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Getting to Know DAISY

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What is DAISY?

According to their website, DAISY is an acronym for Digital Accessible Information SYstem and the original concept for DAISY was born from the need for accessible audio that could be used by individuals unable to read print, as easily and efficiently as a sighted person uses a printed book.

DAISY began in the early 1990s and at that time the ‘A’ in ‘DAISY’ represented the word ‘Audio’. Digital technology has gone much further since then, taking DAISY far beyond simple digital audio, and making DAISY truly ‘a better way to read’. It is an internationally recognized accessible multimedia publishing system / standard that offers many options for reading for individuals unable or unwilling to use standard print publications, including  people with visual impairments, dyslexia, motor disabilities, etc. DAISY users can navigate documents precisely sentence by sentence. They can search, place bookmarks, and control their reading speed without distortion.

People like to read in different ways. Some people even like to read the same publication on a variety of devices at different times. It is not unusual to read a magazine article at work or at home on a large computer screen, then continue reading the same article on an e-reader while on public transportation, and then carry on reading the same book or magazine article in a car, using text-to-speech that reads it out loud on a mobile device or tablet. 

This kind of flexibility of the digital publication is even more essential for people with different disabilities who want to be able to adapt the document to their requirements. A blind person may want to read it on a refreshable braille display. Someone with weak eyesight may wish to magnify the text and change its background and foreground color combination. Individuals with intellectual impairments may like to see each word highlighted as it is read out. Availability of information in multiple formats gives all users a choice to select the format most suited to their needs.

The DAISY Consortium works closely with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which is the standards-setting body for the Internet, as well as other standards organisations around the world.  DAISY and EPUB digital publishing formats are internationally recognized for offering maximum accessibility and flexibility to readers. The publications created in these formats are navigable, reflowable, and compatible with standard assistive technology. They can be rendered on a variety of mainstream and dedicated reading devices and apps.