The DAISY Consortium's Newsletter - October 2014

From The Editor

There are four feature articles covering a range of topics in this issue of the DAISY Planet. The first, IFLA/LPD, DAISY, & You, was inspired by Part 2 of Koen Krikhaar's Story and our discussions about the dwindling number of members in the IFLA section "Libraries Serving Persons with Print Disabilities". Please take a few minutes to read both the article and Koen's story.

Spotlight Text: eBook Reader for People with Low Vision, the second article, is about an eBook reader app developed by Dr. Howard Kaplan. I found the history behind the development of this app and how it came to be that Spotlight Text can make the ever-growing Bookshare collection accessible in a new way intriguing and definitely worth sharing with you.

The subject of the third article Navigable Audio-only EPUB 3 Production Guidelines & Obi 3.5 is self-evident from the title. This article will be of particular interest to organizations or companies that produce DAISY content with audio and structure, that is, the full text of the publication is not part of the book or magazine. Obi, one of the content creation tools developed by the DAISY Consortium, now has the ability to output EPUB 3 formatted publications of this type.

The fourth article is quite brief but should be helpful to everyone who is a Bookshare member or who knows someone who is. In Bookshare's Updated & Improved Website I have tried to include information and links that are generally not included in other messaging about the updated Bookshare website.

And now for something positive on the status of the WIPO Marrakesh Treaty…on October 21 it was announced that the European Commission proposes ratification of Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access to books for visually impaired persons. Michel Barnier, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of Internal Market and Services, said "…The Commission's proposal is a signal that Europe is ready to support the rapid entry into force of this important Treaty." To date only two countries, India, and most recently El Salvador, have ratified the Treaty, with United Arab Emirates noted in the list of contracting parties and ratification as Accession. Almost a year and a half has passed since the Treaty was agreed to and signed. It will not come into force and can do no good until it is ratified by at least 20 countries. Please, advocate with your government to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty. (There is a template on the WBU website that you can use to write to a letter your government, asking them to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty).

The first ever Techshare conference to be held in the Middle East will take place in Doha, Qatar on November 4 & 5. On October 21 the Techshare Team sent an email to those who have registered for Techshare Middle East (ME) 2014 stating that the conference is completely sold out and there is a waiting list of people who want to attend. If you have a ticket, and for whatever reason, you will not be able to attend, they ask that you cancel it now to allow someone else to benefit. Details of how to do this are on the tickets. Please help Mada (Qatar Assistive Technology Center) and others in Qatar by only keeping your ticket if you are able to use it. There is an overview of Techshare ME in the PRWeb press release distributed today. I hope to include an article about Techshare ME highlights in the November DAISY Planet.

The article Vision Australia Online Delivery Project was published in the April DAISY Planet this year. Andrew Furlong, who wrote that article, has recently been in touch saying that he would like to send out a call to the DAISY community to ask if there are any organizations or individuals that have surplus Plextor PTX players — in any state of repair. As explained in the article, Vision Australia is converting these from CD players to online DAISY players. If your organization, you, or someone you know has Plextor PTX players that are no longer needed, even if they are in need of repair, please contact Andrew Furlong by email. (This would be a terrific way to clean out a storage room or closet and free up some space.)

DAISYpedia is one of several support systems and tools available from the DAISY Consortium. Our membership is truly international, with many people whose native language is not English. However the articles in DAISYpedia are written and posted in English. If you are interested in translating one or more of these documents to help us better serve all members of the Consortium, please email Prashant Verma. (You can choose from the full list of DAISYpedia articles.)

Disability Issues for Voters in the Senate Battleground is a presentation based on a bipartisan survey conducted in the USA in September. ("bipartisan" means having the support of two political parties.) The information is presented in a series of charts, each with a clear written description of the data given in the visual presentation. Each chart has a title which introduces the subject being addressed, for example: "Disability Touches More than Half the Electorate", "Neither Federal, Nor State are Doing Enough to Help People with Disabilities Work", "Overwhelming Majority Willing to Work with and Employ People With Disabilities" and "Strong Support for Disability Treaty" (The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities). Although this is clearly specific to one part of the USA, the "Senate Battleground", the data is very interesting, well presented and perhaps most importantly, it is also encouraging.

For those of you who sit working for hours every day, this article will be very encouraging: A Five-Minute Walk Could Undo An Hour of Sitting. Get up and walk for a bit – it could make a big difference to your physical well-being. On the other hand, if you are not sitting all day, if you are travelling or simply online while you are out, you should read Maybe Better If You Don't Read This Story on Public WiFi: "We took a hacker to a café and, in 20 minutes, he knew where everyone else was born, what schools they attended, and the last five things they googled. [by Maurits Martijn, from De Correspondent]" Be careful my friends.

If you are interested in music and music preservation, you'll want to read You'd be amazed to learn how much music is disappearing. If you still have talking books on tape you should definitely read this article. And, if you have not already archived the titles your organization or company wants to preserve, the clock is ticking, if it hasn't already run out.

I want to share with you an interesting article, Toronto hospital implants Canada's first "bionic eye", in the Toronto Star newspaper, October 15. Dr. Robert Devenyi, the University Health Network's ophthalmologist-in-chief who performed the surgery said the technology behind the procedure is "the most amazing development in medicine in our lifetime". He also said: "patients can expect to develop better sight with a potential Google Glass collaboration and future software enabling zoom and colour functions." This surgery has been performed "a handful of times" in several other countries and is expensive. However most of the people in the world who are blind or have a severe visual disability live in developing countries, many, in fact probably most, are extremely poor. On one side it is amazing; on the other, it is depressing.

If you should happen to have a bit of spare time (I realize many of you may not) you might want to think about describing videos. YouDescribe is a free accessibility tool for adding audio description to YouTube videos, and you can choose the videos you would like to describe. Resources such as Basics, Getting Started, FAQs and Step-by-step instructions are provided. YouDescribe is a work in progress; it is still an experimental tool hosted by a research institute, not a business. (I think I might try this myself one day.)

As I mentioned earlier, the story this month is Part 2 of Koen Krikhaar's Story, the conclusion of Part 1 which was published with the June DAISY Planet. It is unusual for a 2-part story to be published months apart, but Koen's role as Chair of IFLA/LPD and his work with Dedicon have kept him rather busy the past while. It has been a pleasure working with him on his story – thank you so much for making the time to write it Koen.

Thanks to everyone who has written to me with ideas, articles and suggestions for this issue of the DAISY Planet.

Your input helps me keep our community up to date on what is going on in the world of information, access and publishing. DAISY stories provide insight into the lives of people we might not otherwise have ever come to know. You can reach me by email (you will have my address if you receive the DAISY Planet email notice) or you can use the DAISY Contact Us Form (DAISY Planet Newsletter Category).

Lynn Leith

DAISY Marketplace

The following links are to new or recently updated DAISY Products and Services from our Members and Friends. Marketplace entries also appear on our home page.

The DAISY Marketplace

Publishers' Corner

EPUBZone has recently launched a new Solution Showcase to help publishers, other content producers and others find EPUB tools that best meet their EPUB requirements. Tool searches can be done by keyword, category or function. The functionality/ies of and a link to each are given in the table. Tobi, developed by the DAISY Consortium is one of the many tools listed. It is also possible to submit a tool for inclusion in the showcase using the submission form providing details about the functionality and type of EPUB solution. The Resources area of EPUBZone also features epubcheck (the EPUB validation tool), and epubtest for reading system conformance (including Instructions for Accessibility Evaluation of Reading Systems).

• The Board of Directors of the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) 2015 Nominating Committee is soliciting candidates for Director positions. To be eligible an individual must be or become the primary representative of an IDPF member organization. Interested parties should send a candidate statement by November 21 to IDPF Board Candidates. Additional details are in the IDPF announcement.

• "In his column Monday, [David] Carr [New York Times media columnist] said Facebook is talking to some publishers about simply hosting their pages itself. Facebook's apparent pitch is it's already got a mobile experience users love, so why not cut out the extra click and deliver content more directly in a way audiences prefer? Oh, and Facebook will share the ad revenue.
Publishers likely will balk at ceding so much control to Facebook. But in the end, they may not have much choice. The arrangement might sound like a partnership at first, but it could end up like Amazon and the book industry. Book publishers may hate dealing with Amazon and resent its influence over their sales. But the last thing they would do is pull their books from Amazon. Thanks to its outsized leverage, Facebook's ability to dictate terms to online publishers could wind up much the same." [source: WIRED – How Facebook Could End Up Controlling Everything You Watch and Read Online, by Marcus Wohlsen October 30]


IFLA: the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions

IFLA logo IFLA is "the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users. It is the global voice of the library and information profession. [About IFLA]" It was founded in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1927 and now has 1500 members in approximately 150 countries around the world. IFLA was registered in the Netherlands in 1971 with its headquarters in The Hague. Some time after its formation IFLA opened the membership to individual libraries and to personal affiliation.

Each year IFLA holds its annual congress in August and calls upon its working bodies (known as 'sections') to hold satellite meetings every other year. IFLA is a strong advocate and in August this year launched the Lyon Declaration on Access to Information and Development during the World Library and Information Congress:

"The United Nations is negotiating a new development agenda to succeed the Millennium Development Goals. The agenda will guide all countries on approaches to improving people's lives, and outline a new set of goals to be reached during the period 2016-2030.
We, the undersigned, believe that increasing access to information and knowledge across society, assisted by the availability of information and communications technologies (ICTs), supports sustainable development and improves people's lives.
We therefore call upon the Member States of the United Nations to make an international commitment to use the post-2015 development agenda to ensure that everyone has access to, and is able to understand, use and share the information that is necessary to promote sustainable development and democratic societies."

That Declaration now has over 350 signatories.

Organizations which are IFLA members may also be members of one or more Sections of IFLA; there is no formal limit to the number of years a person may be a member of a Section. Members of an IFLA section may nominate a person to the Standing Committee of that Section. These Standing Committees are like a working board of the Section and consist of a maximum of 20 people.

IFLA/LPD – Libraries Serving Persons with Print Disabilities Section

IFLA's Libraries Serving Persons with Print Disabilities Section (LPD), originally IFLA/LSB (Libraries for the Blind), has been in place for decades. (I have been unable to find the date it was established, however I did meet the members of the Section in the 1980's.)

The Manifesto

In November 2013 the IFLA Manifesto for libraries serving persons with a print disability was passed at the 37th UNESCO General Conference. The introduction to the Manifesto identifies its purpose: "To improve and promote accessible library and information services to persons with a visual impairment or any other print disability". That Manifesto had been endorsed by the IFLA Governing Board in April 2012.

"There are over 161 million blind and partially sighted people in the world and this number is growing. There are even more people with other print disabilities who cannot effectively read print because of a physical, perceptual, developmental, cognitive, or learning disability. Together this makes up a very large number of people who cannot read a conventional book, magazine or website…
Libraries are a community's 'portal' to information, knowledge and leisure, and their services need to be made accessible for all. Content and technology providers are essential partners in developing these inclusive information and leisure reading services. They should do so by making good use of the emerging possibilities of digitised publishing and delivery." [IFLA Manifesto]

Koen Krikhaar, Chair, IFLA/LPD, responded to the UNESCO decision:

"Great to have this UNESCO endorsement. While the Marrakech Treaty improves the legal framework, the Manifesto expresses the political will to include everybody in the information stream. Treaty and Manifesto work well together, like two hands washing each other. The real benefit is the inclusion of all persons, including those who cannot read print, into our information society."


The focus of this IFLA Section is specific and there is an historic and ongoing connection between the LPD Section of IFLA and the DAISY Consortium. Some if not all of the founding Members of the DAISY Consortium were also members of LPD. The focus of this IFLA Section is specific: creating accessible services for persons with print disabilities by sharing expertise, creating standards, and developing best practices for making the information services of libraries more accessible and equitable. The link is clear.

A person can serve on a Standing Committee for two periods of 4 years. The LPD Section has a declining number of members (organizations) and is also attempting to deal with the fact that not enough of its members nominate people to the Standing Committee. If the number of people who have a seat on the Standing Committee is less than 10, the section as a whole is in danger of being dissolved or of being merged with another section. New faces with new talents are constantly needed to keep the Section and its Committee alive. Planning for officer succession is very much a necessity and a constant focal point of the committee.

LPD is facing declining membership, with approximately 65 current members. The LPD Standing Committee is urgently in need of new members who are committed to equitable access to information for all persons who have a print disability. Koen Krikhaar asks that if you are not already a member, please consider becoming a member of IFLA/LPD. Next year, 2015, is an election year; there are vacancies in the Standing Committee. If you are a member of the Section please speak to other members about being nominated. If you are interested in being on the Standing Committee, ask someone in the Section to nominate you into the frontline of the IFLA work.

Some Current Resources from IFLA/LPD

In August 2014, LPD's new Guidelines for Library Services to Persons with Dyslexia were adopted in principle by the IFLA Professional Committee. A Draft version of these guidelines was made available earlier this month; the final version is expected in the near future.

Presentations from the LPD session at IFLA WLIC 2014 Lyon are available for download. This was Conference Session 100: "How special are we anyway? Bringing accessible reading to mainstream libraries and markets; Progress and Challenges Ahead".

Spotlight Text: eBook Reader for People with Low Vision

"Leveraging consumer electronics is the future for accessibility technology, although user specific devices such as Braille readers will still have a place." [Dr. Howard Kaplan]

Spotlight Text App display on a TV screen with an iPad beside it on the left to show the difference in text size The Spotlight Text App for iPad was designed by Dr. Howard Kaplan to make eBooks accessible to individuals with low vision, without the need for CCTV desktop readers which can be difficult for some to use and too expensive for many. Clinical testing and development was done with the help of Lighthouse Guild International. American Foundation for the Blind contributed technological testing and evaluation for the integration of Voice, VoiceOver and usability testing. Dr. Kaplan funded the App development personally.

The Difference

Text can also easily be transmitted from an iPad and displayed on any television with an HDMI input; font size and screen size are therefore limited only to the size of TV screen. The App has a simple user interface that allows even first time iPad users easy access the world of eBooks. Font size can be expanded far beyond what is commonly available in many other e-reading applications. The dark background and font type were selected to maximize contrast and reading speed. Once text is in a digital format, it can be made to specifically adapt to a person's specific reading needs.

Bookshare & Spotlight Text

Dr. Kaplan has been working on this App for about five years. Initially he had conversations with major suppliers of eBooks such as Amazon, Google, and Barnes & Noble, inquiring about getting access to content; he was relatively confident in the methodology of how text should be displayed for maximum readability. He was surprised to find that none of the big eBook providers had any interest in co-developing a product for people with a print disability. During those five years, Bookshare's library expanded exponentially, and that is what made Spotlight Text possible.

The App gains access to the Bookshare library of more than 300,000 titles. Bookshare members simply sign in with their Bookshare Member ID and password.

This is what Dr. Kaplan said about Bookshare:

"Bookshare is very easy and gracious to work with…Bookshare's API is open source, and they will happily work with any developer to create a product that can access their tremendous library. You just need to ask them. They really are true to their mission of making books universally accessible…the design and development of the App was independent of Bookshare. However, without Bookshare's books it would not have been possible."

I asked Dr. Kaplan if Spotlight Text is available to all Bookshare members in every country where it is possible for someone to get a Bookshare membership (there are quite a number of international Bookshare members now). He replied that Apple has indicated that Spotlight Text should be available in 150 countries, and that it will work just fine with an International Bookshare Membership."

Using the App with Voice or Braille

Although Spotlight Text was developed primarily for people with low vision, it also can be used in two ways with voice output. With speak selection turned on in the iOS settings, the user then goes into the control panel, selects 'press narration on' and presses 'play'. Text and speech are synchronized; each word is highlighted and Siri reads at conversational speed. The second option for voice output is VoiceOver which works in Teleprompter Mode only. There is no word highlighting and the text and speech are not synchronized. AFB has told Dr. Kaplan that the App should work reasonably well with a Bluetooth braille reader.

Full Disclosure

The Spotlight Text App can be purchased from the Apple Store for $30.00 (US). Dr. Kaplan has arranged that any vision non-profit that has Spotlight Text on its website will get 1/3 of the sale price ($10) back as a donation. He explained that it was important for him to give back to the organizations that have done so much for people with a visual disability, and went further to say that in the US services are contracting and many of these organizations have significant budget constraints.

Additional information about the Spotlight Text App, including a FAQ, list of benefits, plus links to download the App from the Apple App Store and to sign up for Bookshare membership is available on the Spotlight Text website.

A Few Final Words

"I believe universal accessibility is achievable, but it will take a coordinated and combined effort." [Dr. Howard Kaplan]

Navigable Audio-only EPUB 3 Production Guidelines & Obi 3.5

Even though the EPUB 3 specifications were developed as specifications for eBooks, they now also apply to navigable audio books, that is, audio books with structure that allow the reader to navigate through the audio quickly and easily. For many this is reminiscent of many DAISY 2.02 and DAISY 3 books that have been produced over the past 15 years. A significant percentage of DAISY books still produced all over the world are navigable audio-only DAISY books. In addition, many of the DAISY players used for reading the DAISY books are audio-only players.

The EPUB 3 specifications form the basis of the next generation of accessible publishing, and the DAISY Consortium has a clear strategy committed to embracing its benefits. However this raises some questions for some DAISY production houses which, in many cases, produce audio-only content…questions such as 'What is the future of DAISY navigable audio-only books?'

This type of DAISY book production is still popular worldwide for a number of reasons:

The TIES Project 'Ties It All Together'

The TIES project (Transition to Inclusive EPUB 3 Ecosystem) was approved by the DAISY Board of Directors in October 2013. The objective of TIES is to facilitate migration to an inclusive publishing system for DAISY members through the implementation of the EPUB 3 specifications.

Navigable audio-only EPUB 3 Guidelines

Development of guidelines for navigable audio-only EPUB 3 publications was one of the first tasks undertaken by the TIES Production Processes Working Group which has completed the first public draft of the Navigable audio-only EPUB 3 Guidelines. The current version supports production of EPUB 3 content with navigation by sections and pages, navigation which is known to readers of DAISY books. Support for skippable structures such as notes and footnotes, as well as metadata for differentiating audio-only books from full-text full-audio content is planned for future revisions.

Publications produced according to the guidelines can be played on any EPUB 3 reading system which supports media overlays, and can be validated by the EPUB Check Validator. No special capabilities are needed for reading systems or the validator.

Obi 3.5 Now Supports EPUB 3

Obi 3.5 Screen shot - full screen Obi 3.5 which was released August 31 supports the production of books conforming to accessible EPUB 3/DAISY 3/DAISY 2.02 specifications, and specifically, in relation to the Guidelines, supports the production of navigable audio-only EPUB 3 books. The Guidelines and Obi 3.5, DAISY Consortium's open source audio-only production tool, have been implemented in parallel, allowing the developers to refine the Guidelines so that they are suitable for production systems and EPUB 3 reading systems. The EPUB Check Validator has been integrated into Obi, allowing producers to validate the content being produced in a user-friendly way.

This release supports both EPUB 3 export and EPUB 3 import. The EPUB 3 import allows producers to import structure and/or audio from existing EPUB 3 publications (media overlays, navigable audio-only, and text only). The EPUB 3 export produces publications conforming to the latest revision of EPUB 3 navigable audio-only guidelines. Navigable audio-only publications created with Obi have been tested with the Readium Chrome extension and on iBooks.

Obi 3.5 Export Dialog Additional significant Obi 3.5 features include:

Two new language packs are now available: Japanese and Arabic. The French language pack has been updated. Thanks to the following organizations for translations:

The complete list of new features and the link to download Obi are on the Obi area of the DAISY website.

The Obi-Tobi team is seeking feedback on Obi 3.5, particularly the Navigable audio-only EPUB 3 book production workflow. Feedback and suggestions about this new release of Obi can be posted to the Obi forum or submitted by email to Obi Feedback.

The Obi-Tobi team would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the development of Obi through testing, submitting bug reports, making change requests and/or making suggestions for improvements to the program.

Thanks go to Avneesh Singh, Strategy Manager, Executive Management Team and Project Director, Technical Development with the DAISY Consortium, for providing the notes upon which this article is based.

Bookshare's Updated & Improved Website

Bookshare logo Bookshare membership has grown exponentially in recent years, as has the number of titles in its collection. Over the past year they worked to bring major new improvements to their website while keeping in mind that many of the site's key core features needed to be retained. The updated & improved Bookshare website was launched this week on October 28.

The content and information to help members better use Bookshare have been improved. Information for all levels of users has been added, from learning how to download your first book for new members, to using advanced features, accessing training, and getting more involved in the Bookshare community. Many of the core features such as searching and downloading books have not changed. An added bonus is that it is mobile-friendly, so that users can enjoy an enhanced, on-the-go reading experience on tablets and smartphones.

The Welcome to the Updated Bookshare Website! page includes an introductory video which provides a 'tour' of the updated website. This page also has an extensive FAQ that covers everything from What's new? to How do I find answers to my questions?. A link to the Help Center which contains a great deal of useful information is in the upper right on each page of the site. An introduction to and summary of the new features are provided in the blog post Bookshare's Updated Website Is Live and Helps You Do More!.

Individual Members and Sponsors are encouraged to sign up for and attend one of these upcoming 30-minute webinars, November 4, 12 and 20.


I'm a project manager at Iris Media and I've started to investigate if we are working with the most efficient software or if it's more cost-effective to upgrade to another software. We have LP Studio Plus and we are reading/recording books and turning them into DAISY 2.02. What would you recommend for us?

Best regards!
Peter Broman


Dear Peter,

Although Lp Studio Plus has many advanced features it is no longer being updated and has not been updated for a number of years now. In addition it may not be compatible with new and upcoming operating systems, and it does not produce books in the latest DAISY and EPUB formats.

The DAISY Consortium has developed open source, free tools for creating accessible digital publications in the current DAISY 3 and EPUB 3 formats. Obi is used widely to create navigable audio-only DAISY 3.0 and 2.02 books, as well as EPUB 3 content. Tobi is used to produce multimedia (with full text and human voice audio) DAISY 3.0 and EPUB 3 books.

Another option is the commercial program Dolphin Publisher which supports the current formats as noted above. There is an option to try Dolphin Publisher on the Dolphin website.

You may wish to try both Dolphin Publisher (a commercial product that can be purchased) and Tobi which is available at no cost. Tobi can be downloaded from the DAISY website. If you have been using LpPlus you may be producing DAISY content with full-text and human recorded audio. If this is the case, Obi, which outputs structured audio and does not include the text of the publication, may not be quite what your company requires. If however you are producing navigable audio-only DAISY content, you can download Obi at no cost from the DAISY website. These newer tools provide output options that are not available in LpPlus; they will allow you to create DAISY 3, DAISY 2.02 and EPUB 3 content.

Support for these DAISY Consortium tools (Tobi and Obi) is provided in part through our Forums. Tutorials for these tools are available in DAISYpedia on the DAISY website. Information about DAISY Consortium training and consulting services is provided in the Training And Technical Support on our website.

Best of luck with your company's transition to whatever tool best meets your needs.
The DAISY Team

Bits & Pieces

• The article Deaf-Blind Communication Technology by Amy Mason focuses on technology-based solutions to deaf-blind communications which are specifically designed to facilitate face-to-face communications. Other major methods of communication are briefly touched upon to provide a clear picture of the landscape of current deaf-blind communications. (This article is published in the NFB October Braille Monitor.)

Understood – Dyslexia is an extensive resource for parents of children with dyslexia. Understood is made up of 15 non-profit organizations which have joined forces to support parents of children with learning and attention issues, bringing parents a comprehensive resource that no single organization could provide on its own.

• One of the three projects undertaken by Manav Ekta Mission is "Digital Accessibility for Persons with Visual Disabilities" the purpose of which is to empower the persons with visual disabilities by offering a digital platform to transform content into braille and digital talking books. Thirty books in DAISY format have been produced and can be downloaded from the Walk of Hope website. The service is available for people who are blind, visually impaired, physically handicapped, learning-disabled, or otherwise print-disabled. Prashant Ranjan Verma of the DAISY Consortium is one of several people providing guidance for the project which also includes an online training program in the production of accessible formats. It is estimated that there are approximately 14 million people who are blind and 28 million with low vision in India.

NCBI (National Council for the Blind of Ireland) is producing monthly Technology Podcasts which cover the latest technical innovations from NCBI, contributions from listeners, interviews with Assistive Technology companies as well as tutorials and demonstrations showing products that their listeners are using. Current podcasts and links to the archives and show notes are on the NCBI Technology Podcast page.

• The BBC has produced the BBC Standards and Guidelines for Mobile Accessibility. These are a set of online, technology agnostic, best practices for mobile web content, hybrid and native apps. This is a prototype and is for use by BBC employees and suppliers and anyone else involved in the development of mobile and native websites and apps. The User Experience is key to these guidelines: "Accessibility requirements should be considered, clarified and communicated before the first line of code is written…by having the foundation for accessibility documented from the outset the product becomes less susceptible to embedding barriers to access further down the line and accessibility, if done well, has the potential to help innovate a product."

AMAC (Alternative Media Access Center) was recently awarded $3.8 million over four years as part of the new "First in the World" (FITW) grant program. With this grant AMAC Accessibility Solutions & Research Center will create the Center for Accessible Materials Innovation. The Department of Education awarded $75 Million in this program to 24 Colleges and Universities. The grants will support innovative strategies at colleges & universities that make higher education more accessible and help guide students toward completion. Additional information is in the Georgia Tech announcement.

• The article Accessible ebook platforms – seven honest dealers (and a few non responders) is a JISC TechDis blog post providing a summary of a survey of 13 of the bigger providers asking about accessibility from an end-user perspective. "7 major players knew enough and cared enough about accessibility to spend time responding to the requests for information. Even though the extent of their accessibility varied they were aware of the issues and upfront about barriers as well as benefits."

• Benetech's newest volunteer initiative, Team-Up for Textbooks! is recruiting volunteer teams to proofread and format student requested textbooks, particularly during the height of textbook season when the demand is so great. You can register to volunteer online.

• Early bird registration discount rates for ATIA 2015 Orlando Pre-Conference Seminars are available through November 14, 2014.

7 online security tips for the business traveler: How to protect yourself and your data while traveling in a digital world By Deborah Gonzalez was posted October 28 on ElsevierConnect.

• More about travel … Thoughts From a Blind Traveller – Staying Connected When Overseas by Jonathan Mosen is filled with tips for getting great quality and inexpensive service to keep you connected at a decent price, and provide access to information that travellers need. (Tips here for everyone.)

• The goal of the UK government Accessible Technology Prize is to inspire technological innovation to assist disabled people in fields as diverse as education, the home, leisure, transport and work. Ministers hope it will encourage more budding entrepreneurs to tap into a market predicted to be worth over £500 million in Britain and $3 billion internationally. Deadline for entries is January 16, 2015. The winning inventor will be announced in 2016, with a £50,000 contract to take the idea to market.

• The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has recognized Benetech with the 2014 Region 6 Directors Special Award, Outstanding Small Company of the Year, for Innovative Contributions to Humanitarian Technology. Benetech won the award for its continued commitment to community improvement through literacy, environmental, and human rights initiatives.

ISO (International Organization for Standardization) which is an independent, non-governmental membership organization and the world's largest developer of voluntary International Standards has published a new standard, Accessible design -- Consideration and assistive products for accessible meeting (ISO 17069:2014). It "specifies considerations to be taken, as well as support and assistive products that can be used when organizing a physical meeting in which older persons and persons with disabilities can actively participate." (Teleconferences and web conferences are noted as important methods).

All Those "Seals of Approval" on Websites Don't Really Mean Anything: "These badges — technically called 'trust seals' — are just images. Anyone could copy and paste these images and put them on any software download page."

Tech Tips

A list of all the Google Now voice commands (updated) is posted on

• From How-To Geek this month:
° 32 New Keyboard Shortcuts in the Windows 10 Technical Preview
° What is the POODLE Vulnerability and How Can You Protect Yourself?
° Can Two Drives Connected via USB Hub Bypass a Computer When Sharing Data?
° How to Merge Folders on Mac OS X Without Losing All Your Files (Seriously): "The default folder-merge behavior in Mac OS X is to erase the existing folder, deleting all its files rather than offering to merge them intelligently. Windows and Linux file managers have offered folder-merging for decades, but Macs still don't…"
° How to Save Drive Space by Offloading Local Files to the Cloud