There are five feature articles in this issue of the DAISY Planet; the first Techshare Middle East 2014: A Successful First and third DAISY Delivers at Techshare Middle East share with you some of the highlights of this conference. Most of us do not have an opportunity to attend major (or minor for that matter) international conferences. I've always thought that bringing articles about these events to you in our newsletter is just about the next best thing to actually being there.
The second article From Exclusion to Empowerment: Role of ICT for Persons with Disabilities: UNESCO Conference is obviously also about sharing event highlights. This was an extremely high profile event with speakers and participants from around the globe, from NGO's, educational institutes, for-profit companies, governments, and the United Nations. What a wonderful opportunity to share our knowledge and experience with making information accessible and to stress that there is still so much to be done to achieve equitable access for all.
In France Productivity Improves with Obi, the fourth article, is in part about how Association Valentin Haüy (AVH) has introduced Obi in France to increase production of accessible publications. Be sure to read this article as there is much more to it that will be of interest.
The final feature article, Center on Technology and Disability, is about a recently launched and extensive online resource that is available to everyone, at no cost. The focus is on assistive & instructional technology supporting learners with disabilities. This is a brief article that I hope will provide at least some of you with useful information.
As many of you know December 3 is International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD). The theme this year is Sustainable Development: The Promise of Technology. The annual observance of this Day began in 1992 and yet "In spite of being the world's largest minority group, persons with disabilities and the issue of disability has remained largely invisible in the mainstream development frameworks and its processes." Events to celebrate the Day at UN Headquarters include the launch of a global campaign for the "Universal ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities". Please visit the UN enable IDPD webpage for more information and to learn how you can help celebrate this important day.
There is some good news on the Marrakesh Treaty. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) ratified the Treaty on October 15, 2014. It is the third country to do so, with India being the first and El Salvador the second…17 more countries are needed to ratify the Treaty which will then come into force. Please, advocate with your government to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty. (For anyone who is a more recent reader of our newsletter, the "Treaty" is the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled).
I have brought you updates and information about the progress of what is now known as the WIPO Marrakesh Treaty since 2008. It has been signed by many countries but it is important to note that only those countries which ratify this Treaty will benefit from it when it comes into force, and, it will only come into force when 20 countries having ratified). I hesitate to say "if" it comes into force, but unless many more countries come forward and ratify, it may be an "if" rather than a "when". The World Blind Union (WBU) continues to advocate for and encourage people around the world to contact their governments to promote the ratification. You can find information about what you can do to help on the WBU Marrakesh Treaty – Right to Read Campaign page and in issues of the WBU E-Bulletin. Let's not let all of the incredible effort that has gone into getting this far go to waste.
On December 11, Maryanne Diamond, the key individual in WBU efforts to make the Treaty a reality, Chair of the Right to Read Campaign & Immediate Past President of the WBU, will be one of 11 speakers in the TEDx program TEDxPlaceDesNations. It will "showcase remarkable stories of people helping people…you are invited to hear from innovators, humanitarians, entrepreneurs, scientists and peacemakers about the impact they are making to find solutions to today's challenges and shape tomorrow's world." The Programme (including times) and information about the speakers is posted. The event will take place in Geneva; however you will be able to watch the event live on the TEDxPlaceDesNations site. Put December 11 on your calendars now.
Although I have mentioned and linked to the article Reach More Users Worldwide with EPUB 3: Follow Accessible Standards and Guidelines by Varju Luceno in Publishers' Corner this month, I'd like to also draw your attention to it here. If your organization is looking for a clear, easy to understand explanation of why publishers should incorporate EPUB 3 and its accessible elements into their workflow, this is an excellent place to start. Sharing it with publishers in your country may help to put them on the path to producing digital content that is "born accessible".
I want to congratulate Avneesh Singh, DAISY Consortium Strategy Manager, Executive Management Team & Project Director, Technical Development. He is one of the five people who will receive the "NIVH Excellence Award 2014" on December 3 in Dehradun, India. NIVH, the National Institute for the Visually Handicapped, is a premier Institute of the Government of India in the field of visual disability. The outstanding achievements of five individuals who are blind are recognized each year with this award. This is a well-deserved honour…congratulations Avneesh!
Donor Spotlight: Carole H. Lake, a Benetech guest blog this month, deals in part with donor support for Bookshare. However, I found that Carole's words about getting books on vinyl records for her grandmother (who had lost her sight) and her own love of reading touched me deeply. That, I'm quite sure, is what a donor blog is supposed to do: "…I realized that it isn't about what I want to read, and it's certainly not about what I think you ought to read. Rather, it's about each individual [Bookshare] member being able to read exactly what he or she wants. Today. Right now, by immediate download. Now that's a good thing!" I'll take this further and say that it is much more than that. Bookshare now has many members and partners around the world. However there are still millions and millions of people, in developing countries in particular, who cannot get information that is accessible and/or in their native language, not just a specific book he or she may wish to read. That is the tragic inequity we must continue to strive to resolve.
I read the article Work It Harder Make It Better Do It Faster Makes Us Stronger: Improving the least productive, most important, and definitely the longest part of your waking hours (your job) by Kevin Roose thinking I might pick up a few good tips. To be honest I didn't learn anything new but Roose has an incredibly good sense of humour and as I read I ended up laughing out loud. If there'd been anyone around they would have thought I'd lost my mind. So, if you're looking for a good chuckle, put that article at the top of your 'must read' list.
In the interview Google's T.V. Raman on Open Source Technology as a Force for Social Good, Raman finishes with "Tech volunteerism is extremely rewarding. I would encourage everyone to try it, independent of your skill level or role." This interview, conducted by Emma Irwin, is interesting and well worth reading. It is posted on SocialCoding4Good. I'd like to tie into Raman's closing words with this quote from the Henry van Dyke, poet (1852-1933): "Use the talents you possess, for the woods would be a very silent place if no birds sang except the best." You don't have to be 'the best' to make a difference in the world.
The story this month is from Vashkar Bhattacharjee, a rather remarkable man who lives in Bangladesh. Vashkar explains that "only a very, very small number of visually impaired or blind people in Bangladesh have a job. Very few get an education. Most of them beg in the road." In light of this it is clear that he has beaten the odds, and in doing so he has helped and continues to strive to help young people who are blind or have a visual disability to get the information, education and training they need to participate fully in society. He closes with these words: "Together we can build a world free of barriers." Thank you Vashkar, it has been a true pleasure getting to know you a bit better and working with you on 'your story'.
Thanks to everyone who has written to me with ideas, articles and suggestions for this issue of the DAISY Planet. Special thanks go this month to David Banes, Deputy CEO of Mada, the Qatar Assistive Technology Center for the article Techshare Middle East 2014: A Successful First and to Jean-Pierre Carpanini who is with AVH CERTAM for providing a summary of the impact of Obi in France.
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.
• The EPUB 3 EDUPUB Profile Draft Specification was released October 10. This document represents the product of the third iteration of the development cycle of iterative releases. EDUPUB is the emerging EPUB 3 profile for next-generation educational content.
• Five training modules, each 30 minutes long, are designed to help publishers understand the accessibility needs of persons with print disabilities. The modules were produced by EDItEUR with WIPO funding and provide information that will enable publishers to better understand their audience and to reach more readers. Links to these online training modules are on the Inclusive Publishing area of the Accessible Books Consortium Website.
• Reach More Users Worldwide with EPUB 3: Follow Accessible Standards and Guidelines by Varju Luceno, Director of Communications and Marketing, DAISY Consortium, clearly outlines some of the reasons why publishers can benefit from creating "born accessible" content. It concludes with: "The main promise of EPUB 3 and accessible digital publishing is the opportunity to reach more people. This is true whether you are trying to bring your content to global audiences or try to reach users with accessibility challenges. Interactive, accessible publications unlock information for more readers at home, businesses, in classrooms and beyond." This article was posted November 27 on the EPUBZone Blog.
• Unlocking the Potential of Digital Content for Education, the BISG EDUPUB Summit, will take place December 4 in New York, NY. This will be an opportunity to engage in dynamic conversation with peers and industry experts about the potential of the EDUPUB profile for educational publishing. Details and a link to register are on the BISG website. Registration is limited to 25 attendees. BISG (Book Industry Study Group) is an Associate Member of the DAISY Consortium.
• Two articles in "Developing e-Accessibility as a Professional Skill", a G3ict Business Case White Paper Series, provide valuable information about accessible publishing: ACCESSIBILITY: A BASIC SKILL FOR PUBLISHERS by Luc Audrain, Head of digitalization, Hachette Livre, and, DEVELOPING ACCESSIBILITY AWARENESS AND TRAINING FOR PUBLISHERS by Sarah Hilderley, EDItEUR. This White Paper which was published earlier this year can be downloaded from the G3ict website.
• Field Guide to Fixed Layout for Ebooks created by BISG is a practical guide to the ins and outs of creating fixed layout eBooks from industry experts, featuring information on when to use fixed layout (and when not to), accessibility issues, interactivity, retailer standards, authoring tools, and more. It is available for download in EPUB and PDF formats.
• The EDUPUB Alliance is made up of standards organizations and stakeholders developing a comprehensive model for exchanging and distributing learning content based on EPUB 3, the overall Open Web Platform, and other emerging and adopted standards. There will be an EDUPUB Implementation Workshop in Phoenix, Arizona on Feb 26 to 27, 2015. The workshop will focus on practical issues in deploying EDUPUB compatible content and systems, as well as discuss the longer term EDUPUB roadmap. Details will be available in the near future on the IDPF website.
• On November 13 Amazon and Hachette announced that they have resolved their differences and signed a new multiyear contract. This officially brings to an end one of the most bitter publishing conflicts in recent years. Details are in the New York Times article Amazon and Hachette Resolve Dispute by David Streitfeld.
This article was written by David Banes, Deputy CEO of Mada, for publication in the DAISY Planet newsletter.
November 4 and 5 saw a small but significant step taken within the Middle East as over 300 people attended Techshare Middle East, a major conference on technology and accessibility for people with a disability. Organized by Mada, the Qatar Assistive Technology Center, supported by members of the DAISY Consortium and sponsored by Vodafone, 121 captions, Nattiq Technologies and Qatar Datamation Services, the event offered global insight into best practices and future trends in creating digital inclusion for Arabic speakers.
Sixty-four speakers across 25 seminars and panels may have created some scheduling challenges but guaranteed lively debate and something for every attendee to take away. Topics were wide-ranging, including accessible publishing with major contributions from Stephen King and George Kerscher, but also exploring new technologies for people with a disability including indoor way finding, the use of robotics for people with autism and the implementation of technology and accessible design in education and employment.
A new conference in a new region presents interesting challenges to speakers and audience alike. Some assumptions and cherished beliefs are challenged, questions such as the nature of independent living or the role of the family in supporting accessible technology are discussed and debated, as was the role of technology in a rapidly changing landscape with very high penetration of mobile devices. There was great interest in the lessons learned from an organization that only addresses technology access across all settings, rather than a disability or age group.
Of course some of the outcomes of the event are always those things that go on behind the scenes or across the lunch table. The potential for collaborations between the National Library and members of the DAISY Consortium was discussed. Translation and localization of new mobile resources for phone users, and the implementation of a proof of concept a way finding system into the Mada system suggested that the benefits of such an event will be long lasting and were sometimes surprising.
Perhaps the final word in reviewing such an event needs to be given to the audience. Some of the comments in the online evaluations underline the importance of Techshare growing and reaching even more people in the future:
"It was definitely a good experience to attend this conference as it was my ever first conference based on Assistive Technologies. Thank you."
"Thank you for a wonderful chance to network and learn more about several Arabic nations and the work being carried out in the field of AT."
"I enjoyed being in this conference and I told my colleagues that they were the best 2 days ever I had in Doha. I wish I can be part of any Techshare conference anywhere in the world."
Plans are now underway for a second Techshare conference in 2015/16, building upon the success and the lessons learned from the first. Updates and news are available on the Techshare ME website. All of the presentations given at the conference are posted and can be downloaded from the conference website.
The Mada team, the conference sponsors, the presenters and participants make this conference, the first of its kind in the Middle East, a great success. Special thanks go to David Banes for writing this article which helps to share this experience with others around the world. Mada is an Associate Member of the DAISY Consortium.
This international conference which took place in New Delhi, India, November 24 – 26 was attended by key representatives from NGO's, educational institutes, for-profit companies, governments, the UN, and of course UNESCO which is one of the specialized UN agencies.
The Conference description details how the event would establish clear thematic linkages between the following articles of the UN Convention (UNCRPD): Article 6 – Women with Disabilities; Article 9 – Accessibility; Article 21 – Freedom of Expression and Opinion, Access to Information; Article 24 – Education; Article 27 – Work and employment; and, Article 32 – International cooperation. The objectives, structure and expected outcomes of the conference are clearly described on that page.
The major objective of this international event has been to:
"…promote the human rights and fundamental freedoms of persons with disabilities and to encourage all stakeholders to take concrete measures for the empowerment of persons with disabilities through the effective application of ICTs." [UNESCO website]
The extensive agenda for the three day conference is online.
Stephen King, President of the DAISY Consortium, was one of more than 100 speakers and moderators identified in the conference speakers list. Others known to many in the DAISY community were Hiroshi Kawamura, Immediate Past President and Board member of the DAISY Consortium; Dipendra Manocha, Developing Countries Coordinator, Lead of Training and Tech Support, DAISY Consortium, President of the DAISY Forum of India and of NAB; Rob Sinclair, Chief Accessibility Officer, Microsoft USA; Richard Orme, International Council for the Education of Visually Impaired People, ICEVI Technology Initiative Lead; Lord Colin Low, Member of the House of Lords, the Parliament of the UK, Vice-Chairperson of RNIB, and President of EBU; and, James Teh, Executive Director, NV Access Limited. Speakers were from around the world, including Europe, North and South America, Asia, the Middle East, Australia and of course India.
DAISY featured heavily during the conference, particularly on the 2nd and 3rd day. Stephen King was the moderator for Parallel Session 11, "Making Information Accessible for Persons with Disabilities", which was organized by the DAISY Consortium and the World Blind Union. In this session the panel addressed and presented cost-effective and viable solutions for making information accessible for persons with disabilities. Dipendra Manocha's presentation Learning from Development Projects in which he addressed gaps in technology and infrastructure in addition to achievements and issues has been posted to DAISY Slideshare. Also on the 2nd day Hiroshi Kawamura presented in Session 7 "UNDESA-UNESCO Forum: Inclusion of Disability in the Post-2015 Global Development Agenda" which focused on the Millennium Development goals.
During the presentations on open access journals (Session 15, "Open Access Policies for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities") Stephen King raised the issue of whether the DAISY Consortium's work on EPUB 3 could be used for open access journals. Even though there is still a focus on PDF for these publications his suggestion was well received and contact was made with Donal Fitzpatrick the chair of the session. He was very positive toward the suggestions and was keen to follow up. Anna Maria Cetto, Research Professor, Instituto de Física, UNAM, Mexico, was also enthusiastic about the potential of EPUB 3 for open access journals and possible involvement of the DAISY Consortium in open access journals. Ms. Cetto runs a network of journals in Central and South America.
Presentations from Japan highlighted using DAISY to help make mathematics accessible. Katsuhita Katsuhito Yamaguchi, Professor, Nihon University, Junior College, in Japan and his colleague Mr. Masakazu Suzuki spoke about using DAISY for access to Maths in journals which are published in PDF.
Presentations from India featured using Microsoft Word and Save As DAISY plus DAISY Consortium tools to deliver accessible open access journals. There was a great deal of interest in using the tools developed by the DAISY Consortium as well as in the wider context of inclusive publishing. In addition there was also significant interest in connecting with the ABC TIGAR Service, development, and ICEVI inclusive education projects.
The DAISY Consortium had a stand on 26th which was worked by our staff team in India. Information on the work of the Consortium and about the Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) and the International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI) was made available. Our team was on hand to answer questions and discuss issues raised.
The first DAISY Board Meeting held in the Middle East took place earlier this month in Doha Qatar immediately prior to the Techshare Middle East Conference. The meeting was graciously hosted by the Qatar Assistive Technology Center (Mada). Linking the Board Meeting with the conference allowed numerous members of the Board to stay on for and present at the conference. Stephen King, President of the Consortium, has provided the abstract for his presentation for publication in this issue of the DAISY Planet.
"People who cannot read ordinary print books due to blindness or print disability may struggle with education, work and social inclusion. In some countries the e-Book revolution is transforming this situation for those with the appropriate knowledge, skills and technology. But there are still big problems to solve before everyone worldwide can read what they want, when they want, using their choice of eyes, ears or fingers. This is the goal of the DAISY Consortium and Accessible Book Consortium.
This presentation will set out how the DAISY Consortium and Accessible Book Consortium are working with authors, publishers and technology companies worldwide to develop a better, more inclusive way to publish in all languages, using e-Books as the starting point. It also describes the building of a global marketplace, library and network to share special accessible resources across the world, so that people and agencies can benefit from materials produced in other parts of the world in all languages. The Marrakech Treaty enables this legally. A large co-operative effort is now underway to reach the above-mentioned goals.
The presentation will provide further insights into how people and agencies in the region can participate in and benefit from this work."
Sharing information and expertise with individuals in a part of the world which does not currently have extensive holdings of accessible publications is critical if everyone, everywhere, is to have access to the information he or she needs and wants. The presentations given at Techshare ME by the members of the DAISY Board and staff team are listed here, with links to each of their presentations. All of the presentations and papers can also be downloaded from the conference website.
In alphabetical order by surname:
The presentations given by Stephen King, and George Kerscher and Avneesh Singh are also posted on DAISY Slideshare. The direct links to each are: Inclusive Publishing: The Journey to provide Accessible Digital Books and Ending the Book famine through E-Book Technology and International co-operation
Association Valentin Haüy (AVH), a member of DAISY France, continues to translate Obi, the DAISY Consortium's open source production software for DAISY titles with audio and structure. The Association has been providing translations since 2012, with French being one of the first translations of Obi. Having a software program in one's native language has a significant impact on its uptake and overall effectiveness.
Jean-Pierre Carpanini who is with AVH CERTAM (Centre Evaluation and Research Technologies for Visually Impaired and Blind) has provided a summary of the impact of Obi in France:
"About the returns on our experience with Obi, we find that the translation has greatly contributed to its popularity in France. Its interface is simple, making it easy to grasp. In France, the production of DTBs with human voice is important for individuals and small organizations or when textual sources are not available.
Regional groups of AVH which produce audio books, use it more. Their previous practice was to create files with Audacity, and then, send the result to the centre in Paris for all tasks like structuring and exporting to DAISY format.
By enabling local production directly in DAISY format, Obi saves a lot of production time, increases productivity, and, involves the volunteers who record their voices in the DAISY format from the beginning of the process.
The fact that Obi is open source, that it's supported by the DAISY Consortium, and that it benefits from regular updates is also a major benefit that we never fail to report and which is appreciated by the French public.
We have also had some feedback from users outside the AVH. They now use this tool to support local people "unable to read" or for the organization to which they belong. For some, it's an opportunity to discover the existence, use and benefits of the format.
In the latter part of this year several training programs are being regularly given by regional committees of the AVH in the use of Obi, and at least one training is being held outside of our Association.
With the latest version 3.5 of Obi we can now prepare the transition of our DAISY 2.02 audio books to the EPUB 3 format. This is a something very important to prepare the future of our library.
Finally, the use of French is not limited to our territory. We strongly hope that the many other francophone countries also find Obi to be a cost-effective product for the widest possible diffusion of DTBs adapted for their users."
Jean-Pierre has made several excellent points. One that stands out at the end is that the Obi can benefit other French language countries. The French translation of Obi is available to any individual, organization or company, at no cost, to produce DAISY 2.02, DAISY 3 and/or EPUB 3 publications with audio and structure. One additional point is that Obi is fully accessible with a screen reader.
It should also be noted that AVH has taken a lead role in introducing DAISY full text and audio content produced with synthetic speech to France. For information about the Association's venture into synthetic speech, please read the article AVH TTS Audio Books: A Success Story in the December 2013 DAISY Planet. Another example of the Association's progressive approach to providing the best service possible is described in AVH Partners with Bookshare. The Association has taken the approach that different tools serve varying needs in different circumstances. The result is better, more comprehensive services for their readers.
The work of AVH to translate this program into French has helped the Obi project team to make the translation process more user friendly. Since the first translation into French in 2012, Obi has been localized into a number of additional languages including Finnish, Japanese, Arabic, Hindi and Tamil. The Spanish translation is currently a work in progress.
Thanks go to Jean-Pierre Carpanini and Fernando Pinto da Silva, AVH Chef de projet informatique, for reporting on the status of Obi usage in France, and to AVH for continuing to update the translation of Obi as new releases are available. The Obi project team and all who benefit from the internationalization of this program would like to thank AVH and all DAISY Members and Obi users for contributing the translations, testing and input. If you or someone else in your organization would like to look into translating Obi into your local language you can reach the Obi team through the Obi Forum or with the Obi Contact Us Form (Category: Project Obi).
Earlier this month the CTD Online Open Institute opened its 'online doors'. There are 3 primary resources on the website, and they are available to everyone. The resources are the Library, the CTD Café, and the Learning Center.
The CTD Library comprises hundreds of evidence-based resources, including fact sheets, videos, training materials, research reports, and other relevant and current information on assistive and instructional technologies. These resources are structured under the categories: Early Childhood, Education K-12, Family & Student Support, Transition, and, Trends & Research. The CTD Café hosted its first webinar and multi-week forum earlier this month. The Learning Center which is still under development will offer in-depth, expert-led e-learning modules on a wide array of AT and IT topics. The Library requires no registration, however a short online registration needs to be completed by those wishing to participate in Café and Learning Center events; registration is free.
The CTD Library includes a captioned video series "AT in Action" which is designed to strengthen awareness of AT devices that help individuals with disabilities participate fully in school, at home, and in the community. In the video Meet Joe this 11th grade student, who is very interested in math and technology, talks about how he uses assistive technology to help him succeed in school. Joseph, who has dyslexia and dysgraphia, talks about how he uses both Bookshare's Read2Go and Learning Ally Audio App for reading.
There is no cost to register. The online registration form is straight forward and easy to complete. For those who are not US residents there is an "Other" option at the bottom of the dropdown list in the field for "State". Online registration is only needed once to participate in events over the next 4 years.
The Center on Technology and Disability and the CTD Online Open Institute are funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).
About the "Dear DAISY" text in the DAISY Planet of October. There are other options than Obi. I would like to let you know that we are testing a new software "Hindenburg" to create DAISY (or EPUB), together with Dedicon in Holland.
Hindenburg is a Danish company that already developed audio software for journalists in the broadcast world, and now has added the DAISY requirements to the software.
The HABC (Hindenburg Audio Book Creator) is very good in audio-editing, and when our tests end positive, we will be using it somewhere, beginning next year.
You can find Hindenburg at the Hindenburg ABC Product page.
Editor's Note: Hans sent this email to me via the DAISY Training & Technical Support list. There was a further email to that list from Kjetil Hærås who is with Christian Work Among the Blind and Visually Impaired (KABB) in Norway explaining that they have switched from LpStudio/Pro to Hindenburg.
When I am listening to a DAISY book from the CNIB, RNIB or Bookshare using Read2Go and my iPhone, is it connected to, and using the Internet as the book is playing, or as I am navigating it?
Generally speaking it would depend upon whether the service was a streaming service or a download service. If it is a streaming service your iPhone would have to be using the Internet while you are reading and/or navigating. If it is a download service the book would be on your iPhone and would not have to have access to the Internet for you to read the material.
The Read2Go app downloads eBooks. The website indicates book sources: Bookshare … other DAISY 3.0 and 2.02 books". As Read2Go downloads the eBooks, it should not matter what the source is, Bookshare, CNIB, RNIB or other source, you should be able to read those books on your iPhone regardless of whether you are online/using the Internet or not.
The Read2Go website also shows that there is now an update that supports downloading books with images.
Hope this helps,
The DAISY Team
• The World Blind Union Asia Pacific (WBUAP) Mid-Term Regional General Assembly was held November 21–24 in Hong Kong. Implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty was a big theme. DAISY Board members Neil Jarvis and Stephen King reported that it was also clear that localisation of NVDA screen reader was having a big impact. The presentation given at the WBUAP Assembly by Stephen King, President of the DAISY Consortium, was Partnering with WBU To Deliver The Right To Read Worldwide; it has been posted on DAISY Slideshare. Inclusive Publishing: Reading for Everyone presented by Neil Jarvis, DAISY Board representative for the Blind Foundation in New Zealand is also posted. All of the presentations given at the General Assembly will be available from the WBUAP website. Other speakers in "Symposium: Right to Read" along with Stephen King included Maryanne Diamond, Immediate Past President of WBU, and Michael Curran, Executive Director, NV Access Limited.
• A seminar on Inclusive e-Learning which was organized by the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) took place on November 24 in Hong Kong. It featured experts from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the DAISY Consortium and was organized for local universities, schools and libraries. An abridged English version of the Web Accessibility Video produced by OGCIO and featured at the seminar has been posted on YouTube (note that the narration is in English however some of the dialogue is not).
• The Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Saksham (a non-governmental organization serving persons who are visually impaired) for the production of approximately 180 educational books for senior high school students in the Indian states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. The number of visually impaired senior school students who enroll in grades 9 to 12 in these states is, as a result, expected to increase from approximately 2,000 to over 4,000. Funding has been generously provided by the Ministry of Culture, Media and Sport of the Republic of Korea. The MoU was signed in October. Additional information is provided in the article ABC to help bring accessible books to visually impaired high school students in India posted on November 3.
• In the article Google makes image recognition advance in BBC News Technology the advances made with artificial intelligence software "could be used to help blind people understand pictures better, Google said." Another article in the Wall Street Journal, Google Can Now Describe Your Cat Photos is also about this advancement.
• All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development will host an "Innovator Spotlight Webinar" on December 3, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The webinar (8 a.m. EST.) will feature two of the winning Round 1 grantees, Save the Children Sri Lanka, and Perkins International, and their work to extend literacy to children with disabilities. A link for registration is provided.
• On December 5 Learning Ally will present Spotlight on Dyslexia, a full day, online virtual conference for parents and teachers of children who have dyslexia. It will feature a cast of 21 live web-based speakers, including some of the most celebrated specialists and experts in the field. Participants will be able to communicate and interact with speakers as well as with each other. Recordings of the conference will be available for 60 days following the conference to those who sign up. There are multiple sessions from which to choose in each "block". Full details are given in the agenda. There is a reduced registration fee for Learning Ally members.
• The HIMS webinar "Tips for Using AT for Safer and Easier Independent Travel" will take place on December 9 at 3 PM Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). You can register on the HIMS website. Recordings are made available after the webinars to those who register.
• Step by step instructions for transferring Bookshare books to an NLS Player are posted on the Bookshare Help Center.
• In the SoundCloud interview Ed Gamble talks about the Daisy online 3G player Ed talks about the Vision Australia project to convert DAISY CD players to 3G players using mobile phone parts inside the old CD players. Issues such as the development process, VA library users who have never used the Internet (making this as simple as possible), and advantages of online delivery including timeliness, are covered. (For additional information please read the article Vision Australia Online Delivery Project.
• The 15th International Mobility Conference (IMC15) will take place July 6-9, 2015 in Montreal, Canada. The Conference program will be shaped around the theme "A world of innovation". Conference Partners include Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Blind Foundation (previously the Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind) Vision Australia and HumanWare. The conference website is available in English and French.
• There are now Bookshare members in more than 45 countries around the world. The list of countries is on the Bookshare Without Borders page. Bookshare's fee structure is based on the World Bank designation of countries as being high-income, upper-middle income, lower-middle income or lower-income. Bookshare subscription fees are broken down by this designation. Membership Partners around the world are listed by continent and country. Membership is free for U.S. students and U.S. Schools can also obtain free organizational memberships.
• Nominations for the 2015 Hall of Fame are now being accepted. Since its inception in 2001, 54 individuals have been inducted into the Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field for the outstanding services they have provided to people who are blind or visually impaired. The criteria and eligibility for nominees, and the requirements for nominators are given on the APH webpage How to Nominate a Leader to the Hall of Fame. Individuals from North America, which is defined as US, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean, are eligible for nomination. The nomination process will close March 27, 2015. Additional information about the Hall of Fame, including information about inductees and videos is available on the APH website. The Hall of Fame is curated by the American Printing House for the Blind (APH), an Associate Member of the DAISY Consortium.
• "Internet Governance at a Crossroads" was the first Geneva Internet Conference which took place November 17-19 under the auspices of the Geneva Internet Platform which was launched earlier this year. "It aimed at providing concrete proposals for the future internet governance arrangements, articulating the roles and responsibilities of relevant stakeholders, including governments, companies, and civil society, and ensuring cross-fertilisation between internet governance and other policy processes. [Geneva Conference Looks At Internet Governance 'At A Crossroads' by Elena Bourtchouladze for Intellectual Property Watch]". Additional details are provided in the Geneva Internet Platform November 20 press release.
• The W3C HTML Working Group published HTML5 as W3C Recommendation on October 28. This specification defines the fifth major revision of the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). Among the many features HTML 5 brings are: native support for MathML, scalable vector graphics (SVG), annotations important for East Asian typography (Ruby) and features to enable accessibility of rich applications. In terms of accessible mathematics this means that publishers can now legally embed mathematics as MathML in HTML5 pages. Browser support for MathML is critical to accessible mathematics. However, not all browsers will be implementing MathML immediately. Currently the only browser with good MathML support is Firefox.
• You can produce a full text/full audio multimedia publication with word level synchronization with Tobi if the source document being imported is marked up at the word level.
• The article OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box: Which cloud storage service is right for you? is a reasonably comprehensive and relatively updated comparison of the four cloud storage options named in the article title, plus "Copy", a fifth service, also in the comparison.
• From How-To Geek this month:
° How to Access FTP and WebDAV Sites in Any Operating System's File Manager
° How to Move Files From One Cloud Storage Service to Another
° Benchmarked: What's the Best File Compression Format?
° How to Automatically Delete Files in Your Download Folder on a Schedule