Mellon Award Honors International Efforts to Improve Reading Technology for People with Print Disabilities

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The Swedish Library of Talking Books and Braille (TPB) is among the winners of the second annual Mellon Awards for Technology Collaboration (MATC). In the spirit of the award, TPB shared the spotlight with the DAISY Consortium, a global network of organizations working to make books and other reading material accessible to people with print disabilities such as blindness, low vision, dyslexia, or other disabilities.

The Swedish Library of Talking Books and Braille (TPB) is among the winners of the second annual Mellon Awards for Technology Collaboration (MATC) announced at the Coalition for Networked Information conference this week. The award was bestowed on TPB for its leadership in making books and other reading material accessible to people with print disabilities such as blindness, low vision, dyslexia, or other disabilities. In the spirit of the award, Markus Gylling of TPB announced that the accompanying $50,000 prize will allow TPB to continue its developmental work with the DAISY Consortium. The DAISY Consortium, with a membership of 100 organizations and companies representing 35 different countries, provides technology and tools to make published information accessible to people with print disabilities around the globe.

Through the MATC awards, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation recognizes important organizational contributions to open source projects. "The MATC Committee recognized TPB because of the important role that their open source reference implementation of the DAISY standards plays in ensuring that those standards remain free and open. Their leadership in providing DAISY tools on an open source basis is exemplary of the spirit of the MATC awards," said Mellon Associate Program Officer Christopher Mackie.

"This award brings recognition to the work done not only by TPB but by many other organizations and individuals around the globe that contribute to the DAISY open source effort," says Markus Gylling, Project Lead at TPB and Technical Development Coordinator of the DAISY Consortium. "As we jointly move into the future, we expect to see increasing participation both from non-profit organizations and for-profit companies. The DAISY open source ecosystem has been evolving for several years now, and finally it is becoming mature."

"It is of course a great honor to be recognized in this manner by the Mellon Foundation, and TPB is proud to have contributed to the development of the DAISY Consortium as a global force for the advancement of accessibility in all walks of life," said Roland Esaiasson, Director of TPB.

"TPB's technical contributions exemplify the true spirit of open source development. I am delighted to see this recognition of TPB's contribution; TPB has used its technical resources to support the development of open source software which meets the needs of libraries around the world and the individuals they serve," says George Kerscher, Secretary General for the DAISY Consortium.

Kerscher continues, "It is critical that new developments in digital publishing are inclusive, and that digital publications are designed to be accessible to everyone, regardless of their ability to read printed publications. The importance of DAISY Consortium member leadership in this arena is essential as digital content continues to grow in popularity in all sectors."

About TPB
The Swedish Library of Talking Books and Braille was founded in 1980 as a result of the reorganization of services for the blind in Sweden. TPB provides DAISY Digital Talking Books, Braille, and e-text to approximately 4% of the Swedish population through the library system. In addition, TPB provides the materials that are distributed to university libraries, local public libraries, hospital libraries, and school libraries throughout Sweden. TPB is a founding member of the DAISY Consortium.

About the DAISY Consortium
The DAISY Consortium is best known for its leadership in the arena of standards development, and for defining the digital talking book for readers with print disabilities, resulting in a complete transformation of the reading process for millions of people across the globe. The Consortium's vision is that all published information, at time of release to the general population, be available in an accessible, highly functional, feature rich format and at no greater cost, to persons with print disabilities. Formed in 1996 by like-minded organizations and companies around the world, today the Consortium consists of nearly 70 non-profit organizations representing 35 different countries and more than 20 for-profit companies (Friends of the DAISY Consortium) which provide products and services to meet the needs of the DAISY community. More information about the DAISY Consortium and the DAISY Standard (ANSI/NISO Z39.86) is available at http://www.daisy.org/.

About the MATC Awards
The Mellon Awards for Technology Collaboration are awarded annually by Mellon's Program in Research in Information Technology to organizations that exemplify the collaborative, open source software development encouraged by the Mellon Foundation. These awards recognize organizations that are making substantial contributions of their own resources toward the development of open source software and the fostering of collaborative communities to sustain open source development. More information about the MATC Awards is available at http://matc.mellon.org/. Information about the Mellon Foundation is available at http://www.mellon.org/ , and about the Program in Research in Information Technology at http://rit.mellon.org/.

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George Kerscher, Ph.D.

Molly Stockdale

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