The office of the NGO called Saksham Trust (a member organisation of the Daisy Forum of India) is no different than any other office. One can see people working dedicatedly on their laptops. But may be you will realize the difference later on! Most of the people working diligently on their laptops have print disability – they cannot read!!! But, this is not all, they are helping people with print disability as well. Such people need something more than printed books. Varsha Verma brings an account of the need of books for the print disabled.

Not many people, like me, can read a printed publication, began Dipendra Monocha, president, Daisy Forum of India and founder manager trustee of Saksham Trust (also a member of Daisy Forum of India). “These people may include blind and people with low vision, illiterate, people suffering from dyslexia, people who cannot hold the books and also people with learning disability. All these people need much more than printed books. It is seen that people with learning disability can do much better if they are given not just printed books but also audio books. Infact, the success ratio is 10-20 percent with printed versions but coupled with vision or visual with audio, the success ratio goes to 50 percent,” he added.

So what are the print alternatives? “As is widely known, Braille is one, then there are talking books, digital books in specified format (DAISY which stands for Digital Access Information System) and large print books (for low vision people),” told Dipendra. “And the source of all these formats is of course digital. DAISY is the international standard for digital publications. “All the publications following DAISY standards can be easily converted into the voice books and Braille. DAISY defines all the details like page numbers, headings, images, etc. Even the digital player manufacturers are given those standards so that these players can play the text in DAISY format.”

DAISY standard is defined by 112 not-for-profit organizations from 52 countries like the NLS division of the Library of Congress, USA; Recording for Blind & Disylexic, Daisy Forum of India, TBP of Sweden; Swedish Library for Print Disabled, etc. The Daisy Forum of India has 82 members and all these members have a combined catalogue system to avoid duplication of books. ‘We have the exchange services, where members of the Daisy Forum of India can share the books with each other,” told Dipendra.

“The print disable people have the fundamental right to information. But only one percent of the print publications in India are accessible by the print disabled. The mandate for Daisy Forum of India is huge to bring this one percent to hundred percent, which is only possible when the publishers provide us the text in DAISY standard digital files and when the copyright laws enable us to have them free of publishers’ royalty. We cannot wait for permissions from the concerned publishers as it wastes a lot of time in the process. As many as 50-60 countries have given copyright exemptions to such NGOs and now we are trying to have a similar arrangement in India as well,” Dipendra raised the concern.

We share and are equally concerned about the intellectual property rights of the right owners. We would not want the content of the right owners to be stolen. However, we would like to work hand in hand with the publishers on one hand, protecting their content from piracy and on the other hand to get digital content for producing braille and accessible e-text books that persons with print disabilities could read,” added Dipendra.

It will be effective only when the print is published the same day it is available for the print disabled, just like widely circulated India Today magazine which can be accessed by these people in just an hour of its release. “They give us the digital files and we develop a talking version of the magazine within an hour of the receipt of the digital files. This magazine is developed in the computerized voice as its shelf life is short and if we convert it manually, it would consume a lot of time. As of now, 250 individual members access this magazine and we even send the same to over 40 organizations who then distribute it at their end,” told Dipendra.

“We also have a few tie-ups with well known publishers like Sage, Oxford University Press and Sheth Publishers, who provide us the digital files of the books which our members need from these publishers,” added Dipendra.

Another major challenge faced by the Daisy Forum of India is the lack of Unicode-based fonts (a standard for DAISY) in the regional languages. “All the European language fonts use the Unicode standard, which means that each alphabet is assigned a particular number which is same in all the fonts. This is not so in Indian regional languages. For example, if we convert the text typed in Hindi in Chankya font to a Unicode font like Mangal, it becomes an alien language, because the numbers assigned to the alphabets in both these fonts are different. So although, we have NCERT books available as a free download on their website, it is not of much use for us as the fonts used are not Unicode,” he explained. “Lack of standard keyboard layout is yet another issue faced by us.”

So, what are the formats which can be easily used by them? “XML, Word format, Open Office Word Document or HTML can be easily used. We have tools which can convert these files to DAISY and then they can be further used,” replied Dipendra.

All these books are available free of cost to their members. As of now, they have converted 25,000 books in all genres like textbooks for schools and universities, competitive books, bestsellers and Classics for general reading. “Earlier, it used to take 4-6 months time for a student to get his books, which we are trying to reduce and we use it levitra online shop uk aim to give the students their books on their first day at school or university.”

Talking about Saksham Trust, Dipendra informed, “At Saksham Trust, we have various projects like digital textbooks production, running a school for the blind and offering books from in north and east India. We also offer technological solutions to the print disabled people at affordable costs. The talking thermometer was launched by us in 2003, which has enabled them to measure their temperature. We also made the software to add speech in mobile phones in India available at affordable costs.”

“A fun project at our NGO is the audio description of movies where we describe the non-verbal portions of the movies. Few movies that have been audio described include Taare Zameen Par, Munna Bhai MBBS and more recently Peepli Live,” added Dipendra laughing. All these projects are ably handled by 30 direct employees and 70-80 volunteers.

With such strong will and the desire to reach out to all those who need these books, Daisy Forum of India is indeed doing a noble deed. It’s time that all the publishers come forward and help them in disseminating information, which is the prime aim of the publishing industry at large.

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Jonathan Seifman, managing director-South Asia, CCH Asia Pte Limited at their India office in New Delhi.Founded in the year 1913, the US-based CCH (Commerce Clearing House) continues to deliver superior products and services, committed in improving and strengthening offerings which are reputed for its accurate, relevant and authoritative resources. Being a member of the Netherlands-based Wolters Kluwer group (since 1996), the world’s leading publisher for professionals, with offices in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, India, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, UK and Europe, CCH also provides various market-leading solutions including The ProSystemfx Suite, CorpSystem, CCH IntelliConnect, Accounting Research Manager and Master Tax Guide, etc.

CCH in India represents the Wolters Kluwer Tax, Accounting & Legal division. With this new operation, Wolters Kluwer has extended its already established strong positions in the tax, accounting and legal markets in the United States, Canada, Asia Pacific, and Europe to India as a global integrated solutions provider for professionals in law, accounting and corporations in support of Wolters Kluwer’s strategy to accelerate profitable growth. Many generations involved with tax, legal and business have considered CCH products among the essentials in any office and critical in keeping abreast with day-to-day changes. CCH has a diverse range of information that millions of professionals have always been trusting and relying on.

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When the whole world was talking about the Commonwealth Games, could publishing industry be behind? Infact, publishing industry has always been known for correlating events as a very big marketing tool. Lately, it was the Commonwealth Games, Diwali and more recently the Obama’s visit to India, when bookstores were prominently displaying books on these subjects. Here are details of two book launched during Commonwealth Games. Pitambar Publishing Co (P) Ltd recently launched a book titled Commonwealth Games- An Extravaganza in New Delhi coinciding with the Commonwealth Games. The book is authored by Dr Pushker Srivastava and buy levitra online uk Gyanendra Bartaria. The book was officially launched by Rama Kant Goswami, MLA and chairman, Delhi Jal Board.

At the launch function, Pushker told that the book is an attempt to answer questions like what are Commonwealth Games and what would be their impact on India. He said that it is aimed at students appearing for competitive exams. He told that the foreword is given by Irfan Sheikh. He also thanked Anand Bhushan, the publisher, for making the book see light of the day.

Irfan Sheik expressed his concern on the changes in the value system of the youth of today. He also congratulated Pushker on the launch of the book.

While, Anand Bhushan said that the book has been launched for children and general public who want to know more about Commonwealth Games.

Rama Kant, while addressing the audience, said that the sports revolution has started in India and soon every state will have a budget for sports. He concluded that the youth-related books should be published as this book is one amongst them.

Another book on the Games was a book by National Book Trust, India, titled Quest for Olympic Gold: Strategies for Excellence written by Arun Kumar Pandya under its General series. The book, which was commissioned on the occasion of the Commonwealth Games at Delhi starting October 3, 2010, was made available to the buyers at the NBT Book Shop at its Vasant Kunj headquarters and the Asaf Ali Road during the Commonwealth Games.

Considering the fact that India has one of the largest human resources in the world, our rather dismal status among the sports playing nations has understandably remained one of our biggest national disappointments. After all, what ails Indian sports and what can be the way ahead to stake a respectable claim in the international sports arena? The book seeks to discuss this all in a frank manner while delineating the roles of various stakeholders like the state and central governments including the Sports Authority of India, Indian Olympic Association, National Sports Federations, Media etc. In the backdrop of the concrete achievements of placing adequate world class sports infrastructure for the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010 and the euphoria, both good and bad, associated with the event, the present book takes stock of the required groundwork that have been done and further needs to be done in the country’s quest to earn a rich haul of gold medals at the Mecca of all sporting events—the Olympics.

The author Arun Kumar Pandya, (IAS, batch 1957, Madhya Pradesh cadre), has held various responsible posts in the state government as well as at the centre retiring as secretary to the Department of Youth Affairs & Sports, Govt. of India and director-general, Sports Authority of India (SAI) in the year 1992.

Kannada literature had been given a facelift with the efforts of Navakarnataka, which recently celebrated its golden jubilee. Their 2,951th book was launched to mark the occasion. Karnataka-based Navakarnataka Publications Pvt Ltd recently celebrated their 50th anniversary by releasing its prestigious publication Karnataka Kaladarshana – a two volume book on different aspects of Karnataka art and culture. This unique volume of 1,200 pages (demy quarto size) printed on art paper contains 4,300 colour and black & white pictures. Priced at Rs 3,000 it has been received well by readers. Edited by Prof MH Krishnaiah, Dr Vijaya and CR Krishna Rao the book has nine chapters with 50 articles written by 55 experts in various fields of arts, both visual and performing. This was Navakarnataka’s 2,951th publication in its golden jubilee year. The publishing house established in 1960 with the motto ‘Service to mankind through books’ has served the Kannada literary world offering variety of books to its readers, bagging prestigious awards including state government award and has emerged as a leading publishing house in Karnataka.

The golden Jubilee celebration was held in Ravindra Kalakshetra, Bangalore with noted playwright, poet and former vice-chancellor

Dr Chandrashekhara Kambara in the chair. Speaking on the occasion he said that Navakarnataka has done excellent service to Kannada literature, publishing useful books over the years. It has done what the universities in Karnataka could not do. The two volumes were released by Dr B Jayashree, noted theatre personality and Rajya Sabha member. She complimented Navakarnataka’s work and urged the Govt to support by purchasing books to libraries and educational institutions in the state. She regretted that Kannada was not well represented in parliament library and offered to present Karnataka Kaladarshna to it.

Mukhyamanthri Chandru, chairman, Kannada Development Authority, Govt of Karnataka while receiving the first copy of Kaladarshana said the two volumes should find a place in all libraries in the state and promised he would strive to achieve it. The presidents of various academies also received the copies of the book. DK Chowta, playwright and art lover, who was chief guest, welcomed Kaladarshana as first of its kind in any language in the country. Prof MH Krishnaiah, editor kaladarshana explained the highlights of the two volumes. Dr Vijaya, another editor, said the volumes represent the achievements of Karnataka in various fields of culture and also its contribution to the cultural world in general.

Earlier RS Rajaram, managing director, Navakarnataka Publications made a presentation of the achievements of the publishing house and unraveled the future plans. He said the organization over the years has built a chain of large number of readers and promoted hundred of writers. “The readers are our mainstay and we do not depend on Govt support or bulk purchase,” he said. CR Krishna Rao, director and editor, Karnataka Kaladarshana proposed vote of thanks.

The function was attended by eminent personalities like Sudha Murthy of Infosys Foundation, Jnanapihta awardee Girish Karnad, writers Ko Channabasappa, Dr CR Chandrashekar, veteran freedom fighter HS Doraiswamy, film maker and writer Nagathihalli Chandrashekhar, editor of Hosathu Dr G Ramakrishna and many others.