DAISY Navigable Audio Books

One of the most popular and fastest-growing accessible books and media is DAISY – navigable audio ideal for both literature and textbooks.

What is DAISY?

DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) is an advanced multimedia platform for reading and listening to print material. DAISY audible books integrate both text and audio into one extremely versatile format, allowing the user to listen to material without the limitations of a regular audio book. The user can navigate back and forth (without linear restriction) by page, by chapter, by section, and by phrase (typically paragraph by paragraph). With certain types of DAISY Talking Books (DTB), it is even possible to search by key word.

Can DAISY books play in a regular CD player?

While some – not all – regular CD players will play the audio text of a DTB, in order to play a DTB properly, with all intended functionality, a DAISY book player is required. There are two types of DAISY players:

  1. Computer software DAISY players (Amis, eClipse Reader, etc.) which offer both full screen text and audio. Many of these are available as free downloads, which is great for any blind or partially sighted user wanting affordable assistive technology.
  2. Personal DAISY players (Victor readers, etc.) which are usually portable and can be used anywhere. They are similar to a personal CD player and do not offer the full screen text.

What's the difference between DAISY and regular audio?

The short answer is that regular audio CDs are limited in their navigational functionality. DAISY books are made using a series of files which are linked together using a sort of 'index' file, making navigation extremely versatile and easy. However, navigation is only part of what makes DAISY different from standard audio books. Depending on the type of DAISY, these books incorporate some or even all of the text into the finished product resulting in a multimedia print/audio hybrid – the best of both worlds! This is not only useful for those with partial sight, but children learning to read, people learning new languages, and people with low literacy skills.

Is DAISY available in a human or synthetic voice?

DAISY accessible books can be produced in several formats, the two most common being full text/full audio DAISY (for which we generally use a synthetic, computer generated voice) and partial text/full audio (for which we use a human narrated voice). While the synthetic voice can be somewhat dry and hard to get used to at first, these books are unmatched in their navigability; the user can actually do a keyword search and instantly be taken to a word's location in the book faster than a sighted person can using a regular index. The human voice DAISY is usually much more pleasant to listen to, however navigation becomes somewhat more restricted to pages, chapters, sections, and phrases (typically 'phrases' are split paragraph by paragraph). It also only uses main headings for the 'text' portion (chapters, sections and subsections, etc.).

Are there different levels of DAISY books?

There are several types of DAISY talking books which include audio only, text only, and both audio and text. There are 2 types in particular that are useful for what we do here: full text/full audio book (sometimes called Type 4 DAISY) and partial text/full audio book.

Type 4 DAISY tags appear to becoming less prevalent as there is often confusion as to which type is what. Furthermore, there are also standards such DAISY 2.02, DAISY 3, and soon DAISY 4, and this all becomes very confusing for both publishers and end-users. For all intents and purposes, T-Base currently offers two kinds of DTBs to accommodate all users’ needs: Full Audio/Full Text (Synthetic Voice) and Full Audio/Partial Text (Human Voice).

For more information on producing DAISY navigable audio books or to get a quote, complete our convenient online inquiry form, or contact T-Base Communications by phone at 1-800-563-0668, or by email at info@tbase.com.