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Here you will find the latest news as well as upcoming and previous events.

CSUN Conference 2024 Files

CSUN Conference LogoThe DAISY Consortium is delighted to once again support the CSUN Assistive Technology Conference by creating accessible digital versions of the conference materials, and offering them for download in HTML, DAISY 2.02 and EPUB formats. Thanks to the CSUN Conference Team for making the information available in advance to facilitate conversion. The catalogue of conference materials is available in Dolphin EasyReader and Thorium Reader apps. Alternatively, this page contains a complete list of downloadable files, which are shown with their approximate size. Downloads start immediately after a link is selected. All session information should be reviewed alongside the addendum on the CSUN website for changes to the schedule. The audio versions of the conference resources were produced using the Azure AI voice Andrew. You can listen to a sample of this voice below:

Download and read in Dolphin EasyReader (Android, iOS, Windows)

If you don’t already have it, download the free EasyReader App. Navigate to “Manage libraries” and enable “CSUN 2024”. Then browse the catalogue and select the materials you wish to download. These will be added to “My books”.

Download and read in Thorium Reader (Linux macOS, Windows)

If you don’t already have it, download the free Thorium Reader App. Navigate to “Catalogs” and select “Add an OPDS feed”. Give the feed a name (such as “CSUN 2024”), enter the link “https://daisy.org/csundocs”, and then select “Add”. Then browse the catalogue and select the materials you wish to download. These will be added to “My books”.

Download files from the DAISY website to read with your choice of app or device

Entire conference program and menus

HTML version .zip file (13MB) EPUB text only version .zip file (10MB) EPUB text and audio version .zip file (409MB)

Conference information in DAISY 2.02 format [.zip files]

General Information (17MB) Pre-conference Sessions (4MB) Advertisements (3MB) Combined Sessions (141MB) Tuesday Sessions (31MB) Wednesday Sessions (40MB) Thursday Sessions (41MB) Friday Sessions (30MB) Speaker Index (11MB) Exhibitor Directory (22MB) Exhibitor Directory by Category (8MB) Quick Guide By Date (10MB) Quick Guide By Room (12MB) Quick Guide By Topic (42MB) Quick Guide By Level (10MB) Fresh Bites – In Room Dining (2MB) nFuse (7MB) Slice Pizzeria (0.5MB) The Market (1MB) Read More

Delivering Talking Books by Telephone

Icon of a telephone handset with a speech bubbleAround the world specialist and mainstream library services are delivering talking books through a variety of ways, from conventional CDs to streaming content via dedicated devices, apps on smart phones, or home assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home. These established services are all working well around the world, however a new service from Delhi in India has adopted a different approach for some very good reasons.

The users of the National Association for the Blind in Delhi (NAB Delhi) are using a new interactive service to access their audiobooks through a conventional telephone call.

NAB Delhi identified that, while the majority of their users didn’t have easy access to the types of devices utilized by users of other library services, most did have easy access to a phone with calls at low and sometimes no extra cost in cases where unlimited calls are already included in their monthly bill.

Users of the system can call a dedicated number and use an interactive voice response system to select and read their preferred DAISY format books, newspapers and magazines, using the telephone keypad to control playback.

The system enables easy access to audio information without the need for IT skills, training in specialist devices, or even an internet connection. The pilot project offering capacity for 100 lines has already seen some positive results and the project is being scaled-up to offer a wider range of services to more users.

Plans include using the system to provide public information including disaster preparedness, as well as expanding the content available to include educational material. The service will also be the only place that people with print disabilities in the region can access newspapers and magazines within hours of publication.

Further information about the project is available on the NAB Delhi website.

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Barriers to Accessible Reading in Developing Countries

Photo of a road blocked by a fence which is chained and padlocked preventing accessAt DAISY we are working to facilitate access to information globally, including parts of the world with the most limited access to resources. To ensure the best results we need to understand the current practices, technology, and barriers being faced so that we can work to address them. One of the ways we achieve this is by conducting regular surveys, and while this work is still ongoing, we are happy to share preliminary findings from our latest research.

The current survey examines a broad range of topics related to accessible information, technology, and regional requirements. One of the clear themes identified as a barrier relates to language support in assistive technology. For example, the leading braille transcription applications do not currently support Swahili which is used in Tanzania, Kenya and Mozambique, spoken by more than 200 million people, and Chichewa which is the native language of more than 14 Million people in Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Zambia. The lack of support in braille tools prevents the creation and use of digital braille files in these languages, which means braille resources are severely limited often needing to be produced by hand.

There is a similar story in text-to-speech language support for the accessible production of audio, with almost all African and Central Asian languages unavailable in a usable format. Some very basic synthetic speech is available for languages such as Filipino, Amharic, and Swahili, but these are much more primitive compared to the modern synthetic speech used in western countries, and a world away from the latest cloud services. For the local languages of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa (other than Zulu) even the most basic robotic voices are not available, limiting accessible audio to human narrated titles.

Even if text-to-speech and electronic braille support were available in these languages, they would prove most effective when a digital document is available. Unfortunately, in even more languages, the ability to scan and convert a printed document into digital text through optical character recognition (OCR) is not even an option, presenting a further barrier in the journey to utilizing technology to create accessible information.

The survey also identified that, perhaps unsurprisingly, staffing resources were also very limited. Many of the staff had very low IT skills, and library services for people with print disabilities were often delivered without the involvement of a professional librarian. Many countries including Ghana, Bhutan, Cameroon, Tanzania, Gambia report not having any government or non-government organization providing library service to persons with print disabilities.

There aren’t any magical solutions that address all the challenges faced by developing countries, but we are able to make progress in a few areas.

By working with specialist and mainstream technology companies, as well as producing our own free-to-use tools, together we can begin to address some of the major barriers, levelling the technological playing field and facilitating rapid access to content in required languages and formats.

We’re also improving the skills of people producing and supporting accessible formats. Since 2016 the DAISY Consortium has delivered 48 training sessions in 28 countries through ABC, and 29 sessions in 13 countries through other partnerships. In addition, the DAISY Learning system provides an increasing range of free training courses on accessible format production to anyone with an internet connection.

By conducting regular research like this, and through working in partnership with international and local organizations, we can begin to address the inequalities faced by people with print disabilities in some of the least resourced parts of the world.

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Upcoming Events

Inclusive Africa Conference 2024

May 14, 2024 - May 16, 2024

Nairobi, Kenya

DAISY AGM 2024

Date: May 30, 2024

Paris, France

Tactile Reading Conference 2025

June 2, 2025 - June 4, 2025

Amsterdam, The Netherlands