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DAISY Digital Talking Books (DTBs)

What is a Digital Talking Book (DTB)?

Computer speakers

At its most basic level, a Digital Talking Book is an audio representation of a print publication which is designed to further enable individuals with print disabilities. DTBs consist of a series of XML-based files, containing the full text playable in synchronized speech as well as in electronic form. These files are coordinated to provide a feature-rich experience for readers with a wide range of print disabilities. A DTB is intended to provide enhanced access to documents above and beyond the standard audio book.

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How is a DTB different than an audio book?

DTBs have all the benefits of regular audio books, but they are superior when it comes to navigating the content and displaying synchronized text. Whereas analog audio books must be manually manipulated to find specific sections, DTBs provide enhanced multimedia access to the content for people who are blind or otherwise visually-impaired, giving them ready access to particular sections of the book.

A DTB synchronizes the text and audio portions of the book, and has the following features:

  • Navigation
  • Skippability
  • Escapeability
  • Generates electronic Braille
  • Visual reinforcement for low-vision

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What are the different types of DTBs?

There are three types of DTBs: Audio and full text, audio with navigation, and text only. All three types can be played with players with text-to-speech (TTS)-enabled, such as ReadHear™. Non-TTS players can only play the first two types, however, as they lack the ability to synthetically generate speech. A brief description of each type is as follows:

  • Audio and full text: The most complete form of a DTB, containing the entire text of a document as recorded audio and as electronic text.
  • Audio with navigation: This form of DTB is effectively an enhanced audio book, with the entire document as recorded audio plus the additional navigation features of DTBs. This format is most commonly created by Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D).
  • Text only: Text only DTBs provide all of the content of a DTB, including navigation and display options, but lack any pre-recorded audio. These DTBs are often rendered using TTS for full audio playback.

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Who is DAISY?

DAISY stands for Digital Accessible Information SYstem. The DAISY Consortium was formed by talking book libraries to lead the worldwide transition from analog to Digital Talking Books. The DAISY Standard allows for full flexibility in the mix of text and audio ranging from audio-only, to full text and audio, to text-only.

The DTB standard, ANSI/NISO Z39.86-2005 (better known as DAISY 3), was authored and is maintained by the DAISY Consortium. gh has played a prominent role in many of the DAISY Consortium specification developments.

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How are gh's DTBs better?

gh produces high quality DTBs to meet our customers' needs. We offer phonetic markup to improve TTS playback, full use of all DTB features, and fast turnaround. With gh DTBs and feature-rich playback software, persons with print-disabilities can read books with ease, save time finding information, benefit from flexible reading solutions, and improve reading productivity. Our commitment to accessibility ensures increased quality and availability of information to print-disabled persons.

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What can I use to read my DTB?

ReadHear™ can be used to read any DTB. ReadHear™ has a variety of features to improve reading productivity and benefit from a flexible reading solution. See the ReadHear™ product page for more information. A DTB can also be read on hardware players.

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