[Athen] Microsoft and Daisy Plug-ins

Daryl Murphy dmurphy at collegeofthedesert.edu
Wed Nov 14 11:55:39 PST 2007

There is a lot of speculation of what Microsoft will provide in the this
Free add-in. Yes, as with any type of documents, including HTML (which
daisy uses), or just as a student English paper, format and style is the
key. I suggest we wait and see what the plug-in will be designed to do.
As with any plug-in, it is designed to make our jobs easier. The one
plug-in that comes with Vista or as a free download for XP is one that
very few people use or just don't understand what it does. That's the
Microsoft document XPS writer. It produces a print view for any
printer. It doesn't have the hang-ups that a Pdf file might have, JAWS
or any screen reader has no problem reading it, or just a text reader.

-----Original Message-----
From: athen-bounces at athenpro.org [mailto:athen-bounces at athenpro.org] On
Behalf Of Kelmer, Susan M.
Sent: Wednesday, November 14, 2007 07:59
To: Access Technologists in Higher Education Network
Subject: Re: [Athen] Microsoft and Daisy Plug-ins

>From: athen-bounces at athenpro.org

>[mailto:athen-bounces at athenpro.org] On Behalf Of Crabb, Nolan

>Sent: Wednesday, November 14, 2007 9:32 AM

>To: Access Technologists in Higher Education Network

>Subject: [Athen] Microsoft and Daisy Plug-ins


>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


Your point is taken. However, there is nothing to celebrate about a
product that doesn't do any more than products that are already on the
market. What value is it if it is just one more of the same?

I agree, perfect styling of the original document is the key to good
DAISY production. I am actively looking for the "magic bullet" and am
not afraid to say so. I want a document to come out of the scanner with
most of this work already done. I am tired of spending hours and hours
going through a document to code styles, I'm tired of training temporary
workers to do it. I'm especially tired of taking page headers and
footers and putting them where they belong; I opt for deleting them (and
page numbers as well) in an effort to save time. I want a product that
can take that book from scanner to DAISY conversion without my
fingerprints having to be all over it in a multi-step process. It is
time-consuming and ineffective, as I always make mistakes and as far as
I'm concerned these documents are substandard when they are done. I
realize no electronic product is going to take me to perfection at this
point, but if it can take me partway there, giving me more time to edit
what needs to be edited, perfection takes a huge step forward.

At AHG I heard the goal was "less than one minute per page." Oh, how
I'd love to say we can accomplish that, but with the exception of a rare
few books, there is no way we're only spending 1 minute per page to
scan, OCR, manual edit, and push to audio or other format that the
student needs. I recently spent almost 30 hours on an 85-page book
filled with images, graphics, tables, charts, hand-written text, etc. I
might as well have typed the book by hand by the time I got done messing
with it. The TCO on that one went WAY over the top.

Until we have OCR that can place styles, headers, and footers, and until
we have tools that take those files and turn them easily from the OCR'd
text to the final output, we will still be behind the 8 ball on this
one. When I hear of a product that is supposed to help, I'm skeptical,
since I've been fooled before. And I do feel the new Microsoft
initiative is no different than any of the other tools that have been
developed out there so far.

-Susan Kelmer

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