Digital Talking Books and ePublishing, Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities George Kerscher, Senior Officer, Accessible Information Recording For the Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D) Project Manager to the DAISY Consortium Chairperson of the OeBF Board of Directors Co-chair Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) Steering Council
In the Information Age, Access to Information is a Human Right • Since 1972, more than 50% of the population have been employed in producing or delivering information, hence the beginning of the Information Age. • Access to information is the key to education, a career, and to a fulfilling life. • The technology exists to make information accessible to persons with print disabilities who in previous times have been disenfranchised from mainstream learning and careers. • It is now essential that we all recognize our responsibilities to make the information we produce accessible and thereby support the human right to access information.
Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) Making the Web Accessible • The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is the standards setting body for the web. • The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) is one of the four domains of the W3C and ensures developed specifications meet accessibility goals.
Digital Audio-based Information Systems (DAISY) Consortium • The DAISY Consortium is made up of libraries and organizations from around the world. • The mission is to design the ideal reading system and the next generation of information technology specifically designed for persons with disabilities. • The DAISY standards are based on existing W3C recommendations. • Text uses XHTML and XML. • Natural human speech is synchronized with the text using SMIL, a W3C recommendation. • A sophisticated navigation system empowers users to move easily and quickly to any portion of the DAISY Digital Talking Book (DTB).
DAISY Collaborating with the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) • The current DAISY standard is version 2.02 and uses SMIL 1.0, XHTML 1.0 and MPEG audio files. • In collaboration with NISO, the next standard adopted by DAISY will be the NISO specification expected to go to a vote later in 2001 or early in 2002. • The goal, of course, is for a single worldwide standard!
Open eBook Forum <OeB> • The OeB is the pivotal organization in the ePublishing arena. • The OeB is committed to make eBooks for ALL -- including persons with disabilities. • The OeB Publication Structure (publishing) specification produces accessible eBooks.
Reading Systems for eBooks Need to Become Accessible • While the Publication Structure 1.0 spec is accessible, the reading systems are not. • The security wrapper of eBooks block access by adaptive equipment used by persons with disabilities. • The Digital Rights Management (DRM) have not been standardized and each company has their own solution. • There MUST be an interoperable DRM solution and the ePublications MUST be accessible.
Converging Standards • The DAISY Consortium is a member of the OeBF. • Both DAISY and the OeBF are members of the W3C. • The navigation model developed by DAISY is being adopted by the OeB in their next Publication Structure release (version 2) scheduled for release later this year. • Multimedia requirements are being introduced to the OeBF for future specifications. • The DAISY Consortium is introducing their technology into the OeBF process and the OeB is listening.