Accessible Format Production Part 6: DAISY Book

Finally, here is the last part of the series, talking about creating DAISY books from edited e-text.

Just a reminder that the following assumes you completed step 5 and you have an accessible RTF document to work from.

Software Options and Which to Choose

The option you choose depends on the kind of work you need done, and what existing software you have.

DAISY Pipeline

DAISY Pipeline generally works well and the best part is that there are versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

The program is easy to use, though unfortunately, the error messages are sometimes completely unhelpful.

You do have to create the DAISY book in two steps and converting from RTF, it does not seem to recognize:

  • page numbers,
  • footnotes, and
  • images.

OpenOffice Save As DAISY Plugin

While many resources recommend the odt2daisy plugin, unfortunately it is no longer under development.

You will need OpenOffice 3.x to make it work. On OSX at least, it likes to crash, so I don’t use it all that often.

On the upside, it works with:

  • page numbers,
  • footnotes, and
  • images.

Microsoft Word Save As DAISY Plugin

The biggest downside of the Save as DAISY MS Word plugin is that it requires:

  • Windows version of Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, or 2013 with macros enabled

The biggest advantage is that it works well and has a lot of built-in styles to help with a proper conversion of everything mentioned previously as well as image captions, marking the start or end of front/rear matter and more.

Convert E-text to DAISY XML

While both the Word and OpenOffice plugins allow you to convert a document directly to a full DAISY audio book, for synthesized voice production, we highly recommend that you use a Mac computer, because…

OSX provides the best synthesized voices for text-to-speech (TTS) production.

While you can use the OpenOffice plugin on OSX, due to its instability, it is recommended to only use it create a DAISY XML. Since the Word plugin does not work on OSX, that leaves doing it in a two step process.

So it means a two step process, the first part of which is to convert your edited e-text to DAISY XML, also known as DTBook, which contains only the text portion in a specific XML format.

Using DAISY Pipeline

After opening DAISY Pipeline, simply

  1. Create a New Job.
  2. Choose Create → RTF to DAISY XML.
  3. After it is done, edit the metadata as necessary.

Using OpenOffice Plugin

Using this plugin is probably the most straightforward of the three.

  1. Open your document.
  2. Save as DAISY XML.

Note that the alt text is taken from the “Title” field of the image description (not the “Description” field).

Using Word Plugin

The Word plugin is also fairly easy to use and has the most documentation.

  1. Open your document.
  2. Import Styles (on the Accessibility tab).
  3. Edit the document to mark image captions, the beginning of body/rear matter, and any other special pieces of text.
  4. Save As DAISY XML.

Note that the alt text from images is taken from the “Description” field (not the “Title” field).


Convert from DAISY XML to DAISY Audiobook (Using DAISY Pipeline)

As I mentioned already, you can use the two plugins to create DAISY audiobooks, but with the Word one, you would be using the Windows voice and the OpenOffice one is liable to crash. As a result, typically, DAISY Pipeline is used for synthesized voice DAISY production.

Once you have your DAISY XML, it is very simple to create a full audio book.

Edit the Metadata

You will need to use a text editor (Sublime, Xcode, TextWrangler, etc.) to make sure the metadata is correct.

Near the top of the XML document, you want to set the language. DAISY Pipeline will use the language here to pick the voice to use:

<dtbook xmlns="" version="2005-3" xml:lang="en-US" >

Generally, you want to have:

<meta name="dc:Title" content="book title" />
<meta name="dc:Creator" content="author name" />
<meta name="dc:Date" content="published year" />
<meta name="dc:Publisher" content="book publisher"/>
<meta name="dtb:producer" content="your (org) name"/>

Inside of your front matter, make sure to also have:

  <doctitle>The Dilettantes</doctitle>
  <docauthor>Michael Hingston</docauthor>

Create the DAISY Audiobook

  1. File → New Job.
  2. Choose Create → DAISY Book → TTS Narrator.
  3. Browse for your XML as the input, and choose a folder for the output.
  4. Choose your options as necessary.
  5. Run it (and wait, it can take quite a while depending on the length).

When the job is done, your output folder will have two folders inside: DAISY 2.02 format, and DAISY 3 format.

MP3 Tagging & Playlist Creation

Since the MP3 files are frequently played on their own, it is always a good idea to make sure the MP3 files are tagged.

  1. Create a new job.
  2. Choose Modify & Improve → Multi-Format → Audio Tagger
  3. Select the ncc.html file (or .opf in the case of DAISY 3) as your input, and the folder with your existing MP3 files/DAISY book as your output.
  4. Run the job.

Configuring DAISY Pipeline for Multilanguage Use

By default, DAISY Pipeline only has English enabled and will choose Alex (which is the default male voice).

If you want to use other English and other language voices, you will need to configure DAISY Pipeline to do so.

  1. Find DAISY Pipeline in your list of Applications.
  2. Right click and choose “Show Package Contents”.
  3. Find the ttsbuilder.xml file.

You will need to edit the file and add it under the appropriate OS section. For example:

<!-- North American English Female --> 
<lang lang="en_UF"> 
  <param name="class" value="se_tpb_speechgen2.external.MacOS.MacSayTTS"/> 
  <param name="regex" value="${transformer_dir}/regex/macosx-say.xml"/> 
  <param name="xslt" value="${transformer_dir}/xslt/transform.xsl"/> 
  <param name="voice" value="Samantha,Jill,Victoria"/> 

The most important parts are setting the “Lang” and the “voice”. In this example, the lang “en_UF” means that if the dtbook xml:lang is set to “en-UF”, it will use the first voice it can find from the list of “Samantha,Jill,Victoria”.

Obviously, you need to make sure at least one of these voices are then installed on the Mac (under Settings → Voice & Diction).



Now that you have created the DAISY audiobook, simply rename the folder (suggest title added before the format name), and zip the folder or the contents.

You’re done!

Author: Cynthia

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

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