News

Nominations Open – International Excellence Award for Accessible Publishing 2023

Nominations are now open for the WIPO Accessible Books Consortium International Excellence Award 2023. As in previous years, there are two categories for the awards, allowing both publishers and other initiatives to be celebrated for their work progressing accessibility in their respective fields. Nominations are open until August 4th, and the winners will be announced during a ceremony in October at the Publishers Conference in Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates. Visit the ABC International Awards page for the nomination form and details of the process. Read More

Avneesh Singh Re-Elected to W3C Advisory Board

Many congratulations to Avneesh Singh, Chief Operating Officer at The DAISY Consortium, who has been re-elected to the W3C Advisory Board, as reported in W3C’s announcement. Avneesh’s submission blog piece is available to read on the W3C submissions pages.

The W3C Advisory Board  “provides ongoing guidance on issues of strategy, management, legal matters, process, and conflict resolution” within the W3C. DAISY is delighted that the board will continue to have the benefit of Avneesh’s experience and expertise.

The elected Members of the Advisory Board participate as individual contributors and not representatives of their organizations. Advisory Board participants use their best judgment to find the best solutions for the Web, not just for any particular network, technology, vendor, or user.

Our congratulations also to Inclusive Publishing Partner, Rakuten Kobo who’s Accessibility and Publishing Standards Lead, Wendy Reid, was also elected to the advisory board.

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DAISY Annual Report 2022

Following approval at the AGM in May, the Annual Report of DAISY Consortium activities conducted in 2022 has now been published. With messages from our President and Treasurer, brief summaries of tool development, project activity, and training, along with contributions of highlights from DAISY Members.

You can download the report in EPUB format, or read the report directly on our website.

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EPUB 3.3 Becomes a W3C Recommendation

The W3C have issued a press release to announce the publication of EPUB 3.3 as a W3C Recommendation. This is a significant development and this iteration of the EPUB format offers the greatest opportunity for accessible content to date.

Accessibility of EPUB publications was an essential part of the group’s activity. As a result, the EPUB Accessibility specification has been updated and, for the first time in the history of EPUB, is now an integral part of the EPUB Standard. Furthermore, the EPUB Accessibility specification is compatible with the European Accessibility Act whose influence will be significant on Digital Publishing in the years to come.

Wendy Reid, Joint Chair of the EPUB 3 Working Group at W3C discussed the new version in our article What’s Next for Digital Publishing? EPUB 3 offers the most accessible experience for print disabled readers and we are delighted with today’s news.Congratulations to the working group!

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Ace Feedback Wanted

If you use Ace By DAISY to check the accessibility of your EPUB files we would love to hear from you. Our survey, which covers both the command line and app versions of the tool, is intended to help shape and prioritize our development plans.

Take the Ace by DAISY Survey

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WordToEPUB version 1.0.10

The free DAISY WordToEPUB tool enables the creation of accessible EPUB files from Microsoft Word documents.

WordToEPUB version 1.0.10 was released in February 2023. This version includes support for definition lists and pull quotes; enhanced image support including conversion to the WebP format; the ability to specify image filenames for the HTML export; localization for Turkmen and updated translations for Finnish and Greek, and various bug fixes.

This update includes a tool to convert an EPUB ebook to a Word document. Some alt format organizations find it easier to edit in Word, performing such tasks as adding extended descriptions or extracting certain chapters, before using WordToEPUB to convert to EPUB, HTML, or using other tools to make braille or audio versions.

If you are already using WordToEPUB then you will be given the option to upgrade next time you run it.

Free online courses are available on the DAISY Learning site to help you get the most from this tool. Accessible Word Documents introduces how to make accessible Word documents, building accessibility into the foundation of your content.  Accessible EPUB with WordToEPUB help you get started, from installing the tool to creating your first EPUB file, as well as introducing some of the more advanced features of the tool.

You can read more about WordToEPUB and download the latest at https://daisy.org/wordtoepub

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Google Update is a Potential Threat to Reading Solutions

Several DAISY Members and Friends are leveraging smart speaker technologies to provide simplified access to their libraries of audio and accessible text titles. An easy-to-use smart speaker (such as Amazon Echo or Google Home) can be a convenient way to listen to a newspaper or favourite books. They can be especially helpful for people who are less confident with smartphones and computers.

However, some of the features in the Google Assistant platform are being withdrawn, and some of our members are concerned about how their smart speaker services will be affected. The DAISY Consortium has formally written to Google and the relevant team is now aware of the issue. We are promised a response soon. In the meantime, if you are concerned about the planned sunset of Conversational Actions then please write to rorme@daisy.org and we can keep you updated with our discussions with Google.

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Remembering Scott LaBarre

Photo of Scott LaBarre delivering a presentationWe are sorry to share the passing of Scott LaBarre, DAISY board member representing the National Federation of the Blind, USA, who passed away surrounded by his family on Saturday, December 10th 2022.

Scott championed the cause of accessible books for many years and was a leader in the long and successful campaign securing the Marrakesh Treaty. Scott joined the DAISY board in 2018, and was also a willing volunteer for our board working groups and participated enthusiastically in the online meetings held during the limitations of the global pandemic.

We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Scott for his significant contribution to fulfilling DAISY’s mission to make information accessible to people with disabilities, wherever they live in the world.

Read the NFB Statement about Scott LaBarre.

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Congratulations to ABC Excellence Awards Winners 2022

Many congratulations to the winners and finalists of the Accessible Books Consortium International Excellence Awards for Accessible Publishing, announced this week at The Guadalajara Book fair. The awards are divided into 2 categories:

Initiative Award

The finalists in this category were:

and we are delighted to announce that DAISY associate member, Dorina Nowill Foundation for the Blind in Brazil, received a special commendation from the judging panel.

Winner: Mr. Ashoka Bandula Weerawardhana, Sri Lanka

For the first time this award was presented to an individual, Mr. Ashoka Bandula Weerawardhana. Mr. Bandula has worked tirelessly to ensure that educational texts are produced in accessible formats in Sri Lanka, developing an efficient production workflow to provide Braille textbooks in Sinhala, Tamil and English using the most recent accessible reproduction techniques. The DAISY Lanka Foundation also engages in:

  • promoting inclusive publishing
  • developing standards/guidelines for accessible content production and
  • facilitating a fair distribution platform in Sri Lanka.

Publisher Award

Finalists in this category were:

Winner: Kogan Page, UK

Kogan Page was recognized for developing a production workflow that ensures its front list titles are fully accessible for people who are print disabled. The jury also cited Kogan Page’s advocacy of an accessible chain of distribution for people who are print disabled.

Nominees were judged on the criteria of outstanding leadership or achievements in improving the accessibility of ebooks or other digital publications for persons who are print disabled.

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Shortlist Announced for ABC International Excellence Awards 2022

The short-list for the 2022 ABC International Excellence Awards in Accessible Publishing has been announced in advance of the awards ceremony to be held at the Guadalajara International Book Fair, on November 2022.  There are two categories of awards, publishers and initiatives, and the following nominees were selected from nominations from around the globe:

Publishers

Initiatives

A jury made up of representatives from publishers, organizations working in the field of accessibility, and organizations representing persons who are visually impaired, is charged each year with the difficult task of choosing finalists and selecting winners. Congratulations to all those shortlisted!

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