Digital Accessible Information System, or DAISY is a way of creating audio books that are accessible for individuals who are unable to read standard print. DAISY books are for people who wish to hear-and navigate-written material which is presented as a talking book.
• An entire DAISY book will fit on one CD whereas a standard audio book would be contained on multiple cassette tapes or on multiple CD’s.
• A DAISY book allows you to move from one page to another or from one chapter to another whereas a standard audio book on CD only allows you to skip from one track to another. Also, cassette tapes only allow you to fast forward or rewind through the audio.
• With a DAISY book, the table of contents or index becomes useful because you can go to the exact page, unlike a standard audio book which just plays from start to finish.
• When reading a DAISY book, the digital playback device will “remember” where you stopped reading and resume from that spot when you start reading again even if you have taken the book out of the machine and placed it back in at a later date. A standard audio book on CD would start at the beginning of the book and you would have to skip through the tracks to find your spot.
• DAISY books allow the use of “bookmarks” so that you can easily return to that favourite section of a book. This is especially helpful with books like the Bible or magazines.
• DAISY books allow you to find the specific articles that you would like to read in a magazine and to skip to the sections that you would like to read in a reference book.
• Most seniors who try DAISY books and players find them much easier to use because the DAISY books are contained on one CD. There is no need to juggle multiple cassettes.
• DAISY books have a better sound quality which makes them easier to hear.
• Many of the digital playback devices have been designed with large tactile buttons and
simple operation specifically for seniors and leisure reading.
Because DAISY is a special format, it cannot be played back on an ordinary CD player. You will need a digital playback device. There are different players to suit your lifestyle:
• desktop readers for those who have a favourite chair to read in
• portable players for those who like to read on the go
• software programs that allow you to read DAISY books on a computer or laptop.
• A digital playback device was developed for people with visual impairments so the buttons are large and tactile and it has a slot for the CD instead of a tray that the CD needs to fit into perfectly.
• A digital playback device provides audio descriptions of the function of each button. All features of the player make it easier for clients to listen to any form of CD.
• A digital playback device will either eject a CD or give you an audible error message if you insert the CD upside down.
• You can play your standard music and book CD’s on a digital playback device but you cannot play the DAISY CD’s on a standard CD player.
For those of you who are associated with CNIB please contact your local CNIB office and they will guide you through the process. Or you can browse the CNIB website at www.cnib.ca and look under Consumer Product and Assistive Technology.
For those of you who are not associated with CNIB you may check out Aroga Assistive Technology at www.aroga.com or for a complete list of vendors and playback options visit www.daisy.org.
If you live in Ontario, the following 2 locations offer subsidies for digital playback devices:
1) Assistive Devices Program (ADP), 5700 Yonge St., 7th Floor, Toronto, ON M2M 4K5
2) You can get an Application for Funding Visual Aids from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care online or at (416) 327-8804 or 1-800-268-6021.