2021: Developments

Annual Report 2021 cover imageDAISY leads several open-source development initiatives that deliver practical solutions to Members and the wider community.


The very popular tool for audiobook production was enhanced and refined further in a series of updates throughout the year, including audio processing features like noise reduction and normalization, an improved import workflow, export options and general performance improvements. Obi now also houses a reference implementation of the W3C Audiobooks recommendation specification to aid the evolution of this new format. Obi is used for audio book creation and editing all around the world, providing a free and robust application for content production.


Our tool for producing sophisticated books with audio synchronized with text is currently in maintenance mode and did not require updating but remains a popular solution for multimedia book creation.


Our cross-platform framework for document processing and conversion is regularly updated and received a series of updates in 2021. These included extended text to speech support, support for Google Cloud TTS connectivity, new and updated conversion scripts, including adding EPUB accessibility metadata to titles. DAISY Pipeline continues to provide the reliable content creation and conversion solution which is depended upon by organizations around the world.

WordToEPUB Tool

The free and highly usable tool to convert structured Microsoft Word Documents to EPUB received regular updates throughout the year. A range of enhancements were made including support for embedded audio and video, charts and shapes, ruby annotations, vertical writing support and integration to LibreOffice. WordToEPUB is now used widely for accessible document creation, including in education and mainstream publishing.


Work has begun to revitalize the popular Word plugin which supported exporting of structured Word content to DAISY format. Building on Pipeline developments, an initial test version was released with incremental updates performed throughout the year. While not yet ready for mainstream use, Save As DAISY is well on the way to deliver one of the most requested DAISY tools.

Ace by DAISY

The accessibility checker for EPUB received several maintenance releases throughout the year to ensure it continued to provide a reliable service analyzing and reporting on EPUB accessibility issues, as per the latest specifications updates. Ace has become the tool that mainstream publishers globally rely upon for their accessibility testing prior to publication.


The Simple Manual Accessibility Reporting Tool (SMART) for EPUB supports the continued accessibility testing which can only be conducted manually, working through the Ace report. SMART has received a series of updates including changes in readiness for the EPUB Accessibility Specification 1.1 changes. The publishing sector have access to the tool through limited free trials and via the Inclusive Publishing Partner level of Friend Membership.

Accessible Publishing Knowledge Base

At the very heart of EPUB accessibility is the Accessible Publishing Knowledge Base reference resource from DAISY. The Knowledge Base has been updated regularly to ensure it conveys current best practices and quality advice.

Reading System Testing

Our site for testing and recording reading app accessibility has received regular updates to improve usability, with our volunteer testers completing and publishing the results of over 40 tests. In addition to enabling consumers to make informed decisions about suitable applications, reading app developers rely on these tests to prioritize improvements to their products, with a degree of friendly competition between app developers encouraging changes and ultimately benefiting all parties.

Our Inclusive Publishing website continues to be the leading resource for information and advice on accessibility and publishing. A regular flow of articles, event information and newsletters conveying the latest industry developments, along with regular site updates ensures relevant information is delivered to publishers, developers, educators, and consumers globally.

W3C Publishing

Throughout 2021 we continued our focus on creating, maintaining, and influencing accessibility standards related to publishing, which involved leadership and contributions to Business, Community, and Working Groups. Developments included work on EPUB Accessibility 1.1, EPUB 3.3, WCAG 2.2, the User Experience Guide for accessibility Metadata in Publishing, harmonization of accessibility metadata of and ONIX, and work to ensure readiness for the European Accessibility Act requirements.

Special Projects

Music Braille

This collaborative project continued to make strategic improvements to music braille conversion tools, file formats, and related resources. The professional automated music braille converter tool ‘MakeBraille’ is now available under licence from dzb lesen. The new free interactive music braille tool for blind musicians ‘Sao Mai Braille’ incorporated significant music braille functionality in its first year of development, and accessibility improvements were also made in the mainstream notation software ‘MuseScore’. These tools are already proving valuable in the sector.


Delivered under contract to W3C, DAISY maintain the EPUBCheck tool for validating EPUB files against the specification, a prerequisite for all published material to ensure they are well formed and will function as expected on reading systems. EPUBCheck received several updates throughout the year, with additional work taking place to prepare for EPUB 3.3.

Next: Training & Support

2021 Annual Report Index: