The project, called DAISY 2012, includes the offer to students and teachers of the latest generation ‘EaseReader’ software for reading digital audio books in DAISY format and other formats, including unprotected ePub.
Since 2005 the Directorate-General for Education and the Vodafone Portugal Foundation have distributed digital audio books designed for blind or visually impaired students, enabling them to use the same textbooks and other recommended reading books that are used by thousands of Portuguese students every day. The Ministry of Education and Science identifies and oversees the adaptation of the textbooks to be produced; the publisher Porto Editora provides the digital content and the Vodafone Portugal Foundation funds the production work. The audio books produced include textbooks for history, natural sciences and information technology, and works of literature such as ‘Os Lusíadas’, ‘Os Maias’ and ‘Viagens na Minha Terra’.
This new project extends access to students with dyslexia who will now have a tool enabling them to read any digital audio book in DAISY format. This software also has the added advantage of allowing teachers to create their own audio content.
DAISY is the acronym for ‘Digital Accessible Information System’, an open format that has become the standard for accessible digital audio books. DAISY expands the concept of the traditional audio book, since it includes sound (with human expression) and the written text properly synchronized. With the ‘EaseReader’ software, the reader hears and reads simultaneously, which doubles the information input channels to the brain, facilitating understanding of the message. These books allow the creation of indexes to facilitate access to chapters and sections, and also permit text searches, the insertion of markers, and now, the creation of audio content by teachers for provision to students. Accessibility options include changing the speed of reading, the choice of font, size and colour of the text, and the use of keyboard shortcuts.