May 7, 2008
Microsoft has joined with Sonata Software
Ltd. and the Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY)
Consortium to launch an initiative to make Word documents more
accessible to blind and print-disabled users. “DAISY” is the
comprehensive system for the next generation of information to
be delivered to blind or print disabled persons called "Digital
audio-based Information System" and the DAISY Consortium is the
worldwide coalition of libraries and institutions serving print
disabled persons, developing the open standards, tools, and
techniques for the next generation of "digital talking books" (DTB).
The usability of a DAISY digital book could be compared to that
of a cassette tape, the format in which most accessible books
were, until relatively recently, available. As audio tapes are
fast becoming obsolete, the DAISY format was originally
developed for the world of digital talking books delivered on
CD, other portable media, or over the Internet.
Created via an open-source project, the new "Save as DAISY XML"
add-on for Word 2003, XP, and 2007 makes it possible to save
documents as “Daisy Standard”, the globally accepted method used
to publish content for print-disabled users. The free add-in for
the "Save As DAISY XML" Translator can be downloaded from the
SourceForge Web site. This link will take users directly to the
download for the add-in for the following versions of Microsoft
Office Word: Word XP, 2003, and 2007. There is a single setup
for these versions of Microsoft Office. The software will
automatically detect the version of Microsoft Office Word used
and install the appropriate add-in. If problems are experienced
with the download, there is also an optional link on the page
called "this direct link". The Command Line "Save As DAISY XML"
Translator can also be downloaded from SourceForge. A list of
the features included in the "Save As DAISY XML" Translator 3.0
is also available.
Two support documents are also provided, the DAISY Translator
Instruction Manual and the DAISY Trouble Shooting Guidelines.
Prior to installation, read the Instruction Manual, in
particular, "Prerequisites for Installing the Open XML to DAISY
XML Translator". Note that these documents are .docx files. If
users do not have the most recent version of Microsoft Office,
.doc files for the Translator Instruction Manual and the Trouble
Shooting Guidelines are also available for download.
The DAISY XML is not a DAISY book. It is the XML file from which
a DAISY book can be created. There is at least one DAISY
player/reading system that will play a DAISY XML file since it
creates a DAISY book internally, i.e. the whole set of DAISY 3
files. Most players will not be able to play the DAISY XML file.
There are DAISY conversion tools available from DAISY Consortium
Members and Friends.
"This new 'Save as DAISY XML' functionality for Microsoft Word
has the potential to break down barriers for millions of
visually impaired individuals around the world and enhance the
experience for virtually anyone who loves to read," said Chris
Capossela, Microsoft's senior vice president of the Information
Worker Product Management Group of the initiative. "We are proud
of our collaboration with the DAISY Consortium and Sonata
Software to deliver valuable benefits for people with a visual
impairment. This tool will make it easier for anyone--from a
child writing to his or her grandparent, to a government agency
providing vital information to its citizens--to create
The first version of “Daisy Pipeline” was also released on May
7, 2008. The suite helps users convert Daisy XML files into
DAISY Digital Talking Book (DTB), making content even more
accessible to users with print disabilities. The DAISY Pipeline
supports the migration of digital content to various formats
efficiently and economically, facilitating both production and
distribution of DAISY DTBs.
The current release of the Pipeline is targeted primarily to
production environments rather than as a 'personal use' tool.
Before installing the Pipeline, users should read the online
installation instructions at:
Prior to installing, users will need to have the Java Runtime
Environment (JRE) version 5 or later installed on their system
(details are provided in the installation instructions). It is
also recommended that users read the online User Guide.
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