DAISY Consortium Releases Obi 1.0 - Open Source Accessible Multimedia Authoring Tool

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Obi, an open source audio recording tool released by the DAISY Consortium, enables a broader audience to produce accessible, navigable information for people with print disabilities. DAISY audio books created with Obi can be produced with chapters, sections, sub-sections and pages, providing navigation to the content. Obi is fully accessible through assistive technologies such as screen readers. In addition, Obi reduces the time required to work with sophisticated production tools and significantly reduces tool costs that may create barriers for some.

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The release of Obi is an important step in achieving 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.

The DAISY Consortium announced the release of Obi 1.0, a free, open source audio recording tool for the production of audio books which provide meaningful navigation. The output is fully conformant to the DAISY Standard (officially, the ANSI/NISO Z39.86 Specifications for the Digital Talking Book). Obi enables individual users with a minimal amount of training to produce digital content that is accessible to people with print disabilities such as blindness, dyslexia, or cognitive disabilities. Obi is released under the LGPL license and is available for download at http://daisy-trac.cvsdude.com/obi/wiki/downloads.

George Kerscher, PhD, Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium said, "The release of Obi is an important step in achieving 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."

DAISY audio books created with Obi can be produced with chapters, sections, sub-sections and pages, providing navigation to the content. Obi is fully accessible using assistive technologies such as screen readers. In addition, Obi reduces the time required to work with sophisticated production tools and significantly reduces tool costs that may create barriers for some. For example, teachers can use Obi to produce accessible materials for their students quickly and easily, and organizations in developing countries and smaller organizations everywhere can create synchronized multimedia without a large investment in new technology.

Sandeep Kaler, Project Manager for the National Association for the Blind in New Delhi, India, describes his experience with Obi, "Obi functionality looks very similar to most Windows applications with familiar commands like Open, Save, Save as, Copy, Paste, etc. which reduces the learning curve. Obi is fully accessible with both open source and more sophisticated commercial screen readers which helps visually challenged users to be as effective as sighted users in most parts of the world. Another nice feature is unicode support in Obi; this enables users to produce DAISY books in different languages. I have produced Hindi DAISY books fluently with this software. And most important, Obi is an open source DAISY authoring tool which is easily available on DAISY website. User does not need to ask for permission and neither has to pay to utilize it."

Prashant Verma, who provides technical support and software testing services, shared his perspective: "The DAISY producers and users in Sri Lanka were the first group who received training for using Obi during March 2009 training workshop. Obi was highly appreciated for its new features, accessibility and simple interface. The participants were extremely pleased to see that for the first time they could use local language characters within a DAISY production tool. The training participants proudly displayed metadata information in the Sinhala language. The group now wants to use Obi for making TOC only books in place of their existing production tools."

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/.

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