Thought I'd pass this on. It came in on another list I'm on and I'm sure
that very few of you have seen it.
Walt Smith - Raleigh, NC
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Good news for users of the cassette based talking book system there
new system currently undergoing testing in Sweden, Britain and
I am currently testing the computer based version "DAISY PlayBack
Windows" (runs on any 486 DX2-50 or higher with a CD and sound
have also tried the "DAISY Plextalk" stand alone book machine. Both
are vastly superior in sound quality, durability, convenience and
to the cassette system. The CD can accomodate up to 50 hours of
the recording system being used, you can set multiple bookmarks
books, the system picks up reading from the point a which you
go to and search functions are available.
--Here is some information from the RNIB web
Digital TB System
Swedish Library of Talking Books And Braille
Labyrinten Data AB
CD-based Digital Reading Machine
Plextor Co. Ltd
A radically new way to record and read talking books for people
A new Digital TB System is being developed in a project funded by
Swedish Library of Talking books and Braille, TPB. The R&D work is
carried out by Labyrinten Data AB, a computer consulting company
long experience both in computer programming and system design for
This system is based on a general concept called ADigital
Information System, DAISY. It is built upon digital technology,
standard personal computers as its hardware platform.
The TB System is mainly aimed at students, with high demands on
performance and access to fine details in more complex materials.
However, the system and its underlying data format may equally well
used to handle less complex material, such as leisure literature.
The system is independent of distribution media, which makes it
adapt to new distribution technology in the future. Furthermore, it
to any particular method of digital audio data compression.
Recording a Database
The digital TB is not stored as a mere stream of digitised voice
data, but as
a database consisting of small recorded objects. The narrated text
divided into phrases, where one phrase is more or less equivalent
sentence. The system automatically finds breaks between phrases as
The voice analysis module does not record periods of silence in the
incoming speech as normal data, but simply registers them as
measures the length of each pause of silence. Consequently there is
demand for storage.
By choosing to reproduce the pauses shorter than they really are,
playback can be speeded up, without affecting the speech itself.
The Tape Transfer module in the DAISY TB Recording System allows
TB material, stored on master tapes, to be transferred and
converted to the
new digital format. The transfer process is highly automated and
currently work at twice the normal playback speed.
Dramatically improved access for the reader. The reader accesses
through its talking table of contents (ToC). The ToC for the TB
resembles that of the printed text. Navigating the section headings
ToC, the reader selects the desired playback position. The process
finding a particular section in the book is thus similar to that
reading a printed book.
The reader will in most cases have instant access to the complete
the system can store up to 50 hours of recorded speech on a CD-ROM,
using audio data compression such as MPEG layer 3.
In any section, the reader may browse the text, much in the same
way as a
printed book may be skimmed. The user may move the playback
forwards and backwards through the text phrase by phrase, phrase
Every phrase in the TB has a unique identity: it belongs to a
section, and has its place in the list of phrases making up that
allows for the creation of links between phrases and user data, as,
example, notes made by the student on the text. The reader may also
parts of special interest in the book, and have them later
presented as a list
of phrases. Bookmarks may be placed in the text at any phrase
Future versions of the playback software may include even more
For example, by having the book's original printed text included
the audio, the user may connect a speech synthesiser to the system
use it for to spell out names in the text. With this set-up, the
also search for certain words in the book and could then be
a list of phrases which contain those particular words.
Based Around an Open Standard
TPBs TB System is built around the DAISY Data Format, an open
format specification for digital audio-based applications, as
Labyrinten Data AB.
TPB has proposed that the DAISY Data Format become an accepted
standard for digital talking books among producers and libraries
This would ensure the interlending of digital talking books and
help to reduce development costs of new systems.
The DAISY format specification allows other data types - such as
graphics etc. - to be stored together with voice data, linked at
The system has been designed to be as future safe as possible.
Thus, it is
not limited to any particular storage medium for its recorded data.
storage medium which can hold ordinary data files under operating
control may be used as an information carrier for the TB.
For some years to come, it is very likely that TPB will use CD-ROM
preferred distribution medium. The producer would then typically
technology to create discs. As soon as new mass storage media
available and economically viable, they could be integrated into
CD-based Digital Reading Machine
Its basic concept is ease of operation. PlexTalk allows you to read
anywhere at any time. PlexTalk was proposed by Plextor and
Shinano Kenshi Co. Ltd. Plextor is based in Japan, a subsidiary of
Kenshi Co. Ltd. Plextor leads the market in CD-ROM drives and was
first company to offer the 6-speed CD-ROM. PlexTalk is based on a
new concept which uses the medium of CD-ROM. It offers a variety of
reference modes which permits you to go quickly and efficiently to
of the book. The cross keys and information key give immediate
any point in the text and instant recognition of where you are
The CD-ROM discs created by the DAISY system are compatible with
PlexTalk, so you can take full advantage of all the benefits and
information that DAISY has to offer.
Easy to Operate
PlexTalk has a voiced navigator function which tells you where you
the text. By pressing the information key when PlexTalk is in
you can also hear other messages (mode chosen, etc.) It is not
to use all the cross keys, as PlexTalk can be read in the same way
normal cassette player. The CD-ROM disc is housed in a CD caddy
holder) for ease of access. This eliminates the risk of damage to
surface caused by dust or scratches. PlexTalk uses a power-loading
system to load and eject the CD caddy.
Advanced Reference Function
There are four reference function options available, which permit
listen to messages informing you of where you are in the text
pressing the information key. Using the page index and time index
you are also informed of the current page number/time and of the
Tree (directory) index mode
You can find any chapter, passage or paragraph and go straight to
pressing the up/down keys. By pressing the Left/right keys, you can
backwards or forwards in the text. This is the ideal solution for
Page index mode
This allows you to go to a particular page in the text. By pressing
up/down keys, you can select the number of pages to be skipped. By
pressing the left/right keys, individual pages can be skipped. This
is a quick
and efficient method for textbooks and manuals, etc.
Time index mode
By setting the time index mode, you can skip to any part of the
pressing the up/down keys, you can select the length of time to be
while by pressing the left/right, you can go to the desired section
This is a handy feature for leisure literature.
You can insert bookmarks anywhere within the text (maximum 8). You
also move each bookmark by pressing the left/right keys. This is a
convenient function for many texts, such as novels etc.
--End of RNIB web site information on the Plextalk/DAISY PlayBack
More information is to be found on the Labyrinten web site at
http://www.labyrinten.se unfortumnately not in english
for the RNIB site try
If anyone would like the information contained in the help file
with the program I will send it on request by private email. The
not too large and gives a more comprehensive idea of the features
program for Windows.
Judy Prociuk e-mail email@example.com
Saskatoon, Sask., Canada
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