DAISY Consortium's Collaboration with Microsoft Corporation Yields New Tools for Production and Playback of Accessible Multimedia

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Save as DAISY add-in Version 2 for Microsoft Word and "Project Buttercup" - Silverlight web-based DAISY player will make billions of documents accessible to people with print disabilities.

Having access to information is powerful

The DAISY Consortium and Microsoft Corporation announce the latest release of Save as DAISY, a free, open source add-in for Microsoft Office Word. With the integration of DAISY Pipeline Lite, Save as DAISY add-in Version 2 produces a full DAISY multimedia publication with synchronized text and MP3 audio, enabling users to transform Word documents into accessible multimedia formats for people unable to read print due to a visual, physical, perceptual, developmental, cognitive, or learning disability. Michael Hingson, the President of The Hingson Group believes that the "DAISY navigation system is one of the most significant developments to be made available since the development of Braille. DAISY allows people who are blind to move around recorded and electronic documents easily and seamlessly in a way so far only available to sighted readers."

Also released today is Intergen's Silverlight, web-based DAISY player which makes DAISY multimedia available to anyone with a browser. Together these tools empower people with print disabilities around the world, including those in developing countries, to better access the information contained within billions of Word documents, enabling them to lead more independent, productive and enjoyable lives. "Having access to information is powerful," said Chris Capossela, Senior Vice President, Microsoft Information Worker Product Management Group. "Microsoft shares the DAISY Consortium's vision of a world where people with print disabilities have equal access to information and knowledge, without delay or additional expense. These new products help further that goal and take us one step closer to achieving it."

Save as DAISY add-in for Microsoft Office Word was produced via an open source project on SourceForge, administered by Sonata Software Ltd., and is available as a free download, allowing others throughout the industry a reference for similar use within their own applications. To download Save as DAISY add-in Version 2 visit http://daisy.org/projects/save-as-daisy-microsoft/. To install Silverlight go to http://www.buttercupreader.net/.

George Kerscher, Ph.D., Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium, describes the reach of Save as DAISY and Silverlight, "Anyone who produces information, from publishers to educators to community-based organizations to corporate trainers, can use Save as DAISY add-in together with Silverlight to produce and read that same information in accessible formats without delay or additional expense. This is a major step forward in attaining the DAISY Consortium's vision of a world where all people with print disabilities have equal access to information and knowledge."

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. These organizations 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/.

About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. For nearly two decades, Microsoft also has been a leader in providing accessible technology that makes it easier for all people, including those with disabilities and age-related impairments, to see, hear and use computers. More information about Microsoft's accessibility initiatives is available at http://www.microsoft.com/enable/microsoft/mission.aspx.


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