The METg’s Chris Valentine recently attended a meeting to discuss the future world file format for digital talking books in Sigtuna, just north of Stockholm, Sweden. The meeting was attended by at least seven talking book libraries and eleven visually-impaired research and support institutions from around the world.
The principle driving force behind the development of a standard has come from the development of DAISY…
“DAISY represents a radically new way to record, store, distribute and read Talking Books for people with print impairment, i.e. people who have difficulties reading printed information. The system is built upon digital technology, using standard personal computers as its hardware platform. The system is based on a general concept called ‘Digital Audio-based Information System’, DAISY.” The project was originally funded by the Swedish Library of Talking Books and Braille, TPB, but now receives income from a 10 member consortium lead by the British RNiB.
Both recording and playback hardware (as shown above) is being prototyped by the Japanese company Plextor, who expect world-wide sales into five figures of Plextalk playback machines to users of talking book libraries, expected to cost around $400.
The DAISY system would be of particular benefit to the OU’s Office for Students with Disabilities because of the need to edit recorded course material at regular intervals, an extremely time-consuming task using the existing cassette-based system.
More details of the DAISY system can be viewed at the Labyrinten Data‘s site.