Daisy for advanced computer users: What is optimum?

Accessibility Advocacy

What is the state-of-the-art for using Daisy today?

I am an advanced osx and ios user (I can use windows if necessary.) beginning to study programming for a career change. I have a reading disability but ok vision otherwise. I need e-books and TTS to read but, I prefer to have more visual experience. Every year, I am doing more with e-books, TTS and the free services like BARD and the Internet Archive.

I have never been clear what a good daisy setup is and how to use it. There is a lots of old and defunct info coming up on google searches, lots of introductory and incomplete explanations.

What is the the best software for my iPhone and imac?
Is there better hardware than that for Daisy?
Is a daisy ever better than an epub or PDF (that includes text) of the same book?
What are the best places to get the largest quantity of daisys to search from?

Am I right that Bookshare only scans to text on demand? Or do they do e-books with picture also?

As I am beginning to study computer programming with PYTHON, I need lots of those kind of books.

Kudos to you awesome applevis folks! I have been getting excellent information here and on the podcast for years. Clearly, this is the best place to ask this kind of technical question.

Free Don



Submitted by TJT 2001 on Friday, December 28, 2018

I am going to attempt to answer your questions.

I am not sure what you mean by a "good DAISY setup". There aren't too many apps for macOS that can open DAISY books, and they are quite expensive. There are many popular apps for reading DAISY books on iOS, however, the most popular of which are <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/voice-dream-reader/id496177674?mt=8">Vo… Dream Reader</a> and <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dolphin-easyreader/id1161662515?mt=8">D… Easy Reader</a>. If you use Windows, you might want to try <a href="https://q-continuum.net/qread/">QRead</a&gt;. (Voice Dream Reader is currently on sale for 53% off, so if you want to get a really good app, you should do so now.) If you did want to read DAISY books on a Mac, DAISY 3 books that have text should have an XML file or similar that may be able to be opened in some web browsers.

DAISY was the format that inspired EPUB 3, which allows for the same kind of semantic navigation available in DAISY books where you can easily move by heading level, page, phrase, etc. Personally, I would rather use DAISY or EPUB 3 because they are designed to be accessible from the outset. PDFs are another issue—you will know that DAISY allows you to navigate by items such as headings, and many PDF files still have poor navigation by headings, pages, etc., which would mean that they are not as accessible as they could be.

The place to get the largest quantity of books in DAISY format is undoubtedly Bookshare, which currently has about 670,000 titles in their collection. All of their titles can be downloaded in DAISY, EPUB 3 and Microsoft Word. Bookshare acquires their books in two ways. They will either scan the books and add the semantic navigation themselves; or they will obtain the book directly from a publisher. Books obtained from publishers vary in their quality. Most books should have all of the content you need, though sometimes books obtained from publishers have graphics in the files that contain the text, i.e. there might be a table in the text that is shown in the book as a graphic, so due to the severity of your reading disability, you may not be able to access all of the content unless you used OCR software to attempt to recognize the text in these graphics. Bookshare allows you to download thousands of books, and there is no shortage of books about programming in Python, so you can try many books until you find one that has all of the content you need.

Submitted by Ekaj on Sunday, December 30, 2018

Hello. I'd also like to chime in here a bit. I just obtained a copy of Dolphin Easy Reader for my iPhone. I've not yet done much with it, but as an experienced screen reader user one of the things that excites me about this app is that the voice can be controlled somewhat independently from VoiceOver. I say somewhat independently because I briefly tried the app with VO turned off, but couldn't get anything to work. But I just wanted to plug this app. Someone please feel free to correct me regarding voice. I'm sure VDR and its companion app Writer are great too, but I've never used them. BookShare and BARD are both awesome. I'm so excited about all these iOS reading options.