This issue of the DAISY Planet is not brief by any means, but before getting into articles I'd like to remind you about the recruitment for the new position with the DAISY Consortium. If you or any of your friends and associates think you are the right person for this challenging position, please consider applying. Information about the position, requirements and application process is provided in the article Please Help Us Find a DAISY CEO in the June issue.
And now to this issue – the first two articles are about successes, collaboration and moving forward. Accessible Publishing in Latin America: Columbia & Brazil is about Stephen King's meetings with INCI (Instituto Nacional Para Ciegos) in Colombia and Dorina Nowill Foundation in Brazil, and closes with a brief look at CBL Digital Book Congress and his presentation. My first encounter with INCI representatives was more than twelve years ago – I wish them and the Dorina Nowill team every success as they work to improve and expand their services. AVH Partners with Bookshare is about the most recent international Bookshare partnership. This collaboration will bring more than 175,000 accessible books to AVH patrons in France.
The third article eBooks for Everyone: Creating Inclusive Libraries is a report on the IFLA LPD Conference in Paris, written by Varju Luceno, Director of Communications for the DAISY Consortium. She has done a wonderful job sharing some of the highlights from this conference (I do wish I'd been there too!). This article leads straight into the following two articles which are highlights from two papers given at the IFLA WLIC 2014 in Lyon, France prior to the conference in Paris. The final feature article is the abstract of the paper Varju presented at IFLA LPD. I'm sure you will find all four of these interesting and informative.
The Lyon Declaration on Access to Information and Development which was launched at the World Library and Information Congress in Lyon, France was signed by more than 125 organisations. The declaration aims to positively influence the United Nations post-2015 development agenda. Please take a few minutes to read the Lyon Declaration media release.
Dr. Marc Maurer is the longest serving President of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), beginning his term president in 1986. In early July, Mark Riccobono, newly elected President, began his term. The YouTube video Reflecting the Flame: Passing the Torch was shown at the 2014 National Federation of the Blind National Convention is a celebration of the achievements realized during Dr. Maurer's presidency. I have had the pleasure of meeting both Marc Maurer and Mark Riccobono – I wish them both all the best as their lives begin a new phase.
In late July the IBM press release "IBM Names Chief Accessibility Officer" was picked up by more than a dozen online news and accessibility websites. "We see a great opportunity to design for accessibility fundamentally from the start and to enhance the abilities of individuals through technology – and we intend to lead. (Ginni Rometty, IBM Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer)" Frances West who has been appointed the company's first Chief Accessibility Officer stated "We believe that technology can bridge individual differences, enable a diverse pool of talent in the workplace and improve lives." [Source: IBM press release "IBM Names Chief Accessibility Officer"].
Other large companies such as Microsoft and AT&T have a Chief Accessibility Officer in place. In December 2013 the press release Gartner Says Companies Should Deploy Technologies to Address IT Accessibility was issued by Garnter Inc. The subheading is "Assistive Technology Can Be of Benefit to All, Not Just People With Disabilities". It defines and discusses Assistive Technology, identifies three basic approaches to the 'disability' market, and states that companies should "designate a leadership position, such as a chief accessibility officer, to take the lead in educating the organization and customers on assistive technology." The size of the market both in terms of number of people and estimated 'dollar value' is clearly examined. I have read similar documents but I don't think I've encountered one that so clearly explains the numbers and the benefits of assistive technologies and products for the 'masses'. I think this one is definitely worth sharing.
After writing the article Accessible Books Consortium: ABC Benefits for All for the May DAISY Planet I was most pleased to see the WIPO July 1st press release Accessible Books Consortium Launched, Joins Effort to End 'Book Famine' for People with Print Disabilities. ABC was launched at an event held during the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights. WIPO's Communications Division has prepared a 5 minute news video about the launch (hosted on YouTube). The video is extremely informative and quite moving – it is definitely at the top of my list of videos to watch.
Jim Fruchterman's Blog post The Road to Accessibility without Borders: Celebrating the One-Year Anniversary of the Marrakesh Treaty (Beneblog, July 15) gives us both a brief look at what has happened and a clearer vision of what still needs to be done in terms of access to information for everyone, everywhere who has a print disability. Jim has included a quote from Justin Hughes, chief negotiator for the United States for the Marrakesh Treaty, and I feel that these sentences are more than worth sharing with you: "…success is when the blind person in Durban has access to all the books that the blind person in Denver has access to […] The miracle comes when I know that the 300 million people around the world with significant visual impairments are getting more access to books." Although he specifically refers to "visual impairments" the sentiment is clear. At the end of June India was the first to ratify the Treaty, will your country be next?
I found the article Why Game Accessibility Matters (Making Games Accessible to Those With, and Without, Disabilities) extremely interesting even though I do not play games such as those described. What really surprised me is what seems to be such a positive response from some developers to the need for accessibility in the games they create. There do not appear to have been any legal battles or long, drawn out debates involved, just people with disabilities letting their needs be known. The chap introduced at the beginning of the article has "closed-angle glaucoma" – he lost his sight completely. At least one developer has introduced features that accommodate people who are blind, those with colour blindness, dyslexia and hearing loss. The piece closes with a quote from that developer: "It takes very little time, and if more people can potentially enjoy your game, there's really no reason not to do it." The same can be said for published material, if more people can read a publication, there is no reason to not introduce accessibility, and even less reason to block it.
If you are in the mood for something a little inspiring, read the Bookshare Blog Third Grader Reads Fast with His Fingers and Inspires Teaching Assistant to Learn Braille. Brennan Draves is "an awesome and intelligent little guy and a sponge for information." It seems he inspires everyone who meets him, and, it seems to me that this young lad has a very bright future ahead of him.
Some of you may have noticed that the DAISY Planet newsletter header has been changed. I'd like to thank both Varju Luceno, our Director of Communications, and Brad Knowlton who works with her to manage our website for their efforts to give the top of the DAISY Planet a fresh look. In particular I'd like to thank them for their patience with me as I went through the process with them.
If you or the organization or company you work with have content archived on CD, the article How Long Do CDs Last? It Depends, But Definitely Not Forever is a 'must read'.
I worked with Koen Krikhaar on Part 1 of Koen's story for the June DAISY Planet and we had planned to publish Part 2 this month. However, the demands put on his time in his role as Chair of the IFLA/LPD Section, the recent conference in Paris and his position with Dedicon have made it necessary to move Part 2 to the October DAISY Planet.
Christine Ha's story was published with the August, 2012 DAISY Planet. She has been busy since August two years ago and she has had many achievements, including winning the MasterChef competition and publishing a New York Times Best Seller. Those of you who read and enjoyed Christine's story will almost certainly enjoy reading Christine Ha: Two Years Later.
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).
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.
• Digital Reading: DBA Judge Tallent on EPUB3, Higher Quality, Amazing Reading Experiences is an interview with Joshua Tallent, Digital Book Awards Judge and Chief Ebook Architect at eBook Architects: "I'm very excited about seeing more ebooks using EPUB 3 semantics and accessibility. Publishers are starting to see the value that comes with high-quality EPUB files, and there is a movement toward not just adopting the EPUB 3 format, but also creating files that have these important core features built in from the beginning…"
• The International Publishers Association (IPA) has appointed Mark Bide as its special adviser on digital publishing, standards and accessibility strategy. Bide has more than 40 years of experience in the publishing industry. Until March this year he was executive director of EDItEUR, and in 2013 he was appointed as chairman of the Publishers Licensing Society. "Promoting accessibility is a strategic issue for publishing. Not only can technical improvements enable publishers to reach new customers; accessibility features can unlock the potential of digital publications in ways that mainstream consumers will value. Mark will play a major role in helping the publishing industry embrace accessibility." (Jens Bammel, IPA Secretary General: The Bookseller: Bide appointed at IPA.)
• FlightDeck, the new EPUB quality assurance tool from Firebrand Technologies, has been officially launched. This tool gives publishers and authors clear and actionable information on the quality and salability of their EPUB 2 and EPUB 3 files. It includes a comprehensive report indicating if files will be accepted by the major retailers and goes beyond standard EPUBCheck errors with deeper validation and best practices clearly explained. Further details are available in the press release.
• EPUB 3.0.1 was approved by the IDPF membership as a final Recommended Specification, superseding EPUB 3.0 to become the current version of the EPUB Standard. EPUB 3.0.1 is a minor revision, focusing primarily on bug fixes and errata for the 3.0 specification.
• The 2015 Digital Book Awards which celebrate innovation in Apps and Ebook Publishing will take place January 13-15 in New York. The deadline for entries is October 1, the early-bird deadline is September 2.
• France's Minister of Culture, Aurélie Filippetti, acknowledged and praised the development of digital publishing standards that promote interoperability principles; which is essential for an open ecosystem; such as the work conducted by the IDPF consortium, and the Readium reading system effort. Source: The Minister of Culture supports and EPUB3 Readium translated from "La ministre de la Culture soutient l'EPUB3 et Readium". Note: the article is in French.
Earlier this month Stephen King, President of the DAISY Consortium, met with the INCI staff team in Colombia and then traveled to Brazil to meet with the Dorina Nowill Foundation team and speak at the 5th Congresso Internacional CBL do Livro Digital.
INCI (Instituto Nacional Para Ciegos) had joined the DAISY Consortium as an Associate Member in 1998 and was the first organization in Latin America to do so. In January 2009 DAISY Latino was formed and became a Full Member of the Consortium; INCI was one of the key members of the group, being responsible for technical matters and support. It is the leading service provider for people with a visual disability in Colombia, a country with a population of approximately 50 million.
Stephen King and Pedro Milliet (Senior Developer and Information Architect Dorina Nowill Foundation for the Blind, and DAISY Board Member) visited INCI and met with key staff members to discuss developing services and to look at the possibility of reforming DAISY Latino which was unfortunately put on hold during the global financial crisis. The meeting was extremely productive. The beginning of new INCI initiatives will benefit people with a visual disability not just in Colombia but potentially worldwide.
The Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) has invited INCI to join its TIGAR Service and the organization indicated they would be pleased to do so (subject of course to legal clearance).
INCI, which is an organization under the Ministry of National Education in Colombia, will be launching an online DAISY service in the near future.
The Communications team at INCI has posted a page on the INCI website about Stephen's visit, their extremely successful DAISY production and services, and what lies ahead. (Note that the INCI website content is in Spanish.)
The Dorina Nowill Foundation for the Blind and DAISY Latino Group hosted DAISY International Congress of Digital Books in Brazil in 2012. It was the first DAISY Conference held in a Latin American country.
On Wednesday Stephen visited The Dorina Nowill Foundation for the Blind to meet the team and plan for the CBL Conference. During the visit he was able to see the preparations for the launch of their EPUB 3-based service which will take place later this year.
He was also interviewed for the Foundation's audio magazine, speaking about the work the DAISY Consortium is doing and the leadership coming from Brazil. Stephen has noted that there have been many positive changes and developments in three years since his previous visit: digital production has grown quickly and they are now planning a huge leap forward to EPUB 3. There was a demonstration of the Dorina DAISY Reader (DDReader) which is free to use and share, and the Android reader developed by the Foundation.
While in São Paulo, Stephen also visited LARAMARA, the Brazilian Association for the Support of People with Visual Disabilities. This organisation supports the educational and social inclusion of people who have a visual disability.
CBL Digital Book Congress is attended largely by members of the publishing community. It is focused largely on the movement to digital publishing and the effect that is having on the industry. This conference is a strand of Bienal Internacional do Livro de São Paulo (International Book Biennial of São Paulo) a book fair attended by approximately 700,000 people, with 370 exhibitors.
Stephen King presented at this conference in Brazil at the invitation of the Brazilian Book Chamber (CBL), an association of publishers in Brazil and an IPA member. Jose Borghino, Policy Director of the International Publishers Association (IPA) and Stephen were on the agenda to discuss EPUB 3, digital publications, and the features that EPUB 3 bring to eBooks with the panel presentation "EPUB 3 and the Market Accessibility Revolution". This panel was the only session at the conference that dealt with accessibility of published material. The discussion was moderated by Pedro Milliet of the Dorina Nowill Foundation for the Blind.
The presentation which was of course focused very much on the accessibility offered by EPUB 3 was very well received by a large audience of South American publishers. The joint message given by King and Borghino to the publishers was to sign the ABC charter and to adopt EPUB 3. The presentation was very well received. Numerous follow-ups are being handled by the Dorina Nowill team members who were at the conference in force.
The slides used in Stephen's presentation are available on DAISY SlideShare. (These will be of interest to organizations working with or planning on working with publishers. The slides are in English.)
Bookshare, a Benetech Global Literacy initiative, has recently partnered with Association Valentin Haüy (AVH) in France, bringing more than half of Bookshare's ever-increasing accessible collection to qualifying individuals with a print disability in that country.
Beginning in October this year, people with print disabilities who are users of the AVH library will be able to access to more than 175,000 accessible books from the Bookshare collection which is the largest accessible digital library for people with a print disability. This partnership will bring books in accessible formats and in foreign languages to France. The greatest percentage of the books will be English publications, but there are also titles in Spanish, German, Arabic, Mandarin and Hindi available.
The position of Valentin Haüy's library as reference library for people with print disabilities in France is reasserted with this partnership. This new collaboration is part of a wider effort undertaken by the AVH library to pool its resources on a global scale with all of the major players.
Bookshare will provide access to the titles in its collection with the prior agreement of publishers and with due respect for the French law.
"Bookshare, like all of Benetech's initiatives, is built to scale, using technology to impact as many lives as possible…With thoughtful collaboration, there can be a groundswell in recognition and advancement of the rights of people with disabilities. We are looking forward to realizing the potential of Bookshare to eventually help millions of other people globally live fuller lives." [Jim Fruchterman, Benetech CEO; source: Benetech press release, July 8, 2014]
Information about Bookshare International Membership is provided on the Bookshare website. Bookshare offers accessible books to people with qualifying print disabilities anywhere in the world and has members in more than 50 countries. At this time there are more than 20 organizations in 18 countries that have partnered with Bookshare. Many of these partnerships are with organizations that are Members (Full & Associate Members) of the DAISY Consortium, including Celia Library (a member of the Finnish DAISY Consortium), Dorina Nowill Foundation, Norwegian Library of Talking Books and Braille (a member of the Norwegian DAISY Consortium, Nota, Blind Foundation (formerly RNZFB), Vision Australia, DAISY Forum of India, Qatar Assistive Technology Center (Mada), the South African Library for the Blind, and WORTH Trust. In addition, both Individual (personal) and Organizational (Group) memberships are available.
By Varju Luceno, Director of Communications for the DAISY Consortium
A library is as unique as its patrons and its community. Each library faces multiple needs and challenges.
To increase the accessibility of libraries for the whole community, we need to start with a common understanding of the legal landscape as well as the elements and the future of an inclusive library. By learning from each other we can review, update and share the goals and essential elements of inclusive libraries.
In this spirit, together with BrailleNet, the IFLA section for Libraries Serving Persons with Print Disabilities Section (LPD) organized a two day event, the WLIC 2014 Satellite Conference in Paris, which took place August 22-23, 2014. Dominique Burger (Director of Association BrailleNet) and Koen Krikhaar (Dedicon, Chair of the IFLA LPD Section) greeted participants and kept conference on schedule and moderators on task.
The hosts of the conference, members of DAISY France, are a great example of a successful transition to the new knowledge society. Our French colleagues are embracing DAISY Standards and at the same time constantly innovating and exploring new standards such as EPUB 3 to support their audiences in the future. Alex Bernier shared BrailleNet's production, distribution and rendering practices for accessible scientific books and BNFA's efforts to pool resources in order to reduce the shortage of books adapted to the needs of blind and visually impaired readers.
Keynote speakers Dan Pescod (RNIB) and Bernhard Heinser (DAISY Consortium) both diligently explained the Marrakesh Treaty and its significance to the global audience. During his presentation Bernhard Heinser also provided an overview of the benefits of accessible well-structured, navigable content.
Libraries and the duties of a librarian have changed in most countries during the last 5 to 7 years. Increasingly librarians not only connect information and patrons, they also need to connect various reading tools, apps, platforms or devices with patrons who have different needs. HumanWare and Pyxima, both Friends of the DAISY Consortium and sponsors of the conference, showcased technologies (including DAISY players and EPUB 3 reading tools) that revolutionize reading. Johanna Printon talked about OverDrive's work with publishers and described the most recent efforts to make their multi-channel digital media platform more global and accessible. Karen Keninger (Director of National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped) demonstrated how to read eBraille on an iPhone using a popular BARD mobile app. She also talked about NLS's paradigms and processes for incorporating commercial audio books into the NLS national program. Jeroen Baldewijins and Bart Simons, both from Belgium, shared their experiences of producing and reading accessible iBooks.
Accessibility evaluations of mainstream reading systems that were discussed during several presentations help developers create more accessible reading devices and apps. Librarians, educators and students also benefit as evaluations assist them with customizing the reading experience that improves learning and comprehension.
During several discussions it became apparent that both public libraries and specialized libraries are serving an increasing number of patrons with various learning challenges including dyslexia.
Edmar Schut (Dedicon) spoke about Dedicon's experiences with developing e-books for dyslexic and visually impaired users. Dedicon's Yoleo platform uses EPUB 3 features to add game elements to reading creating a fun interactive environment for learning. Students who use Yoleo that supports readers with learning problems are more motivated to read.
Lisa Söderberg and Tomas Johannson (Swedish Agency for Accessible Media) shared MTM's initial project to create a fully accessible EPUB 3 publication. Cristina Mussinelli's (LIA Project) presentation focused on making 6,000 titles in EPUB 3 format accessible in Italy. All parts of the supply chain need to be accessible to ensure a fully accessible reading experience.
It was noted that although accessible EPUB 3 is not yet universally supported, we are closer to making mainstream publishing accessible from a production, distribution and quality assurance perspective. The implementation of EPUB 3 format requires new skills and methodologies.
Mainstream publishers as well as specialized re-publishers are improving their workflows and benefiting from re-flowable layout and modern accessibility enhancements.
We need to continue demystifying the technology of accessible e-book production as well as keep accessible standards top-of-mind for the mainstream publishing industry, so that the promise of EPUB 3—born accessible digital content leading to a rich reading experience—will soon be fully realized. Accessible files built diligently from the ground up will have increased longevity in the marketplace.
I would like to thank Varju Luceno for writing this article and sharing her experiences at the IFLA LPD conference with us. The two articles which immediately follow this are highlights from papers given at the IFLA Congress which took place in Lyon France immediately before "eBooks for Everyone!". The final article Handshake Between Content & Readers is the abstract for the paper which Varju Luceno delivered at IFLA LPD in Paris.
Highlights from the paper written by Francisco Javier Martínez Calvo, who is with the Department of Education, Employment and Cultural Promotion, National Organization of Spanish Blind Persons (ONCE). He is also a long-time member of the DAISY Consortium Board of Directors. The Role of Libraries in the Implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty for Persons with a Print Disability was presented at IFLA WLIC 2014 in Lyon, France and is available on the IFLA Library, under licence Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.
"On 27 June 2013, the Diplomatic Conference to Conclude a Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons With Print Disabilities adopted the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled, with the aim to allow — without the authorization of the rightholder — the production and distribution to said beneficiaries of accessible format copies at a national level, as well as to permit the cross-border exchange of those accessible format copies. Seven years earlier, in 2006, the Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities (UN CRPD) was adopted by the UN General Assembly. The former would not have been possible without the latter, and the latter needs the former – and as many other similar treaties and legal instruments as possible – to fulfil its objectives.
The UN CRPD obliges State Parties to take all appropriate measures to provide persons with disabilities with the same information, at the same time, and in the form of communication of their choice that their peers without a disability have access to. The Marrakesh Treaty was designed to make this true by providing signatory countries with the mechanisms required to allow for exceptions and limitations to the rights of production, distribution, and making available of information in accessible formats, at both domestic and international level.
This paper analyses the links and the close relationship between the UN CRPD and the WIPO Marrakesh Treaty insofar as their mutual dependency and their common objective."
After introducing Article 21 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities (CRPD) which summarizes the needs of these persons to read, learn, and share information with others by whatever "means, modes and formats of communication [UN CRPD]" they may deem appropriate, Francisco gets directly to the point of his paper and presentation:
"Now that we have identified the three actors required to carry out this task — the UN CRPD, the Marrakesh Treaty, and the library services — all we need to do is to devise an strategy that allow libraries to fulfil this part of their mission by making use of the Marrakesh Treaty and while giving flesh to article 21 of the UN CRPD."
The paper addresses the need for the Treaty, the highlights of the process by which the Treaty was finally adopted after so many years, the instrument itself — The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled — which "is the only (copyright-related or otherwise) international treaty drafted by consumers, aimed at consumers, and driven by consumers.". It then examines the benefits in "layman's" terms (this is a very well written, easy to understand summary).
The final section The role of libraries deals with the primary topic of the paper:
"Specialized libraries have existed for decades, and they exist simply because someone had to do the job. It is not that libraries serving persons with print disabilities have the monopoly on books in accessible formats – they have just been left alone in fulfilling this gap. Specialized libraries are, in most cases, also specialized publishers, and the materials they produce and distribute are costly, require specific skills, and are of no use to anybody else. Or so it was…
Public libraries, universities, all types of cultural institutions are now eager — and, in some cases, obliged by international conventions and domestic laws — to serve those patrons with specific requirements and special needs. And the Marrakesh Treaty provides them with the legal framework required to achieve this mission.
Libraries have now been given a new opportunity to serve this community effectively. The new legal framework that the Marrakesh Treaty will provide allows any library fitting the above description to help specialized libraries in providing these services…"
In Closing Francisco writes:
"The Marrakesh Treaty is not only a treaty by and for persons with print disabilities — it is also a treaty for libraries, for societies, to help them become more inclusive and fair; it is the first international legal instrument, sanctioned by a UN agency, that can help the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to carry out part of its purpose, to promote respect for the inherent dignity of persons with a print disability."
This paper is extremely well written, easy to understand and concise. Francisco touches on some very important points; at times he does so with a sense of humour, at others, his words carry emotion and clear commitment. He has, among other major issues, examined the importance of this Treaty to meet the reading and information needs of those with the greatest need: "90% of the 285 million persons with a visual impairment live in developing countries".
Adapted from the paper and slide deck written by Koen Krikhaar. He gave his presentation August 18 at the 80th IFLA General Conference and Assembly Lyon, France. Koen's paper, in full, is online on the IFLA website. is available on the IFLA Library. It is licenced under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
It is the ambition of service providers of books in alternative formats such as DAISY Talking Books to reach more people who can legally benefit from them. At present only 12% of the estimated target population in the Netherlands is being reached. The goal is to double that number so that percentage-wise the active reach of special library service is at the standard of active mainstream library users (25%). Integrating the special DAISY Talking Book service into the mainstream library services is instrumental in accomplishing this.
With the establishment of a new library network which is supported by a new library law in the Netherlands, the right conditions for integration seem to be in place. A national digital infrastructure for all public libraries to make use of centrally available services such as eBook lending has been created. This provides an excellent platform to start a DAISY Talking Book service for people with print disabilities through the local Dutch Public Library.
Streaming DAISY titles through a local library is only the next step on the road to fully inclusive library services. Integration with the mainstream eBook service is one of the many challenges still to be faced.
The fact that only half of the target population is being reached concerns the service providers and is also an issue for the government as the budget for adapted reading per active reader is much higher than for other active library users. The high cost for adapting books into audio or braille is of course the causative factor. Given the fact that there are 360,000 potential users for adapted reading, the question of how they can be reached remains. The leading thought that emerged is that closer integration with mainstream library services could raise the numbers of people who use the adapted versions from a 30,000 to a 60,000, targeting two distinct groups: the elderly with diminishing eyesight and the young who struggle with reading problems like dyslexia.
The challenge here is how special service providers working at a national level can work together with the 160 public library organizations in the Netherlands which provide library services at approximately 1,100 different locations. All of this without raising the budget (not possible) and without breaching the copyright exception (not allowed) that states that only the print impaired can benefit from adapted books. With the development of a clever lending system integrated into the website of the local library we believe we have found a possible solution.
This fall a new library bill will pass both houses of Dutch Parliament and come into effect. The new law creates a more transparent structure between the national, regional and municipal levels of governing and financing the library network. One aspect of the law is especially relevant, and that is the establishment and the lawful assurance of a national digital infrastructure through which all local libraries can acquire digital services. There is also some legal assurance that adapted reading will stay protected and will be governed (as all public libraries) by the National Library. The establishment of a uniform national digital infrastructure that can provide digital services to all public libraries provides an excellent platform for the lending of digital audiobooks (DAISY books) too.
An online DAISY Player developed by Dedicon was embedded in the library website where people could choose the title and listen to DAISY books, with full navigation through the audio possible.
In 2012 a pilot was conducted at 3 libraries to test the assumption that the system is technically sound and that it will attract new users. The findings were largely positive. It created interest and more than 160 new people registered for the service. More than 500 titles were read. The new users were mainly young library patrons with reading problems. The pilot did not reach the elderly with failing eyesight; this will be given a great deal of attention in the follow-up.
In the fall of 2014 Dedicon and its partners will implement the DAISY streaming service in local public libraries. It is hoped that many public libraries will incorporate this service for the benefit of those who qualify. The goal of this soft launch is to have the service implemented at 25 libraries in the first quarter of 2015.
It has already been determined that there is a need to develop a mobile platform (the DaisyReader Library App) for this service. Plans are underway to incorporate this into the next phase.
Streaming daisies are a step towards inclusive library services, but they are not the ultimate goal. As long as the adapted reading formats are produced under an exception in the copyright law, complete integration between special and mainstream library services cannot be accomplished. Integrating DAISY navigation and good quality audio to the now emerging eBook market points to a very promising road ahead. In a way the streaming daisies can already be seen as audio-only eBooks. So eBooks and DAISY books are closer together than many may suspect. Integrating them is truly the next challenge.
Koen Krikhaar is Senior Account Specialist with Dedicon, in Grave, Netherlands. He is also the Chair of the IFLA/LPD Section (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, Libraries Serving Persons with Print Disabilities Section) and has played a key role in the organization of and preparations for eBooks for Everyone! the IFLA Satellite Conference held in Paris France, August 22-23. Part 1 of Koen's story was published in June; Part 2 will be published with the October DAISY Planet.
This abstract was prepared Varju Luceno, the DAISY Consortium's Director of Communications, for her presentation at eBooks for Everyone! the IFLA Satellite Conference that took place in Paris France, August 22-23.
Accessibility and usability of digital content affect a wider audience than just the blind and visually impaired. However, the information access problems of the blind are easy to demonstrate and understand, with clear solutions to common issues.
Increasingly, certain information is available and can be consumed only in digital format. This opens new possibilities since digital formats can be used to render content in a manner that is suitable to each person’s individual needs. Examples include using different fonts, colors, or adding synthesized speech.
The DAISY Consortium is committed to participating in the development and promotion of EPUB 3 and related specifications. Considering current mainstream formats, only EPUB 3 handles accessible math and video/audio. However, accessibility of e-books depends on publishers. Their level of accessibility awareness and implementation decisions determine the accessibility of their products and distribution platforms. It is entirely possible to create an EPUB 3 book that has only minimal accessibility. Knowledge of accessibility requirements and diligence in production are as important as the format itself to create content that is accessible for all from Day 1.
Another question remains: Should accessibility be made obligatory by law and regulations that are often not reinforced, or is it better to provide recommendations and guidance? One approach that can be further explored is crowdsourcing accessibility evaluations of content and reading systems to present clear, specific recommendations for accessibility improvements.
Mainstream e-readers (devices primarily used for reading digital publications) and general-purpose tablets such as the iPad, Kindle Fire HD or HDX and Nexus 7 are popular options for consuming the expanding selection of publications available in electronic formats. Mobile reading apps for both Android and iOS are also gaining popularity due to increasingly mobile lifestyles.
Browser based systems are richer in functionality than most proprietary reading systems. They benefit from direct engagement with readers that allows gathering of data about how users are discovering, browsing and selecting eBooks. At the same time, these reading systems have their own challenges and are not always accessible.
Studies have shown that participants who use specially designed readers make significantly fewer errors accessing electronic books and require significantly fewer prompts than participants using mainstream readers. Specialized reading systems are usually designed with specific user requirements in mind; therefore they have many advantages for users with special needs.
There has been much discussion regarding how to determine the accessibility of reading systems. Evaluations often revolve around two choices: A compliance/conformance based approach that usually involves (a) a checklist of criteria or (b) user testing by people who have different disabilities and rely on different assistive technologies. Both approaches have their strengths and limitations, and neither can provide completely reliable information about the accessibility of a reading system on its own.
Reading system testers should have the skills and experience to help avoid costly problems and help develop reading systems that are accessible from the first day they are released.
To make testing and evaluating reading systems easier, the DAISY Consortium [daisy.org] in collaboration with Tech For All [TFA, TFAConsulting.com] has developed the Accessibility Screening Guidelines and Checklist. This provides a systematic approach as well as guidance for determining how devices and applications will work most effectively for persons with various disabilities (Blind, Low vision, Deaf, Hard of hearing, Dyslexic, Learning disabled, and Mobility-impaired).
The EPUBTEST website at epubtest.org allows both: EPUB 3 Feature Conformance testing as well as Accessibility Testing of Reading Systems. The basic assumption of accessibility evaluation is that all Reading Systems should support reading with eyes, ears, and fingers. It should be possible for users to read the content of a document by:
To evaluate the accessibility of the Reading Systems, test plans have been prepared with sample content to carry out the tests; the fundamental test book provides the tests and instructions to the person conducting the test. The Reading Systems should be evaluated using a wide variety of assistive technologies, e.g. Screen Readers, Magnifiers, Braille displays and alternative input. Results from the testing of the various configurations will be stored in the form / database provided on the website [epubtest.org].
Testers who want to evaluate the accessibility of Reading Systems are advised to contact firstname.lastname@example.org or George Kerscher and describe the reading system(s) they want to evaluate as well as the assistive technology they would use. Testers need to provide a short description of their qualifications or experience.
Those who have additional accessibility related questions can use the Contact Us form [daisy.org/contact_us] on the DAISY Consortium website and select Reading System Evaluations in the message category.
A Book Industry Study Group (BISG) representative or the appointed moderator will contact prospective testers to supervise the testing of their selected Reading System. They will then be added as evaluators and provided with login credentials. Testing results will be stored in a central database and may be reviewed by moderators before publishing. The moderator (who contacts a prospective tester) will be their "go to" person for assistance in any testing related questions.
By crowdsourcing accessibility evaluations in a systematic way and making these evaluations publicly accessible, developers and device manufacturers can be advised to make specific improvements to allow access to information for all. Digital content, reading systems and distribution platforms all need to be designed to be accessible for everyone. All users will win.
Thanks go to Varju for agreeing to have this abstract published in the DAISY Planet newsletter.
I was asked to give a short talk about DAISY in one of my university classes. Unfortunately, there are some open questions I couldn't find a straightforward answer to. Therefore I'd be delighted if you could assist me with my request.
1. How does DAISY deal with copyright issues?
2. How does the international and national DAISY book exchange work?
3. Do all players support the navigational functions of a DAISY book?
4. What is the difference between DAISY and EPUB? (short explanation would be great!)
5. How can I get hold of a book I'd like to read in a DAISY format?
6. Can I order every single existing book in the DAISY 3-format? Can anyone order those books (what about teachers for the visually impaired?)
Thank you so much in advance!!
Best wishes from Germany,
Editor's Note: As the answers to several of MK's questions are quite long, the first two questions and the answers to them are presented in this issue of the DAISY Planet; the remaining Q&A will be included in the September issue.---------------------------
1. How does DAISY deal with copyright issues?
The DAISY Board does not in any way promote DRM. The Board believes that DRM limits the legitimate use of digital publications by persons who are blind and print disabled. Persons who use Assistive Technology commonly manipulate digital publications in ways that most people without disabilities do not understand. Moving an eBook to a portable device with refreshable braille, or copying it to a hand held device for reading "on the go" are two simple examples of common legitimate usage that are prevented by DRM. From a content management or library perspective, DRM can complicate or make impossible the upgrade of digital collections to new and future technologies.
Copyright laws vary from country to country, and the DAISY Consortium is a truly international association. To support our Member organizations in countries where DRM is absolutely required by law or by the copyright holders, and when no other option would meet those requirements, the DAISY Consortium developed a 'content protection system' called the Specification for DAISY Protected Digital Talking Book. Its use is not promoted by the Consortium.
We feel that if a DAISY Consortium Member is explicitly required by the copyright holder and/or the laws of that country to use technological safeguards, then this must be respected.
2. How does the international and national DAISY book exchange work?
There are more than 314 million blind and visually impaired persons (VIPs) in the world, 90 per cent of whom live in developing countries. A WIPO survey in 2006 found that fewer than 60 countries have limitations and exceptions clauses written into their copyright laws that make special provision for VIPs, for example digitized DAISY versions of copyrighted texts. Furthermore, because copyright law is "territorial", where they exist, exemptions usually do not cover the import or export of works converted into accessible formats, even between countries with similar rules. Organizations in each country must negotiate licenses with right holders to exchange special formats across borders, or produce their own material, a costly undertaking that severely limits access by VIPs to printed works of all kinds.
Many people tirelessly worked for years on the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled – this treaty will increase the availability of accessible publications worldwide. It was signed in Marrakesh, Morocco, on June 28th, 2013.
The Marrakesh Treaty will come into force once 20 countries ratify it. The treaty requires signatories to adopt national law provisions that facilitate the availability of published works in formats that are accessible to print disabled individuals and allow exchange across borders by organizations supporting these people.
The treaty will facilitate the import of accessible format copies by authorized entities such as educational institutions, libraries and other institutions working for the benefit of people with a print disability. It will also facilitate translation of imported accessible format copies and export of accessible format copies in various languages.
The World Intellectual Property Organization and a group of key partners including the DAISY Consortium have launched a new alliance to boost the number of books in accessible format for use by hundreds of millions of people around the globe who are blind, visually impaired, or otherwise print disabled, most of whom live in less-developed regions. The Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) was created to help implement the objectives of the Marrakesh Treaty at a practical level through work in three areas: the sharing of technical skills in developing and least developed countries to produce and distribute books in accessible formats, promoting inclusive publishing, and building an international database and book exchange of accessible books.
Director of Communications
Editor's Note: As mentioned at the beginning of this column, the remaining questions from MK and the corresponding answers will appear in this column in the September DAISY Planet.
• 2015 CSUN General Call for Papers for the 30th Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference opened August 25 and will close on Friday, October 10, 2014. The Scientific/Research Track Call for Papers has been open since August 7 and will close on September 19. Papers for this track may also be submitted to the Call for Papers (the Scientific/Research Track and/or the General Sessions Track). The 2015 CSUN Conference will take place March 2 to 7, 2015 in San Diego, California.
• Young Power in Social Action, an Associate Member of the DAISY Consortium, has won in the 2014 ISIF Asia Award in the Innovation on learning and localization category for accessible reading materials for grades 1-10 students with print disability through the DAISY standard. YPSA's project in Bangladesh supports students with print and learning disabilities, and low literacy by creating access to DAISY full-text and full-audio digital books, braille books and accessible e-course books. Approximately four million Bangladeshis are visually impaired, and around 48% of the population is illiterate or low literate. Additional information and links are provided in the DAISY news entry ISIF Asia Award Winners for 2014 Announced: Congratulations Young Power in Social Action!
• Bookshare is looking for volunteer Beta Testers for the new Bookshare website and web reader. Testers can be located almost anywhere in the world and can be students, educators or other professionals. The online form for testers is straight forward. (Bookshare membership is not a requirement.)
• Recordings of the NFB (National Federation of the Blind) 2014 National Convention Highlights are now available. Featured speakers include Ray Kurzweil, Director of Engineering, Google, Inc.; Christopher Downey, Principal, Architecture for the Blind (Chris's story was published with the February and March DAISY Planet); Michael Curran, Developer of NVDA, NV Access Limited (written transcript available on the NV Access website); and, Dan Goldstein, Esq., Partner, Brown, Goldstein, & Levy LLP. George Kerscher, Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium and President of the IDPF gave the presentation "Guide Dogs for the Blind: Striving for Excellence" in his role as Chairman of the Board, Guide Dogs for the Blind. NFB is a Full Member of the DAISY Consortium.
• The NLS (National Library Service, Library of Congress) What's new at NLS page includes links to numerous resources including "The Future of Braille" Report, Assistive Technology Products for Information Access and an extensive factsheet on Digital Audiobook Players (updated this year). NLS is a Full Member of the DAISY Consortium.
• The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) was a recipient the FCC Chairman's Awards for Advancement in Accessibility (Chairman's AAA) for Braille Plus 18, "the world's first Android™ device designed specifically for individuals who are blind or visually impaired" (APH News, July 2014). The Chairman's AAA honors innovators in public and private sectors who develop communications technology for people with disabilities. The award was presented at the M-Enabling Summit 2014. Additional details are available in the FCC News Release. Congratulations go to APH.
• Rehabilitation For The Visually Impaired In Taiwan provides an update on the DAISY library services and other services being developed and offered by the Taiwan Digital Talking Books Association (TDTB), an Associate Member of the DAISY Consortium.
• The article Breakthrough for the blind in "The Hindi" online editorial discusses the Marrakesh Treaty and what it means for people in India with a visual disability.
• Links to many of the M-Enabling Summit 2014 presentations, webcasts and video interviews are available on the G3ict event summary page.
• The Visual Brailler App from APH (American Printing House for the Blind) is available as a free download from the Paths to Literacy website. This free app turns an iPad into a virtual braillewriter. Also from AFB, AccessNote is the first notetaker for the iOS platform designed particularly for VoiceOver users. The app provides a highly efficient, feature-rich note taking experience. AccessNote is free and can be downloaded from iTunes.
• The 2014 CNIB Braille + technology conference registration form is now available online. Whether you are attending as an exhibitor, participant or presenter it is necessary to register. Links to the extensive and varied Conference Program and Registration Form, as well as links to information about Keynote Speakers & the venue and accommodations are provided. The conference will take place October 30 and 31 in Toronto, Canada.
• The Bookshare development team has fixed a lingering issue that existed in their BRF files that was annoying for their braille readers. Full details are provided in the Bookshare Blog Bookshare's Braille Gets an Upgrade!.
• Registration for the APH (American Printing House for the Blind) 2014 Annual Meeting is open until September 28. Information and registration details are provided on the APH website. The meeting will take place October 16-18 in Louisville.
• The Hadley School for the Blind has produced a series (25 to date) of YouTube videos called iFocus which are tips on using the vision accessibility features in iOS. (Closed captioning is available for those who may need this feature.)
• How to Search Tweets Without Being Signed Up on Twitter includes information as well as direct links to the Twitter search facility and the Twitter advanced search page.
• Registration for ATIA 2015 is now open. The conference will take place January 27-31 in Orlando Florida, with pre-conference sessions being held on the 27th and 28th.
• The Eyes On Success podcast Using VoiceOver on the Mac is an interview with Janet Ingber about her new book "Learn to Use the Mac with VoiceOver: A Step-by-Step Guide for Blind Users" which is available in numerous formats including braille and DAISY. The book is intended for both new and experienced Mac users.
• The next major public release of Obi, version 3.5, is on its way. Obi 3.5 provides complete support for creating navigable audio-only EPUB 3 publications and also supports converting existing DAISY 3 and 2.02 books into EPUB 3 format. This version comes with many other enhancements requested by DAISY members, along with new language packs. (Obi 3.5 beta, a test version, was released on August 7.) Please watch for the release announcement for public release version 3.5 on the Obi forum and the Obi area of the DAISY website in the very near future. Public and test releases can be downloaded from the Obi Download page.
• Tobi 2.4 was released by the DAISY Consortium in early July. Tobi supports the production of both DAISY 3 and EPUB 3 publications. This release provides parallel production capability for EPUB 3 projects, introducing the 'Split and Merge' command for EPUB projects. Tobi now also includes incremental / on-demand loading of MathML. Details about version 2.4 are available in the Tobi Change Log. The install link and further information about Tobi are provided on the Tobi project page on the DAISY Consortium website.
• In July the Diagram Center Team presented the video Tools for Creating Accessible Math. The video archive, PowerPoint slide deck, Word document and HTML with the Q&A for the session, and a closed-caption recording of the webinar are all available.
• Two new articles have been added to DAISYpedia: Using Adobe InDesign to create accessible EPUB 3 files and Text mark-up guidelines for Save as DAISY.
• If you are using the DAISY Pipeline to convert DTBook XML using the TTS option for languages other than English and you want the TTS voices to be selected based on the languages defined in the "xml:lang" attributes of the DTBook input, make sure that the "Multi-language support" option is checked. The way it works then depends on the operating system and the TTS voices installed. In Windows also make sure that you have a SAPI5-compatible voice for the target language (e.g. Swedish). Additional information about multi-language support is available in the Pipeline guide Speechgen2 multi-language TTS configuration.
• The document Requirements for Quality Content Production in EPUB 3.0/XHTML Version: 2015-1 (the Nordic EPUB guidelines) is a set of guidelines produced by and tailored around the needs of Nordic countries, including specific structures and metadata (note: the link will take you to a page with this document second in the list of items to download). Although the Nordic content model is very likely too specific for many other organizations, a great deal of attention was applied to ensure maximum usability/accessibility in the EPUB 3 described. These guidelines may therefore be helpful to others, and, even if they are not directly applicable, they serve as an example of what organizations or groups of organizations can do to ensure the quality and accessibility of the EPUB 3 content they are producing.
• How to Access Advanced Settings and Information for Your Chrome or Firefox Browser posted on Gizmo's Freeware website includes a list of the possible entries can be obtained in either browser. The first listed for Chrome is "accessibility". Also included on this page is a list of the "best freeware lists".
• Derek Featherstone, an internationally-known authority on accessibility and web development, answers the question I just heard that touchscreen devices like the iPhone are really useful for blind users. What do I need to know? on the Web standards Sherpa website. He also comments on ARIA support and improved accessibility offerings in all platforms.
• Call for Implementations: HTML5 Image Description Extension (longdesc) was announced mid-August, inviting implementations of the HTML5 Image Description Extension Candidate Recommendation. This specification enables web authors to provide longer textual descriptions for complex images.
• From How-To Geek for July & August:
° How to Remotely Track Any Lost Smartphone, Tablet, or PC
° Linux Was Once Hard to Install and Use — Now It's Easy
° Two way to restart or shut down Windows 8 using just the keyboard are detailed in Stupid Geek Tricks: Restart Windows 8.x Using Just the Keyboard
° How to See What Web Sites Your Computer is Secretly Connecting To (includes several approaches including command prompt and a free tool available for download).
° MIME Types Explained: Why Linux and Mac OS X Don't Need File Extensions
° 21 Windows Administrative Tools Explained
° How to Clean the Dust Out of Your Laptop