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Accessible e-books: an opportunity for the disabled

MEDIBUS - German Public Library Services for the Blind are going digital

Date: Paris, 28 January 2008


MEDIBUS is an organisation of talking book and Braille libraries, who have established a cooperative project for the production and distribution of standardized DAISY content. Like the DAISY Consortium, the ultimate vision of MEDIBUS is that all books in every library should be available in DAISY format. Presently there are over 20,000 titles available produced by the member organizations. By 2010 the number of titles will be 30,000 and the distribution service of audio cassettes will come to an end. The presentation describes:

  • the goals and strategies of MEDIBUS

  • a MEDIBUS wide internet based catalogue system for DAISY and Braille books

  • the process of development of guidelines for DAISY book production for all member organizations and

  • an action plan to establish online distribution services for blind and visually impaired people in the German speaking countries.


DZB is a member of MEDIBUS. It is the oldest German Public Library for the Blind Service and is today evolving from a Special Library into a Centre of Accessible Media Design. Milestones of the DZB are:

  • 1894 founding and start of Braille book production

  • 1956 beginning of talking book and haptic relief production

  • 2002 launch of DAISY book service

  • 2008 collaboration with German publishers


MEDIBUS is coordinating the production of accessible books for all German speaking countries. Like the DAISY Consortium, the ultimate vision of MEDIBUS is that all books in every library should be available in DAISY format. MEDIBUS has the following goals:

  • establishing a general catalogue for accessible books


  • developing MEDIBUS guidelines for DAISY book production

  • developing online distribution services in the upcoming years

Guidelines for DAISY Book Production

To unify the production and distribution of DAISY books in all German speaking countries, MEDIBUS is developing guidelines, which will be used in all organisations. The guidelines have the following main chapters:

  • 1. Single MEDIBUS DAISY Book Archive for all libraries

  • 2. MEDIBUS Okay (testing)

  • 3. General Standards

  • 4. Standards for the DTBook

  • 5. Interlibrary Book Exchange

  • 6. Further Topics

Currently the guidelines are in a draft state and will be available in spring 2008.

DAISY Online Services

Due to the demand of the users, MEDIBUS wants to establish this service. There are, technically, jurisprudence and organisational questions which have to be answered. Secure Online DAISY Book Distribution includes the following topics:

  • 1. Digital rights management by using watermarks

  • 2. Use of content only by blind and visually impaired people

  • 3. Acceptance of library terms and conditions by the users is required

  • 4. Personalized playback is available and affordable for the user

  • 5. Closed procedures for online distribution are developed

  • 6. There are existing roles for breach of terms and conditions

  • 7. The workflow is transparent for commercial publishers

By following these items MEDIBUS is currently negotiating with the German Association of Publishers to undertake the development of online distribution services according to copyright law.

Author: Dr. Thomas Kahlisch
Director of German Central Library for the Blind (DZB) | Phone.: +49 341/7113-150
Email: thomas.kahlisch@dzb.de
| Internet: www.dzb.de | www.kahlisch.de