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October: Dyslexia Awareness Month

DAISY News - 11 hours 5 min ago

As with other learning disabilities, dyslexia is a lifelong challenge. This language processing disorder can affect reading, writing, spelling and speaking. Dyslexia is not a sign of poor intelligence. Children and adults with dyslexia have a neurological disorder that causes their brains to process and interpret information differently. Dyslexia occurs among people of all economic and ethnic backgrounds.

 

Most of classroom activities are based on reading and writing. It's important to identify dyslexia as early as possible. Using alternate learning methods and materials, including DAISY, people with dyslexia can achieve success. Each October, the International Dyslexia Association aims to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of dyslexia and offer resources to parents, teachers, and individuals with dyslexia. Their 2014 Campaign is dedicated to families. Every dollar raised will help provide handbooks to families around the world.

 

From October 1-31, 2014 you can make a donation to ensure that the IDA Dyslexia Handbook: What Every Family Should Know, gets into the hands of as many families as possible. A donation of just $10, will get a handbook to ten families. The more parents can be informed, the more children can be helped. Details are provided on the IDA website.

Understanding World Sight Day

DAISY News - 11 hours 5 min ago

The World Sight Day is held on the second Thursday of every October, making October 9th the day for eye awareness in 2014.

 

It was initiated by the Lions International Club and integrated with the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) task force known as Vision 2020, in October 2000.

 

The primary focus of this day is to educate various communities about avoidable blindness. According to the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), by the year 2020, the number of blind people will increase to 76 million. More information is provided on the IAPB website.

AMAC Receives the Department of Education First in the World Grant

DAISY News - 11 hours 5 min ago

As part of the Department of Education's First in the World program, AMAC Accessibility Solutions & Research Center, a part of the Georgia Tech College of Architecture, was recently awarded $3.8 million over four years to create the Center for Accessible Materials Innovation. This center, which will target students at minority serving institutions (MSIs), will expand access to digital content for students with disabilities, thereby improving their retention and graduation rates. More information is provided on the Georgia Tech, College of Architecture website.

Training Workshop on “Inclusive Publishing” Held for the First Time in Bangladesh

DAISY News - 11 hours 5 min ago

Training workshop on “Inclusive Publishing” was organized September 15 to 17, 2014 at the BASIS Auditorium, Dhaka. This program was conducted by the DAISY Consortium with support from WIPO and Accessible Books Consortium. The partner organizations from Bangladesh were Access to Information program, Prime Minister's Office (A2I), Government of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) and YPSA. Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid handed over the certificates to the trainees during the closing ceremony at the Prime Minister’s Office on September 18th. Mr. Prashant Ranjan Verma and Mr. Amit Verma facilitated the training program.

 

The objective of this program was to make the publishers aware of the lack of reading material in accessible format for persons with print impairments which include people with blindness, low vision, dyslexia, certain physical disabilities and the illiterate/low literate. The participants learnt how they can adopt inclusive publishing by making eBooks which are for everyone including people with disabilities. The publishing industry is in a transition stage where more and more publishers are coming out with eBook versions of their publications. If publishers take care of the accessibility requirements then all eBooks will be born accessible and there will be no need for further adaption for people with print disabilities. This can dramatically increase the availability of reading material for people with print disabilities. More information is provided on the GAATES Global Accessibility News website.

EASI Webinar Series: Creating Accessible EPUB 3

DAISY News - 11 hours 5 min ago

Fee-based Multi-part Series on Creating Accessible EPUB 3 Documents.


This 4-part Webinar series is a fee-based series, but it is free for EASI Annual Webinar members. The registration fee for the series is $225. There is also a scholarship available for those unable to obtain the funds for the series: http://easi.cc/scholarship.htm


Week 1: Tobi, how to enhance accessibility of EPUB 3 publications with synchronized audio and image descriptions


Presenters: Avneesh Singh, Project Manager, DAISY Consortium and Daniel Weck, Systems Architect, DAISY Consortium


Tuesday, October 7: 11 Pacific, noon Mountain, 1 Central and 2 PM Eastern

 

In this seminar, speakers will summarize the benefits of EPUB 3 for accessible publishing. The presentation will describe how to add audio Media Overlays and image descriptions to existing mainstream e-books. This will be accompanied by live demonstrations, and this webinar will include an open Q&A session.


Week 2: Using Word to Prepare a Document to be Converted into EPUB 3 Format


Presenter: Karen McCall from Canada


Tuesday, October 14: 11 Pacific, noon Mountain, 1 Central and 2 PM Eastern

 

This week, Karen McCall, provides an overview of the elements of a well-structured Word document that can then be converted to other formats such as EPUB with "relative" ease. Topics include proper use of headings, adding footnotes, end notes, page numbers, lists, tables and providing alternate text and captions for images. It is impossible to overemphasize the importance on clear structure that is accomplished by proper semantic markup. All of this is done behind the scene and is often ignored. Looking good is not enough for a good document.

 

Week 3: Using RoboBraille to Convert Documents into EPUB 3 Format


Presenter: Lars Ballieu Christensen from Denmark


Tuesday, October 21: 11 Pacific, noon Mountain, 1 Central and 2 PM Eastern

 

RoboBraille is an automated, self-service solution for people who need to convert documents into alternate formats. The service allows users to convert files in most common formats into audio books, digital braille books and ebooks. The service may also be used to convert otherwise inaccessible tricky documents into more accessible formats. At the webinar, Lars will walk you through the service and how it can be used. He will also talk about how universities and other academic institutions can use the SensusAccess interface to RoboBraille to provide a self-service alternate media solution for students, faculty and alumni.

 

Week 4: What is EPUB and How to Create EPUB documents from Open Office


Presenter: Norman Coombs


Tuesday, October 28: 11 Pacific, noon Mountain, 1 Central and 2 PM Eastern

 

Open Office is a free, open source suite of applications that fill similar functions to Microsoft Office. There are many free extensions to download that will extend the capabilities of Open Office. One of the extensions will let you save a document in the EPUB format. In that regard it has similarities to the Save as DAISY add-in for Word.

 

EASI annual members register from the member-only page at:

http://easi.cc/member/index.htm

Non-members can register and pay online with a PO, credit card or check from the Webinar page: http://easi.cc/clinic.htm#october

Non-members unable to obtain funding for the series should apply for the Dick Banks Memorial scholarship at: http://easi.cc/scholarship.htm

SuperNova 14.03: Enhanced Access to Books for Blind and Partially Sighted People

DAISY News - 11 hours 5 min ago

SuperNova 14.03 has been released to expand reading opportunities for blind and partially sighted students.

 

Thousands of books from Load2Learn and other accessible libraries can be read instantly with SuperNova's unique combination of magnification, speech or braille. SuperNova can also transfer books to a portable player for reading on the go.

 

Find out more about reading accessible books with SuperNova by watching Dolphin's short video on YouTube.

Web Accessibility Tutorials on Images and Tables Now Posted

DAISY News - 11 hours 5 min ago

Web Accessibility Tutorials on Images and Tables are now available. Additional tutorials will be announced soon. These tutorials show you how to create web content that is accessible to people with disabilities and that improves the user experience for all users. They include general guidance, and specific examples for HTML5 and WAI-ARIA. More information is provided on the W3C website.

Save the Date: The Pacific Rim International Conference 2015

DAISY News - 11 hours 5 min ago

The Pacific Rim International Conference, considered one of the most ‘diverse gatherings’ in the world, encourages and respects voices from “diverse” perspective across numerous areas, including: voices from persons representing all disability areas; experiences of family members and supporters across all disability and diversity areas; responsiveness to diverse cultural and language differences; evidence of researchers and academics studying diversity and disability; stories of persons providing powerful lessons; examples of program providers, and; action plans to meet human and social needs in a globalized world.

 

In 2015, new topic areas will promote thoughtful discussion and suggest new ways to integrate education, technology, advocacy, activism and interdisciplinary research. We all strive to strengthen communities and enhance the lives of all human beings. Together, we can harness the tremendous synergy generated by the intermingling and cross-fertilization of diverse perspectives, and ‘spread the word’ as we continue our professional and personal life journey.

 

Take your first steps to the islands by visiting the conference website: www.pacrim.hawaii.edu. Organizers welcome your ideas, suggestions and enthusiasm. You are welcome to Waikiki, Hawaii, May 18 & 19, 2015.

Sept. 8th International Literacy Day: Support Marrakesh Treaty

DAISY News - 11 hours 5 min ago

World Blind Union (WBU) letter to all governments:

 

The Marrakech Treaty one year on - many signatures but just one state ratification (thank you India).

 

In June 2013 governments put aside their differences and agreed an historic, ground-breaking treaty to help us end the "book famine" in which just a few percent of books are available in formats we can read. This Treaty must be ratified by at least 20 countries to come into force, so that we can actually benefit from it. An un-ratified treaty is just a piece of paper. World Blind Union has issued a plea to all the world's governments to finish the job they started in Marrakech, and allow us to start the job of getting books to people who so badly need them. You can use the letter on the World Blind Union website as a template to write to your own government, asking them to ratify this treaty.

Techshare Middle East: Call for Submissions

DAISY News - 11 hours 5 min ago

Techshare Middle East is a conference and exhibition discussing accessibility and assistive technology at a national and regional level with international participation. Techshare will take place in Doha on November 4th and 5th, 2014. It will provide a chance to network, share experiences and influence the future of accessibility throughout the Middle East.

 

Mada is the Qatar Assistive Technology Center, based at ictQatar in Doha. Mada was created in 2010 to connect people with disabilities to technology. In the last four years Mada has supported hundreds of people to connect to technology through advice, assessment, provision of equipment and training. In 2014 the Prime Minister of Qatar, launched the new Mada strategy for the coming three years. Techshare Middle East provides a key element of that strategy in promoting technology for access and raising awareness of the needs and potential of people with a disability in Qatar. Submit your proposal now. The call for papers closes September 15.

DAISY Consortium releases Obi 3.5, upgraded for producing EPUB 3 navigable audio-only publications

DAISY News - 11 hours 5 min ago

The DAISY Consortium is pleased to announce the latest release of Obi, the popular open source navigable audio book production tool that enables the creation of books conforming to accessible EPUB 3 / DAISY 3/ DAISY 2.02 specifications.

 

Version 3.5 presents the capability of producing navigable audio-only EPUB 3 publications. Users can now create a publication conforming to the latest revision of the EPUB 3 audio-only guidelines (http://www.daisy.org/ties/navigable-audio-only-epub3-guidelines). They may also import existing EPUB 3 publications (text-only, navigable audio-only & Media Overlays) for modification or conversion to the EPUB 3 audio-only format.

 

Obi 3.5 includes EPUB 3 Validator to ensure compliance with the EPUB 3 standard, which uses IDPF’s EPUBCheck Validator in the backend. It also introduces the ability to import MP4 files, thereby broadening the scope of Obi users to re-use and re-purpose existing audio content from the web & EPUB 3 publications.

 

This latest release also introduces the features prioritized by DAISY members, which include:

  • Capability of importing structure from CSV or delimited text file. These files can be created by entering the structure information of the book in any spreadsheet software, such as Microsoft Excel, and saving it in the CSV or delimited text file format.
  • Introduction of audio profiles for one-click configuration of audio preferences; enabling you to configure the behavior of recording and playback to suit your requirements.
  • Smart access to various playback options via Playing Options button on transport bar, and new additions to the Recording Options button.
  • Framework for integrating audio processing libraries for functions such as amplification, normalization, etc.

Plus many other enhancements & bug fixes.

 

The new Obi comes with Japanese & Arabic language packs, along with updates to the French language pack. Thanks go to the following organizations for the translations:

  • Assistive Technology Development Organization (Japan) for Japanese
  • Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Egypt) for Arabic
  • Association Valentin Haüy (France) for continuously updating the French translations.

Please visit the Obi project area to check out the full list of features and improvements:

http://www.daisy.org/obi/

and download Version 3.5 at

http://www.daisy.org/obi/download/

 

The Obi - Tobi team is committed to enrich Obi with new features. This allows to bring Obi in-sync with the upcoming technologies, as well as serve the members by incorporating the features requested by them. As a result, Obi has become more advanced, convenient and efficient to use.

The DAISY Consortium would like to extend a special thanks to all contributors for their valuable feedback and support.

CSUN 2015: General Call for Papers

DAISY News - 11 hours 5 min ago

The 30th Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference, also known as the CSUN Conference, invites submissions of papers for this conference to be held March 2-7, 2015 at the San Diego Manchester Grand Hyatt hotel. The General Call for Papers will be held from August 25, 2014, to October 10, 2014. To begin a submission, visit the General Call for Papers Procedures & Instructions page.

 

For detailed information about submitting a Scientific/Research Track Call for Papers Proposal, visit the Journal Call for Papers page.

Registration Closing Soon: NFB's Web Accessibility Training Day

DAISY News - 11 hours 5 min ago

The Web Accessibility Training Day at NFB in Baltimore is coming up soon, and seats are filling fast. Don’t miss the opportunity to attend as the speakers are stellar, and the content is immediately useful to anyone dealing with accessibility. You can find the full program at http://nfb.org/web-accessibility-day. Organizers are looking forward to welcoming you at the Jernigan Institute on September 9th. Registration will close on August 29th.

Get to Know Online DAISY at IFLA Conference (August 22-23) in Paris

DAISY News - 11 hours 5 min ago

Pyxima, the developer of the Online DAISY platform, is the Premium Sponsor at IFLA's WLIC 2014 Satellite Conference on August 22-23, 2014 in Paris.

 

On Friday, August 22nd, starting at 15:30, they will demonstrate the apps that are currently being used by more than 35.000 reading impaired persons in Norway, Sweden and Belgium. In addition, the new Online DAISY app will soon be added to the App store.

 

On Saturday, August 23rd, starting at 14:30, Pyxima staff will be talking about their project for lending e-books from 300 public libraries in Belgium. In association with this project, they have developed an app for lending e-books from the library and reading these publications online and offline. This app is the first one in the world to combine the Readium open source EPUB reader with the DAISY Online Delivery Protocol.

 

See the full conference program at http://inova.snv.jussieu.fr/ifla-lpd/colloques/colloques/83_programme_en.html.

ISIF Asia Award Winners for 2014 Announced: Congratulations Young Power in Social Action!

DAISY News - 11 hours 5 min ago

During the 2014 call for nominations, the ISIF Asia Award program received 93 nominations across the four categories from 16 economies in the Asia Pacific. Each winner received a cash prize of AUD 3,000 to support the continuation of the project or the organization conducting the activities and a travel grant for a project representative to participate at the 9th Internet Governance Forum (Istanbul, Turkey. 2-5 September 2014) to showcase their project, make new professional contacts, and participate in discussions about the future of the Internet.

 

The Associate Member of the DAISY Consortium, Young Power in Social Action, won in the Innovation on learning and localization category, for accessible reading materials for grades 1-10 students with print disability through DAISY standard. YPSA's project in Bangladesh supports students with print and learning disabilities, and low literacy by creating access to DAISY full text and full audio digital books, Braille books and accessible e- course books. Approximately four million Bangladeshis are visually impaired, and around 48 per cent of the population is illiterate or low literate. YPSA, along with the Prime Minister¹s Office, has produced DAISY digital multimedia books for the student of years 1 to 5, which proved accessible and cost effective. YPSA will now extend the range of textbooks to cover the entire secondary level. Congratulations, YPSA!

Free Webinar: Information Access Using ReadHear

DAISY News - 11 hours 5 min ago

Date and time: August 7th at 11 Pacific, noon Mountain, 1 Central and 2 PM Eastern


Presenters: Wunji Lau and Dave Schleppenbach from gh, LLC.

 

ReadHear is an e-book reader for Windows and Mac OS with versatile audio features, synchronized highlighting, and support for a wide range of file formats. ReadHear provides built-in support for MathML enabling access to STEM textbooks, coursework, and other educational and professional materials.

 

Presenters will describe the features and functions of the ReadHear software and summarize research studies using ReadHear in educational settings, and explain how the software handles math content.

 

Register for the August 7th webinar on the EASI website.

RNIB: Smart glasses to improve life for people with sight loss

DAISY News - 11 hours 5 min ago

There are almost two million people in the UK living with sight loss. Over 90% of these individuals have some remaining vision. The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), Full Member of the DAISY Consortium, are developing smart glasses that enable those with very limited vision to make use of what sight remains, increasing confidence and providing richer ways to navigate and communicate with people. The prototype has already enabled users to identify faces and obstacles more clearly than they have seen for years.

 

Within 18 months, RNIB hope to be able to revolutionize the lives of 1,000 people living with sight loss, providing the foundations to create a low-cost version with additional functionality for people with sight loss around the world. Vote to make their vision a reality.

Mark Bide Appointed as IPA's Special Adviser on Digital Publishing, Standards and Accessibility Strategy

DAISY News - 11 hours 5 min ago

The International Publishers Association (IPA) has appointed Mark Bide as its special adviser on digital publishing, standards and accessibility strategy.

 

IPA Secretary General Jens Bammel said: “In the area of standards, metadata and infrastructure development, we need to provide leadership and strategic advice to our members. Mark has been a trusted expert and strategic visionary in this area for more than 20 years. His roles at digital consultancy Rightscom, industry standards body EDItEUR and the Publishers Licensing Society have given him a wealth of experience. IPA is delighted that we can count on his insight into the drivers of our digital future.”

 

He added: “Promoting accessibility is a strategic issue for publishing. Not only can technical improvements enable publishers to reach new customers; accessibility features can unlock the potential of digital publications in ways that mainstream consumers will value. Mark will play a major role in helping the publishing industry embrace accessibility.”

 

Bide said he was "delighted” to be able to support the IPA in these areas of activity.

 

He stated: “Helping the global publishing industry to understand how to change and what they can do to become great digital publishers, particularly how they can improve access to their publications for people with print disability, will be an exciting challenge.” More information is provided in the official press release.

All-in-One Integrated Title Searches: Collaboration by APH and Bookshare

DAISY News - 11 hours 5 min ago

DAISY Members, the American Printing House for the Blind (APH), and Bookshare, announced a new collaboration that gives readers who are visually impaired easier and integrated access to hundreds of thousands of book titles all at one site using APH’s Louis Plus database. “Instead of visiting several websites and searching each site individually, a person seeking accessible books can now search many sites at one time using our Louis Plus database to streamline the process,” said Julia Myers, Director of Resource Services at APH.

 

In 1989, APH first created a file repository that would later become the Louis Database of Accessible Materials. In addition to materials from APH, the database grew to include information on more than 390,000 accessible books and other materials produced by over 160 organizations throughout the U.S. These items include K-12 textbooks that are available in braille, large print, audio, and electronic format.

 

“Providing easier access to printed materials through integrated searches has been one of our goals,” said Betsy Beaumon, Vice President and General Manager of the Literacy Program at Benetech. “We’re so pleased that we could collaborate with our partner APH to make it a reality.”

 

More information is provided in the official press release.

Tobi 2.4 Brings Parallel Production Capability for EPUB 3 Projects

DAISY News - 11 hours 5 min ago

DAISY Consortium is pleased to announce the new release of the next generation open source multimedia book production tool, Tobi.

 

Tobi is a unique software tool that can produce books compliant with both the DAISY 3 and the mainstream EPUB 3 specifications. It includes the unique capability of adding accessibility enhancements, such as image descriptions, to the mainstream EPUB 3 publications.

 

The new release makes the production of EPUB 3 files more efficient. It introduces the Split and Merge command for EPUB projects, empowering the users to divide a large Tobi project created from EPUB 3 publication into sub-projects, so that they can be distributed for parallel production. These projects can then be updated concurrently and finally merged back together to form a completely updated Tobi project.

 

Specifically, the behaviors of the recording and playback commands have been refined to provide uninterrupted recording, and smart playback that stops automatically on occasions where screen reader speech needs more attention. In addition, rendering of MathML expressions now happens on selection, to reduce the loading time of projects. This release also addresses reported issues and includes other bug fixes.

 

To download Tobi or to learn more about it, please visit the Tobi project area http://www.daisy.org/tobi/.

 

For more information about what’s new in this release, please visit the change log http://www.daisy.org/tobi/change-log.

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