Missoula, Montana, USA, and Linz, Austria (PRWEB) July 12, 2008
The 11th annual International Conference on Computers Helping People with Special Needs (ICCHP) honored George Kerscher, PhD, Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium, with the Dr. Roland Wagner Award. The Wagner award is named for the founder of ICCHP, a pioneer in information and communications technology for people with disabilities in Europe. The award was presented to Kerscher for his tireless efforts to ensure equal access to information by people with print disabilities.
Kerscher accepted the award by teleconference to Linz, Austria just one week after receiving the National Federation of the Blind's Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award in Dallas, USA and less than three months after DAISY Consortium President Hiroshi Kawamura accepted the World Telecommunications and Information Society Award on behalf of the Consortium at the United Nations' World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2008 in Cairo, Egypt.
Kerscher said, "This has been a remarkable period of recognition of the important work the DAISY Consortium is doing to make information accessible to people with print disabilities. I am personally grateful to receive this award and, more importantly, I believe the entire DAISY movement is energized by the accolades of our colleagues around the world."
About George Kerscher, PhD
Kerscher, who is blind, coined the term "print disabled" to describe people who cannot effectively read print because of a visual, physical, perceptual, developmental, cognitive, or learning disability. Kerscher has said that access to information is a fundamental human right and has worked tirelessly for twenty years to ensure that right for those with a print disability.
He founded Computerized Books for the Blind and Print Disabled in 1988 to demonstrate to publishers and consumers the effectiveness of electronic books for braille production and for direct access via adapted computers. Kerscher's subsequent positions with Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic and the DAISY Consortium, as well as his service on numerous prominent committees, including the National Information Standards Organization, the Web Accessibility Initiative, and the International Digital Publishing Forum, have benefited individuals with print disabilities throughout the United States and the world.
Since 1997, Kerscher has led the staff of the DAISY Consortium. Now the organization's Secretary General, Kerscher is steadfast in his pursuit of the Consortium's vision of a world where people with print disabilities have equal access to information and knowledge, without delay or additional expense.
About the Dr. Roland Wagner Award
The Austrian Computer Society founded this award September 2001 in honour of Prof. Dr. Roland Wagner, founder of ICCHP. Dr. Wagner is Head of Institute Integriert Studieren at the Kepler University of Linz offering services for print disabled students at Austrian universities. He is the founder of the working group "ICT for/with People with Disabilities" of the Austrian Computer Society, the group which established the ICCHP conference as an outstanding international event. Prof. Wagner's early visionary understanding of the role of information and communication technologies to change perspectives of people with special needs and his dedication to fighting for equal rights for this group has an important impact on awareness, bringing the beginning of changes in society. The Dr. Roland Wagner Award provides incentives and supports the important work which has been the passion of Prof. Wagner for several decades.
Past recipients of the Wagner Award include Larry Scadden of the U.S. National Science Foundation, Judy Brewer of the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Accessibility Initiative, and Dr. Paul Blenkhorn of the University of Manchester's School of Informatics.
About the DAISY Consortium
The DAISY Standard (officially ANSI/NISO z39.86 Specifications for the Digital Talking Book) has revolutionized the reading experience for people with print disabilities around the globe. DAISY, the Digital Accessible Information SYstem, is the world's most widely used assistive technology for reading. Formed in 1996 by like-minded organizations around the world, today the DAISY Consortium consists of nearly 70 non-profit organizations representing 35 different countries and more than 20 for-profit companies which provide products and services to meet the needs of the DAISY community and the people it serves. These organizations and companies are working together to develop and promote international standards and technologies which enable equal access to information and knowledge by all people with print disabilities and which also benefit the wider community. More information about the DAISY Consortium and the DAISY Standard is available at http://www.daisy.org/.