This issue of the DAISY Planet is somewhat shorter than the August issue (that is probably good for you as well as me). However there are five feature articles, some or all of which I hope you will find interesting and informative. I'd like to thank Thora Ingolfsdottir for writing the first article The Icelandic Talking Book Library: Challenges & Changes. Thora has provided us with some insight into how they have and are still addressing the challenges that face many libraries, services providers and other not-for-profit organizations around the world.
'Once upon a time' (not that long ago) a world where all publications are accessible 'out of the box' was only a dream. The second article in this issue BISG & DAISY Support Accessible Content via Reciprocal Membership illustrates that we are steadily making that dream come true. I expect that if you could, all of you would join me in welcoming BISG to the DAISY community.
The DAISY Consortium needs help with a new crowd sourcing project as explained in the article Reading System Accessibility Testing: Moderators & Testers Needed. Please take a minute to read it and consider volunteering for this challenging and essential work.
I received information for the fourth article Inclusive Publishing Workshop: A First in Bangladesh from Mr. Vashkar Bhattacharjee, Program Manager for YPSA. Thank you Vashkar for sharing the news about this event with us.
The final article Transforming Braille Group LLC: Keeping Braille Alive is an update on the progress that TBG is making. This has the potential to greatly improve the lives of millions of people in developing countries.
And now on to other things I'd like to share with you this month. The World Blind Union (WBU) has provided a template that you can use to write to a letter your own government, asking them to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty. "This Treaty must be ratified by at least 20 countries come into force, so that we can actually benefit from it. An un-ratified treaty is just a piece of paper. [from the introduction to that letter]" (The link to download the letter template is in the second last paragraph.) To date only one country, India, has done this. If you have wondered what you can do to help make the Marrakesh Treaty meaningful and effective, sending this letter is a good place for you to start. (Although it is in English only, there are online translators such as "Google Translate" that can be used to provide a quick and 'rough' translation.)
On September 17, CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) aired a very interesting feature on the "National" (a news program) entitled Inspiration for Innovation: How disabilities are changing big business. The subheading for the program and the online video is "After decades as a niche market the disabled have become a driving force in technology and a giant inspiration for innovation." I found the program interesting and encouraging in terms of where technology is headed. The DAISY Consortium has been and continues to be a driving force in the movement to bringing 'born digital', accessible, content standards to mainstream publishers.
One of the entries I've included in the Bits & Pieces column this month is about Google | Search Education. I went through a couple of the Power Searching videos before deciding to include this information. Using double quotes in a Google search is something most of us will have done, however, I found some of the information to be quite useful–check it out, you may find a new search trick or two as well.
Presentations on DAISY SlideShare have been viewed more than 43,000 times! If you haven't yet visited, you might want to go to the site. You may find one or more of the 30 presentations helpful and/or informative.
A word of congratulations to Bookshare on passing the 300,000 mark – as of this morning there are 303,617 titles in the Bookshare collection!
This month Gerry Chevalier was interviewed on the Eyes On Success podcast program. Gerry talks about his vision loss, access technology, his work with HumanWare, CNIB, DAISY, DAISY reading systems, and much more. He also discusses EPUB 3, saying that it is like "an evolution of the DAISY book" and later says: "The DAISY Consortium was instrumental in making books navigable for print disabled people…that early work was done by the DC and eventually made its way into the electronic publishing industry." Gerry was, in the 'early days', an "evangelist" for DAISY at CNIB. You can read the show notes and download the podcast, Developing DAISY Standards and Players (#1438), from the EOS website. I've known Gerry for many years – he is truly a gentleman.
I'm very pleased to publish Romain Deltour's story with this issue of the DAISY Planet. Romain is a member of our small but hard working DAISY staff team. He is an accomplished developer and XML expert, in fact he is the lead developer of the DAISY Pipeline 2 project. Because our team is based in many different countries and our work is not done in a single location, I have only come face to face with Romain a couple of times. We were at a team meeting in 2011 when I first asked if he would share his story with us. Romain is both enthusiastic and humble – I know you will enjoy reading his story, perhaps as much as I've enjoyed working with him on it.
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.
• Professional, Scholarly and Enterprise Publishing: Moving Beyond the PDF is a presentation given by John Lardee (Senior Project Manager eBooks, Apps and Mobile Elsevier Operations). The presentation examines "How publishers and companies embrace the latest generation ebook format (epub3) to improve mobility, accessibility and interactivity."
• The slide deck The New Age of Producing, Distributing, and Consuming Accessible Information: A Paradigm Shift which was presented by Bernhard Heinser at the IFLA/LPD conference 'eBooks for everyone!' in Paris has been added to the DAISY Consortium's Slideshare presentations.
• O'Reilly Media is offering four free webcasts, two in October and two in November: "Our Wearable Future", "Designing Mobile Payment Experiences", "Lean UX: Aligning Business, Design, and Technology" and "Lean Branding". Details are available on the O'Reilly Online Events, webcast series page.
Written by Thora Ingolfsdottir, Director of The Icelandic Talking Book Library, for the DAISY Planet.
During the DAISY Board Meeting in Reykjavík in June this year, I had the opportunity to invite the Board, observers and other guests to the The Icelandic Talking Book Library and give a short presentation and overview of our progress during the last few years. We were encouraged to send the highlights to the DAISY Planet, since we have actually managed a lot in a relatively short period of time. The library has in fact been revolutionized.
The Icelandic Library for the Blind was founded by law in 1982 in Iceland and is a public organization under the Ministry of Culture and Education. The library started on a small scale, with services only for the blind in Iceland and initially produced both audio and braille. In 2008 braille production was transferred to a new organization called "The National Institute for the Blind, Visually Impaired and Deafblind". After that the name of our library was changed to "The Icelandic Talking Book Library" due to different services and user groups. In 2007, when I was brought on as the new director, the library was a cassette book library and had implemented DAISY. Both the library and production system were outdated, could only manage one form of loans (tapes) and the service was not really flexible or clear to outsiders. Therefore the tasks ahead were many.
The number one priority was to digitalize a stock of 7,000 titles. The other top priorities were to find new lending and production systems, reach out to users in Iceland who did not know about the Library, and last but not least, to keep the usual production of 200-300 books a year and the services flowing. However all big changes cost extra money…and we did not have any. On top of everything else we had the financial crisis in 2008, meaning that we had to cut expenses like everyone else. Our budget was reduced by 12% right after the crisis and by another 5% the year after.
But in the midst of this severe cutting, a lawyer came into my office and informed me that an elderly and very grateful user had just passed away and left the Library all of her belongings. Suddenly we had some money…just enough to digitalize the library quite quickly. In 2010 the Library was fully digitalized and by mid-year 2011, we had managed to build new systems in cooperation with a software company in Iceland. Both downloading and end user CD services were implemented and available for all patrons at the same time. The system is called Libro Digital and the project has received several innovation awards. Unfortunately there is not enough space to go into that story here but for those interested please check the Libro Digital website.
The total population of Iceland is 320,000 people. The number of registered patrons at the library is now approximately 18,000, and 8,000 of those are active users. This means that 2.5% of the population are active users of our Library. This is a dramatic change from 2008, when the total number of active patrons was 1,600. The number of active users has increased five-fold in five years. There are a number of reasons for this dramatic increase. Firstly, we made a significant effort to present our services all around the country. The digitalization is of course a key factor here, but also we visited about 50 schools and institutions to inform students, teachers and others about our services. The need was there and the interest as well. The growth is first and foremost in the group of young people and students with dyslexia who now make up 70% of the total active patrons; 20% are blind or visually impaired and 10% have another type of reading disability.
Our biggest battle has been around financial issues. The library has not received an extra budget despite the huge growth, despite our pleas year after year. Although the financial situation of the Icelandic state has not been good since the crisis began, we are told that things will now start to get better. Our high level of services has been maintained against the odds. We have, of course, had to make severe cuts, not the least being the lay-off of a number of our workforce.
The number one thing that has saved us from having to cut the services due to lack of budget, is that about 90% of our students are downloading only, and some other patrons use self-service via our website, www.hbs.is. Today 54% of our loans are downloads, 8% order CDs online and 38% are manually served by phone or by visit. We continue to be optimistic and believe that the number of users will continue to grow and that our services will get better still. To enable this we made the decision to begin collecting annual fees this year for the first time in the history of our library. This was not on our "wish list", not something we wanted to introduce, and in fact we have been postponing it for years. We have hoped that our budget would be raised, but unfortunately, we cannot wait any longer. This new annual fee works out to be approximately $16 (US) a year – it should therefore not be a burden for our patrons, but it will total about $120,000 (US) a year in new income for the library which will certainly be of some help if it is used wisely.
In a few weeks' time we plan to launch a new webpage where we will offer our patrons streaming services, through the Web and an app that is being designed. We hope that this will increase the online usage of our patrons even more. And finally, if someone is now wondering how we could afford to have an app designed, well, it is made pro bono by three companies in Iceland. Why? Because so many people know someone who uses our library in Iceland and they are willing to lend a hand.
If you have any questions about to this article or our Library's services, please do not hesitate to contact us. There is a Contact Us form on our website or, if you wish, you can email me, Thora Ingolfsdottir, directly.
I would like to thank Thora for taking time from her busy schedule to write this article for our newsletter…thank you Thora!
This month the DAISY Consortium and the Book Industry Study Group Inc. (BISG) agreed to a reciprocal membership bringing the benefits of membership in each organization to the other. Like the DAISY Consortium, BISG promotes the use of standards in publishing, including standards that support accessible content such as DAISY and EPUB 3. The BISG Content Structure Committee maintains the EPUB 3 Support Grid at EPUBTest.org and worked closely with the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) and the DAISY Consortium to launch the website in late 2013.
"I'm delighted that BISG and the DAISY Consortium are taking their collaboration to another level through reciprocal membership. To build the 'Inclusive Publishing ecosystem' which the DAISY Consortium is working toward, all organizations in the digital publishing space need to make the accessibility of their digital products a top priority. It is terrific that BISG has taken this initiative." [George Kerscher, DAISY Consortium Secretary General and President of the IDPF]
The BISG EPUB 3 Support Grid is a summary of e-book app, device, and reading system performance evaluations for features supported by the EPUB 3.0 e-book file format. The site is also home to the EPUB Testsuite which is a freely available collection of material created specifically for this purpose.
BISG has also recently launched a new Accessible Publishing Working Group, convening this fall, with the mission to support the industry's awareness and adoption of accessible publishing standards.
At the BISG Annual Meeting this month Len Vlahos, BISG's Executive Director, outlined the list of new initiatives for the coming year, including a sharper focus on accessibility: "When you're developing content that is accessible you're also developing content that is formatted properly. [Len Vlahos, Digital Book World, Mix of New and Familiar Players, Challenges at BISG Annual Meeting]"
The Book Industry Study Group, Inc. is the book industry's leading trade association for standards, education, and research. It facilitates the connections and conversations that solve common problems, advance new ideas, and more profitably bring published content to readers. For over 35 years, BISG has provided a forum for all industry professionals to come together and efficiently address issues and concerns to advance the book community. Members include publishers, manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers, retailers, librarians, other trade and standards organizations, and others engaged in the business of print and electronic media.
Both the DAISY Consortium and BISC look forward to working together on other projects of joint interest and helping to educate their respective members about each other's initiatives.
Volunteer moderators and testers are needed to play a key role in the DAISY Consortium's crowd sourcing approach to testing digital publication reading systems for accessibility. Individuals who are qualified and enthusiastic are needed to help us ensure that all reading systems used for digital content, including books, journals, magazines, coursework, and all other types of digital publications are fully accessible to persons with disabilities.
The DAISY Consortium, International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) and the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) have been collaborating on this work for some time, but a crowd sourcing approach is required to specifically focus on the accessibility of these systems. If you are associated with a university or other institution that would benefit from having reliable digital reading systems available for students with special needs, please participate and spend some time testing a reading system used on your campus or being considered for use.
You can review the work being done by these three organizations on the EPUBTest website. Some of the work to date is reflected in the BISG EPUB3 Support Grid which is available on the EPUBTest site. The grid is a summary of e-book app, device, and reading system performance evaluations for features supported by the EPUB 3 format. To view which EPUB 3 features are supported, select a reading system name in the table. The column in the grid headed "Accessibility Support" is the focus of this call for moderators.
We hope to identify a moderator for each reading system on a specific platform (OS). Moderators will help other volunteer evaluators to test and report findings using the Assistive Technology (AT) at their disposal. Guidance and support will be provided to moderators. The EPUBTest group will also provide the EPUB 3 book to be tested to ensure that all reading systems are exposed to the same content.
Because of the wide range of AT used by persons with disabilities, a crowd source approach must be used. Organizations are encouraged to sponsor testing by assigning people to test the specific reading systems and technologies used in their organization. For example, a university using specific AT with specific reading systems would assign people to work on testing those systems and then share their findings.
This will be a demanding volunteer position, with 1 to 2 tests to be completed first, followed by the supervision of the completion of several tests per week by the volunteer evaluators. Moderators need to have an understanding of the DAISY Reading System Methodology Guidelines and should also:
If you think that this project is something you would like to participate in but you would like additional information, please read Handshake Between Content & Readers: Testing Mainstream Reading Systems [August DAISY Planet] and visit the EPUBTest grid which currently lists 57 reading systems. The first thing that should catch your attention is the column on the far right, "Accessibility Support", and the fact that for all but a few of the reading systems, the entry is simply "Data not available". One of the purposes of this grid is to help people find systems that meet their reading needs. Every reading system in the grid must have a link to "See details" rather than "Data not available" in the "Accessibility Support" column. You may also wish to examine the EPUB Testsuite documents which can be downloaded. Assistance with this project is urgently needed – we need your help.
The DAISY Consortium will promote tested reading systems that support accessible, rich reading experiences. This project is an important part of our efforts in the transition to Inclusive Publishing and Reading Systems. If you are interested in helping to move this challenging volunteer project forward, please contact George Kerscher for additional information such as Moderator duties and tasks.
One of the objectives of this three day intensive hands-on workshop was to make the publishers aware of the lack of reading material in accessible formats for persons with print disabilities. The training program on "Inclusive Publishing" was conducted by the DAISY Consortium with support from WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) and Accessible Books Consortium (ABC). The partner organizations from Bangladesh were the "Access to Information Program", Prime Minister Office (A2I), Government of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) and YPSA.
The 18 participants who attended the workshop which took place September 15 - 17 represented commercial publishers (8), governmental publishers (6), and representatives from NGO's and organizations of people with disabilities (4). There were also two observers from other commercial publishing companies. Prashant Ranjan Verma Technical Support & Software Testing Consultant with the DASY Consortium and Amit Verma facilitated the training program.
Participants learnt how they can adopt inclusive publishing by making eBooks which are for everyone—including people with disabilities. It was explained that if publishers address accessibility requirements, further adaption for people with print disabilities is not necessary. "Born digital" publications have the potential to dramatically increase in the availability of reading material for people with print disabilities.
The workshop concluded with the presentation of certificates by the Education Minister, Mr. Nurul Islam Nahid and the workshop "Textbooks for visually impaired students" at the Prime Minister's Office on 18 September. Mr. Vashkar Bhattacharjee, YPSA Program manager, presented an accessible DAISY E-book and demonstrated how to convert a document into braille.
Additional information is available on the YPSA website in the article: Training workshop on Inclusive Publishing held for the first time in Bangladesh and also on the GAATES (Global Accessibility News) website.
The photos in this article are included with the permission of YPSA.
"If we did not find a way to making access to braille very cheap, then braille would die." [Kevin Carey, World Congress BRAILLE21, September 2011]
A "new breakthrough technology" was needed to reduce the costs of refreshable braille reading devices to keep braille alive. In November 2011 the DAISY Consortium Board of Directors endorsed the initiative to identify and/or develop such a device. In 2012 the Board granted the "Transforming Braille Project" a charter to bring an affordable tactile eBook experience to braille readers. Later that year the "Transforming Braille Group" transformed itself from a DAISY Chartered Project into the Transforming Braille Group LLC. TBG LLC is a global consortium of organizations of and for the blind which is investing $1m in this project.
In August Orbit Research LLC and the Transforming Braille Group LLC announced an agreement to produce a low cost, refreshable braille display. Orbit is an international engineering company based in Delaware, USA, which specializes in high quality, low cost products for people who are blind or partially sighted. That company will undertake the research, development and manufacture of this product which has the potential to bring braille to the fingertips of millions of people who would otherwise never have access to the wealth of accessible online information.
"The objective of the project is to produce a stand-alone 20-cell refreshable braille display for $300 (or £200) which will bring refreshable braille within the reach of children in developing countries and will provide libraries in developed countries with a viable alternative to hard copy braille. The product will be launched at CSUN in 2016." [TBG media release]
This project is not intended to compete with multi-featured commercial products. It is intended to make the vast quantity of accessible text files available to people around the world who are blind but who have no tactile means to access them. TBG estimates that this new product will retail at a unit cost less than 20% of the current market price.
The list of organizations around the world involved in the TBG is presented in the TBG FAQ.
Editor's Note: The Dear DAISY column this month provides the answers to the remaining questions submitted by MK in Germany. If you missed the first part of that inquiry and the corresponding questions, please read the August Dear DAISY column.
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?)
Best wishes from Germany,
3. Do all players support the navigational functions of a DAISY book?
All DAISY players support the navigational features / semantic markup of a DAISY book, a list of and information about these Hardware players and Software players is provided on our website. Standard mainstream MP3 players do not support the navigational features of a DAISY book.
4. What is the difference between DAISY and EPUB? (short explanation would be great!)
Both DAISY and EPUB are international open standards. EPUB is a mainstream format and DAISY is a specialized format that was created with specific user groups in mind – people who are visually impaired or because of a different disability are unable to use printed materials.
The uniqueness of the DAISY format is that it provides the ability to combine, structure and synchronize text and audio. Text can be highlighted while it is read aloud. In addition, thanks to the markup as defined in the DAISY Standard, DAISY files (please read What is a DTB? for more details) allow a reader to move around in the text, for example navigate directly to a chapter or paragraph.
In EPUB 3, support for synchronized audio and text is enabled through Media Overlays. Also, in EPUB 3, each publication must provide a complete table of contents in the EPUB navigation document, covering all levels of the document hierarchy (the "toc nav") to support navigation within a publication.
5. How can I get hold of a book I'd like to read in a DAISY-format?
We provide a list of sources (organizations and companies) that provide or sell books in DAISY format on our website on the Multimedia page in the section "Where do I get DAISY books?" As you mention that you reside in Germany, you could for example purchase DAISY books at the Radioropa website or borrow them through Medibus.
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?)
No this isn't possible – please see the answers to your previous questions.
Teachers gain access to books in DAISY 3 format through organizations (usually educational institutions) that support the students with a visual or other print disability such as Bookshare.
Please note that in general, membership in accessible digital libraries such Bookshare, Learning Ally, NLS or other similar organizations worldwide (see the DAISY members list) is available to individuals with qualifying print disabilities and to organizations supporting those individuals. Accessible materials are provided in various DAISY formats, mainly in DAISY 2.02 and DAISY 3.
Teachers who design their own learning materials can use the Save as DAISY add-in to convert well-structured Word documents into DAISY books. Other open source tools such as Obi and Tobi can also be used.
Director of Communications
• The 2nd International Congress on University and Disability, which is organised by the ONCE Foundation for the cooperation and social inclusion of persons with disabilities and will be held in Madrid, Spain, November 27 & 28. It aims to be a meeting place for universities and persons with disabilities, and will bring together teaching and research personnel from universities at international level, university administration and service personnel, university students, technicians and executives from the disability movement, as well as experts and others. The registration form, program and full details are available on the conference website. The registration fee is 80€, there is no fee for persons with a disability. Deadline for completing the registration is November 10.
• Podcasts of presentations given at Techshare Europe Conference 2014 are available on the RNIB InSight Radio website. The speaker and a very brief note on topic being discussed are given for each podcast which can be listened to online or downloaded. There are more than 30 presentations given by experts in their field.
• Abstracts and slides from the IFLA/LPD Satellite Conference "eBooks for everyone!" (August 22-23, Paris France) are now available on the IFLA/LPD website.
• Novasentis and HumanWare Join Forces to Bring Radically New Sensory Experiences to the Visually Impaired. "This co-development effort offers Novasentis the opportunity to put its patented EMP [Electro-Mechanical Polymer Actuators] technology to work in a brand new vertical – for the good of sight-impaired people who depend on touch and audio feedback to connect with the world…" [Business Wire, September 23]
• The archived webcast Full Committee Hearing – The Science of Dyslexia is on the US government "Committee on Science, Space and Technology" website. The hearing took place September 18 in Washington, DC.
• NFB recently released the video A Lesson on the TEACH Act in which college students who are blind talk about the little-known, but major problem of inaccessible educational technology. The video is close captioned.
• Bookshare has created two new Pinterest resources for sharing information, guides, etc. For parents of children with print disabilities, they have created Bookshare's Resources for Parents. For teachers who want to know more about working with these students, they've created Bookshare's Resources for Educators. There are also additional resources on Bookshare's Pinterest page.
• The five winners of the UNESCO's 2014 International Literacy Prizes were awarded on September 8, International Literacy Day 2014, in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The theme of the 2014 awards was literacy and sustainable development.
• Journal on Technology & Persons with Disabilities Volume 1 is a collection of "the best papers from the 28th Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference " published by the CSUN Center on Disabilities. This is the first year of the journal.
• Manon is the new TTS French language voice by Acapela Group. It was tested extensively in Éole, the AVH accessible digital library. "Manon represents a breakthrough in the quality of text-to-speech." (Fernando Pinta Da Silva, AVH Project Manager).
• "Smart Glasses", a Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and Oxford University project, has won the People's Choice award in the Google UK Impact Challenge for 2014. The award provides £500,000 funding for the project. These high-tech smart glasses maximize the remaining vision a person has. The funding from this award will enable RNIB and Oxford University to create 100 pairs of smart glasses and test them with 1,000 people. Additional information is provided in the EBU newsletter article Smart glasses which help blind people 'see' win £500,000 funding.
• Google | Search Education provides material and information designed to assist educators to help their students become skilled searchers (for both novices and for those ready for more advanced training). However, one of the sets will be helpful for many: Power Searching which contains 2 courses (Power Searching, and, Advanced Power Searching). These are filled with classes and challenges (respectively) and are made up of captioned videos (with an option for the text rendering and images from the video), examples and more. Google Inc. is a Friend of the DAISY Consortium.
• The book "iSee – Getting the Most out of Your Apple Products from a Blind Person's Perspective" by David Woodbridge is available online to download at no cost from iTunes. A free trial HTML version is also available on David Woodbridge's Technology blog.
• What's New in iOS 8 Accessibility for Blind, Low-Vision, and Deaf-Blind Users by Scott Davert was posted on AppleVis on September 17. The most recent additions & updates to the AppleVis site are given in the lower half of the AppleVis home page. Braille users may also want to read Braille Moves Forward in iOS 8 posted the same day on the NFB website.
• "European Union governments may allow libraries to digitise books in their collection without rights owners' consent in order to make them available at electronic reading posts". Please read the IP Watch article, September 11 for full details: Libraries May Be Permitted To Digitise Books Without Copyright Owner's Consent, EU High Court Rules
• In the Low Cost Computing for People Who are Blind or Visually Impaired: Overcoming the Frustrations of Using a Computer If You Are Visually Impaired or Blind by Steven Kelley is posted on the VisionAware website.
• In the HumanWare webinar Using Braille with Your iPad presented by Greg Stilson, he examines a number of issues such as using TTS and braille together, touch screens and braille displays, trouble shooting, and "Why do I need braille when I'm using other devices?". The webinar is tailored to educators but is also relevant for braille users. Please note that it takes a minute or so for the webinar to open. (Greg is a Product Manager with HumanWare and is a braille user.)
• Obi version 3.5, a major public release of the tool that supports the creation of navigable audio-only EPUB 3 publications and that also supports converting existing DAISY 3 and 2.02 books into EPUB 3 format, is now available. V3.5 includes numerous enhancements requested by DAISY members as well as new language packs for Japanese & Arabic. The French language pack has also been updated. Obi is an open source audio book production tool that produces DAISY 3 (officially, the ANSI/NISO Z39.86), Accessible EPUB 3 & DAISY 2.02 DTBs. Details including release notes and the download link are provided on the Obi area of DAISY website. The Obi development team would like to thank everyone who has tested and reported on Obi and sends special thanks to Assistive Technology Development Organization (ATDO), Bibliotheca Alexandrina and Association Valentin Haüy for the language pack translations.
• In addition to a Text-To-Speech processor, the DAISY Pipeline 2 Converter TTS step requires an encoder to produce MP3 files. At present the pipeline only communicates with the Lame encoder which can be downloaded from Sourceforge and which is available on Windows, Linux and MacOSX. Additional information is available in the DAISY Pipeline 2 Forum post on this topic.
• NVDA 2014.3 is the most recent release this free screen reading software which includes significant improvements to support for Microsoft Outlook, Word and Excel, among many other enhancements and bug fixes.
• The internet is getting too big for just one kind of Wi-Fi – WiGig (capable of tremendous speeds but its range will be very small) and IEEE 802.11ah (will cover vast areas at very low speeds) are reported to be arriving in 2016.
is presenting a 4-part Webinar series, "Creating Accessible EPUB 3", in October. This is a fee-based series, however it is free for EASI Annual Webinar members and there is also a scholarship available for those unable to pay the fee. The registration fee for the series is $225. The Webinars are:
° Tobi, how to enhance accessibility of EPUB 3 publications with synchronized audio and image descriptions (Oct. 7)
° Using Word to Prepare a Document to be Converted into EPUB 3 Format (Oct. 14)
° Using RoboBraille to Convert Documents into EPUB 3 Format (Oct. 21)
° What is EPUB and How to Create EPUB documents from Open Office (Oct. 28)
Details are given in the list of EASI Webinars in October.
• From How-To Geek this month:
° How to Create a Strong Password (and Remember It)
° How to Quickly and Cheaply Upgrade a Laptop or Tablet's Storage
° Ask HTG: How Do I Stop Skype from Making Everything Else So Quiet?
° Jumpshare is a Super Easy Way to Share Files Online. Over 200 files types natively supported in the browser. Available for Windows and OS X. The free version gives 2GB of storage.
° Why You Probably Don't Want to Pay Extra for a Faster CPU in Your Laptop or Tablet ("that more expensive CPU will decrease your [portable] device's battery life and make it run hotter.")