The DAISY Consortium's Newsletter - April 2014

From The Editor

Before getting into anything else I'd like to remind DAISY Members and Supporters: if you have not yet completed the DAISY Consortium Production Process Survey please do so as soon as possible. The survey is designed to help us identify the present and future production processes and requirements of DAISY Members. It will take you approximately 10 minutes to complete the survey – we need your input.

There are six feature articles in this issue…something of interest for everyone I hope. The first article Vision Australia Online Delivery Project: A Sustainable Model is about the rather unique approach to providing online services that Vision Australia is taking. I'd like to thank Andrew Furlong, DAISY Board representative for VA, for writing this informative and interesting article. Two additional articles 8th European e-Accessibility Forum: User-driven e-Accessibility and Remove Barriers, Extend Learning were also submitted for this issue of our newsletter. Thanks go to Katie Durand and Varju Luceno respectively for sharing these with us.

The article All Children Reading Grant Competition is extremely time sensitive, with a submission deadline of May 2. There are considerable funds to be awarded through this grant competition – if you are not able to submit an application by the deadline, you may want to make note of this global initiative for 2015. All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development (ACR GCD) was launched in 2011. Applications for Round 2 can still be submitted through the ACR GCD website.

This first item in the Publishers' Corner column this month is about Mark Bide's presentation The Case for Adopting Accessibility using EPUB 3. Mark Bide is Executive Director, EDItEUR. I consider Bide's presentation to be essential reading for anyone involved in the publishing chain, however there is a great deal in it for everyone who cares about content accessibility. Please take a few minutes to read this presentation.

On April 19 Bookshare announced that they now have more than 300,000 members. What an amazing feat! Even more astounding is the fact that within the next couple of days the Bookshare collection will reach the quarter million (yes, 250,000) milestone. As of this afternoon, the total number is 246,174 – the figure is updated throughout the day on the Bookshare website. At the rate new titles are being added, the quarter million milestone will be reached before next week. Well done Bookshare!

Dipendra Manocha, Developing Countries Coordinator for the DAISY Consortium, has just this moment reported from Geneva that today in a wonderful ceremony, India has signed the Marrakesh Treaty. In addition, India also announced that it will ratify the Treaty. If this happens, India will become the first country to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty. Once one country has done so I am hopeful that many others will follow. Dipendra also reported that along with India, France, Greece and the EU have also signed the Treaty today, bringing the total number of countries which have signed to 64.

Those of you who live in an EU country may find the Intellectual Property Watch article EU Wrestles With Procedure For Signing Marrakesh Treaty For Visually Impaired of interest. Catherine Saez examines the issues around The European Union signature of the Marrakesh Treaty, the signing by the individual countries which make up the EU, and related Union law articles.

On a related topic, the Eighth Interim Report of the WIPO Stakeholders' Platform is on the agenda for the WIPO SCCR, 27th Session which is taking place now (April 28 to May 2). The primary subject of the report is the ninth meeting of the Stakeholders' Platform. The focus of that meeting was a proposed evolution of the Platform into the Accessible Books Consortium ("ABC") and licensing systems to facilitate the clearance method for cross-border transfers of works in accessible formats until such time as the Marrakesh Treaty comes into force. The report is the fourth in the list of meeting documents in the WIPO SCCR, 27th Session document set. ABC would comprise an alliance of WIPO, organizations that serve or represent the print disabled and rightsholders, including authors and publishers. Endorsement by the WIPO Member States is being sought. (This is important my friends, please take a few minutes to read this report.)

The article "Your Voice, Their World" in the December 2013 DAISY Planet is about a project in India with a goal of creating India's largest Accessible Digital Library for students who have a visual disability and to provide DAISY players at a subsidized cost. That project has been extended to create a large collection of poems in DAISY format. Celebrities such as actor Farhan Akhtar and others were invited to record the poems. Within 45 days 1,700 poems were recorded by people all over India. The target is to produce 5,000 poems within the next few months. NAB Delhi will be creating DAISY books with the poems for distribution around the country. Congratulations to OMRON India and NAB Delhi which launched the project. (Additional details are available in the article Omron looks to create world's first poetry library for visually impaired. The photo in that article shows Farhan Akhtar and our very own Prashant Verma.)

If you are looking for documented use cases or research papers which illustrate improved reading skills and/or comprehension in children as a result of the introduction and use of DAISY books, these resources may be helpful:
Use of DAISY Talking Books as Study Aids published in 2014 by the Celia (Finland)
Talking books and reading children published in 2013 by the Swedish Agency for Accessible Media (MtM)
Auxiliary aids and access to learning for children and young people with dyslexia/severe reading difficulties published in 2011 by the Nota (Danish National Library for Persons with Print Disabilities)
Appraising and Evaluating the Use of DAISY: For Print Disabled Students in Norwegian Primary and Secondary Education published in 2007 by DUO Digitale utgivelser ved UiO

If your organization or company has produced or knows of additional studies, surveys or reports that deal with the positive effect of DAISY books have on young people, seniors or others, please get in touch with me by email or by using the DAISY Contact Us Form (DAISY Planet Newsletter Category).

What Will Become of the Library? How it will evolve as the world goes digital by Michael Agresta, takes an interesting look at the history of libraries, changes and trends in libraries of today, and the future and potential demise of these institutions that have meant so much to so many. He writes about Andrew Carnegie who devoted a significant part of his fortune to building approximately 2,500 Carnegie libraries in the US from Maine to California. It is an extremely interesting article with a less than positive forecast for libraries, but as I read on (and on – it is a long article) it occurred to me that he has missed three critical points: 1/ It is access to the publications, not the building walls that matters; 2/ He misses the need for accessible publications completely, and how the era of digital publishing changes everything for people who are unable to read print; and 3/ It is lovely that so many people can now purchase e-books online, but what about those who cannot afford to buy books? Wasn't that one of the early purposes of libraries, to preserve the material and provide access to it for everyone, regardless of wealth or education? Our community is more than ready for the change from print to electronic publications, in fact, we have lead the way.

The story this month is from an extremely talented woman. Donna Hill is an author, song writer, singer and journalist. She is also an advocate for equality – equality for people who are blind or have low vision. Her first novel, 'The Heart of Applebutter Hill', is available worldwide to organizations and individuals who have a Bookshare international membership (it is of course also available to Bookshare members in the US). I'm sure you will find Part 1 of Donna's story as intriguing as I have and will look forward to reading Part 2 next month. It is a pleasure getting to know you Donna!

Thanks to everyone who has written to me with ideas, articles and suggestions for this issue of the DAISY Planet. Special thanks to Andrew, Katie and Varju for their articles this month.

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

• In his presentation The Case for Adopting Accessibility using EPUB 3 Mark Bide, Executive Director, EDItEUR, clearly explains the business case for publishers to improve the accessibility of their publications:
"[It is] A real opportunity if we can find a way of satisfying that market, a way that enables us to make our mainstream products, available through mainstream retail outlets, accessible to an even wider number of readers.
A challenge because we have to learn some new skills; but a real opportunity delivered through technological change, an opportunity to become … better publishers – because making our ebooks more accessible for people with print impairment has the potential to improve the reading experience of every one of our readers." (The full text of Bide's article is posted on EPUBZone. It is a 'must read' for everyone.)

• The International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) has launched EPUBZone, a community and news site which provides a central place for information and resources about EPUB, initially focusing on EPUB 3. Links to forums, events and resources are provided.

• DBW (Digital Book World) has very recently posted Ebook Publisher Power Rankings: Top 10 Publishers of Q1 2014. This is a list of publishers whose eBooks have appeared on the weekly DBW Ebook Best-Seller list.

• Alistair McNaught of Jisc TechDis has created the online resource London Bookfair 2014: Following up on Accessibility to support the Publisher Accessibility Action Group's presentations at the 2014 London Bookfair. It is brief, to the point and well laid out, and more importantly contains important details and links to additional external resources.

Digital Journal – Helicon Books Signs Agreement With Gitden Inc for Marketing Gitden eBook products: "Helicon Books and Gitden are working together to further promote the adoption of advanced technologies for eBooks, making digital books readable on any system and in any language."

London Book Fair 2014: Open Source for an Open Publishing Ecosystem: Readium.org Turns One: "Books, learning materials, and documents as a whole are simply too important to society to suffer one or two commercial companies controlling key content formats and having a chokehold on content distribution. Empowering smaller players as well as giants, via a collaboratively developed open format that's accessible and global, is key to assuring that many companies get involved in digital distribution. But open standards can only be successful if they are implementable. Thus, Readium.org's bigger job is to make that so." [Bill McCoy, Executive Director of IDPF and President of the Readium Foundation]

Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, will move its new eBooks to EPUB 3. This provider of information solutions has moved forward with the upgrade from EPUB 2 to EPUB 3 to ensure that readers continue to receive the enriched customer experience they require and have come to expect. Two of the features this upgrade will provide are support for MathML and improved accessibility features. Additional information is provided in the Elsevier press release.

• The program and speaker roster for IDPF Digital Book 2014 Conference at Book Expo America is now available. This professional digital conference will take place May 28-29 at the Javits Center in New York City.

Vision Australia Online Delivery Project

A Sustainable Model

By Andrew Furlong

Vision Australia logo Vision Australia's Information Service provides material in alternative formats to approximately 18,000 people with a print disability across Australia. Content is typically distributed on CD via traditional post. We send approximately 700,000 CDs each year. Interestingly, the majority of this CD usage is concentrated amongst 25% of users.

We have identified that provision of content through a sustainable online model, allows for growth and cost savings. There are also environmental benefits through the reduction in delivery and consumption of CDs. This positively impacts our overall carbon footprint.

Uptake of our existing i-access© online service had plateaued at approximately 14%. We identified that lack of confidence, ability, motivation and affordability all present barriers that limit further online uptake in our sector.

Internal view of the VA Online Player showing the 3G module that replaces the CD drive (a plate at the front prevents CD insertion) To address this, Vision Australia (VA) has developed an innovative solution that involves bundling 3G (wireless broadband) Internet technology into our existing PLEXTOR CD DAISY players. These players can be targeted at our users who are in the top 25% of CD consumers.

Through this initiative we will increase online membership and at the same time reduce the number of CDs produced and distributed as well as the related costs. This initiative extends the useful life and investment in our CD players. It also minimises deployment and rollout issues through the use of a familiar device that clients were already accustomed to using.

Converted DAISY Online Player showing the external 3G antenna Shinano Kenshi (PLEXTALK) has worked very closely with us to adapt the firmware for the PLEXTALK Linio (PTX) player enabling it to accept a 3G module that replaces the CD drive. The player works in exactly the same way except that this integrated solution connects directly to the i-access© online library via the DAISY Online Delivery Protocol. The user does not need a computer or Internet connection. This solution allows us to transition those people who lack the knowledge or means to adopt online technologies.

How It Works: From the Users' Perspective

Titles are placed on a user's online 'virtual' bookshelf automatically or through manual intervention. Using the left and right arrow keys on the player, a user can scan his or her bookshelf. In order to read a selected book the user simply presses the play/stop key to start streaming the title. The onboard synthetic voice reads any text based material. Pressing the eject key 'returns' the selected title. It is as simple as that.

Partnerships, Progress & Client Satisfaction

OPTUS logo Through a key strategic partnership with Optus, a major telecommunications provider in our region, we are able to provide affordable 3G or 4G Internet access as the Optus mobile network reaches 98.5% of the Australian population. Optus employees are also contributing to the project in a practical way by volunteering to assist with the player conversions.

Apart from the operational benefits to Vision Australia, there are new benefits for the user. This system provides immediacy and increased access to topical information such as newspapers. It also provides new opportunities such as timely delivery of newsletters and important alerts.

Volunteers converting players for DAISY Online delivery We have initiated a 12 month project to recall, convert and re-deploy 3,000 DAISY players. The project started in February 2014 and we have so far converted over 700 players and deployed approximately 90 players.

Client satisfaction is high with only two home visits required so far. Content can be delivered in a more timely fashion, to any location, and without the need to handle CDs or visit a post office. We are receiving calls from expectant clients asking to receive a player, illustrating the high level of acceptance for this new technology.

Vision Australia sourced the online hardware and manufactured the specific components that could not be purchased, and together with Optus and Shinano Kenshi (PLEXTALK), created a solution that works seamlessly. We would be interested in hearing from any organisation that is transitioning to an online service so that we can learn from your experience, and we are happy for other DAISY members to learn from our experience too.

Thanks go to Andrew Furlong of Vision Australia for submitting this article for publication in the DAISY Planet. Andrew is also the DAISY Board representative for Vision Australia which is a Full Member of the DAISY Consortium. If you would like to contact Andrew regarding your organization's transition to an online service, please find contact details for Vision Australia on their Contact Us page.

CELA: Bringing Equitable Library Services to Canadians with Print Disabilities

CELA Logo, coloured star Over the last 100 years there have been many changes in information access within Canada, and on April 1 a milestone was reached with the launch of CELA, the Centre for Equitable Library Access. The CELA launch follows many years of national studies, recommendations and advocacy efforts that accessible library service should be available for people with print disabilities through their local public library. With the establishment of CELA, a national non-profit organization, equitable library service for all Canadians who cannot read print publications because of a disability, became a reality.

What is CELA?

CELA has been "established by Canadian public libraries to support the provision of accessible collections for Canadians with print disabilities and to champion the fundamental right of Canadians with print disabilities to access media and reading materials in the format of their choice." It is supported by the Canadian Urban Libraries Council (CULC) and is a public library membership organization.

This new national non-profit "will acquire, produce, and distribute published works in alternative formats to Canadian public libraries and provide public libraries with advice, training, and information to support their patrons' access to and use of these collections."

Vision & Mission

CELA's Vision is equitable public library services for Canadians with print disabilities. Its Mission is "To support public libraries in the provision of accessible collections for Canadians with print disabilities and to champion the fundamental right of Canadians with print disabilities to access media and reading materials in the format of their choice".

CELA Services

The services include:

Free access to Bookshare for qualified Canadian library users has been made possible through a significant agreement between Bookshare and CELA. Collaborative efforts made by two DAISY Full Member organizations – Benetech (Bookshare's parent organization) and CNIB – facilitated this agreement. These two organizations, working together on a national level, have resulted in CELA being able to legally provide accessible books as part of a mainstream library service for Canadians with a print disability.

CNIB's Role in its Relationship with CELA

CNIB which is a "critical partner" in this national solution will:

A Bit of Canadian History

The history of accessible reading materials in Canada goes back to the early 1900's. In 1906 Edgar Bertram Freel Robinson founded the Canadian Free Library for the Blind, a library of hand-embossed braille books (initially his own personal collection), from his home in Markham, Ontario. The Canadian Free Library for the Blind was the third institution in Canada which offered a circulating library 'for the blind'. Robinson reported at the library's second annual meeting that the number of volumes loaned had surpassed all expectations, that within a few weeks after it had opened they were not able to meet the demand for braille books.

A great deal transpired between 1906 and April 1, 2014 in terms of accessible publications, with one of the most significant being the founding of the Canadian National Institute of the Blind (CNIB) in 1918. In 1919 the Canadian National Library for the Blind (originally the Canadian Free Library for the Blind) merged with the recently formed Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB). Braille and then audio books (long playing records, following by open reel tapes, cassettes, and DAISY books on CD and for download) were distributed by CNIB, a charity, directly to Canadians who were blind or partially sighted. Some services to people with a print disability not related to vision loss were provided through local libraries.

Margaret McGrory, VP, Executive Director, CNIB Library, and DAISY Board representative for the Canadian DAISY Consortium, was a member of the steering committee which was responsible for bringing the CELA service to operational readiness by April 1.

Sources

CELA website, CELA Infosheet (additional information about CELA is available at these links) and Journey to independence: blindness, the Canadian story by Euclid Herie.

8th European e-Accessibility Forum: User-driven e-Accessibility

By Katie Durand

BrailleNet logo On 31 March, the 8th European e-Accessibility Forum, organised by BrailleNet and Universcience, was held at the Cité des Sciences in Paris. This year's event focused on User-driven e-Accessibility and brought together a host of speakers who argued the case for involving the end-user in the initiation, development, delivery and evaluation of accessible products and services.

The event was opened by Claudie Haigneré, President of Universcience, and a panel of users representing France's principal disability organisations. These 'experts by experience', who all have first-hand familiarity with adaptive strategies and assistive technologies, shared both their frustrations and their hopes for an increasingly inclusive digital world.

The day was divided into six sessions. The first of these looked at the role of user groups in the legislative and normative framework in Europe. Maryvonne Lyazid, on behalf of the "Defenseur des Droits" for France, reminded delegates that users can – and must – use her organisation to voice their right to equal access. Rodolfo Cattani (EDF) and Chiara Giovannini (ANEC) presented the important role played by disability groups and consumer groups in broadening the scope and application of the proposed European e-Accessibility Directive and supporting standards such as EN 301 549 for public procurement in the ICT domain.

In the second session, Jacques Marzin, Interministerial Manager of French national systems of information and communication (DISIC), introduced the state action plan for the accessibility of online public services in France. This was of particular interest in light of a report published by BrailleNet last month (presented during the lunchtime workshops) which reveals that, despite unambiguous legal obligations, an alarming number of French public service websites fail to meet even the most basic accessibility requirements.

Christian Bastien speaking at the 8th European e-Accessibility Forum The afternoon sessions (intended to be more practical in scope) kicked off with an engaging presentation by Christian Bastien of the University of Metz. Ms. Bastien examined a wide range of user experience evaluation methods that are available to test online products and services. In the session that follow Giorgio Brajnik of the University of Udine and Andy Heath, member of W3C WAI Independent User Interface working group, made the case for two user-based models aimed at helping designers and developers to identify and, more importantly, overcome specific barriers which often compromise the overall accessibility and usability.

In the second last session, Stefan Johansson of Funka Nu and Ophélie Durand of AGE Platform Europe demonstrated that user groups that are too often excluded from the e-Accessibility debate have a great deal to contribute to the development of accessible products and services. By holding public and private organisations accountable, these user groups not only improve the overall accessibility of their digital environment, but also prove instrumental in promoting political and social change.

The final session went one step further in restoring end-users to their rightful role as enablers in our increasingly digitally connected world. Mike May of Sendero Group shared examples of how users can contribute to developing, rating, collaborating on and distributing Internet content tailored to their interests and to their disability. Damien Birambeau concluded the day by presenting his collaborative platform, Jaccede.com, and his projects for sharing user generated content around access on mainstream websites.

All papers made a solid case for renewing the human side of e-Accessibility. The overall message was clear: by working together, providers and disabled users will give a louder, collective voice to e-Accessibility. In his closing address, Dominique Burger, President of BrailleNet, invited all delegates to become e-Accessibility ambassadors and take this message beyond the Forum.

BrailleNet is a member of DAISY France which is a Full Member of the DAISY Consortium.

Thanks go to Katie Durand with the e-Accessibility Forum for submitting this article for publication in the DAISY Planet newsletter.

New Tobi Release: Embedding Full-text and Audio Image Descriptions in EPUB 3 Publications

Tobi logo The primary feature of the recent release of Tobi, the DAISY Consortium open source, freely available authoring software, is support for embedding full-text and audio image descriptions in EPUB 3 publications. This feature, in Version 2.3.0.0, is based on the DIAGRAM Center guidelines and has been available as an image description export in DAISY 3 since April 2012.

The Tobi image description editor is common for both DAISY 3 books and EPUB 3 books, ensuring that no additional learning curve has been introduced. The only difference between the two is in the export dialog with two new checkboxes introduced for EPUB 3 project export.

Tobi EPUB 3 dialog box Tobi 2.3.0.0 serves the interests of accessible content producers receiving publishers' EPUB 3 files that require further enhancement to be fully accessible. It would also be suitable for mainstream publishers looking to advance the accessibility features of their publications. This feature is an important step in the direction of embedding advanced accessibility features in publications that have basic built-in accessibility.

In addition, this Tobi release includes a basic framework for integrating external audio processing libraries, a new convenient command for generating synthetic speech for an entire project, improved EPUB-Check validation messages, and numerous bug fixes. Complete details are available in the Tobi Change Log.

Tobi is also now available in Spanish. The Tobi development team would like to thank Juan Islas Carbajal who is with Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) for the Spanish translations. In addition, the team extends thanks to everyone involved in the development and testing processes. Comments, input and issues with Tobi can be reported on the Tobi Forum.

All Children Reading Grant Competition (Time Sensitive)

Deadline May 2

All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development (ACR GCD) is a global competition that uses science and technology to create and apply scalable solutions to improve literacy skills in developing countries. ACR GCD solicits creative, cost-effective innovations from the global science, technology, education and broader development communities to improve reading for children in early grades.

ACR GCD is seeking technology-based innovations that support improvements in basic reading skills with a focus on mother tongue instruction and reading materials, family and community engagement, and children with disabilities. The grant competition will award a minimum of US $2,700,000. In addition to the grant competition, the "Enabling Writers" prize ($100,000 for first prize) will be awarded to the organization or individual who develops a software solution to help writers create reading materials in local languages for children in developing countries.

The partners are USAID, World Vision, and the Australian Government; a new partnership with the Beyond Access Initiative brings up to $450,000 in additional resources in support of ACR GCD grant awards (April 10 PR Newswire).

Remove Barriers, Extend Learning

XLi 2014

Sponsored by the Montana University System, Extended Learning Institute (XLi) serves as Montana's premiere professional development conference dedicated to online education. In 2014 it was held at Montana Tech in Butte. Anyone interested in online education, including faculty, administrators, librarians, and technology personnel was invited to attend.

Aaron Page and George Kerscher speaking at XLi The XLi 2014 conference focused on creating and delivering engaging learning experiences for all students. It was opened by two keynote speakers, George Kerscher (Secretary General, DAISY Consortium) and Aaron Page (University of Montana) who both shared and demonstrated different ways how technology enables them daily to keep learning and overcome communication barriers. Aaron provides ongoing usability testing and advice related to UM's learning management system.

The conference explored institutional support structures and best practices in integrating services so that online students have equal opportunities to experience success and graduate. Discussions covered learning platforms and methods, podcasts, social media in education, literacy tools, peer editing, as well as virtual academic and family support services. In addition, George Kerscher provided an update on the latest developments of the EPUB 3 standard.

With his enthusiastic keynote, "Adapting to the Great Convergence", Rick Hughes, Director of Academic Affairs for UM Online encouraged educators and parents to "raise confident content creators, not comfortable consumers".

Marlene Zentz, Instructional Designer & Accessibility Specialist, University of Montana, said: "This year, Montana's state-wide e-learning conference (Extended Learning Institute 2014) had accessibility as its central theme for the first time. It was exciting to hear discussions the keynote and concurrent sessions generated, and we were fortunate to have DAISY Consortium representatives, George Kerscher and Varju Luceno, presenting and engaging in conversation during the entire two-day conference. With this successful kick-off, we hope to have accessibility as an ongoing conference strand in the future."

Thanks go to Varju Luceno for submitting this article for publication in the DAISY Planet newsletter. The slides for the presentations given by Varju at XLi – Power of Social Media: Connecting Students of All Ages and Abilities, and Choosing a Mainstream Reading System: Why Does Accessibility Matter? – are on DAISY Slideshare.

Dear DAISY

Could someone explain to me how can I get more reading voices for AMIS? At the moment the only one I have is Microsoft Anna. Can you buy them from somewhere? I also would like to know where to get a reader voice in Finnish, since I'm from Finland. also can you tell me is AMIS A SAPI 5-compatible program? Any advice is appreciated!

Urpo
Finland

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

Dear Urpo,

AMIS can use any TTS installed on the system to read the DAISY books. First, you will need to install text to speech packages on your computer. Then you can select your favourite voice in AMIS > PREFERENCES.

Have a look at Bitlips, perhaps it has the voices you need. Acapela also has a Finnish voice. You can listen to the voice samples on these websites and then purchase the one you like.

Yes, AMIS uses SAPI 5.1.

This inquiry was posted to the AMIS Forum. The responses were provided by Prashant Verma (DAISY Technical Support Team) and Marisa DeMeglio (DAISY Software and Standards Development).

Bits & Pieces

Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) is May 15 this year. Details about participation are provided on the GAAD website.

• In the YouTube video 2014 Technology & Persons w/ Disabilities Conference: Blaze EZ Michael Jones from HIMS is interviewed at the CSUN 29th Conference about their new Blaze EZ DAISY Multi-Player with OCR which reads DAISY books, plays music and scans (OCR) printed text. The scanned material can then 'read aloud' on the 'cell-phone-sized' reader with synthetic speech or saved for later reading. Blaze EZ is expected to be available June this year. Blaze EZ has built-in Wi-Fi and high quality audio recording functions. Details about Blaze EZ are available on the HIMS website. HIMS, a Friend of the DAISY Consortium, is celebrating its 15th Anniversary this year.

Benetech is one of three U.S. nonprofit organizations to win Microsoft's Solutions for Good award. The award funds the development of MathML Cloud, a cloud-based app that automatically creates accurate images and image descriptions of mathematical expressions, while retaining the detailed math markup for reference. This service will provide access to math for students who have visual disabilities or learning differences, enabling them to study math concepts necessary for successful Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. Details are provided in the Benetech press release.

Assistive Technology 101 is a free full-day training opportunity for people interested in learning the basics of Assistive Technology. It will take place Thursday May 15 from 9:00am-3:00pm. The training will also streamed for those who are unable to attend in person at Easter Seals Crossroads in Indianapolis, USA.

Previous Bookshare webinars are made available online. They are divided into five categories ranging from "General Interest" to "Assistive Technology Training Series". A variety of format options is provided including webinar recording, written transcript (Word file), audio and video (not all options are available for all webinars).

• The findings of the UNESCO report Reading in the Mobile Era draw on the analysis of more than 4,000 surveys collected in 7 developing countries and corresponding qualitative interviews. Mark West, one of the authors of the report, outlines some of the key points in the YouTube interview – Reading in the Mobile Era. He notes that more of the world's population has a mobile device than a working toilet and states that "the possibility to reach people [with mobile technology] is unprecedented." The report paints the most detailed picture to date of who reads books and stories on mobile devices and why.

• The April 23 Eyes On Success interview was Services from the National Federation of the Blind (show number 1417). Hosts Nancy and Peter Torpey speak with Chris Danielson of the NFB about the organization's many services, including training, education, publications, product evaluations and technology development partnerships. The show notes and podcast are archived and available online along with numerous links to NFB services and programs.

• On March 26, Learning Ally teamed with Education Week to present a public webinar for teachers, "Wanted: Teachers with Knowledge of Language and Dyslexia", featuring Dr. Louisa Moats. More than 3,000 people registered and 1,300 logged in to the live session. During the webinar which is still available online, Dr. Moats speaks for approximately 40 minutes. This webinar is available to people in the US and Canada; to access the webinar, complete the form on the Education Week website.

• The ATIA 2015 Orlando Conference Call for Presentations is open from April 21 through June 20, 2014.

• In the Blind Podcaster audio podcast TECH BITS: Are book players relevant? The Book Port Plus, Aaron Linson reviews and demonstrates the Book Port Plus. He begins with answering the question – 'are book players relevant when there are many mainstream options available now'. His answer is 'yes', and he explains why.

• In the NFB blog post Odds and Ends – Bite-Sized Bits of Access Technology Goodness Amy Mason shares technology updates about projects that are fun, or useful, or both.

• The resource "3D Printing and 3D Creation for Tactile Graphics Resources" is available on the NFB Blog: CSUN presentation: 3D printing along with a link to the PowerPoint presentation. This was one of five presentations given at CSUN by the National Federation of the Blind.

• NFB will host their Train-the-Trainer event on October 15-17. Hands-on instruction on new technology developments as well as less familiar subjects in accessibility will be provided. Information about registration and other details is available online. Space is limited for this event.

• The APH "Happenings Around the House" podcast, Math Tools, looks at the history of how people who were blind learned math, and the tools that were used. (This podcast is about 37 minutes long but is very interesting.)

• The call for proposals for the 2014 CNIB National Braille Conference is now open. The conference will be held October 30 - 31 in Toronto, Canada. Due date for proposal submission is April 30. Complete details including Conference Themes and the "Call for Papers form" are on the Conference website.

Tech Tips

Obi 3.5 alpha test release was made available for download on April 11. This release which is intended for power users and testers has new configuration options for different requirements and enhancements identified by the DAISY Consortium membership. These include an enhanced transport bar, audio profiles for one-step configuration of audio preferences, more flexible playback, new advanced recording options, and much more. There are also major bugs fixed and behaviour changes. Complete details and the download link for Obi 3.5 alpha are provided on the Obi 3.5 alpha test release page. Questions, issues and problems can be posted on the Obi Forum. The Obi-Tobi development team thanks the contributors and supporters for their ongoing support.

• The Featured Tool in issue 2014-04a of DAISY TechWatch is the Nordic EPUB 3 / DTBook Migrator. The main goal of the project is to provide an EPUB 3 to DTBook conversion tool for libraries in the Nordic countries, supporting them in the provision of accessible reading materials to their patrons. More details are provided in the article, including the list of DAISY Pipeline 2 scripts to be developed.

• The Article MathML: Advances and Challenges which includes information about the "Mathematics in ebooks" project also appears in the same issue of DAISY TechWatch. Contact information and details about this project which was established by Frédéric Wang are included. Individuals, companies or organizations interested in contributing to this project and willing to support MathML developments are needed. (Please read the DAISY TechWatch article for details.)

MathML Accessibility is a video presentation by Jonathan Wei looking at the background of MathML, MathML accessibility, existing technology implementations for making it accessible and changes that will happen to Gecko to make math accessible. In his last slide he introduces the proposed implementation MozillaWiki page Accessibility/MathML. Jonathan is an Accessibility Team intern.

The Elements of HTML is a table of HTML and XHTML elements, past and present (Editor: Steve Faulkner). All of the elements from HTML 2.0 to 5.1 are included and presented alphabetically (with links to each alphabetic group at the top). There are also links from many of the elements to the W3C Editor's Draft for HTML 5.1.

Recuva is a free, downloadable file-recovery program from Piriform. (Editor's Note: I'm not certain if this software is accessible.)

• From How-To Geek this month:
° Why do English Characters need Fewer Bytes to Represent Them versus Characters in Other Alphabets?
° Should You Change Your Passwords Regularly?: "Rather than tell people to regularly change their passwords, we should be passing on useful advice like "use unique passwords everywhere" – something most people already don't do."
° Dual Booting Explained and How to Install Windows on a Mac With Boot Camp: Boot Camp installs Windows in a dual-boot configuration.
° 5 Ways to Run Windows Software on a Mac
° How to Scan and Repair an Infected Computer From Outside Windows
° USING WINDOWS ADMIN TOOLS LIKE A PRO: Lesson 1, Understanding Windows Administration Tools (there will be 10 lessons in the set)