2000 Conference Proceedings

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International Standards For Electronic Books - Emphasising DAISY's Solution

by George Kerscher, Research Fellow
Project Manager to the DAISY Consortium
1203 Pineview Dr.
Missoula, MT 59802
Email: kerscher@montana.com Phone: 406/549-4687

Standards for published information potentially hold the key to access to information for persons who are blind and print disabled. This session will examine the absolutely most current standards initiatives for publishing. The Open Electronic Book initiative, The state of the NISO work on Digital Talking Books, and the DAISY Consortium's worldwide campaign will be examined.

The DAISY Web Site can be found at: http://www.daisy.org

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Open Electronic Book Forum

On September 21, 1999 the Open Electronic Book Forum (OEB) announced a formal specification for electronic books. A loose alliance of hardware manufacturers, software developers, publishers, and non-profit organizations developed this specification in record time. The XML DTD and supporting specifications hope to become a de facto standard for publishing electronic books.

There was no formal organization that represents the OEB at the time the specification was announced. There are plans to either join one of the existing standards organizations, or to start a standards organization that specifically caters to the developments of electronic books. The progress of the specification and its acceptance along with the evolution of the organization will be chronicled at this CSUN session.

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National Information Standards Organization (NISO) Digital Talking Book Initiative

The NISO developments of Digital Talking Books (DTB) involves many organizations from North America and highlights participation from the DAISY Consortium. A North American standard for DTB must evolve that is the same as the standards for DTB around the world. The hand-in-glove cooperation between NLS and DAISY ensures this single worldwide standard.

The XML specifications developed by the NISO Committee will be examined. The data specifications will be compared to that of the OEB and discussions of how the two specifications differ will be discussed. Any potential convergence of OEB and the DAISY / NISO work will be discussed.

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DAISY Around the World In Review

A list of the organizations that are part of DAISY will be presented. This will demonstrate the worldwide acceptance. At time of this writing more than 30 libraries for the blind and print disabled are represented. We expect many more to come aboard by the time of the CSUN 2000 conference.

A brief description of the production software for creating DAISY Digital Talking Books will be described. The licensing options will be briefly presented.

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Worldwide Training and Technical Support for DAISY Production

Training and Technical support is composed of the following components. Each of the components interweave to form a comprehensive worldwide approach.

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At the heart of training and Technical Support is the concept of a Regional Training Center. Any DAISY Consortium member can establish itself as a regional training center. This is voluntary and the amount of service depends on the regional training center's resources. It is expected that the centers will be open to trainers in the geographical or language region.

The regional training centers must have at least one expert trainer who can conduct training courses offered at the center. The Basic Training Course must be available from all training centers. Some centers may also conduct the Advanced Training Course. Some centers may have their expert trainer(s) travel to other organizations and conduct training courses on location.

The Regional Training Centers are the first line of technical support for those who have been trained at the centers. It is expected that those who have been trained would look to their Regional Training Center to answer their questions and provide guidance. This provides a first line of technical support. Normally the center would be in a time zone that would allow telephone contact. Also, the barriers of language can be overcome on the regional level.

Currently we have had confirmation that JSRPD, TPB, RNIB, SVB, SBS & AGBHB, RVIB & RBS, CNIB, will host Regional Training Centers. We expect other organizations to announce their commitment to establish Regional Training Centers. (Sorry if I left somebody out! I'll put you in right away!)

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The Basic Production Training Course is intended for trainers. The expert trainers develop, maintain and conduct the courses. The Basic Course is intended to be a two day session for individuals within organizations who will train and manage technicians and narrators. The BASIC course covers the production of the most common of DAISY digital talking books -- Books that have a NCC and page numbers, but which do not have full text. The course explains the complete process of producing a DAISY DTB. We expect to include information about LpStudio/PRO and Sigtuna 3.x in these courses. The course will be conducted for one of these two systems.

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The advanced Training Course goes well beyond the BASIC Production Training Course. The basic course is required as a prerequisite for the advanced course. In this course information about using XML in the production process is emphasized. All types of DAISY DTB are covered. The advanced course features networking components along with how to divide a project across different computers (check in and check out).

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In Peterborough in 1999, RNIB hosted a Technology Conference that provided a mechanism to the Consortium's technical people to learn about the latest technologies related to the DAISY developments. We want to continue and expand on the concept of an Annual Expert Technical Conference devoted to the issues surrounding DTB production and distribution.

The Annual Expert Technical Conferences will provide a platform to build expertise within the Consortium. We intend to design a program that will stimulate the experts and to answer questions raised throughout the year. This will be primarily an educational and training event. We will ask experts to host seminars and sessions. We also feel that having experts from outside the Consortium can contribute to the overall quality of the program. The focus of the conference will be on training and training issues.

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While our regional experts are the primary mechanism for training and technical support, the around the clock help is always available through the Help Desk! The help desk provides a comprehensive system for the beginner and the advanced worker alike.

The experts are themselves the second level of technical support. The experts contribute to Help Desk knowledge and expertise. The experts will use the Help Desk and contribute to the development. When a question is asked by the experts, the other experts will work together to resolve the issue. If necessary, a problem will be escalated to a formal bug report and lodged with ISAT.

Main functions of the DAISY Training and Technical Support web site

  1. Bug Reporting System
    1. Submit bugs (moderated)
  2. Help desk
    1. Knowledge Base
    2. FAQ
    3. Known problems
    4. Requests for help
  3. Training issues
    1. Tips & Hints
    2. Practical examples from the Structuring Guideline
    3. Overview of Training courses/ Locations
  4. Producers corner
    1. Production
      1. HTML/XML related tool
      2. LpStudio/Pro and Plus versions
      3. A/D related tools and issues
      4. Remote controls / external devices
    2. Reproduction
      1. D/A and D/D related tools and issues
      2. Cd-R/RW issues
    3. Playback
      1. Available playback systems
      2. Tips and Hints related to specific functionality of players
    4. Interesting links
  5. Administration (restricted)
    1. Training course maintenance
    2. BRS, Knowledge Base (KB), Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) maintenance
    3. Qualified trainers/trainee registration
    4. Global content maintenance
  6. Download area
  7. Site Search
Don't forget to visit the DAISY Web Site at: http://www.daisy.org

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