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Last updated: 20 May 2008, 14:00 UTC-GMT

The Urakawa Project

a toolkit for accessible multimedia

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Urakawa is a software project which aims at providing a multimedia authoring toolkit for designing content that is fully accessible to persons with disabilities.

Software releases of the Urakawa project are distributed free-of-charge, royalty-free, under a liberal open-source license that allows unrestricted commercial exploitation.

The Urakawa project is backed-up by major international organizations that all strive in promoting open standards (as in "non-proprietary") and open-source development efforts. The Daisy Consortium is the initiator of the project. Its objective is to ensure that the Urakawa project delivers a software framework for developing quality production tools for Digital Talking Books.

The Daisy Digital Talking Books format is a well-established NISO standard with rich content available world-wide. Daisy partially relies on SMIL, the multimedia standard maintained by the W3C. The Urakawa software project integrates these technologies and is extensible to other formats. Potential use-cases include structured video authoring, captioning/subtitling, DVD/interactive TV design, but for now the priority is given to supporting Digital Talking Books in Daisy format.


The Urakawa project essentially delivers the following items:

  • SDK:
    • an object-oriented data model and an API specification (Application Programming interface), described using UML (Unified Modeling Language) and other formal notations.
    • a fully documented reference implementation of the API, written in portable C++ language. The compiled binary (dynamic code library) runs on multiple operating systems (Microsoft Windows, Linux(es), Apple Mac OS X).

      Please note that at this early time in the project, we are using C# and .NET for rapid prototyping, therefore only Windows OS is officially supported (meaning "tested"). Cross-platform support is planned for the near future, and in fact we have successfully compiled the source with Mono on Mac OS X.

  • Obi:

    an application written in C#.NET and compiled as a Windows application. The feature set will be relatively limited in the first stages (authoring of Daisy 3 audio-only books, featuring audio recording and table of content writing). The primary objective is to provide a baseline implementation based on the Urakawa toolkit, not to provide a full-fledge production tool.

  • Tobi:

    an application written in C#.NET and compiled as a Windows application. The goal is to provide a baseline production tool for full-text full-audio DAISY Digital Talking books.


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In addition to the Daisy Consortium, the Urakawa project is supported by the following organizations: the INRIA from France, the CWI from Netherlands, and the NRCD from Japan. They play a major part in providing sufficient resources to the project. Equally importantly, they contribute strong expertise in the field of software design and standardization (all are active members of the W3C).

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Contact-us if you feel that you can contribute to the Urakawa project. We welcome funding partners and open-source software developers.