Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Open-source tool creates OOXML docs for the blind

Microsoft has helped develop an open-source tool that translates Word files into a "talking" digital book format, which makes documents easily accessible for the 160 million people worldwide with impaired vision.

The tool was developed in an open-source project with Sonata software and the Digital Accessible Information System (Daisy) consortium. It translates OOXML files into the Daisy format, which can be used in software such as Book Wizard Producer and the Daisy pipeline, to create a talking book.

Listening to a Daisy audio file is different from an MP3. With an MP3, the listener can only navigate between tracks. But someone listening to a Daisy format file can do things a sighted person would do when reading a document, such as skip to specific page numbers, hear a table of contents and look up references in an index.

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