DAISY Digital Talking Book
DAISY (Digital Accessible Information SYstem) is a technical standard for digital audio books, periodicals and computerized text. DAISY is designed to be a complete audio substitute for print material and is specifically designed for use by people with "print disabilities," including blindness, impaired vision, and dyslexia. Based on the MP3 and XML formats, the DAISY format has advanced features in addition to those of a traditional audio book. Users can search, place bookmarks, precisely navigate line by line, and regulate the speaking speed without distortion. DAISY also provides aurally accessible tables, references and additional information. As a result, DAISY allows visually impaired listeners to navigate something as complex as an encyclopedia or textbook, otherwise impossible using conventional audio recordings.
DAISY multimedia can be a book, magazine, newspaper, journal, computerized text or a synchronized presentation of text and audio. It provides up to six embedded "navigation levels" for content, including embedded objects such as images, graphics, and MathML. In the DAISY standard, navigation is enabled within a sequential and hierarchical structure consisting of (marked-up) text synchronized with audio. DAISY 2 was based on XHTML and SMIL. DAISY 3 is a newer technology, also based on XML, and is standardized as ANSI/NISO Z39.86-2005.
The DAISY Consortium was founded in 1996 and consists of international organizations committed to developing equitable access to information for people who have a print disability. The consortium was selected by the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) as the official maintenance agency for the DAISY/NISO Standard.
A Digital Talking Book (DTB) is a collection of electronic files arranged to present information to the target population via alternative media, namely, human or synthetic speech, refreshable Braille, or visual display, e.g., large print. The DTB files comprising the DAISY format is
- Package File: A set of metadata describing the DTB
- Textual content file: Contains the text of the document in XML
- Audio Files: human or synthetic speech MP3 recordings
- Image files: for visual displays
- Synchronization files: synchronizes the different media files of the DTB during playback
- Navigation control file: for viewing the document’s hierarchical structure
- Bookmark/Highlight file: support to user-set highlights
- Resource file: for playback management
- Distribution Information File: maps each SMIL file to a specific media unit
Access to materials
Since DAISY is often used by people with disabilities, many of the existing organizations which produce accessible versions of copyrighted content are moving to the DAISY standard, and slowly moving away from more traditional methods of distribution such as cassette tape.
In the United States, Learning Ally (Formally "Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic" or RFB&D) Bookshare and the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), among others, offer content to blind and visually impaired individuals. Learning Ally and Bookshare also allows access by those with dyslexia or other disabilities which impair the person's ability to read print. The NLS uses a library methodology, on the basis that the books are loaned (as they traditionally have been, on physical cassette), hence they are able to offer content free of charge, just as any public library can. Learning Ally and Bookshare both are subscription-based services. Bookshare membership is free to U.S. students due to funding from the U.S. Department of Education.
Content from both the NLS and the Learning Ally organizations utilizes the DAISY Protected Digital Book (PDTB) encryption standard. The basic structure of the DAISY definition files remains the same, however, the audio itself, and in some cases certain information tags in the DAISY SMIL files, are encrypted and must be decrypted in order to be read/played back. The organization which offers the content provides a decryption key to the user, which can be installed into a DAISY player to allow decryption. As the encryption schemes are not part of the core DAISY standard, only players which specifically implement the necessary algorithms and key management will be able to access these titles. Bookshare utilizes its own digital rights management plan including fingerprinting each digital book with the identity of the downloading user. These actions are done to comply with law 17 U.S.C. § 121 requiring copyrighted material to be distributed in a specialized format to prevent unauthorized individuals, such as those who do not have a qualifying disability, from accessing the materials.
Playback and production
DAISY books can be heard on standalone DAISY players, computers using DAISY playback software, mobile phones, and MP3 players (with limited navigation). DAISY books can be distributed on a CD/DVD, memory card or through the Internet.
A computerized text DAISY book can be read using refreshable Braille display or screen-reading software, printed as Braille book on paper, converted to a talking book using synthesised voice or a human narration, and also printed on paper as large print book. In addition, it can be read as large print text on computer screen.
Software-based players include, in alphabetical order:
- AMIS - Adaptive Multimedia Information System: an open-source self-voicing player for Windows that works with several screen readers; available many languages; developed by the DAISY Consortium 
- Android Daisy ePub Reader: an opensource project for the Android platform
- AnyDaisy Firefox Extension, by Benetech 
- ButtercupReader: a web-based silverlight application for DAISY 3 books
- CUCAT Olearia, an open-source DAISY reader for Mac OS X 
- DAISY Book Reader, open-source player for the GNOME desktop (GTK) 
- Daisy Delight: open-source player for DAISY 2.02, for Mac OS X and Unix-based systems 
- DAISYPlayer: free player for Microsoft Windows; only available in Spanish 
- daisy-player, an open source, multilingual, ncurses-based program for Linux to play DAISY books from the command line
- DaisyWorm: player for DAISY 2.02 (2002) and DAISY 3 (2005), for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad; iOS 4 or higher
- Dolphin EasyReader and EasyReader Express, commercial e-book reader with support for DAISY, unprotected ePub and other formats, for Microsoft Windows 
- Dorina DAISY Reader (DDReader+): an open source, free software for Windows, reads only DAISY 3.0, available in English, Spanish and Portuguese 
- emerson-reader, an open-source and cross-platform (Linux, Mac OS X, Windows) Epub and DAISY player 
- FSReaderDAISY Player Software for PAC Mate and Desktop; supports DAISY 2 and DAISY 3 
- GoDaisy: online DAISY player, in Swedish 
- Go Read: an open source DAISY reader for Android devices 
- InDaisy Reader, a player for iPhone and iPod, accessible with VoiceOver; supports Daisy 2.02 and Daisy 3 
- Mobile DAISY Player, a commercial player for Symbian phones 
- MAX the DAISY Player, a free player for Microsoft Windows.
- Read2Go: accessible, commercial e-book reader for Apple iOS devices (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch), specifically for books from Bookshare, an online library for people with print disabilities; developed by Benetech
- ReadHear (commercial; for Mac OS and Microsoft Windows) 
- Read:OutLoud 6 (commercial; for Mac OS and Microsoft Windows) 
- Read:OutLoud Bookshare Edition
- Simple Daisy Web Player, an open-source software program that enables users to play DAISY books in a web browser
- Texthelp Read&Write (commercial; for Mac OS and Microsoft Windows) 
- Darwin Reader for Android reads DAISY 2.02 and 3.0 text and audio books
Other relevant software includes:
- Daisy Uppsala Archive Project, server-side system for managing DAISY files 
- Online Daisy Delivery Technology, open-source software to deliver DAISY books online
There are a wide range of hardware products available that can play DAISY content, usually in a portable form factor. Some of these devices are dedicated to playback of books, while others focus on other functionality, such as PDA or mobile Internet access, and offer DAISY playback as either a feature of the unit or as a software add-on.
A short (incomplete) list of products that have built-in support for DAISY playback includes:
- Victor Reader Stream, a hand-held portable DAISY player for the blind, visually handicapped and print impaired, produced by HumanWare
- Victor Reader Wave, also by HumanWare, is a portable CD player that can play DAISY content from CD media
- BookSense, a similar, smaller unit produced by GW Micro; the advanced XT model features built-in flash memory and Bluetooth headset support for playback, as well as an FM radio
- The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) in the United States has developed a proprietary DAISY player designed for use by its print-disabled patrons. The player will replace the aging cassette-based distribution system.
Add-ins or extensions to create DAISY files from office software are also available:
- Microsoft and Sonata Software created a Save as DAISY add-in for Microsoft Word to convert Office Open XML text documents to DAISY.
- odt2daisy: an extension for Apache OpenOffice and LibreOffice that exports OpenDocument Text to DAISY XML or to Full DAISY (both XML and audio).
Other tools for DAISY production include:
- the DAISY Pipeline, a cross-platform "open source framework for document- and DTB-related pipelined transformations", developed by the DAISY Consortium,
- the DAISY Pipeline GUI,
- PipeOnline, a web interface for the DAISY Pipeline,
- Daisy Producer, a production management system for Digital Talking Books
- Z39.86 DTB Validator, "Zedval": a Java-based validator for ANSI/NISO Z39.86 Digital Talking Books" 
- DAISY Demon, an open-source shell around the DAISY Pipeline to help automate the production of DAISY talking books, MP3, ePub, Word and HTML from XML file; developed by the Open University,
- Dolphin Publisher and Dolphin EasyProducer (commercial products)
- Obi, a free and open-source authoring tool by the DAISY Consortium 
- Tobi, a free and open-source authoring tool by the DAISY Consortium 
- Book Wizard Producer  by the American Printing House for the Blind.
- Max Daisy Maker: produces DAISY documents from Word Documents, PDF, HTML, CHM (Help files) and plain text
- Accessible publishing
- Design for All (in ICT)
- West German Audio Book Library for the Blind
- Sabine Tenta: The Audible Gate to the World: The West German Audio Book Library for the Blind (Goethe-Institut, 2009) online (English) retrieved 26-May-2012
- Ask-it: A5.5.3: Examples of best practices of design for all. Accessed 2009-11-23.
- DAISY/NISO Standard. Accessed 2009-11-23.
- George Kerscher: "DAISY is", December 2003. Accessed 2009-11-23.
- DAISY Consortium: DAISY 2.02 Specification - Recommendation, February 28 2001. Accessed 2009-11-23.
- ANSI/NISO Z39.86-2005 Specifications for the Digital Talking Book. Accessed 2009-11-23.
- DAISY Consortium: About The DAISY Consortium. Accessed 2009-11-23.
- DAISY Consortium: DAISY/NISO Standard. Accessed 2009-11-23.
- Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D)
- Bookshare - Accessible Books for Individuals with Print Disabilities
- National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS)
- Learning Ally Membership
- Bookshare membership
- NLS/BPH Secification 1205
- Bookshare Seven Point Digital Rights Management Plan
- DAISY: Hardware Playback Tools
- DAISY: Software Playback Tools
- DAISY: Technology Overview
- DAISY Consortium: "WHAT IS DAISY?". Accessed 2009-11-23.
- George Kerscher: "Braille Production the DAISY Way", IFLA/SLB Pre-conference Seminar in Penang 1999. Accessed 23 November 2009.
- DAISY Consortium: AMIS: DAISY 2.02 & DAISY 3 Playback Software
- DAISY Consortium: Translations of AMIS
- Android Daisy ePub Reader
- AnyDaisy Firefox Extension
- ButtercupReader - The Online Digital Talking Book Reader
- ButtercupReader at Codeplex.
- Download Olearia
- Olearia - Full Featured DAISY Talking Book Player For OS X at Google Code.
- DAISY Book Reader
- Daisy Delight
- DaisyWorm for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store
- Dolphin: EasyReader - Accessible eBook reader
- Dorina DAISY Reader
- Freedom Scientific, Inc.: FSReaderDAISY Player Software for PAC Mate and Desktop
- GoDaisy Online Daisy Player
- Go Read
- Levelware InDaisy Reader
- Code Factory: Mobile DAISY Player.
- Dräger & Lienert: Max Daisy Player.
- Deutsche Zentralbücherei für Blinde zu Leipzig (DZB): DAISY-Leser.
- Bookshare: Benetech Announces New Accessible e-Book Reader for Apple iOS devices - iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch Users Can Read Bookshare Books with Read2Go, press release 26 January 2011.
- Read2Go for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store.
- gh, LLC: ReadHear PC, ReadHear Mac.
- Don Johnston Incorporated: 6.
- Don Johnston Incorporated: Read:OutLoud Bookshare Edition
- A Simple Daisy Web Player
- Texthelp Ltd: .
- Darwin Reader
- Daisy Uppsala Archive Project
- Online Daisy Delivery Technology
- HumanWare Ltd. Victor Reader Stream Product Page
- HumanWare Ltd. Victor Reader Wave Product Page
- GW Micro: Booksense
- National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS): NLS/BPH Digital Talking Book Player and Cartridge.
- "Save as DAISY - MS Word Add-In". DAISY Consortium. Retrieved 2014-12-19.
- "Consortium Develops New Accessible Multimedia Tool for the Print Disabled". Microsoft. Retrieved 2014-12-19.
- Odt2DAISY (SourceForge project).
- Vincent Spiewak, Christophe Strobbe & Jan Engelen: "Odt2DAISY: Authoring Full DAISY 3.0 Books using OpenOffice.org." Paper presented at the DAISY 2009 Conference, Leipzig, Germany, 23–25 September 2009.
- DAISY Pipeline FAQ
- DAISY Pipeline.
- Daisy Producer
- DAISY Consortium: Tools & Services: DAISY Producer. Accessed 2010-06-07.
- ZedVal - ANSI/NISO Z39.86 DTB Validator
- DAISY Demon, on SourceForge
- DAISY Consortium: 4th European eAccessibility Forum: Increasing Harmonization. The DAISY Consortium's Monthly Newsletter, April 2010.
- Dolphin: Dolphin Publisher. Accessed 2010-06-07.
- Dolphin: EasyProducer. Accessed 2010-06-07.
- DAISY Consortium: Obi: DAISY/NISO Audio Authoring Tool. Accessed 2011-02-22.
- DAISY Consortium: Tobi: i: a software tool to author DAISY multimedia. Accessed 2011-02-22.
- Book Wizard Producer http://tech.aph.org/bwp_info.htm
- Dräger & Lienert: Max Daisy Maker.