What is DAISY?
DAISY is a type of digital talking book, one of the main upcoming formats offering flexibility, 'multi sensory' content.
DAISY denotes the Digital Accessible InformationSYstem.
The DAISY Consortium.
The DAISY Consortium was formed in May, 1996 by talking book libraries to lead the worldwide transition from analogue to Digital Talking Books. For more information visit the DAISY Consortium website (external link).
Alternative formats come in as many shapes and sizes as there are people to use them. The title alone, "alternative format," could give the impression that all are equal and equally accessible, but this not the entire truth. As explained by Dann Berkowitz, Assistant Director of Boston University's Office of Disability Services, most alternative formats are not fully accessible. Many alternative formats are not easily navigable, and with computers taking over the accessible trend, Berkowitz must always explain "Digital does not mean accessible."
"I've been doing alt format stuff for over a decade now, from cassette tapes, to talking PDFs, to Wynn, and they all have their place and they all have their students dedicated to them, but DAISY is the ultimate," says Berkowitz. "This is because it's not proprietary to any company. DAISY is an international standard outside of any company and the companies have to create the software to publish the DAISY books. The software has to be fluid and flexible as DAISY was meant to be."
DAISY books can contain synchronized text and speech navigable via headings, pages, footnotes, and bookmarks. These books can be read as easily as any other text, and they can also be "marked up" like any other book. Some DAISY readers, such as the Dolphin EasyReader, give the reader the ability to write-in, or talk-in, notes called bookmarks to mark specific passages in their text, and then navigate back to them later. DAISY users will continue to experience new and better versions of DAISY materials as the industry competes to grow with rising standards in accommodations.
What is a DTB?
A traditional talking book is an audio only representation of a print publication using recorded speech and generally delivered on an analogue tape. A Digital Talking Book (DTB) is a multimedia representation of a print publication, which can include the text, images and recorded speech (either human or synthesised speech) in MP3 format.
The DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) standard is an international standard that ensures consistency in the production and playback of Digital Talking Books. Because the text, images and audio are fully synchronised, as you listen to the audio, the text is highlighted in time with the spoken word. You can choose to listen to the audio and read the text simultaneously or independently using a computer, a dedicated DAISY player or regular MP3 player or DVD player. The choice is yours! See a demonstration of a software DAISY book player.
DAISY DTBs have a navigation structure which means that page numbers, headings and specific topic areas can be easily found and because a DAISY DTB combines the text elements of a book and the recorded speech, you are able to quickly search for specific words within the book. When the words are found you can quickly jump to that exact point in the book and the audio will start playing back automatically. It is the perfect solution for text books and reference materials, where the reader can easily dip in and out of the book to find specific pieces of information.