Accessible Format Production: Overview on Creating Accessible Formats

I have been meaning to post a series of post on how to create accessible formats, so here’s the overview. 

The Overall Process

accessible format Production Workflow overview

  1. Scan the print material.
  2. Run through OCR, creating a Text-readable PDF.
  3. Edit the PDF to make an Accessible PDF.
  4. Convert PDF (or EPUB) to document format.
  5. Edit the document to make it accessible.
  6. Convert the document to DAISY format.

Where you start and stop in the process depends on the source and required format.

Depending on what software you’re using, there may also be some intermediate steps I haven’t mentioned.

For example, in my drawing, I first have conversion to DAISY XML (dtbook) before DAISY but some software will convert directly from document to full DAISY. 

Synthesized vs. Live Narrated (DAISY)

In the context for creating accessible formats, when referring to DAISY, I mean synthesized (text-to-speech voiced) audio.

While live narrated audiobooks are common, they are typically distributed in MP3.

Live narrated DAISY exists, and allows for extra metadata and navigation compared to MP3 audiobooks, but provides only the basic structure (headings and sometimes page numbers). These DAISY books will not have the full-text synchronized with the audio.

The process of producing live narrated DAISY is also generally similar to MP3 audiobooks. The big difference with DAISY being that the general book structure is put into a file ahead of time and while the narrator is recording, he/she will navigate through the structure so that the audio lines up with headings (and page numbers).

Obviously, different software is used as well. For free options, Audacity is popular for recording MP3, while Obi is used for recording DAISY. Both software has documentation on how to record and export files into their supported formats.

Other Formats

You might ask, what about other formats?


MP3 is the common audio format, but when creating DAISY, you can choose to (and is the standard to) create the audio files in MP3 format. Therefore, if you wanted MP3, all you have to do is copy the MP3 files from the DAISY and voila.

Large Print

Large Print is very much a print format. In digital format, users could zoom in, or increase the font size in order to make the text bigger. High quality images can be included as well if you expect the users to zoom into or resize the images.

Ebook & Braille

E-text can easily be converted to ebook and electronic Braille formats.

Most ebook readers, Braillers, and refreshable Braille devices will also read RTF files.

The Details

Each step has been broken down into individual posts for easy reading.

Author: Cynthia

Technologist, Librarian, Metadata and Technical Services expert, Educator, Mentor, Web Developer, UXer, Accessibility Advocate, Documentarian

Leave a Comment

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: