The DAISY Consortium Announces the Latest Release of the Save as DAISY for Office 2010 add-in

The DAISY Consortium Announces the Latest Release of the Save as DAISY for Office 2010 add-in

Zurich, Switzerland and Missoula, MT, USA - December 15, 2011 - Building on DAISY Consortium’s collaboration with Microsoft, Save as DAISY for Office 2010 helps Microsoft Word users convert Word Open XML files to the Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) format.  This version supports Office 2003, 2007 and 2010. 

“We want to provide people with print disabilities equal access to the same information,” says George Kerscher, Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium. “The blind person needs a mechanism to navigate the page as quickly as a sighted person.”

With the validation tools incorporated into Save as DAISY for Office 2010, users can convert a well-structured Word file into a DAISY file set that automatically conforms to DAISY standards.   DAISY files aid readers with print disabilities, as the text in DAISY XML is synchronized with synthetic-speech audio MP3 files that are generated by a speech application programming interface available in the Windows operating system.

Save as DAISY for Office 2010 incorporates a "Lite" version of the DAISY Pipeline.  Users can select to generate the DAISY XML for further processing, or they can generate a fully conforming DAISY file set with full navigation and full text synchronized with audio. The audio is generated by the default text-to-speech (TTS) engine on users’ Windows computer.  The DAISY Pipeline maintenance release accompanies the current Save as DAISY add-in release.

Save as DAISY add-in is a tool that document creators can use to easily convert their documents into multimedia publications for people who are blind or have a print disability.  The add-in is available at no cost to users, helping to meet the DAISY Consortium’s commitment to provide equal access to information for all members of society.

“Our work with the DAISY Consortium and Save as DAISY for Office 2010 are key elements of Microsoft’s ongoing investment in accessibility” said Rob Sinclair, chief accessibility officer, Microsoft.  “Talking documents open up a world of words for people with print disabilities at home, work and in the classroom.”

E-Learning Consultant Norm Coombs (EASI) shared: "In 1972 I published a history book, "Black Experience in America".  I wrote it on a typewriter, and being blind, made lots of typos. I had it edited and exchanged emails with the editor till she was happy with the manuscript.  But, being in print, I couldn't read it myself!

In the late 1980s, I used a scanner and got an electronic version as a plain text file.  But 200 pages with no chapters or headers was long and tedious. Eventually, I gave it away to Project Gutenberg which eventually had someone put out a Web version including some chapters and headers.

With the arrival of the Save as DAISY add-in for Word, I had an inspiration. I used the 'cut and save' feature in Internet Explorer and pasted it into Word, now I had a document with paragraphs, headers, and chapters providing basic navigation. The add-in let me save a DAISY version which I now have on my pocket-sized DAISY reader. The document may not be 'publisher perfect', but I now can read my book in a format with chapters, headers and the ability to both skim and move around as easily as if it were a print book!"
By being able to navigate content in the same way a sighted reader can, people with print disabilities can consume information at the same speed as other people, making them more competitive in school and in business.

The DAISY Consortium embraces the principles of global collaboration and transparency which define open standards development. Collaboration results in open international standards, and accessible digital content and reading systems which meet the needs of readers with a print disability, while providing a rich user experience for all.