These webinars and the associated training are part of an initiative driven by the Africa Publishing Innovation Fund (APIF), a grant-giving program co-led by philanthropic organization Dubai Cares working with the International Publishers Association (IPA), and the DAISY Consortium. Read More
Creating Accessible Books for Diverse and Affordable Reading Devices
At DAISY we have a long history of working with the world’s leading technology companies to deliver amazing solutions for people with print disabilities. We’re delighted to announce our latest project which is made possible thanks to the Microsoft AI for Accessibility program.
In 2004 a global summit organized by Microsoft and DAISY began the journey towards the global sharing of accessible publications for people with print disabilities. A lot of progress has been achieved since then, but the benefits have not reached most people in lower-income countries. This project will unlock accessible reading for people who currently do not have access.
As a result of the Marrakesh Treaty more than a million books have become available under international exchange through global collaborations. These books are in file formats that deliver a first-class accessible reading experience on smart phones, computers, or dedicated hardware players. However, these playback devices often don’t reach people in low resource parts of the developing countries. Many rural areas do not have adequate electricity or internet connectivity.
In this project DAISY will be developing an easy-to-use application to convert books so they can be used by the devices typically in the hands of persons with disabilities in low resourced parts of the world. This includes basic phones, affordable braille displays, and even solar-powered audio players.
The solution will make it much easier for disability organizations, libraries, and schools to create or convert books for the devices typically used in their environments. We think of this tool like a Swiss-army knife, a small and very easy to use tool which offers multiple solutions, taking content from an array of formats and converting it automatically to various accessible formats.
Through this transformative project many people with print disabilities will be able to study at school, prepare for employment, and gain access to health and emergency information using the reading devices that are popular in their communities.
Thanks to support from Microsoft, this innovative converter tool will be made freely available to all, helping to deliver accessible reading materials in the formats needed to people all around the world.
There are many aspects to this project which we will be sharing in greater depth over the coming months. To keep up with the latest developments from this project, along with other activities from DAISY and our member organizations, subscribe to the DAISY Planet Newsletter.Read More
The DAISY AGM this year included a presentation on the European Inclusive Publishing Forum which DAISY hosts to enable the sharing of information and practices from across Europe to support the publishing community in preparing for the European Accessibility Act.
Visit our Inclusive Publishing site to read the full details from each of the case studies mentioned in the video:
- Case Study 1: Finland
- Case Study 2: The Netherlands
- Case Study 3: Germany
- Case Study 4: Italy
- Case Study 5: Lithuania
Our European Inclusive Publishing Forum pages contain the latest information about this work, including details of how you can get involved.Read More
At DAISY we are regularly approached by institutions working for people with print disabilities to request training in the production of accessible books, document conversion, and accessible ebook creation.
For the past two years, training has been delivered online, through dedicated online courses, self-study materials, and trainer-led sessions delivered over video calls.
Last month we conducted our first onsite training since the onset of Covid conducted at Dehradun, India for the National Institute for Empowerment of Persons with Visual Disabilities, the apex institution established by the Government of India for the rehabilitation of people with visual impairments. This institution first adopted the DAISY format in 2010 and got in touch again because they are now interested in creating books in the EPUB format.
The staff of the National Braille Library, National Large Print Books Library, and the National Talking Book Library of India participated in this training program delivered by Prashant Ranjan Verma, where they learned to create accessible Word documents and the steps to convert to EPUB, large print, DAISY format, and braille. Refresher sessions were separately conducted for the National Talking Book Library team which is using Dolphin Publisher and Obi to create high-quality human narrated audio books.
This training was part of this institution’s work to adopt a “single source – multiple formats” workflow, where a master copy of the book will be created in Microsoft Word format and converted to different formats as and when requested by members with print disabilities.
If your organization is interested in training on the latest techniques for accessible format and inclusive publishing practices please contact us to discuss how we can assist you with your requirements.Read More
Liblouis is a free and open-source braille translation system that powers screen readers such as NVDA, JAWS to work with refreshable braille display in various languages, as well as a variety of conversion tools including the DAISY Pipeline. To facilitate accurate translation Liblouis has dedicated braille tables for each language that it supports.
If a language is supported by Liblouis, then it is possible to read create a braille version of a document in that language for use on a refreshable braille display such as an Orbit Reader, or embossed on braille paper.
Liblouis currently supports 79 languages, and many of those languages have braille tables for grade 1 and grade 2 (uncontracted and contracted) braille. You can find the list below.
Considering the importance of Liblouis in supporting braille usage on refreshable braille displays and for the production of braille books, the DAISY Consortium is seeking assistance in compiling a list of languages that are not yet supported in Liblouis and in which accessible books are currently published. We are also seeking feedback on languages that are currently supported, but in which the braille translation may not be correct.
Once we have identified these gaps we will be able to plan for filling them by adding braille tables of identified languages. If you are aware of any language in which accessible books are published and braille translation tables are not available or currently adequate please let us know:
- Chinese Mandarin
- Chinese Cantonese
- Unified English Braille
EPUB 3 has widely been adopted by the commercial publishing community as the chosen format for digital books, and is being increasingly utilized for accessible format delivery by educators and specialist libraries. The new version of the standard, EPUB 3.3, the related EPUB 1.1 accessibility specification and the updated version of EPUBCheck is imminent and we asked EPUB 3.3 editor and DAISY developer Matt Garrish; ‘What does this mean for accessible publishing?’
What is EPUB ?
The EPUB specification is a distribution and interchange format standard for digital publications and documents. There are huge opportunities for accessibility within the EPUB standard and indeed for born accessible publications. At DAISY we have some overview information to help you familiarize yourself with the standard itself and its component parts. In addition, the W3C maintain an overview document that provides a general introduction to the state of the format as of this revision.
Can We Expect Major Changes For Accessibility?
Neither the EPUB 3.3 nor the Accessibility 1.1 revisions represent major changes. Most of our efforts are focused on taking the work we’ve already done and moving the documents through the W3C process to make formal recommended specifications of them (i.e., to be fully recognized by W3C membership). EPUB 3.2 was published by the W3C publishing community group, so those documents did not have any formal standing (they didn’t have to go through W3C membership votes, they didn’t have to show independent implementations, etc.). So, EPUB 3.3 will formalize the standard.
So, EPUB 3.3 Doesn’t Look That Much Different?
Actually, EPUB 3.3 does not look at all like EPUB 3.2 from a document structure perspective. EPUB 3.2 was made up of five specifications (not including Accessibility 1.1 which is a separate specification):
- EPUB 3.2
- EPUB Packages 3.2
- EPUB Content Documents 3.2
- EPUB Open Container Format (OCF) 3.2
- EPUB Media Overlays 3.2
The authoring requirements from these specifications have now been merged into a single specification called EPUB 3.3, which is available in draft form right now at: https://www.w3.org/TR/epub-33/
EPUB 3.3 Splits Authoring From Reading Systems
The reading system requirements have now been split out into a new specification called, appropriately enough, EPUB Reading Systems 3.3 which is also a working draft: https://www.w3.org/TR/epub-rs-33/
Separating authoring and reading systems also has the side benefit of having fewer documents to take through the W3C process and better isolation when it comes to showing how the specifications can be implemented.
What Stage of the Process Have You Reached?
We’re just getting ready to wrap up the working draft stage and move to a candidate recommendation (the links above won’t change when we do). What this means is that our focus will change from revising the technical details of the specifications to showing that the specifications can be implemented by authors and reading systems. There is a testing task force working on creating tests for all the normative requirements and then during the candidate recommendation stage we’ll be looking for implementations to prove the tests.
How Does This Affect the EPUB Accessibility 1.1 Specification?
The Accessibility 1.1 revision is very similar to EPUB 3.3 in that there are not a lot of major changes from 1.0. The new version incorporates the text improvements that were made to EPUB 1.0 as part of making it an ISO standard (ISO/IEC 23761:2021), but those changes were editorial in nature (i.e., the IDPF and ISO specifications read differently, but have the same base requirements).
The most significant change that people will need to be aware of is that we’re now allowing conformance to adapt to the latest versions of WCAG 2 as they become recommendations (the Accessibility 1.0 specification only allowed conformance to WCAG 2.0). You still have to minimally meet WCAG 2.0 Level A to meet the base requirements of our specification, but publishers are now encouraged to conform to the latest recommended version of WCAG 2 (which is 2.1 right now, but 2.2 is coming). Level AA conformance is also recommended. This means that there is now a new conformance identifier that publishers will have to use in the metadata that adapts to what WCAG version and level you have met. The details are explained here: https://www.w3.org/TR/epub-a11y-11/#sec-conf-reporting-pub.
Other minor tweaks include the separation of the page navigation and media overlay objectives into separate sections to make them easier to read, but they aren’t different from the 1.0 specification.
Will EPUBCheck be Updated to Support EPUB 3.3?
The next version of EPUBCheck, the free command-line EPUB checking tool, will provide complete support for checking conformance to the EPUB 3.3 standard. The Public Beta version is due out shortly.
The 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.
This page contains a complete lists 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.
Entire conference program and menus
Conference information in DAISY 2.02 format [.zip files]
Combined Sessions (33MB)
Tuesday Sessions (6.8MB)
Wednesday Sessions (9.8MB)
Thursday Sessions (9.2MB)
Friday Sessions (6.6MB)
Speaker Index (7.6MB)
Exhibitor Directory (20.8MB)
Exhibitor Directory by Category (7.6MB)
Direct Access via Reading Solutions
The conference materials are also being made freely available directly through reading solutions including:Read More
February saw the 4th iteration of the hugely successful NNELS Accessible Publishing Summit, held virtually for the 2nd time. One of the benefits of being held virtually was evident in the number of international delegates who joined the summit to share their expertise and experiences with the Canadian publishing industry. For the 1st time NNELS made some of the main sessions available via YouTube and the links for these sessions can be found below. What this summit does so well is to bring together communities of people to discuss and share ideas on accessible publishing via panel sessions, presentations, moderated group sessions and working group sessions.
Read our more thorough Summit Overview on Inclusive Publishing
One of the most successful elements of this summit has always been the NNELS tester demonstrations and this year was no exception:
- The first demo concentrated on Reflowable EPUB and was presented by Ka Li (NNELS)
- The second demo focused on Fixed Layout EPUB and was presented by Mélissa Castilloux (NNELS)
- The User Perspectives Panel asked many useful questions of the panel such as: How do you read? What does your access toolkit look like? What does timely and meaningful access mean for you? Lots of thoughts and ideas were presented in response to the question: What is the one issue or factor which impacts your reading experience that you would most like to see prioritized within the reading ecosystem? Answers included: access to sample chapters, DRM, reading apps to improve accessibility for screen readers, structure always, one app for everything.
- The Industry Updates and Expert Perspectives Panel was a chance for accessibility organizations to update delegates on what is new and what is on the horizon for accessible publishing. DAISY was pleased to update everyone on current activities and it was helpful to hear from others on this panel about all the good progress being made.
- The International Panel was an interesting session speaking with panelists from Italy, Australia, Brazil and the UK, highlighting the very different landscapes that we all work in and the various challenges in these markets.
Working Group Sessions
Day three allowed the delegates to get down to the nitty gritty in the 3 hour-long working group sessions . We are looking forward to the notes and resources that result from these stimulating sessions where everyone felt very comfortable in expressing their opinions and contributing to discussions. Creating the right atmosphere for this type of working experience is undoubtedly where NNELS have excelled at the summit. Congratulations to all involved.Read More
Towards the end of 2021 we held a special DAISY Information Sharing Day webinar. This part of the webinar was focused on Accessible Publishing.
This page contains:
- Video of the webinar
- Speaker Information
- Session Overview
- European Accessibility Act Mapping
- The User Experience Guide for Displaying Accessibility Metadata
- Reading Systems Evaluations Project
- Near Future Plans
- Related Resources
Full Video of the Webinar
- Richard Orme, The DAISY Consortium
- Maarten Verboom, President of The DAISY Consortium
- Avneesh Singh, The DAISY Consortium
- George Kerscher, The DAISY Consortium
- Gregorio Pellegrino, The LIA Foundation
- Charles La Pierre, Benetech
- Erin Lucas, RedShelf
- Stacy Ray, Vital Source
Maarten Verboom opened the session by welcoming the large audience and explaining that this final session looks at the developments in accessible publishing that The DAISY Consortium have been involved in.
Avneesh Singh gave an overview of this final part of the day, describing briefly the projects and areas that will be looked at:
- The European Accessibility Act Mapping Project. As EPUB Accessibility 1.1 nears Candidate Recommendation Stage (i.e. it is feature complete) it has been timely to look at whether it meets the requirements of the upcoming legislation, The European Accessibility Act.
- The User Experience Guide to Displaying Accessibility Metadata. It has always been desirable that accessibility metadata should be included with publications. 2 years ago, VitalSource began displaying accessibility metadata as it appeared within an EPUB file and it became clear that the industry would benefit from guidance in how to present this machine readable information in a user friendly way. The development of the UX Guide is a major development for the presentation of metadata.
- Reading Systems Evaluations Project. The reading systems evaluation project began in 2013 and is now managed and maintained by The DAISY Consortium via epubtest.org. Test results from this project help developers to improve their ebook reading systems for people with disabilities.
- Near Future Plans
Gregorio Pellegrino described to us the focus of this project: Do the requirements of EPUB 1.1 meet the requirements of the European Accessibility Act? The EAA, which becomes law in 2025, requires ebooks to be born accessible and the European Commission is working on which standards support the requirements of the new directive. The short answer to the question posed is “yes” and Gregorio gave us detailed examples, backing this up. The European Commission is now evaluating the mapping document and it is expected that EPUB will be deemed a suitable standard for accessible ebooks.
George Kerscher and Charles La Pierre presented the newly launched UX guide which was edited by Charles and Gregorio. User want to be able to discover content which meets their needs but in today’s market persons with disabilities do not know if they will be able to read a title or not. The good news is that there are many more born accessible publications available but it remains difficult to discover these and we need a consistent method for displaying this information in a user friendly manner.
The UX guide is divided into 2 parts: principles and techniques. The principles section looks at the key information that is required by the user and suggests a method of display that makes it straight forward for the purchaser to identify if a title meets their needs. For example; the metadata string in schema.org which reads “Access mode sufficient = textual” can actually be presented as “screen reader friendly”. A much more palatable solution!
Richard Orme, Erin Lucas and Stacy Ray presented the epubtest.org project which has become increasingly important for reading system developers as they work to improve the accessibility of their reading solutions. The consistent evaluation across platforms is welcomed together with the thorough feedback. Participation is welcomed from developers, publishers and testers globally.
Avneesh Singh completed the session by describing the focus of the near future:
- EPUB 1.1 – driving this specification through to Final Recommendation Stage
- UX Guide – Further improvements from feedback and continued work on the harmonization of metadata standards
- Accessibility Summary – Publishers would welcome best practice guidance on completing the only human readable accessibility metadata field and work has begun on the development of this documentation.
- Publishing Specification of the Future – DAISY is involved in current discussion on what the next major publishing specification might be
- Reading Systems – testing continues particularly for Math ML and Extended Descriptions
- Full video transcript
- DAISY Activities at the Information Sharing Day
- Member Activities at the Information Sharing Day
Towards the end of 2021 we held a special DAISY Information Sharing Day webinar. This part of the webinar introduced some of the innovative activities involving DAISY Members.
This page contains:
- Speaker Information
- Session Overview
- Related Resources
- Richard Orme, The DAISY Consortium
- Maarten Verboom, President of The DAISY Consortium
- Hiroshi Kawamura, ATDO
- John Brown, NLS
- Dave Williams, RNIB
- Paul Porter, RNIB
- Daniel Ainjasoja, Pratsam
- Georgine Auma, eKitabu
- Brad Turner, Bookshare
Maarten Verboom opened the day by welcoming the large audience and explaining that this second session focuses on the activities currently being undertaken by DAISY members.
DAISY in Egypt transcript
Hiroshi Kawamura spoke about the DAISY in Egypt project being run by the Accessible Technology Development Organization (ATDO), The Japan International Cooperation Agency, Egyptian Government partners and other Business partners to further the development of DAISY and accessible EPUB. Capacity building for multi-media trainers has gone well together with the development of an environment that can support this work. Next steps include: Internationalization of the EPUB Accessibility specification for use in Arabic together, making COVID 19 documentation accessible in Arabic, and the introduction of school text books with human narration that is synchronized with the full text.
Next steps include exploring the possibility of a twinning program via an International Cooperation, for Egyptian EPUB and DAISY producers with libraries who are looking to outsource to companies for Arabic content. The ABC resource sharing system could be particularly beneficial in this scenario.
Digital Braille Innovations transcript
This presentation explored the work of two major braille libraries who are expanding their braille options for readers.
John Brown from the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled in the US (NLS) presented work on the new electronic braille reader that NLS have developed which represents a huge shift in focus for the organization who can now offer electronic braille as a primary means of distribution. This small, compact device has been met with a terrific response from patrons and readers. Plans for the future include introducing compatibility with other formats (specifically EPUB), exploring the possibility of offering magazines to readers which would greatly boost the volume of content available.
Dave Williams and Paul Porter, RNIB, impressed us with the word they have been focusing on during the pandemic which initially forced them to suspend their hard copy braille library service. In response to this challenge, RNIB accelerated the digital transformation work for members, offering them a free electronic braille display together with a memory card holding thousands of titles. The ORBIT display can also be used to access millions of commercial, mainstream books. Alongside this RNIB also brought their hard copy offering via a print on demand braille service, managing the needs of all their readers.
Voice Assistants and DAISY Online transcript
The possibility of being able to leverage the new and exciting voice technology, such as Alexa or Google Assistant, is being explored by Pratsam in Finland in conjunction with DAISY members. Pratsam is a software developer, engaged in the development and delivery of systems for the production, distribution and playback of accessible books and newspapers. The Pratsam Reader Voice service supports the DAISY 2.02 specification and the DAISY online delivery protocol, enabling organizations to provide end-users with accessible content. Currently available on the Google Assistant platform, it is also being developed for Amazon Alexa. The following video explains how this works and features that are included, together with information on what has been learned along the way.
Sign Language Video in Accessible Digital Content transcript
Georgine Auma presented a technical note on guidance for including sign language videos in accessible digital publishing which was published by UNICEF in 2021. The video includes details of the 8 key accessibility features that should be included within a sign language video. After the production of quality sign language all of the content is packaged using the EPUB format. EPUB meets the required accessibility needs for deaf and hard of hearing users – an example of an accessible EPUB with embedded sign language video was shown. For further information and technical resources watch through to the end of the video!
Page AI transcript
Brad Turner presented the Bookshare project, Page AI which focuses on transforming PDF to EPUB. The process of transforming PDF traditionally results in problems with image retention, math is not accessible, and it can be a very slow and costly process. Positive results in the development of Math Detective led the Bookshare team to consider automating the PDF transformation process. The Page AI project breaks down text book pages into segments and has trained the AI to interpret the elements – have a look at the video for a demo of this new technology, showing how this information is synthesized into XHTML files. Significantly faster and cheaper this new technology allows Bookshare to fulfill requests much more efficiently.