includes details of ebooks placed online during
September 2008

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News and Reviews

Talking Books

The term "DAISY" (Digital Accessible Information SYstem) is used to refer to a standard for producing accessible and navigable multimedia documents. In current practice, these documents are Digital Talking Books, digital text books, or a combination of synchronized audio and text books. DAISY is a globally recognized technical standard to facilitate the creation of accessible content. The standard was originally developed to benefit people who are unable to read print due to a disability, but it also has broad applications for improved access to text in the mainstream. The DAISY Standard has been evolving over the last several years and has recently been officially recognized by an American standards-making body.

"Beyond Books, Beyond Barriers" is the talking book library of Western Australia. It is a joint project of the State Library of Western Australia and the Association for the Blind of Western Australia (ABWA). Recently, a list of books available at PGA was added to the library catalogue in the form of a MARC file -- See Users of the "Beyond Books, Beyond Barriers" library catalogue can request that an ebook be made available in DAISY format and the ebook is converted so that it can be read on a DAISY reader, for which free software is available. For those wishing to do the conversion to the DAISY format themselves, there is a plug-in to the "free and open productivity suite", Open Office, which enables DAISY books to be created from text files.

When I first started making ebooks, about 10 years ago, people were always telling me that no one would want to read books while sitting at a computer. I had to agree, but would tell them that I was "waiting for technology to catch up". To tell the truth, I too sometimes wondered just how useful ebooks were, beyond serving as a quick way of referencing quotations from them. Now it seems as though the technology HAS caught up--here we are with free ebooks, free ebook software, international production standards, and ebook-reader hardware which is becoming more affordable each year. Of course, However, I am still waiting for that breakthrough, so that I can relax in bed and read ebooks as a hologram on the inside of my eyelids. Look, no hands!

Below are links to web sites relating to matters covered in this article.

Frequently Asked Questions about DAISY:
About "Beyond Books, Beyond Barriers":
Catalogue at "Beyond Books, Beyond Barriers":
About MARC files: /newsletters/200707-newsletter.html
DAISY talking book software:
Open Office Software download:
DAISY plugin for Open Office:

Miles Franklin (1879-1954) --

The Miles Franklin award -- -- is, as the Wikipedia article just cited puts it, "an annual literary prize for the best Australian 'published novel or play portraying Australian life in any of its phases.'" It is a well known award. Somewhat less well known are the literary works of Miles Franklin herself. She is best known for "My Brilliant Career," published in 1901. However, her other works, including a number written under the pseudonym "Brent of Bin Bin", are always readable and are a valuable chronicle of Australian pioneer life.

This month we have placed online two of her novels, "All that Swagger" and "Up the Country." Those works, together with "My Brilliant Career," can be accessed from Other Franklin works are in the pipeline and will be placed online in coming months.

Mulga Bill's Bicycle

'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze;
He turned away the good old horse that served him many days;
He dressed himself in cycling clothes, resplendent to be seen;
He hurried off to town and bought a shining new machine;
And as he wheeled it through the door, with air of lordly pride,
The grinning shop assistant said, 'Excuse me, can you ride?'

'See, here, young man,' said Mulga Bill, 'from Walgett to the sea,
From Conroy's Gap to Castlereagh, there's none can ride like me.
I'm good all round at everything, as everybody knows,
Although I'm not the one to talk -- I HATE a man that blows.
But riding is my special gift, my chiefest, sole delight;
Just ask a wild duck can it swim, a wild cat can it fight.
There's nothing clothed in hair or hide, or built of flesh or steel,
There's nothing walks or jumps, or runs, on axle, hoof, or wheel,
But what I'll sit, while hide will hold and girths and straps are tight:
I'll ride this here two-wheeled concern right straight away at sight.'

'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that sought his own abode,
That perched above the Dead Man's Creek, beside the mountain road.
He turned the cycle down the hill and mounted for the fray,
But ere he'd gone a dozen yards it bolted clean away.
It left the track, and through the trees, just like a silver streak,
It whistled down the awful slope, towards the Dead Man's Creek.

It shaved a stump by half an inch, it dodged a big white-box:
The very wallaroos in fright went scrambling up the rocks,
The wombats hiding in their caves dug deeper underground,
As Mulga Bill, as white as chalk, sat tight to every bound.
It struck a stone and gave a spring that cleared a fallen tree,
It raced beside a precipice as close as close could be;
And then as Mulga Bill let out one last despairing shriek
It made a leap of twenty feet into the Dead Man's Creek.

'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that slowly swam ashore:
He said, 'I've had some narrer shaves and lively rides before;
I've rode a wild bull round a yard to win a five pound bet,
But this was the most awful ride that I've encountered yet.
I'll give that two-wheeled outlaw best; it's shaken all my nerve
To feel it whistle through the air and plunge and buck and swerve.
It's safe at rest in Dead Man's Creek, we'll leave it lying still;
A horse's back is good enough henceforth for Mulga Bill.'

From: Rio Grande's Last Race & Other Verses by 'Banjo' Paterson --

Last month's postings

A list of all the books we provide is available from
Check there to see if there are other works by the authors listed below


Sep 2008 Sanders of the River, Edgar Wallace               [] 1695A or .zip
Sep 2008 The Dark Invader, Captain Franz von Rintelen      [] 1694A or .zip
Sep 2008 Who Killed the Husband?, Hulbert Footner          [] 1693A or .zip
Sep 2008 Maid No More, Helen Simpson                       [] 1692A or .zip
Sep 2008 Big Foot, Edgar Wallace                           [] 1691A or .zip
Sep 2008 Palos of the Dog Star Pack, J U Giesy             [] 1690A or .zip
Sep 2008 The Mouthpiece of Zitu, J U Giesy                 [] 1689A or .zip
Sep 2008 Jason Son of Jason, J U Giesy                     [] 1688A or .zip
Sep 2008 The Kit-Bag, Algernon Blackwood                   [] 1687A or .zip
Sep 2008 Thurnley Abbey, Percival Landon                   [] 1686A or .zip
Sep 2008 Father Macclesfield'S Tale, R H Benson            [] 1685A or .zip
Sep 2008 The Shadows on the Wall, Mary Eleanor Wilkins     [] 1684A or .zip
Sep 2008 Pichon and Sons of the Croix Rousse, Anonymous    [] 1683A or .zip
Sep 2008 The Tomb of Sarah, F G Loring                     [] 1682A or .zip
Sep 2008 The Botathen Ghost, R S Hawker                    [] 1681A or .zip
Sep 2008 Up the Country, Miles Franklin                    [] 1680A or .zip
Sep 2008 The Third Round, Sapper                           [] 1679A or .zip
Sep 2008 All that Swagger, Miles Franklin                  [] 1678A or .zip

Other Information

Newsletter Editor: Colin Choat.

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