editor column.
From the initial planning stages for our newsletter we've kept accessibility at the forefront. In the more than 7 years that I've been writing & publishing the DAISY Planet I've never before received this feedback. The issue here however seems to be that for some people, although it is accessible, it may not be as usable as it might be. Bart suggested that people who have been reading the Planet for a long time have become accustomed to the layout – that may very well be the case. Please help us to ensure that the DAISY Planet is both easily navigable and usable by completing the brief survey we've developed: Reading the DAISY Planet Newsletter with a Screen Reader (Survey). Those of you who do not use a screen reader but have comments or thoughts about how the DAISY Planet might be more easily read are also welcome to complete the survey.
And now to the rest of this issue…I was rather torn as to the order for the articles in this issue. Instinctively I wanted to place the article From Marrakesh on the Road to Ratification first, probably because I have been reading and writing about the efforts to make the Treaty a reality for so many years. However out of concern that some of you may not be quite as all-consumed with this as I am, I decided to lead with an article about the Norwegian Library of Talking Books and Braille: NLB Brings New Online Services & Talking Book App to Norway. Two of the other articles, ONCE: Winner of the 2013 Prince of Asturias for Concord Award and YPSA Receives Service Innovation Fund also call for congratulations, the prestigious Prince of Asturias for Concord Award in particular.
The final feature article is brief and included for those of you who are librarians or are involved with trends in library usage and services globally: IFLA Trend Report: 5 High Level Trends Identified.
In this column last month I mentioned that I would be publishing Ms. Ludy Lee's story in a future issue of the DAISY Planet. I am truly sorry that Ludy is no longer working in our community, but I am thankful for her commitment to DAISY over the past seven years and grateful that she has taken the time to write her story and to share it with us this month. Thank you Ludy, and best wishes to you in your future endeavours.
Thanks to Per Sennels of NLB for providing the information about the new Online Services and Talking Book App in Norway, and to everyone else 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).
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.
• OverDrive which was founding member of the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) has signed an E-Publications Import License Agreement with the China National Publications Import & Export Corporation (CNPIEC) that will bring library eBook lending into China. Worldwide, OverDrive is the leading full-service digital distributor of eBooks, audiobooks, music and video. More details are available in the September 15 Good E-Reader blog.
• The MobileRead Forum thread Editor for EPUB w/SMIL on Windows? discusses options for authoring EPUB 3 content with Media Overlays. Tobi, the DAISY Consortium's DAISY 3/EPUB 3 authoring tool named specifically, in one comment: "Essentially the best tool out there is Tobi, and you need to integrate it into your workflow to get the most of it." The final post in the thread is from Daniel Weck, Software Architect and Programmer with the DAISY Consortium.
This month the Norwegian Library of Talking Books and Braille (NLB) introduced a new online service based on the DAISY Online Delivery Protocol (DODP). At the same time a new app called Lydhør, was made available for iOS and Android devices.
Lydhør turns mobile devices and tablets into a DAISY-compatible talking book player, supporting DAISY 2.02, DAISY 3 and EPUB 3 with media overlays. (Note that support for EPUB3 with media overlays has not been extensively tested.) In addition, registered NLB borrowers can use Lydhør to search for books in the NLB catalogue, borrow a book, and return it when they have finished reading it. This new app offers additional features including another channel for users to maintain their bookshelf, self-service via the NLB website, and personal service from NLB's library staff.
This DODP system (the 'back end'), which NLB has designed as an integral part of its existing distribution service, will also support DAISY Online Delivery compatible hardware players, which are beginning to show up in the Norwegian market. NLB is about to launch a project that will allow them to determine how complicated these players are for different types of users, what kind of technical infrastructure will they need to use such players, and what level of support will be required for a successful transition from CD-based playback of talking books to DOD-based playback of talking books.
The back end has been designed so that it is possible for other content providers in Norway to utilize this new channel in order to distribute their material to people with a reading disability in Norway.
The development work, associated with both the new app and the DOD back end, started late 2011, and it is with great pleasure that NLB introduces this new service to its patrons. During the development of the DOD service, NLB cooperated with others in the DAISY membership. Dedicon (a Full Member of the Consortium) located in the Netherlands has done the work on the NLB distribution system to incorporate DOD services. Two Belgian companies Pyxima (a Friend of the DAISY Consortium) and Sensotec developed the Lydhør app. During the planning and development process NLB discussed DOD services with the other Nordic libraries, especially MTM in Sweden (a member of the Swedish DAISY Consortium) and Celia in Finland (a member of the Finnish DAISY Consortium), to learn from their experience with this service.
Questions about this service may be directed to Arne Kyrkjebø Arne Kyrkjebø, Head of the NLB Production Department and Treasurer of the DAISY Board of Directors, at arne[at]nlb[dot]no, or to Per Sennels, Technical Project Manager, at per[dot]sennels[at]nlb[dot]no.
NBL is a member of the Norwegian DAISY Consortium.
Congratulations to the NLB team for bringing this multi-featured new service and app to their borrowers.
We have walked along the road to Marrakesh together, and now it is time to ensure that the treaty enters into force. This will not happen until it has been ratified by a minimum of 20 WIPO members. At the WIPO Diplomatic Conference in Marrakesh (after which the treaty has been named) 51 WIPO Member states signed the treaty. That is the largest number of countries to sign a WIPO-administered treaty at the time of adoption. However, signing the treaty illustrates a country's intent, its support, nothing more. Countries must ratify the treaty in order to implement it into national law. (The treaty may be signed later, it needn't have been signed at the Diplomatic Conference. It is also possible for a country to ratify the treaty and bypass the signing stage.)
The annual WIPO General Assembly of member states is taking place in Geneva from September 23 to October 2. In the Statement to the WIPO General Assemblies 2013 presented September 26 by Christopher Friend, Deputy Chair of Right to Read Campaign, he thanked the WIPO Member States and the Secretariat "for giving us the Marrakech Treaty". Appreciation and thanks were also given to the "many friends and supporters in the NGO community and a host of others too numerous to name". Friend stressed the need for ratification and implementation:
"No agreement or law is of use unless it is implemented, and we will be tireless in our efforts to ensure that the Marrakech Treaty delivers the benefits it promises. To this end, WBU has already started campaigning around the world for the early ratification and implementation of this Treaty. It will not enter into force until 20 Member States have ratified it, and the more that ratify, the more effective it will be in helping print disabled people to read accessible books that have so far been closed to them. WBU urges all Member States' Diplomats and Technical Advisors attending this Assembly to encourage your Capitals to ensure a speedy and effective ratification strategy in your countries.
Again, we offer our warm thanks to all of you for helping to open a new chapter in the inclusion of visually impaired and print disabled people, and we look forward to working with you to realise the life-changing opportunities the Marrakech Treaty promises."
"It is a truism that the conclusion of an international treaty by itself achieves little, since everything depends on national implementation. For this reason, we should not spend too much time looking back but instead we must look to the future.
For each stakeholder the steps required to achieve the treaty's purpose will be slightly different."
Mr. Bammel makes it very clear that what lies ahead is a "major and daunting task":
…to reach and help the vast majority of print disabled persons in developing countries who are currently outside of the reach of charities that can provide accessible format copies. While the direct distribution of accessible format works may help address this issue in part, significant guidance and capacity building will be needed to put the relevant treaty provisions into practice in such cases."
The article looks realistically at what the various stakeholders must now do, those stakeholders being: WIPO, the World Blind Union, organizations representing persons with print disabilities, and publishers.
The powerful statement made by Scott LaBarre, National Federation of the Blind (NFB) treaty negotiator, illustrates the potential of the outcome of the WIPO Diplomatic Conference this June:
"Ladies and gentlemen, we've changed the world with this treaty" (IP Watch, Negotiators, Stakeholders Tell Tale Of WIPO Marrakesh Treaty Negotiation, Look To Implementation, September 20).
How much the world will change, how many people who do not now have accessible information will have equal access remains in the hands of the countries who have an opportunity to change the world by ratifying and implementing the Marrakesh Treaty, the Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled.
There are eight categories in the Prince of Asturias Award which rewards scientific, technical, cultural, social and humanitarian work carried out at an international level by individuals, institutions or groups of individuals or institutions. The categories are: the Arts, Literature, Social Sciences, Communication and Humanities, Technical and Scientific Research, International Cooperation, Concord and Sports. ONCE, the Spanish National Organisation of the Blind has received the award in the Concord category which is bestowed on "the individual, institution, group of individuals or institutions whose work contributes outstandingly to the defence of human rights, to the promotion of peace, freedom, solidarity, the protection of heritage and, in general, to the progress of mankind" (Source: Prince of Asturias Foundation, Regulations).
The Prince of Asturias Award is a very prestigious prize regarded as the Spanish equivalent of the Nobel Prize. The Jury bestowed "the 2013 Prince of Asturias Award for Concord on the Spanish Organization for the Blind (ONCE) in view of its extraordinary work, carried out for over three quarters of a century, which has enhanced the dignity and quality of life of millions of disabled people in Spain, promoting their integration in society and thereby serving as an example for numerous international initiatives that have followed in the wake of this valuable endeavour. (Source: Prince of Asturias Foundation, Minutes of the Jury)
"…It constitutes the recognition of effort, pushing back the limits and human capability. It is possibly the Award to be shared the most by Spanish society, because it is that society which has managed to achieve the best and largest organization of blind people in the world for our country. We dedicate it to all those who approach us every day to share hopes and to so many organizations, both large and small, from the world of disability which do an outstanding job on a daily basis. It is a triumph for organised civil society…" (Source: Statement by ONCE chairman Miguel Carballeda, on the conferral of the 2013 Prince of Asturias Award for Concord)
Winners of this award receive a Joan Miró sculpture which represents and symbolizes the Award, a cash prize of €50,000, a diploma and an insignia. This is the first time that this award has been bestowed upon an organization for the blind.
ONCE was established in 1938, just prior to the end of the Spanish Civil War. It was one of the founding Members of the DAISY Consortium in 1996, is involved in the promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities worldwide, and in the effective and full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). In addition, ONCE has been involved in the development of and negotiations leading to the agreement on and signing of the WIPO Marrakesh Treaty. A comprehensive biography of ONCE is available on the Prince of Asturias Award website.
A video of the announcement of the award being bestowed upon ONCE is available on the euronews website. Current and past Laureates (recipients), including The Heroes of Fukushima (2011) and UNICEF (2006) are listed and described on the Prince of Asturias Foundation website.
Editor's Note: In response to an email I received from Bart Simons describing issues he has with the "usability" and navigability of the DAISY Planet newsletter, Prashant Verma kindly offered to write a description of how he reads the DAISY Planet with a screen reader. Bart uses a screen reader and his email is the Letter to the Editor in this issue of the DAISY Planet. Bart's email made me wonder if other people who use a screen reader have problems navigating through our newsletter. We have therefore developed a survey and hope you will provide your input. The survey Reading the DAISY Planet Newsletter with a Screen Reader is fully accessible and should take no more than a few minutes to complete.
Author: Prashant Verma, Consultant – Technical Support and Software Testing with the DAISY Consortium
I am a visually impaired person and I use screen reading software to work on the computer. My primary screen reader is JAWS although I also use NVDA and have some exposure to SuperNova and WINDOW EYES.
All screen readers now provide a set of keystrokes for basic navigation in web pages and an additional set of quick keys that help in increasing the speed of navigation and reading.
Depending upon how the website has been designed, a screen reader user can access the information in several different ways. It is possible to quickly check all the links on the page, or jump to different headings or simply read the page from start to end.
I have been reading the DAISY Planet, the monthly newsletter from DAISY Consortium for several years now. I now know that the DAISY Planet is structured very well and that it is totally accessible for screen reader and keyboard only users.
Every month I receive an email informing the release of the new issue of the Planet. I click the link in the email to open the DAISY Planet newsletter in the web browser.
After the page has loaded, I use the quick key for heading navigation, which is the letter "H" with both JAWS & NVDA to quickly skim through the content headings. Every time I press the letter "H" my screen reader jumps to the next heading, reads out the text and also informs me the level of the heading for example "WIPO Treaty: Reflections & Reactions, heading 2".
After reading all the headings I get an overview of all the content in the new issue of DAISY Planet and decide which of the articles I want to read. I continue using the heading navigation quick key to jump to those articles. If by chance I jump past the heading I want to read, I can backtrack easily by using the key combination "SHIFT + H".
When I have found the article I want to read, I use the screen reader "READ ALL" command. When I press "JAWS/NVDA key + DOWN ARROW" the screen reader reads aloud all the text in the selected section.
Sometimes when I want to read the article very carefully I use the paragraph reading keystroke "CONTROL + DOWN ARROW" instead of the READ ALL keystroke. When I come across a link that I want to open and read, I choose to open it in a new window so that I can return to the article I was reading. To do this I press "SHIFT + ENTER" to activate the links. The linked content opens in a new browser window. After reading it, I close it by pressing "ALT + F4" and focus returns to the DAISY Planet and precisely to the link I had activated. I then continue to read the article with text reading keystrokes.
I generally skip the Index section which contains links to the featured articles and different sections in the newsletter. Instead of using these same page links I choose to jump to those articles/sections using the heading quick navigation key which I've described above.
All the images in the DAISY Planet have a suitable alt text which my screen reader picks up. The DAISY Planet Editor's concern for accessibility is also evident from the fact that all the sections in the newsletter have been marked up with appropriate heading level tags.
I understand that other screen reader users may like to read the DAISY Planet in a different way. Whatever approach you prefer should work well because the newsletter web page is properly structured, has meaningful link text and adequate image descriptions. It also has skip links and an index at the top to help navigate directly to the main content or the desired article or section.
Editor's Note: Thank you Prashant for taking the time out of your busy schedule to write this so that it can be shared with others who read the DAISY Planet with a screen reader. As I mentioned in the preamble to this article, your input regarding the accessibility and "usability" of the DAISY Planet will help us to ensure that our newsletter is meeting the reading needs of everyone who reads it. Pleases take a few moments to complete the survey Reading the DAISY Planet Newsletter with a Screen Reader. Input and comments from those who do not use a screen reader are of course also welcome.
The project "Production of Multi-media Digital Talking Book" put forward by Young Power in Social Action (YPSA) in June has been awarded the Service Innovation Fund (SIF). The formal ceremony was held September 25 with the award given by the Honorable speaker of the national parliament, Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury. Mr. Vashkar Bhattacharjee, Program Manager for YPSA received the award on behalf of YPSA.
The Service Innovation Fund, in its first year, has been introduced by the Access to Information (A2I) Programme. The ceremony took place in the conference room of Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Five government institutions, one NGO and one private university received the SIF for their outstanding innovations.
Special guests included Dan W. Mozena, US Ambassador to Bangladesh, and Pauline Thamesis, Country Director of UNDP in Bangladesh. Representatives of various ministries and directorates, district offices, development partners, NGOs, Journalists, Donor Organization and the private sector attended the event.
Some of the objectives of the SIF are to create easier processes for accessing and availing public service and to promote innovation within public and private institution and individuals, in order to increase the quality of government services. The fund was developed jointly by UNDP, USAID and the Bangladesh Government. It is being managed by the A2I (Access to Information), a project of Prime Minister's Office in Bangladesh.
YPSA is a social development organisation which aims to promote sustainable development through a holistic approach. It is an Associate Member of the DAISY Consortium.
"The IFLA Trend Report … identifies five high level trends shaping the information society, spanning access to education, privacy, civic engagement and transformation. Its findings reflect a year's consultation with a range of experts and stakeholders from different disciplines to map broader societal changes occurring, or likely to occur in the information environment."
IFLA, The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions is "the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users. It is the global voice of the library and information profession." Although the IFLA Trent Report does not specifically address issues such as accessible publications that are directly of concern to many in our community, it does look at issues of interest to everyone who cares about information, libraries, technology, education and developments in our digital world.
The five clearly defined trends are:
The report is "a dynamic and evolving set of online resources for library and information professionals to contribute to". The introductory and main page of the IFLA Trend Report provides an overview, links to 'how to use the report', a discussion forum, summaries of the 5 trends, and more. One of the key links is to the Insights Document: Riding the Waves or Caught in the Tide? Insights from the IFLA Trend Report which is published under a Creative Commons license on the IFLA website. ("Insights from the IFLA Trend Report" is an accessible PDF file, however navigation within the file is by page and word search only.)
I am a screen reader user and an irregular DAISY Planet reader. I am an accessibility consultant but I am very confused about the order of text in the newsletter. A screen reader reads the page column by column. This does not correspond with the order in the table of contents which in the June issue sounds like: "Feature Articles (list of 5 items), then, Sections (list of 7 items)
A sighted person helped me to understand how the page is laid out:
° The first 5 links point to the central column
° The next five links point to the left hand column
° The last two links point to the right hand column
But the screen reader reads the rest of the page after the table of contents, beginning with the DAISY Marketplace, down to Tech Tips, followed by the Feature Articles, finishing with "From The Editor"and Bits & Pieces.
So there is a big difference between the reading order announced by the table of contents and the actual reading order that is forced by the screen reader because it reads column by column starting with the left hand column, then the central column and then the right hand column.
I am having trouble determining what is most important and to navigate around in the newsletter. I always miss certain information and can't remember the structure. This is rather a matter of usability than accessibility. Technically the newsletter is accessible since I get access to all information. But reading the newsletter in this linear way it is strange that the Letter from the Editor (which is in the top right corner) becomes the one but last article read out by a screen reader. So you have read almost everything and then you find out what is in this issue of the newsletter.
Editor's Note: Bart and I have exchanged several emails since his first note to me. The explanation he provided is very clear. Please read the article Reading the DAISY Planet with a Screen Reader and this month's Letter from the Editor for follow-up on Bart's letter.
Can you please suggest some DAISY iPhone reading apps that will also support braille displays? Thank you.
There is an information resource on the DAISY website called DAISYpedia. One article DAISY Books on Mobile Phones and Multimedia Devices addresses your question in part.
Apple's iPhone has very good support of braille displays. There are many refreshable braille displays that connect to iPhone via Bluetooth and 'read out' the text with Voiceover. In short, Apple's iPhone operating system is compatible with a braille display via wireless Bluetooth. Many if not all DAISY apps should support braille display. Of the DAISY apps listed in this DAISYpedia article, only the Read2Go app from Benetech states (on iTunes) that it can be used with Bluetooth for reading on a refreshable braille display. Please note that only DAISY books that have the full text of the content can be read with braille.
You may also find the Apple accessibility webpage helpful.
• Bookshare has made a commitment to increase service and expand the number of accessible books for people who are blind in India through Bookshare International, an initiative of the Benetech Global Literacy Program. A generous grant from the Lavelle Fund for the Blind is supporting this project. Additional information is provided on the Benetech Blog, How a New Grant to Bookshare International Will Create Lasting Impact in India, September 26. Benetech is a Full Member of the DAISY Consortium.
• The BARD Mobile app which provides access to braille and talking books directly from the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) has been released by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), Library of Congress. BARD Mobile allows users to play BARD audio materials on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Braille materials available on BARD can be read with a refreshable braille display if the device is connected to the display via Bluetooth. The service is available to residents of the United States and its territories, and American citizens living abroad who are blind, have low vision or a physical disability that makes reading regular print difficult. Additional information about the BARD mobile app and registration and reviews are provided on the iTunes Preview page.
• Association Valentin Haüy (AVH) has recently introduced audio books in DAISY format read by Acapela's synthetic voice to 'Éole', its digital library. With "Alice", the Acapela voice being used, AVH is able to offer the latest publications to its users very quickly, "just off the printing press". More information is available in the article Accessible Publishing: AVH, the French association for the visually impaired is making the new book season accessible to everyone. (AVH is a member of DAISY France; Acapela is a Friend of the DAISY Consortium.)
• Maryanne Diamond, Immediate Past President of the World Blind Union (WBU) has been elected as an Executive Officer in the International Disability Alliance (IDA), as the First Vice-Chair. (IDA press release.)
• The Adobe, a Friend of the DAISY Consortium, announced earlier this month that the company is joining the Readium Foundation with the intention to make a significant contribution to the development of the Readium SDK project, a full-featured EPUB 3 rendering engine optimized for native apps on tablets and other mobile devices. Additional information is available on the Readium website.
• The proposed outcome document for "Break Barriers – Open Doors", the UN High-level Meeting, "Global Development Goals Must Include Persons with Disabilities" was "The Way Forward: a disability inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond". Information, links to statements and the video of Stevie Wonder addressing the High-level meeting are available on the event coverage page and the meeting website.
• What's new in iOS 7 accessibility for individuals who are blind, deaf-blind, or who have low vision is a detailed review by Scott Davert posted on the NFB (National Federation of the Blind) blog.
• The Benetech website has had a dramatic makeover.
• 2.1.2-Alpha release of Tobi, the open source DAISY 3/EPUB 3 multimedia production tool from the DAISY Consortium, is now available. This alpha version has been released for serious users of the program in order that they may provide feedback to the development team. The Urakawa SDK (the common backend of both Tobi and Obi) has been refactored to enable merging and editing the structure of the project. This project split and merge feature is the 1st step toward providing a robust structure editing feature in Tobi. (This test release focuses only on dividing an entire Tobi project into several sub-projects.) Additional details are available in the announcement on the Tobi Forum. Please visit the Tobi Project merge feature page to download, try, and provide feedback on this new test release.
• The next test release of Obi, the open source DAISY 3/DAISY 2.02 audio ncx/ncc production tool from the DAISY Consortium, will be made available by mid-October. The major feature of this forthcoming release will be the rapid waveform zoom, and considerable performance improvements in audio editing. Please watch the Obi project area and/or the Obi forum for the release announcement and details.
• If you are using the Microsoft Word Add-in Save As DAISY ensure that that the file names of any images do not contain any illegal characters – for example "\", "&", and "(". Use only English characters and do not include any spaces in the file name.
• WAI has published Guidance on Applying WCAG 2.0 to Non-Web Information and Communications Technologies (WCAG2ICT) which is an informative W3C Working Group Note. It provides guidance on the interpretation and application of WCAG 2.0 to non-web documents and software. WCAG2ICT is the result of a collaborative effort to support harmonized accessibility solutions across a range of technologies. More information is available on the WCAG2ICT Overview page.
• The official catalog of Apache OpenOffice templates includes a wide range of templates for OpenOffice, including letters, resumes, calendars and brochures.
• Forget The Gimmicks: Here's the Best Way to Organize Your Gmail Inbox from How-to Geek.