DAISY Digital Talking Book: History
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DAISY (Digital Accessible Information SYstem) is a technical standard for digital audiobooks, 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.

  • dyslexia
  • smil
  • xhtml

1. Specification

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

2. 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)[1] AMAC Accessibility[2], Bookshare[3] and the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS),[4] 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.[5] Bookshare membership is free to U.S. students due to funding from the U.S. Department of Education.[6]

Content from both the NLS and the Learning Ally organizations utilizes the DAISY Protected Digital Book (PDTB) encryption standard.[7] 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.[8] 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.

3. Playback and Production

DAISY books can be heard on standalone DAISY players,[9] computers using DAISY playback software,[10] mobile phones, and MP3 players (with limited navigation). DAISY books can be distributed on a CD/DVD, memory card or through the Internet.[11]

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.[12][13]

3.1. Software Players

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 [14][15]
  • Android Daisy ePub Reader: an opensource project for the Android platform[16]
  • AnyDaisy Firefox Extension, by Benetech [17]
  • ButtercupReader: a web-based silverlight application for DAISY 3 books[18][19]
  • CUCAT Olearia, an open-source DAISY reader for Mac OS X [20][21]
  • DAISY Book Reader, open-source player for the GNOME desktop (GTK) [22]
  • Daisy Delight: open-source player for DAISY 2.02, for Mac OS X and Unix-based systems [23]
  • daisy-player, an open source, multilingual, ncurses-based program for Linux to play DAISY books from the command line[24]
  • DaisyDuck: a free player for Daisy 2.02 audio books [25]
  • DAISYPlayer: free player for Microsoft Windows; only available in Spanish [26]
  • DaisyWorm: player for DAISY 2.02 (2002) and DAISY 3 (2005), for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad; iOS 4 or higher[27]
  • Darwin Reader for Android reads DAISY 2.02 and 3.0 text and audio books[28]
  • Dolphin EasyReader and EasyReader Express, commercial e-book reader with support for DAISY, unprotected ePub and other formats, for Microsoft Windows [29]
  • Dorina DAISY Reader (DDReader+): an open source, free software for Windows, reads only DAISY 3.0, available in English, Spanish and Portuguese [30]
  • emerson-reader, an open-source and cross-platform (Linux, Mac OS X, Windows) Epub and DAISY player [31]
  • FSReaderDAISY Player Software for PAC Mate and Desktop; supports DAISY 2 and DAISY 3 [32]
  • Go Read: an open source DAISY reader for Android devices [33]
  • GoDaisy: online DAISY player, in Swedish [34]
  • InDaisy Reader, a player for iPhone and iPod, accessible with VoiceOver; supports Daisy 2.02 and Daisy 3 [35]
  • Kolibre Vadelma, an open source DAISY 2.02-player supporting DAISY Online. Downloads and build instructions available for the Raspberry Pi-platform, compile instructions available for Debian Linux.[36]
  • MAX DaisyPlayer, a free player for Microsoft Windows.[37]
  • Mobile DAISY Player, a commercial player for Symbian phones [38]
  • Pratsam Reader Web, an online DAISY 2.02-player app for web browsers, supporting Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Edge[39]
  • Pratsam Reader Win, a Microsoft Windows desktop DAISY 2.02-player a graphical user interface, integrated guiding voice, DAISY Online Delivery Protocol support and keyboard shortcuts for navigation[40]
  • 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[41][42]
  • Read:OutLoud 6 (commercial; for Mac OS and Microsoft Windows) [43]
  • Read:OutLoud Bookshare Edition[44]
  • ReadHear (commercial; for Mac OS and Microsoft Windows) [45]
  • Simple Daisy Web Player, an open-source software program that enables users to play DAISY books in a web browser[46]
  • Texthelp Read&Write (commercial; for Mac OS and Microsoft Windows) [47]

Other relevant software includes:

  • Daisy Uppsala Archive Project, server-side system for managing DAISY files [48]
  • Online Daisy Delivery Technology, open-source software to deliver DAISY books online[49]

3.2. Hardware Players

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:

  • American Printing House for the Blind, Inc., Book Port Plusand Book Port DT [50]
  • Pratsam Mobile, a portable handheld DAISY player that supports cellular networks, the DAISY Online Delivery Protocol, customized for use by the blind and visually impaired[51]
  • Victor Reader Stream, a hand-held portable DAISY player for the blind, visually handicapped and print impaired, produced by HumanWare[52]
  • Victor Reader Wave, also by HumanWare, is a portable CD player that can play DAISY content from CD media[53]
  • 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[54]
  • 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.[55]

3.3. Production Systems

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.[56]
  • odt2daisy (OpenOffice.org Export As DAISY): an extension for Apache OpenOffice and LibreOffice that exports OpenDocument Text to DAISY XML or to Full DAISY (both XML and audio).[57]

Other tools for DAISY production include:

  • List of products by the DAISY Consortium [58]
  • Book Wizard Producer[59]
  • 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[60][61]
  • DAISY Pipeline[62]
  • daisy-validator[63]
  • Dolphin Publisher[64]
  • Obi: DAISY/Accessible EPUB 3 production tool[65]
  • Pipeline GUI[66]
  • PipeOnline, a web interface for the DAISY Pipeline[67]
  • PLEXTALK Recording Software[68]
  • Pratsam Producer, a production system for producing DAISY (with or without audio), import and management of PDF and XML, content quality measuring tools, automatic export of XHTML, DTBook, EPUB or Microsoft Word documents[69]
  • Tobi: an authoring tool for DAISY and EPUB 3 talking books[70]

The content is sourced from: https://handwiki.org/wiki/DAISY_Digital_Talking_Book


  1. Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D) http://www.rfbd.org/
  2. AMAC Accessibility http://www.amacusg.org/
  3. Bookshare - Accessible Books for Individuals with Print Disabilities http://www.bookshare.org/
  4. National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) https://www.loc.gov/nls/
  5. Learning Ally Membership http://www.learningally.org/Membership/20/
  6. Bookshare membership http://www.bookshare.org/membershipOptions
  7. NLS/BPH Secification 1205 https://www.loc.gov/nls/specs/1205_Final_nov15_1_07.pdf
  8. Bookshare Seven Point Digital Rights Management Plan https://www.bookshare.org/cms/legal/seven-point-digital-rights-management-plan
  9. DAISY: Hardware Playback Tools http://www.daisy.org/tools/tools.shtml?Cat=hplayback
  10. DAISY: Software Playback Tools http://www.daisy.org/tools/tools.shtml?Cat=splayback
  11. DAISY: Technology Overview http://www.daisy.org/about_us/dtbooks.shtml
  12. DAISY Consortium: "WHAT IS DAISY?". Accessed 2009-11-23. https://www.daisyindia.org/02HelloDAISY.html
  13. George Kerscher: "Braille Production the DAISY Way", IFLA/SLB Pre-conference Seminar in Penang 1999. Accessed 23 November 2009. http://www.dinf.ne.jp/doc/english/Us_Eu/conf/z19/z19001/z1900115.html
  14. DAISY Consortium: AMIS: DAISY 2.02 & DAISY 3 Playback Software http://www.daisy.org/projects/amis/
  15. DAISY Consortium: Translations of AMIS http://www.daisy.org/amis/download/translations
  16. Android Daisy ePub Reader https://code.google.com/p/android-daisy-epub-reader/
  17. AnyDaisy Firefox Extension https://launchpad.net/daisyextension
  18. ButtercupReader - The Online Digital Talking Book Reader http://www.buttercupreader.net/default.htm
  19. ButtercupReader at Codeplex. http://buttercupreader.codeplex.com/
  20. Download Olearia https://code.google.com/p/olearia/downloads/list
  21. Olearia - Full Featured DAISY Talking Book Player For OS X at Google Code. https://code.google.com/p/olearia/
  22. DAISY Book Reader http://sourceforge.net/projects/dbr/
  23. Daisy Delight http://daisydelight.sourceforge.net/
  24. daisy-player http://www.jlemmens.nl/
  25. DaisyDuck http://daisy.geexbox.org/DOWNLOAD.en.html
  26. DAISYPlayer http://www.daisyplayer.es/
  27. DaisyWorm for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/daisyworm/id383777731
  28. Darwin Reader http://www.darwinreader.com
  29. Dolphin: EasyReader - Accessible eBook reader http://www.yourdolphin.com/productdetail.asp?pg=1&id=9
  30. Dorina DAISY Reader http://www.daisylatino.org/agora/doc.cfm?id_doc=2060
  31. emerson-reader https://code.google.com/p/emerson-reader/
  32. Freedom Scientific, Inc.: FSReaderDAISY Player Software for PAC Mate and Desktop http://freedomscientific.com/products/fs/fsreader-product-page.asp
  33. Go Read https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.benetech.android
  34. GoDaisy Online Daisy Player http://www.godaisy.se/
  35. Levelware InDaisy Reader http://www.levelware.com/features
  36. Kolibre.org http://www.kolibre.org/en/demo
  37. Deutsche Zentralbücherei für Blinde zu Leipzig (DZB): MAX DaisyPlayer. https://www.dzb.de/index.php?site_id=7.10
  38. Code Factory: Mobile DAISY Player. http://www.codefactory.es/en/products.asp?id=314
  39. Pratsam. "DAISY web player – Pratsam". http://www.pratsam.com/pratsam-reader-web-product.html. 
  40. Pratsam. "DAISY online player – Pratsam". http://www.pratsam.com/pratsam-reader-win-product.html. 
  41. 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. https://www.bookshare.org/_/aboutUs/2011/01/read2go
  42. Read2Go for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/read2go/id425585903?mt=8
  43. Don Johnston Incorporated: 6. http://www.donjohnston.com/products/read_outloud/index.htmlRead:OutLoud
  44. Don Johnston Incorporated: Read:OutLoud Bookshare Edition http://www.donjohnston.com/products/rol_bookshare/
  45. gh, LLC: ReadHear PC, ReadHear Mac. http://www.gh-accessibility.com/products/readhear_pc
  46. A Simple Daisy Web Player http://sourceforge.net/projects/daisywebplayer/
  47. Texthelp Ltd: [1].
  48. Daisy Uppsala Archive Project http://sourceforge.net/projects/duap/
  49. Online Daisy Delivery Technology http://sourceforge.net/projects/oddt/
  50. http://tech.aph.org/bpdt_doc.htm
  51. Pratsam. "Mobile DAISY player – Pratsam". http://www.pratsam.com/pratsam-mobile-product.html. 
  52. HumanWare Ltd. Victor Reader Stream Product Page http://www.humanware.com/en-usa/products/blindness/dtb_players/compact_models/_details/id_81/victorreader_stream_daisy_mp3.html
  53. HumanWare Ltd. Victor Reader Wave Product Page http://www.humanware.com/en-usa/products/blindness/dtb_players/compact_models/_details/id_60/victor_reader_wave.html
  54. GW Micro: Booksense http://www.gwmicro.com/Booksense/
  55. National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS): NLS/BPH Digital Talking Book Player and Cartridge. https://www.loc.gov/nls/businessplan/playerdescription.html
  56. "Save as DAISY - MS Word Add-In". DAISY Consortium. http://www.daisy.org/project/save-as-daisy-microsoft-word-add-in. Retrieved 2017-03-19. 
  57. "OpenOffice.org Export As DAISY". Vincent Spiewak. http://odt2daisy.sourceforge.net. Retrieved 2017-03-19. 
  58. "Tools & Services". DAISY Consortium. http://www.daisy.org/tools/579#t140. Retrieved 2017-03-19. 
  59. "Book Wizard Producer". American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.. http://tech.aph.org/bwp_info.htm. Retrieved 2017-03-19. 
  60. "DAISY Demon". gnschmidt. http://sourceforge.net/projects/daisydemon. Retrieved 2017-03-19. 
  61. "4th European eAccessibility Forum: Increasing Harmonization". The DAISY Consortium's Monthly Newsletter. http://www.daisy.org/planet-2010-04#a2. Retrieved 2017-03-19. 
  62. "DAISY Pipeline". DAISY Consortium. http://www.daisy.org/pipeline. Retrieved 2017-03-19. 
  63. "daisy-validator. A modular multi-format validator for XML and DAISY-related documents.". DAISY Consortium. https://code.google.com/archive/p/daisy-validator/. Retrieved 2017-03-19. 
  64. "Dolphin Publisher". Dolphin Computer Access Ltd.. http://www.yourdolphin.com/productdetail.asp?pg=1&id=12. Retrieved 2017-03-19. 
  65. "Obi: DAISY/Accessible EPUB 3 production tool". DAISY Consortium. http://www.daisy.org/project/obi. Retrieved 2017-03-19. 
  66. "Pipeline GUI". DAISY Consortium. http://www.daisy.org/pipeline/gui. Retrieved 2017-03-19. 
  67. "PipeOnline". linusericson, martin_blomberg. https://sourceforge.net/projects/pipeonline/. Retrieved 2017-03-19. 
  68. "PLEXTALK Recording Software". PLEXTALK. http://www.plextalk.eu/en/top/products/prs/. Retrieved 2017-03-19. 
  69. "Pratsam Producer". Pratsam Oy Ab. http://www.pratsam.com/pratsam-producer-product.html. Retrieved 2017-03-19. 
  70. "Tobi: an authoring tool for DAISY and EPUB 3 talking books". DAISY Consortium. http://www.daisy.org/tobi. Retrieved 2017-03-19. 
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