[Athen] FW: Microsoft Word files to serve as talking books

Kelmer, Susan M. SKelmer at stlcc.edu
Tue Nov 13 06:51:31 PST 2007

Anyone know anything about this and whether it will actually work? Or
is this pie in the sky...

>Microsoft Word files to serve as talking books


>By Elsa Wenzel


>Microsoft and open-source site SourceForge

>http://www.sourceforge.net/ will offer a free plug-in early

>next year that will convert Office 2007 files to the DAISY

>format that translates text to speech.


>The free tool will add a "Save as DAISY" option within Word

>2007, 2003 and XP software. DAISY XML files can be read aloud

>by speech synthesizers, paired with audio narration and used

>to create electronic Braille. Users can navigate open-standard

>DAISY documents quickly by jumping between page elements, such

>as headers and indexes.


>The DAISY Consortium of 70 nonprofits has aimed since 1996 to

>make all published information available to people with visual

>impairments and learning disabilities. The acronym stands for

>Digital Accessible Information System.




>Digital narration serves computer users with visual

>impairments, people with learning challenges like dyslexia, as

>well as those with Parkinsons disease and other conditions

>that make it hard to type or hold a book.


>With the release of the Office 2007 suite in January,

>Microsoft shunned the popular, XML-based Open Document Format

>for its own, new Open XML format. The OOXML documents, which

>include Word files with the DOCX extension, are easier to

>retrieve if corrupted than the older DOC files.


>Versions of Word prior to 2007 can open OOXML documents after

>a one-time download of a free converter from Microsoft.

>However, critics gripe that Microsoft's format change was

>unnecessary and clumsy. Microsoft maintains that the new

>format enables greater flexibility, such as accessibility features.

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