Saturday, June 28, 2008

How to Use the MS Word to DAISY Add-in: More information and Answers from DAISY

I posted this past week on my latest discoveries and thoughts on the MS Word add-in, converting Word files to digital talking book files and using them with free and pay players. I had this wonderful response as a comment from Romain Deltour from the DAISY Consortium and wanted to make this a post because I believe it summarizes much of what I have been trying to discover and makes things a little easier for those of us that are trying to sort all of this out. I promise, that when this is all said and done, I will make a tutorial available and share it with everyone.
I hope Romain's comment below helps you out as much as it helped me...
Thanks again Romain!

"Let me clarify a few points regarding DAISY standards, the Pipeline and MS Add-in:

1. DAISY Standards
There are two main versions of the DAISY standard: the DAISY 2.02, and DAISY 3 (officially ANSI/NISO Z39.86). Each of these specifications specify what is a Digital Talking Book (DTB), which is in both case composed by a set of different files.

To make it simple, a DAISY 2.02 full-audio, full-text book is composed of:
- the navigation control center document (ncc.html)
- the text content document (.html)
- a set of audio files (wav, mp3)
- a set of SMIL files (to synchronize the different media, text and audio)

A DAISY 3 full-audio, full-text book is composed of:
- a DTB package file (.opf), which contains metadata and the list of the other files
- a navigation control file (.ncx), basically the table of content
- a DTBook file (.xml) which contains the textual content
- a set of audio files (wav, mp3)
- a set of SMIL files (to synchronize the different media, text and audio)

As you've seen, some players accept a mere DTBook xml file: they use advanced conversion technique and speech synthesis to make a full DTB out of this xml textual content. Others require a fully built DTB though.
DAISY 2.02 players usually expect the ncc.html, while DAISY 3 players will usually expect the .opf file.

2. MS Add-In
The MS DAISY Translator, aka MS "Save as DAISY XML" converts a Word document in a DTBook file. It doesn't produce a full Digital Talking Book yet. That's why this output is only readable in some of the players out there.(the bold emphasis added by Lon)
The solution, as you found out, is either to use a player that will play a DTBook XML directly using speech synthesis, or to use a conversion tool to make a full DTB out of the DTBook XML file. For your information, the ability to create a full DTB is planned for a next version of the Word Add-In.

3. Pipeline
To create a DTB from Word with the Pipeline, you have two options:
- Use the built in Word 2003 XML to DTBook converter to produce the DTBook, then use Pipeline Narrator to produce DTBs from the DTBook.
- Use the MS "Save as DAISY XML" Add-In to produce the DTBook xml, then use the Pipeline Narrator to produce DTBs from the DTBook.
Note that the Narrator will create 3 books: a DAISY 2.02 book, a DAISY 3 book with wav-encoded audio, and a DAISY 3 book with mp3-encoded audio. You should be able to read at least one of these DTB in any DAISY player you have, and as far as I know AMIS 3 (currently in beta version) supports both DAISY 2.02 and DAISY 3 full-text full-audio books.
Wow. That was a longer comment that I initially thought. I'll cross-post to the DAISY forums to keep track of it! (by the way, I invite you to post questions / request for help in these forums)"

I don't know about you, but I am flat-out impressed that Romain took the time to share here. I am going to print this out and keep it as a reference. I am excited that the next MS add-in is intended to support a ful DTB format. Check out the forum he linked, and stay connected because we are working on a Blog Talk Radio segment to discuss the tools being created and future of DAISY formats. This is still to be announced as we get the dates and schedules together.

All the best to you!



David Mack said...

I am looking for best companies who provide DTBook Conversion Services. I felt good after reading your post and your experiences. This Daisy things are awesome, aren’t these? Everything is being digitalized in this fast technical world.

Lon said...

The best service to get your digital books converted is Bookshare. Bookshare is a free service to students with print disabilities through a federal grant.If you send them a book they will scan it in and add it to their library and notify you when it is available. People have been doing this with older textbooks that are not in the Bookshare Library. Membership is required to do this. Check them out at