[Athen] Microsoft and Daisy Plug-ins

Prof Norm Coombs norm.coombs at gmail.com
Wed Nov 14 09:55:20 PST 2007

I want to agree with the positive remarks by Nolan and Robert.

If someone thinks that some piece of software will act like magic and
create great text, it won't happen. We will always need a thoughtful,
intelligent author. But this means that such an author can make DAISY
files easily using software that they already use daily.
At 08:02 AM 11/14/2007, you wrote:

>Excellent points, Nolan and Pratic. I realize that the editing process is

>still the major issue with alt format production, and I doubt we'll get

>away from that any time soon. However, this plug-in just might help train

>folks on the importance of well structured files.


>Personally, I'm glad to know MS is at least taking notice. Hats off to

>the DAISY consortium as well.





>Robert Lee Beach

>Assistive Technology Specialist

>Kansas City Kansas Community College

>7250 State Avenue

>Kansas City, KS 66112

>Phone: (913) 288-7671

>Fax: (913) 288-7678

>E-mail: rbeach at kckcc.edu


> >>> "Crabb, Nolan" <Crabb.15 at osu.edu> 11/14/2007 9:31 AM >>>

>I think the point Pratik made on this list today about crafting

>well-structured word files is an excellent one. I'm a little concerned

>by the attitude of almost-dismissal regarding the Microsoft plug-in.

>Some of us, particularly those of us who rely on screen readers,

>remember well the horrors of the '90s when getting Microsoft to pay any

>attention at all to accessibility issues was, for a time, nearly

>impossible. It's all well and good to draft clever one-liners on this

>list about garbage files and crap files. But somewhere nestled amongst

>those clever one-liners can perhaps be a couple of lines of celebratory

>text. Granted, this plug-in will not be the end-all and be-all,

>rendering all other DAISY creating processes obsolete. But this is one

>old access tech dinosaur who remembers the nightmares of Internet

>Explorer 4.0, which was far worse than 3.5 in terms of access, and who

>can't help but extend a heart-felt congratulations to the DAISY

>Consortium folks and frankly to Microsoft, for that matter, for even

>getting started on this project.


>The Microsoft Word 2007 plug-in for PDF creation isn't perfect either,

>but if the Word file was well constructed and the creator paid careful

>attention to using styles and so forth, it's not terrible. It comes

>pretty close to creating an accessible PDF file--not perfect, but pretty



>For that matter, the Duxbury folks have long advocated the use of styles

>in Word as one way to create even better more accurate braille

>formatting and translations. Those who fail to do that can create

>legendarily awful braille! I know! I've seen it! :-) Yet, we don't

>dismiss Duxbury out of hand for at least trying to integrate its product

>with Word's file structure.


>Today, after many years and iterations of software, a student who needs

>something brailled and who has the hardware and software necessary to do

>it can create highly usable braille for him or herself. Not always, of

>course. We all know of thousands of instances where tables, charts, and

>graphs are problematic for all but the most expert among us. But those

>of us who remember hand-transcribed braille with all its oddities and

>length of production time will be among that small cadre of folks who

>can recognize that we've made huge strides in terms of quality braille

>production. This little seemingly not-too-significant plug-in may be

>the beginning of what will someday become a highly automated DAISY

>creation process. After all, if someone who neither reads braille nor

>knows much about it can, by following closely the styles and other

>elements of a well-structured Word file, create beautifully formatted

>material in many circumstances, , surely the day will come when the

>DAISY process experiences similar benchmarks of success. We do well, it

>seems to me, to celebrate what progress now is and hope for additional

>progress tomorrow. Perhaps the reminder that none of us will be

>replaced any time soon by highly automated software will allow us to

>celebrate the positive things this plug-in and all the behind-the-scenes

>efforts it represents on all sides means. The fact that Microsoft is

>even willing to educate itself somewhat concerning DAISY is, to those of

>us who remember darker times, nothing short of a pre-holiday miracle.


>Best Wishes,










>Nolan Crabb

>Director of Assistive Technology

>The Ohio State University

>2054 Drake Center, 1849 Cannon Dr., Columbus, OH 43210


>Ph. (614) 735-8688

>E-mail: crabb.15 at osu.edu





>Athen mailing list

>Athen at athenpro.org




>Athen mailing list

>Athen at athenpro.org


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Norman Coombs
CEO EASI (www.easi.cc)
(949) 855-4852 Pacific time zone)

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