Collaborators and Future Work
- Title of (final) product/outcome: odt2daisy
- Developer (AEGIS beneficiary): K.U.Leuven-DocArch
- Purpose/main functionality & intended use: Extension for LibreOffice Writer and OpenOffice.org Writer that exports word processing documents to digital talking books in the DAISY format. odt2daisy exports both DAISY 2.02 (for compatibility with older DAISY players) and DAISY 3.0. odt2daisy has several intended uses. (1) It enables end users to create DAISY books with free and open-source software, without depending on a DAISY production centre. (2) When combined with odt2braille, it enables DAISY and Braille production centres to use the OpenDocument Format (ODF) as a single source for both DAISY and Braille books, which simplifies the tool chain and makes the process more efficient. See more in D2.2.1 and D1.4.1 (here)
- Platforms/Operating Systems/Devices: OpenOffice/LibreOffice
- Main innovation and comparison to the State of the Art: The key innovation is the availability of a save-as-DAISY function for an open-source office suite. Save-as-DAISY functionality was not available for any office suite before May 2008. This functionality makes it easier to produce DAISY books based on word processing documents because it is not necessary to leave the authoring environment in order to convert a text document to DAISY. It is also easier to produce multilingual DAISY books because the identification of language changes inside a document are less brittle than in Microsoft Office (where language changes may be lost when editing a paragraph).
- Plug-in for OpenOffice/LibreOffice only
- Correct TTS voices (e.g. Dutch) have to be installed to be able to play the audiobook file
- Maturity level/Stage: Mature, stable product. odt2daisy is fairly mature: the first release as part of the AEGIS project (odt2daisy 2.0) was based on a predecessor called odt2dtbook. odt2daisy has been integrated into the DAISY Pipeline (by the DAISY Consortium), Create&Convert (by RSC Scotland North & East) and the altText conversion portal (by Dedicon in the Netherlands). odt2daisy is being used by several organisations that produce DAISY books (see more below)
- Open Source (Yes/No): Yes
- Download/info: http://sourceforge.net/projects/odt2daisy
- End-user documentation: End user documentation is available in various formats (ODT, PDF, DAISY and video screencasts) at http://odt2daisy.sourceforge.net/doc/. The screencasts are also available on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=8D08BBF489F62D0E and on the AEGIS Training Platform (http://aegis.bluepoint-it.ro). Developer documentation is also available on both the odt2daisy website (http://odt2daisy.sourceforge.net/doc/, including localisation documentation) and on the AEGIS Training platform (http://aegis.bluepoint-it.ro)
- Contact details (of the principal developer): Vincent Spiewak (
); Christophe Strobbe (
- Uptake by Open Source community:
Intellectual Property Rights
- Since when: May 2008 (under its previous name, odt2dtbook), November 2009 (under its current name, v2.0); April 2010 (v2.1); November 2011 (v2.1.2)
- Where: http://odt2daisy.sf.net/ (for users); http://sourceforge.net/projects/odt2daisy/ (for developers). Also included in extensions website for LibreOffice (http://extensions.libreoffice.org/extension-center) and OpenOffice.org (http://extensions.services.openoffice.org/)
- Figures/Downloads: More than 9900 downloads between November 2009 and end of August 2012; roughly 296 downloads per month on average. Download statistics can be consulted at http://sourceforge.net/projects/odt2daisy/files/stats/timeline. These figures represent downloads from SourceForge, not downloads from software download sites like softpedia.com, where the extension was added without the intervention of AEGIS.
- License: GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) version 3. The LGPL licence was chosen with the explicit goal of allowing the use of odt2daisy as a library (i.e. not at source-code level) in commercial products. Dedicon’s altText conversion portal would be an example of such a commercial service.
- How: (1) As compiled OXT file (OpenOffice.org extension / LibreOffice extension) that users can install in OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice. (2) As source code that developers can check out from a Subversion repository hosted at SourceForge.net.
Technical & Socioeconomic considerations/challenges and impact
- Intellectual property rights:Copyright of the source code belongs to the authors of the code. External contributors retain copyright of their submission (there is no requirement to transfer copyright to the odt2daisy project). General copyright legislation therefore applies as protection
Collaborators & Future Work
- Possible market applications – further research: The combined use of odt2daisy and odt2braille enables DAISY & Braille production centres to use Open¬Document Text (ODT) as a single source for both DAISY books and Braille. Production centres in the Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands have been working on processes where DAISY is used as a source format for Braille. Adding DAISY import functionality to odt2daisy could make the extension useful in this kind of process, especially because DAISY books are sometimes exchanged between production centres in different countries (for example countries that have a language in common, such as Belgium and the Netherlands). ANSI/NISO Z39.98-2012: Authoring and Interchange Framework is the successor of DAISY 3, but the changes in the standard are so significant that content providers and device manufacturers would need a transition period of several years. For this reason, DAISY 3 reaffirmed as ANSI/NISO Z39.86-2005 (R2012). Some observers think that EPUB 3 (released in October 2011), which inherited many accessibility features from DAISY, may eventually replace DAISY. Adding support for EPUB 3 before working on support for Z39.86-2005 seems more sensible than the other way around. EPUB 2 support already exists in the extension Writer2xhtml for LibreOffice and OpenOffice (http://extensions.libreoffice.org/extension-center/writer2xhtml, available under LGPL); an update to EPUB3 would also require a review of its support for ODF’s accessibility features.
- Marketability: odt2daisy is clearly marketable. It has already been integrated into the DAISY Pipeline (by the DAISY Consortium), Create&Convert (by RSC Scotland North & East) and the altText conversion portal (by Dedicon in the Netherlands). odt2daisy is being used by several organisations that produce DAISY books: Progebraille Helen Keller (working for Luisterpunt, the.Flemish library for accessible formats), BrailleNet (Paris, France), Curtin University Centre for Accessible Technology (CUCAT, Perth, Australia), the Alternative Media Access Centre (AMAC, University System of Georgia, USA) and the Association for the Blind in Western Australia (ABWA)
- Deployment (so far or near future): See above. Some further improvements would increase the impact of odt2daisy. (1) DAISY import functionality (converting DAISY XML to the OpenDocument Format) would increase the software’s usefulness to production centres. (2) Support for the IAccessible2 accessibility API – which should eventually replace the Java Accessibility API – in OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice on Windows, and improvements in the UNO API for the creation of user interfaces for extensions, would improve the accessibility of odt2daisy to screen reader users on Windows. However, this second improvement was beyond the scope of AEGIS. Apache OpenOffice started work on IAccessible2 support in February 2013; when it is ready, LibreOffice developers should be able to integrate the code into their office suite. Deployment is also taking place within Oracle products. At the CSUN Conference in February 2013, Oracle demonstrated functionality in a pre-release version of Oracle Self-Service E-Billing that generates DAISY format statements for customers with disabilities needing statements in alternate formats. This functionality is based on the odt2daisy libraries. Oracle also demonstrated braille output from Oracle Self-Service E-Billing, using the related odt2braille library, developed within AEGIS.
- Expected impact: Uptake by DAISY production centres shows that the software is having the expected impact. odt2daisy is being used by Progrebraille Helen Keller (PHK), a Braille and DAISY production centre in Flanders. Part of the odt2daisy code has been integrated in the DAISY Pipeline by the DAISY Consortium. odt2daisy has been integrated in Dedicon’s altText conversion portal (this was mentioned in Dedicon’s presentation at the 4th European eAccessibility Forum (Paris, 12 April 2010). odt2daisy and odt2braille have been integrated in Create&Convert, a package of open-source programs that can quickly translate electronic documents into an accessible alternative format. Create&Convert is devised by the JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East. The extension is also being used by BrailleNet (Paris, France), Curtin University Centre for Accessible Technology (CUCAT, Perth, Australia), Alternative Media Access Centre (AMAC, University System of Georgia, USA), Association for the Blind in Western Australia (ABWA).
- Customers: Any organisation that converts documents into digital audio books, including publishers, libraries, organisations that perform such conversion services for publishers or libraries (especially libraries for the blind), and educational institutions that provide DAISY versions of learning materials (for example, the faculty of Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Science at KU Leuven provides DAISY versions of examination questions to students with dyslexia). Furthermore, as the underlying odt2daisy functionality is open source, organizations – like Oracle – that want to add DAISY output generation to their products may incorporate odt2daisy technology.
- "Go-to-market approach": odt2daisy has been integrated into the DAISY Pipeline (an open-source DTB-related document transformations developed by the DAISY Consortium) and the altText conversion portal by Dedicon in the Netherlands. It is also used by BrailleNet (Paris, France), the Curtin University Centre for Accessible Technology (CUCAT, Australia), the Alternative Media Access Centre at the University of Georgia (AMAC), the Association for the Blind of Western Australia (ABWA) and the Wyoming Department of Education.
Demonstrations have been given to potential users, including the Flemish Braille and DAISY production centre ProgeBraille Helen Keller (PHK) and Luisterpunt, the Flemish Library for Audio Books and Braille. Demonstrations have also been given at several conferences in Europe. Some of the feature requests on the odt2daisy website originate from feedback on these demonstrations, for example, requests to support long descriptions on images, to enable DAISY import, to add sentence detection to DAISY XML export, etcetera.
Key dissemination activities in the past include a press release to accompany the release of odt2daisy 2.0 (November 2009), presentations and/or demonstrations at 11 conferences and workshops (both academic and for open-source developers), and the AEGIS demonstration events in May/June 2012 in Belgium.
Potential future exploitation can be seen through further development from student projects at Hochshule der Medien in Stuttgart, Germany. Prof. Dr. G. Zimmermann will probably introduce a new course on accessibility in the summer semester of 2014 (i.e. starting in March 2014), with support from Christophe Strobbe (who has shifted from KUL to HdM) and is the main developer of odt2daisy, odt2braille and AccessODF. However, in first place awareness will be raised at HdM, through an "Accessibility Day".
- Commercialisation barriers: odt2daisy would benefit more users if it could be made accessible to assistive technologies on Microsoft Windows. On Windows, OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice use the Java Accessibility API to communicate with assistive technologies. Unfortunately, this accessibility API is poorly supported by screen readers on Windows. The solution would be to replace the Java Accessibility API with IAccessible2, but this is outside the scope of odt2daisy. The Apache OpenOffice project started work on IAccessible2 in February 2013; this work is later expected to be copied to LibreOffice.
- Collaborations: The development of odt2daisy and the numerous dissemination efforts have not yet led to collaboration or financial support. K.U.Leuven has been working with the Flemish Braille and DAISY production centre ProgeBraille Helen Keller (PHK) and with Luisterpunt, the Flemish Library for Audio Books and Braille to discuss, implement and test improvements to odt2daisy. So far, no external contributors have submitted code improvements to odt2daisy; except some of the translations of the user interface. However, it is more likely that odt2daisy will continue as a volunteer effort.
- Further research and development steps-future collaboration: Some additional features would make odt2daisy even more interesting, for example, the ability to import DAISY books, support for “poems” (as defined by the DAISY standard), more control over the voice used for the text-to-speech conversion (a feature that is dependent on changes in the DAISY Pipeline) and the accessibility of the user interface (a feature that is dependent on changes in OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice Writer). Initial work to allow more control over the text-to-speech voices has been done, but has not yet been integrated into the core of odt2daisy. No external collaborators have been identified for this. Integration into LibreOffice Writer, instead of availability as an extension, would also be valuable. Developers in the LibreOffice community (the Document Foundation) can probably contribute to this. However, this would require a rewrite of all Java code – both odt2daisy’s Java code and the DAISY Pipeline Lite – into C++, and this looks unlikely in the foreseeable future.
Questions about odt2Daisy installation (with answers on http://odt2daisy.sourceforge.net/support/#BugReport ):