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For Immediate Release

DAISY Consortium Adopts Modular Math Extension

New MathML-based extension will make math accessible to students with disabilities

LONG BEACH, Calif. — March 21, 2007 — The DAISY Consortium, an international industry standards organization, announced today that it has formally adopted the Specification for a Digital Talking Book Modular Extension for Mathematics. This development is a critical element for integrating accessible mathematics into DAISY and NIMAS-compliant digital content. Now that this specification has been published, it is important for the education and accessibility communities to begin incorporating it into textbook accessibility requirements.

As an active member of the DAISY Consortium, Design Science, Inc. has been instrumental in this development. "We're really pleased to be leading the effort to make math accessible to everyone," said Neil Soiffer, Chair of the DAISY MathML Modular Extension Working Group and a Senior Scientist at Design Science. "Design Science is the leading vendor for math authoring tools. Many of these can be used to create DAISY content and we have developed new tools to assist in the process of creating DAISY books."

"This is fantastic news for students and professionals with disabilities," said Steve Noble, Director of Accessibility Policy for Design Science. "Now that accessible math is part of the DAISY Standard, the future is really bright for students who have been yearning to study math and science subjectsand even make a career out of itbut have always been hit hard by the absence of accessible materials. Now those days are over."

Vendors are moving swiftly to support the new specification in DAISY applications. The specification also provides for backward compatibility, so older DAISY players will be able to use newer content, albeit without being able to take advantage of all the new capabilities of math materials written to the new standard.

Although the current DAISY/NISO Z39.86-2005 Digital Talking Book Standard has been widely adopted by the accessibility community, the only available method of integrating math content relied on using images with alt text tags. Alt text tags for math equations provide only the most limited level of accessibility and are very difficult to author in a consistent manner. Using MathML allows all of the valuable features of a digital talking book to work for math just as it does for literary text, like support for large print, customizable speech, Braille, navigation, and synchronized highlighting.

The Specification for a Digital Talking Book Modular Extension for Mathematics is available on the DAISY website at http://www.daisy.org/projects/mathml/mathml-in-daisy-spec.html

For further information, see also the DAISY Consortium Press Release at http://www.daisy.org/news/news_detail.asp?NewsId=296

About MathML

MathML is an XML-based language for representing mathematics that was published as a Recommendation by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in 1998. Since MathML captures the meaning and structure of mathematics, it enables a wide range of applications. In addition to making it possible to have math spoken to print disabled readers, it also enables searching for mathematical expressions within content and interoperability with the growing number of computational applications that understand MathML. For more information about MathML see http://www.w3.org/Math/

About the DAISY Consortium

The DAISY Consortium was founded in 1996 and consists of a growing membership of organizations around the world committed to developing equitable access to information for people who have a print disability. DAISY's vision is that all published information, at time of release to the general population, be available in an accessible, highly functional, feature rich format and at no greater cost, to persons with print disabilities. For more information about the DAISY Consortium see http://www.daisy.org/

About Design Science, Inc.

Founded in 1986 and headquartered in Long Beach, California, Design Science develops software used by educators, scientists and publishing professionals, including MathType, Equation Editor in Microsoft Office, WebEQ, MathFlow, MathPlayer and TeXaide, to communicate on the web and in print.

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Design Science staff available for interviews:

Steve Noble, Director of Accessibility Policy, steven@dessci.com
Neil Soiffer, Senior Scientist, neils@dessci.com

Press Contact:

Bruce Virga
Vice President, Sales
+1(800)827-0685
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