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On Tue, 26 Apr 2011 14:49:11 +1000, Ben McGinnes <>
On 25/04/11 8:53 PM, Christian Lohmaier wrote:

There is also - in case your reader
supports the daisy format.

I hadn't even heard of DAISY, but it looks very cool so thanks for
pointing me at it.  I just installed the extension and will have a
little play with it at some nebulous point in the future.

Great :-) (I am involved in the development of odt2daisy.)

Since this thread mentions both ePub and DAISY I would like to point out
that the IDPF (in charge of ePub) and the DAISY Consortium are working on a
stronger convergence between the two formats. (It is no coincidence that
two of the editors of the ePub spec at
<> represent the DAISY
Consortium). This means that ePub 3 will contain more features to support
accessibility for people with disabilities than in previous versions.
(DAISY was designed for persons with reading impairments from the outset.)
But it also means that whatever content you put into an ePub doc will need
features to make that type of content accessible. For many types of content
(images, video, audio) this involves the use of text alternatives. Making
math and science accessible is still a challenge, in spite of many years of
research. 3D was also mentioned in this thread - I don't know how that
would be made accessible.

Other than that: what would be a special requirement for eReaders?

I can't speak for anyone else, but as long as an eReader can display
content as it would in a normal book then it's good enough.  If that
book is a novel, then it will usually be pretty easy (e.g. text,
italics, bold, small capitals, subscript, superscript and maybe
footnotes).  If that book is a text book (e.g. a science book) with
charts, formula, pictures, etc.) then more may be required.

I know PDF is suboptimal because it needs to scale to the display

When it comes to books, PDF is only really useful for type-setting a
print book (e.g. the way Lulu uses them for preparing print on demand

I think tagged PDF with reflow options in PDF readers (see one of my
previous mails) changed that a bit. Adobe Reader even has a Read Out Loud
function (but you will need to get used to synthetic speech).

plain text might be boring to read (headings, etc hard to spot, lack
of structural information for navigation), rtf might not be
supported by the reader...

Well, I wouldn't opt for either of those formats.

So there probably is no one-size-fits all solution. And it depends
on what the purpose is: personal use (i.e. conversion of random
documents) or dedicated publishing (aim is to write a book and
publish it) and thus how many restrictions you can impose on the
structure/formatting of the document.

Exactly.  At this stage most ebook publishers, including
self-publishers, usually need at least two or three formats for each
publication and often more.  Until your post I was considering PDF,
ePub, Kindle (.mobi) and maybe one or two others (.lit and whatever
Sony uses).  Now you can add DAISY to the list too.

It takes a little time to prepare all the relevant formats, but
compared to the process of writing, proofing and editing, not really
all that much.

If you want a decent DAISY book, you will need (at the very least) to make
sure that you use the correct styles for headings (to enable navigation)
and that you mark the language(s) in the content correctly.

Best regards,


Christophe Strobbe
K.U.Leuven - Dept. of Electrical Engineering - SCD
Research Group on Document Architectures
Kasteelpark Arenberg 10 bus 2442
B-3001 Leuven-Heverlee
tel: +32 16 32 85 51
Twitter: @RabelaisA11y

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