(The following news was received from Annette Reilly, STC Fellow and Standards Council Chair, Society for Technical Communication.)
The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) and the DAISY Consortium announce the publication of the new American National Standard Authoring and Interchange Framework (ANSI/NISO Z39.98-2012). The standard defines how to represent digital information using XML to produce documents suitable for transformation into different universally accessible formats. The standard is a revision, extension, and enhancement of Specifications for the Digital Talking Book (DTB), commonly referred to as the DAISY standard (ANSI/NISO Z39.86-2005(R2012)). The DAISY Consortium is the Maintenance Agency for both standards.
“The A&I Framework is a modular, extensible architecture to permit the creation of any number of content representation models, each custom-tailored for a particular kind of information resource,” states Markus Gylling, Chief Technology Officer at the DAISY Consortium and Technical Chair of the DAISY Revision Working Group. “It also provides support for new output formats, which can be added and implemented as the need arises. The standard does not impose limitations on what distribution formats can be created from it; e-text, Braille, large print, and EPUB are among formats that can be produced in conformance with the standard.”
“Organizations in the DAISY community and in the mainstream of publishing have been looking for an XML framework that is power ful and flexible,” states George Kerscher, Secretary General for the DAISY Consortium and Administrative Chair of the DAISY Revision Working Group. “The Authoring and Interchange Framework not only meets this need, it expands the possibility of what can be produced for the existing community of users of DAISY books and also enlarges the potential audience of both developers and users of resources that conform to this standard. New applications using this standard could include electronic magazines as well as digital books, text to speech rendering for e-readers, and multimedia publications.”
“Although the new A&I Framework standard is intended to replace the Digital Talking Book standard,” explains Todd Carpenter, NISO Executive Director, “feedback during trial use of the standard indicated that content providers and device manufacturers would need a tran sition period of several years due to the significance of the changes in the standard. To meet this need, the existing DTB standard (ANSI/NISO Z39.86) was reaffirmed for another five years and the A&I Framework was assigned a new standard number (ANSI/NISO Z39.98).”
The A&I Framework standard will be of interest to any organization using an XML authoring workflow, developers and publishers of universally accessible digital publications, and agencies interested in creating profiles for new document types to integrate into distribution formats, such as EPUB.