Open Electronic Book Forum (OEBF)
The purpose of the Open eBook Forum (OEBF) is to create and maintain standards and promote the successful adoption of electronic books. The OEBF is an association of hardware and software companies, publishers and users of electronic books and related organizations whose goals are to establish common specifications for electronic book systems, applications and products that will benefit creators of content, makers of reading systems and, most importantly, consumers. The OEBF is helping to catalyze the adoption of electronic books; to encourage the broad acceptance of these specifications on a worldwide basis among members of the Forum, related industries and the public; and to increase awareness and acceptance of the emerging electronic publishing industry. The OEBF is composed of member organizations (each of which may have one or more representatives) and a Board of Directors. The members determine the policies and activities of the organization.
Digital Audio-Based Information System Consortium (DAISY Consortium)
The DAISY Consortium is establishing the International Standard for the production, exchange, and use of the next generation of "Digital Talking Books." The DAISY Consortium is made up of organizations throughout the world who serve persons who are blind or print disabled. Blindness organizations which are active members in the DAISY Consortium and will begin producing Digital Talking Books in DAISY format include Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D), American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), American Printing House for the Blind (APH), Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), and the U.K. Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB), to name just a few. The object of the DAISY Consortium is to improve the access to all kinds of information for blind and visually impaired people. DAISY Digital Talking Books are expected on the market in 2000.
Digital Talking Book (DTB)
A Digital Talking Book is envisioned to be, in its fullest implementation, a group of digitally-encoded files containing an audio portion recorded in human speech; the full text of the work in electronic form, marked with the tags of a descriptive markup language; and a linking file that synchronizes the text and audio portions. The need to digitize audio collections around the world is clear. Currently, each country has its own system and format for serving its clients. To read talking books on cassettes is similar to the ancient way of reading scrolls. There is a lot of winding and rewinding. In a digital talking book the reader has random access to the sections via the talking table of contents. The digitization of books intended for persons with disabilities provides opportunities to increase the quality and availability of information to print disabled persons.
American National Standards Institute/National Information Standards Organization (ANSI/NISO)
A committee of the United States based National Information Standards Organization (NISO), in conjunction with the internationally known DAISY Consortium, is working on a specification for Digital Talking Books. This will serve as the next generation of information technology for persons who are blind and print disabled. At the heart of this specification is an XML DTD that incorporates the elements of structure needed to provide access to information. The specification goes on to define how the textual information can be synchronized with digitally recorded human speech through Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL), a recommendation of the W3C. The specification identifies six classes of books that have varying amounts of text mixed with audio. Most significantly, one class of book contains only text, with no recorded human speech. Access to the information would be through synthetic speech, refreshable braille or dynamically generated large print.
Document Type Definition (DTD)
This is a formal definition of a discrete set of XML tags usually targeted at a particular type of application. For example, the Document Type Definition for the Digital Talking Book would define tags for things one finds in a book, e.g., chapter, paragraph, footnote, jacket, etc.
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
The W3C is an international industry consortium founded in 1994. Its mission is to promote the evolution and ensure the interoperability of the World Wide Web. Working with the global community, the Consortium produces specifications and reference software for free use around the world. The World Wide Web Consortium established the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) in 1997. Changing the Web's underlying protocols, applications and, most importantly, the way content is developed can significantly improve access to the Web by people with disabilities. The WAI has working groups developing comprehensive and unified sets of accessibility guidelines for content accessibility, browser accessibility, and authoring tool accessibility.
The Extensible Markup Language (XML)
The XML is the universal format for structured documents and data on the Web. It is a set of rules, guidelines, conventions for designing text formats for data, in a way that produces files that are easy to generate and read (by a computer), that are unambiguous, and that avoid common pitfalls, such as lack of extensibility, lack of support for internationalization/localization, and platform-dependency. Like HTML, XML makes use of tags (words bracketed by '<' and '>') and attributes (of the form name="value"), but while HTML specifies what each tag & attribute means (and often how the text between them will look in a browser), XML uses the tags only to delimit pieces of data, and leaves the interpretation of the data completely to the application that reads it. In other words, if you see "<p>" in an XML file, don't assume it is a paragraph. Depending on the context, it may be a price, a parameter, a person.
Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML)
HTML is the lingua franca for publishing hypertext on the World Wide Web. It is a non-proprietary format based upon SGML, and can be created and processed by a wide range of tools from simple plain text editors. HTML uses tags such as <h1> and </h1> to structure text into headings, paragraphs, lists, hypertext links etc.
The Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL) is written as an XML application and is currently a W3C recommendation. Simply put, it enables authors to specify what should be presented; therefore, enabling them to control the precise time that a sentence is spoken and make it coincide with the display of an image appearing on the screen. The SMIL language has been designed for ease of access for authoring simple presentations with a text editor. The key to success for HTML was that attractive hypertext content could be created without requiring a sophisticated authoring tool. The SMIL language achieves the same goal for synchronized hypermedia.
Optical Character Reader (OCR):
A device which can optically analyze a printed text, recognize the letters or other characters, and store this information as a computer text file. OCRs are usually limited to recognizing the styles and sizes of type for which they are programmed.