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Libraries are now ready to prepare for the future of accessible eBook production with Dolphin Publisher's support for human-narrated EPUB 3 with media overlays.
"The EPUB 3 standard empowers publishers to create fully accessible text and audio content in a mainstream digital format" explains Mattias Karlsson, AltFormat Product Manager at Dolphin. "The addition of EPUB 3 support in Dolphin Publisher continues Dolphin's commitment to enabling digital libraries to fully engage readers with vision and print impairments with professionally produced, human-narrated eBooks". More information is available in the official press release on the Dolphin Computer Access website.
More than 1,000 experts from all around the world worked on this year’s Zero Project Report. Together, they mapped the state of implementation of the CRPD (U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) in 130 countries. They nominated 243 projects for the title of “Innovative Practice 2014” as well as 68 policies for the title of “Innovative Policy 2014".
In this year’s Zero Project Report you will find:
- Questionnaire results on the state of implementation of the CRPD, especially accessibility, from 130 countries
- 54 Innovative Practices on accessibility
- 15 Innovative Policies advancing accessibility and universal design
Among other recognized Innovative Accessible Practices of 2014 is a publication in DAISY multimedia format, developed by the Assistive Technology Development Organization (ATDO) in Japan. This is an easy to understand accessible evacuation manual for people with intellectual disabilities, currently implemented in Urakawa Town, Hokkaido, Japan.
Visit the Zero Project website and comment on:
Results on accessibility: http://zeroproject.org/indicator-type/convention/ and http://zeroproject.org/indicator-type/accessibility/
54 Innovative Practices: http://zeroproject.org/practice-type/selected/
15 Innovative Policies: http://zeroproject.org/policy/introduction/
The new website epubtest.org has been launched in a collaborative effort between the Book Industry Study Group (BISG), DAISY Consortium, and the IDPF. EPUBTest.org provides a unified home for the definitive EPUB 3 Reading System Conformance Test Suite, originally developed by the IDPF, and the next generation of the BISG EPUB 3 Support Grid. This grid has been revamped moving from an Excel spreadsheet listing high-level features into a web-based database with fine-grained results determined objectively via the EPUB 3 Test Suite. The initial set of results showcase conformance of over two dozen different reading systems. At launch, the four highest scoring reading systems were Readium for Chrome (82% on required EPUB 3 features, 74% overall including optional features), VitalSource Bookshelf (79.5% / 61.5% for Mac version), iBooks (77.6% / 60.6% for iOS version), and Kobo iOS App (71.4% / 61% ). But now the race is on: who will be the first to reach 100% conformance?
Discover how to avoid and catch the most common mistakes in an IEP (Individualized Education Program) for a student with dyslexia.
During this free 60-minute webinar, How to Make Sure the IEP is in Tip-Top Shape, Kelli Sandman-Hurley and Tracey Block-Zaretsky will share an overview about appropriate goals and services.
Date: Tuesday, February 25th
Time: 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. EST
You will learn:
- What information should be included in the IEP
- Where information for an IEP document should come from
- How to determine the level of services
- How to determine which and how many goals to include
- What should be included in the accommodations section
- State testing requirements
- Modifications versus accommodations
The Duxbury Braille Translator (DBT) has always been at the forefront in implementing Unified English Braille (UEB). Duxbury DBT Version 11.2 contains further enhancements. DBT now has a UEB Learning Series for the UK (these are a series of translators that allow learning of contractions in graduated steps). Users can now use variable width fonts on the "print side" of DBT. For many languages, this is a substantial improvement.
DBT 11.2 can read Word 2007/2010/2013 documents. It also handles tabular format, Excel files.
Other notable improvements:
- Better support for the new BANA 2011 Formats (used in the United States)
- New SWIFT 4.0 gives greater power and flexibility from Microsoft Word (SWIFT 4.0 will be released shortly)
- Nemeth Code, Braille to Print support added
- Export from DBT to Microsoft Word via HTML
- DBT has new software to handle installation and activation issues
- DBT now contains a Czech and a Chinese User Interface (see Global Menu, Internationalization)
- Formatted Braille Files with non-US encodings can now be imported by DBT (requires *.bff extension and the use of another encoding in the Global, Internationalization Menu)
- Smart Phone Integration with DBT
- More languages and better support of existing languages
- Better Embosser support
- Math file importing and braille math translation have been improved
More information is provided on the Duxbury Systems website.
NEW DELHI, INDIA (February 13, 2014) — The Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (G3ict) and Disabled People’s International (DPI) announce the release of a new report on benchmarking progress in making Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) accessible in compliance with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Key findings will be presented this week in New Delhi at Techshare India 2014, a conference and exhibition discussing accessibility and assistive technology at a national level with international participation, hosted by BarrierBreak, in partnership with the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP), the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), UK and with the support of G3ict.
Axel Leblois, President and Executive Director of G3ict said: “This 2013 edition of the CRPD ICT Accessibility Progress Report, which covers two third of the world population, documents critical global gaps in ICT accessibility. Those facts call for the United Nations post-2015 agenda to incorporate ICTs as a critical success factor for the inclusion of persons with disabilities.”
In its third edition, the CRPD 2103 ICT Accessibility Progress Report offers disability advocates, governments, civil society and international organizations monitoring the progress of the implementation of the CRPD by States Parties, unique benchmarks for country laws, policies, and programs pertaining to accessible and assistive ICTs.
Based on the findings from the 2010 and 2012 editions of the Progress Report, it is clear that digital accessibility is not merely about greater use of technologies by persons with disabilities. It is about transforming information-based policies and the ICT ecosystem. Addressing the ICT arena is part of a larger effort to build an information society based on ensuring people’s right to communicate, use knowledge for their own ends, and overcome barriers on freedom to use, share and modify ICTs and information content. This aligns with the theme of the September 2013 High-Level Meeting on Disability and Development of the United Nations General Assembly on the realization of the Millennium Development Goals and other internationally-agreed development goals for persons with disabilities. The CRPD 2103 ICT Accessibility Progress Report is available for download from the G3ict website.
SEATTLE, WA – 13 February 2014 (PRESS RELEASE): International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) and IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced a collaboration to develop a white paper highlighting lessons learned from IBM’s recent decision to support EPUB as the company’s primary packaged portable document format. EPUB is the widely adopted open standard format, for digital publications, developed by IDPF, based on HTML5 and other technologies from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), as well as technologies from IDPF. IDPF is a trade and standards association with over 300 members in over 45 countries. Increased client demand for mobile solutions, accessibility through the cloud, and the transformational opportunities both pose for enterprise content are the key drivers for IBM’s move to the next-generation portable document format. By standardizing on EPUB, IBM is also extending its leadership in accessibility and delivering a rich user experience and engagement.
“We applaud IBM’s innovation in adopting EPUB across the spectrum of enterprise content and in its education solutions, to create a better reading experience for its content across devices and the spectrum of individual needs,” said Bill McCoy, Executive Director, IDPF. “We look forward to collaborating to showcase lessons learned by a global IT leader in order to help other enterprises and content publishers move digital publishing onto the Open Web Platform.”
IBM also recently joined IDPF as well as the Readium Foundation, a consortium formed last year to develop open source tools libraries to accelerate adoption of the latest IDPF standards and bootstrap the development of compatible reading solutions. Over 40 industry leaders, including IBM, are contributing funds, people, and technology to advance the Readium effort. IBM will also be promoting EPUB based workflows in its IT solutions for e-learning and education publishing.
"Since our inception, the DAISY Consortium has focused on making knowledge and information accessible to persons who are blind and print disabled. One example of this focus is our contribution to the development of the EPUB Standards. IBM's announcement supporting Accessible EPUB 3 as the default distribution mechanism will immediately impact the adoption of Inclusive Publishing techniques around the world. All governments, business, and educational institutions should embrace Inclusive Publishing techniques to help bring persons with disabilities into the Information Age. We applaud this move by IBM to use the EPUB Standard which is accessible, portable, and re-flows content to any size screen making it perfect for mobile devices and desktop computers," said George Kerscher, Secretary General for the DAISY Consortium.
The official press release is available on the IDPF website at http://idpf.org/news/ibm_adopts_epub, supporter quotes are at http://idpf.org/news/ibm_adopts_epub-supporter-quotes.
The 8th European eAccessibility Forum will be held on March 31st, 2014 at the Cité des Sciences in Paris. It will bring together internationally renowned experts on "User-driven e-Accessibility". Save the date now! The program is available and registration is open online at: http://eaf2014.braillenet.org.
Google Australia is seeking people who are blind or vision impaired to share their experience of using Google apps on mobile devices.
Participants will be interviewed by market researchers for two hours about the assistive technology they use on their phones and tablets and how they rate the accessibility of Google apps such as Gmail and Drive. The information gathered will be used by Google to improve the accessibility of its products. Participants will remain anonymous and will be paid $200 for their time.
To join in email Qualitative Recruitment Australia [office(at)qra.net.au] or call Murray Gale 02 9371 0855.
The upcoming Zero Project Conference in Vienna (February 27-28, 2014) focuses on innovative policies and practices for persons with disabilities. The conference seeks to strengthen the commitment of all stakeholders to promote, protect and advance the rights of persons with disabilities, and to improve their daily lives. More information is provided on the Zero Project Conference website.
The CNIB Library (Toronto, Canada) has introduced an easier way to get DAISY audiobooks called Direct to Player. Direct to Player is free for all users. This new way of downloading will allow users to get DAISY audiobooks directly on their players without having to use a computer or wait for a CD in the mail.
The Direct to Player service removes the need to order books through the CNIB Library. Direct to Player will add books to a user's virtual bookshelf based on user preferences such as author and genre. If the library patron then decides the new book is not something they're interested in they can simply delete it and it will be replaced with a different suggestion.
"I remember the transition from cassette tape talking books to DAISY CD books in 2002 and I thought it was the best technology ever. Now, Direct to Player is even better," says Gerry Chevalier, a CNIB Library user from Edmonton. "Instead of waiting for a CD to come in the mail, I just turn on my player each day and check the bookshelf button to see what new book or magazine I have received." More information is provided in the official press release and in the December 2013 issue of the DAISY Planet newsletter.
Whether you are a blind student or professional, the recent free KeySoft update for the HumanWare's BrailleNote Apex alleviates many frustrations of PowerPoint access by putting the PowerPoint slides under your fingers in braille. With KeySoft 9.4, simply press enter on a PowerPoint 2007 or later file (PPTX), and KeySoft opens the presentation in Braille in an easy to understand format.
Quickly identify such formatting in slides as:
- Heading styles
- Graphics and their descriptions if provided
- Slide notes
Instantly jump to the next or previous slide buttons with first letter navigation: N for next, P for previous. If the presenter uses PowerPoint for their lecture, simply have them email you the PPTX file and follow along with the rest of the audience.
To see this PowerPoint viewing capability in action, watch a video demonstration of how to open and navigate a PowerPoint presentation using KeySoft 9.4 and the BrailleNote Apex: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkU4pYnMtKk.
Webinar Title: A tour of the forthcoming “Accessible Image Sample Book”
- Date: Thursday, February 6, 2014
- Time: 11:00 a.m Pacific (12:00 p.m. Mountain, 1:00 p.m. Central, 2:00 p.m. Eastern)
- Presenters: Elaine Ober (Pearson) and Lucia Hasty (Rocky Mountain Braille Associates)
The DIAGRAM Center’s Content Working Group co-chairs, Elaine Ober (Pearson) and Lucia Hasty (Rocky Mountain Braille Associates), will demonstrate this free online resource that shows you what some of the many options are for creating accessible versions of digital images such as maps, bar charts, diagrams, mathematical expressions, photographs, and more. Each of the seven chapters in the book shows a different complex image in context of the book it came from, along with helpful tips and the code used to provide the accessible image in a digital book. See (and hear!) the different ways that an image can be made accessible, including: short and long descriptions, tactile graphics, MathML, sonification, audio description, and 3D printing. The presenters will discuss how this resource can be used as a guide when creating accessible images in your own digital books and other digital publications.
This webinar is free and open to all. Register now: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/x35j0nb91h3t&eom.
Sharing stories on Facebook or planning your 2014 summer holiday are all made easy with Dolphin Guide 8's completely revamped web support built for people with sight loss.
"I no longer have to rely on my sighted husband to read and write email, print letters and scan my post," explains Zena who lost her sight overnight 6 years ago.
Guide 8 now makes surfing the Web easy:
Dolphin has been working with the accessibility experts at Blind Veterans UK and RNIB members as well as accessibility staff for input to the design of Guide 8's web browser. Guide 8 now empowers people with sight loss to get more from the web, with:
- Completely re-written web support, making the web more reliable and stable than ever.
- Simple voice announcements, reading out each webpage as you go.
- A new welcome web page with a few browsing tips, along with links to popular news, shopping and social networking sites to get you started.
- A new switch to view mobile websites, which tend to be less cluttered and easier to get around.
- Web pages are easier to read with options to display only the text and hide all images.
- Simple keys to jump straight to the next text box, heading, link or paragraph of text to make it easier to move around the webpage.
Presenter: Axel Schmetzke, University of Wisconsin Steven's Point Library
Date and time: January 21 at 11 Pacific, noon Mountain, 1 Central and 2 PM Eastern
Axel Schmetzke presents the findings of his recent research, through which he sought to answer the following question: To which extent do academic librarians consider, or are encouraged to consider, accessibility when selecting electronic information resources for purchase, subscription or licensing? The webinar will conclude with a discussion of best practices and strategies for improvement.
CSUN 2014 (29th Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference) organizers are pleased to announce that this year their Keynote Speaker will be Mr. Tommy Edison. He has been blind since birth and produces online videos that reveal a glimpse into his life and the funny challenges that he faces daily. Mr. Edison is also living his dream as “The Blind Film Critic”.
With his unique and interesting perspective as a movie reviewer, Tommy says “I watch movies and pay attention to them in a different way than sighted people do. I’m not distracted by all the beautiful shots and attractive people. I watch a movie for the writing and acting.” In addition, Mr. Edison has been a radio professional for nearly 25 years, having spent the last 19 at a Connecticut station as – you guessed it - a traffic reporter! Tommy’s engaging personality and humorous stories are sure to provide the conference with an entertaining “kick-off”.
General registration for the CSUN 2014 conference will start January 16, 2014.Conference fees
- Early Bird: $455 (by February 10, 2014)
- Regular: $510 (after February 10, 2014)
- Late: $550 (February 28, 2014 & On-Site)
Cancellation Request must be made in writing and received by Friday, February 28, 2014. A $60 processing fee will be assessed. There will be no refunds after Friday, February 28, 2014. All no-shows will be charged the full amount.
- Regular: $375 (by January 15, 2014)
- Late: $450 (after January 15, 2014)
More information is provided on the conference website.
The DAISY Consortium is pleased to announce the latest release of Tobi, the next generation open source production tool. Tobi empowers digital content developers to produce full text and audio DAISY 3 digital talking books as well as accessible EPUB 3 content with media overlays that enable the read aloud feature. Just like DAISY, EPUB 3 allows the synchronization of audio with text, but it is based on modern HTML5 web standards.
Tobi was the first tool that introduced the implementation of the complete DIAGRAM Content Model for image descriptions. In addition, Tobi is one of the few tools that can produce accessible publications compliant with the mainstream EPUB 3 specification. With Tobi, users can also migrate a DTBook document to a text-only EPUB 3 version, and DAISY 3 or 2.02 full text and audio DAISY book to EPUB 3 with media overlays, thanks to integration with Pipeline 2.
In early 2013, the Obi - Tobi team conducted a survey to gather feature requests and other input from DAISY Consortium members. The team then assessed the needs of the DAISY community and incorporated them into the product roadmap.
The Tobi Version 2.2 release comes with one of the requested features, “split and merge” functionality. This feature empowers users to divide a Tobi project into sub-projects. These sub-projects can be used for parallel production by distributing the workload across a team of narrators. Sub-projects can later be re-assembled to form a completed and updated Tobi project.
Please note that in this release, the project "split and merge" functionality works with DAISY 3 books only. It will be implemented in the EPUB 3 production workflow in early 2014. This feature is the first outcome of the re-factored back-end of the “Urakawa SDK”, which has been improved to support structure editing of complex markup, necessary for implementing the structure editing feature in Tobi.
Other new enhancements in Version 2.2 include:
- Single key shortcuts to make recording more convenient: ‘M’ (start monitoring), ‘R’ (start recording) and ‘space’ (stop recording)
- Integration with the latest version of Pipeline 2 (Version 1.7)
- Improved MSI, an offline re-distributable installer.
Please visit the Tobi project area for more information:
To review what’s new in this release, please go to the change log:
Obi-Tobi project team would like to thank all contributors and supporters of the Tobi project. Your feedback is always welcome.
Tobi contributes to the DAISY Consortium’s strategy of developing worldwide inclusive publishing ecosystem via innovating workflows that bridge the gaps between the mainstream publishing and the specialist accessible publishing.
Enhanced ‘consumer’ involvement is gaining momentum. Companies and service providers increasingly involve the end user in the inception, development and distribution of their products, while governments and organisations are increasingly looking to users to set standards and monitor progress.
Users who have personal experiences with accessing digital content are ‘experts by experience’. People with disabilities are no exception: they have first-hand familiarity with adaptive strategies and assistive technologies. They can have a direct impact on enhancing the quality of digital products and services. Accessibility use cases can help designers and developers identify specific barriers which compromise the overall usability of various user interfaces. Such user involvement increases the accountability of both public and private organisations and can prove instrumental in promoting political and social change.
While considerable progress has been made in user-led design, there is still room for improvement. Expert-providers and disabled users need to work together to give a louder and collective voice to e-Accessibility. Come to Paris on March 31st, 2014 and join the discussions at the 8th European e-Accessibility Forum, preliminary program is now available at http://eaf2014.braillenet.org.
Omron Group in India, part of Omron Japan, has associated with the National Association for the Blind (NAB), Delhi, to launch "Your Voice, Their World" – a project to create India’s largest Accessible Digital Library for the visually impaired students.
Mr. Takuichi Shimizu, President, Omron Management Centre of India, said, "Less than 1 % of the printed books are available to the blind students in accessible formats in India which has the largest population of blind in the world. Being a technology leader, Omron understands how powerful role technology can play in bridging this digital divide. With the seasoned expertise and widespread network of National Association for the Blind, Delhi, the project aspires to be India’s largest Accessible Digital Library in terms of accessible content and number of beneficiaries. The first phase of the project shall produce 2000 hours of recording by December, 2014.” Books will be produced in DAISY format. More information is provided in the press release.
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