Articles

Returning to In-Person Training

Photo of the training group
Photo of the training group in Dehradun, IndiaAt DAISY we are regularly approached by institutions working for people with print disabilities to request training in the production of accessible books, document conversion, and accessible ebook creation. For the past two years, training has been delivered online, through dedicated online courses, self-study materials, and trainer-led sessions delivered over video calls. Last month we conducted our first onsite training since the onset of Covid conducted at Dehradun, India for the National Institute for Empowerment of Persons with Visual Disabilities, the apex institution established by the Government of India for the rehabilitation of people with visual impairments. This institution first adopted the DAISY format in 2010 and got in touch again because they are now interested in creating books in the EPUB format. The staff of the National Braille Library, National Large Print Books Library, and the National Talking Book Library of India participated in this training program delivered by Prashant Ranjan Verma, where they learned to create accessible Word documents and the steps to convert to EPUB, large print, DAISY format, and braille. Refresher sessions were separately conducted for the National Talking Book Library team which is using Dolphin Publisher and Obi to create high-quality human narrated audio books. This training was part of this institution’s work to adopt a “single source – multiple formats” workflow, where a master copy of the book will be created in Microsoft Word format and converted to different formats as and when requested by members with print disabilities.
If your organization is interested in training on the latest techniques for accessible format and inclusive publishing practices please contact us to discuss how we can assist you with your requirements. Read More

Liblouis Braille Translation Table Feedback

Embossed braille page being read

Embossed braille page being read Liblouis is a free and open-source braille translation system that powers screen readers such as NVDA, JAWS to work with refreshable braille display in various languages, as well as a variety of conversion tools including the DAISY Pipeline. To facilitate accurate translation Liblouis has dedicated braille tables for each language that it supports.

If a language is supported by Liblouis, then it is possible to read create a braille version of a document in that language for use on a refreshable braille display such as an Orbit Reader, or embossed on braille paper.

Liblouis currently supports 79 languages, and many of those languages have braille tables for grade 1 and grade 2 (uncontracted and contracted) braille. You can find the list below.

Considering the importance of Liblouis in supporting braille usage on refreshable braille displays and for the production of braille books, the DAISY Consortium is seeking assistance in compiling a list of languages that are not yet supported in Liblouis and in which accessible books are currently published. We are also seeking feedback on languages that are currently supported, but in which the braille translation may not be correct.

Once we have identified these gaps we will be able to plan for filling them by adding braille tables of identified languages. If you are aware of any language in which accessible books are published and braille translation tables are not available or currently adequate please let us know:

Visit the Liblouis feedback form

List of languages for which braille translation tables are available in Liblouis:

  1. Afrikaans
  2. Arabic
  3. Armenian
  4. Assamese
  5. Bashkir
  6. Belarusian
  7. Bengali
  8. Bulgarian
  9. Burmese
  10. Catalan
  11. Chinese Mandarin
  12. Chinese Cantonese
  13. Coptic
  14. Croatian
  15. Czech
  16. Danish
  17. Dutch
  18. English
  19. Esperanto
  20. Estonian
  21. Ethiopic
  22. Finish
  23. French
  24. Gaelic
  25. German
  26. Greek
  27. Gujarati
  28. Hebrew
  29. Hindi
  30. Hungarian
  31. Icelandic
  32. Irish
  33. Israeli
  34. Italian
  35. Kannada
  36. Kashmiri
  37. Kazak
  38. Khmer
  39. Korean
  40. Kurdish
  41. Latvian
  42. Lithuanian
  43. Malay
  44. Malayalam
  45. Manipuri
  46. Marathi
  47. Mongolian
  48. Nepali
  49. Norwegian
  50. Oriya
  51. Persian
  52. Polish
  53. Portuguese
  54. Punjabi
  55. Romanian
  56. Russian
  57. Sanskrit
  58. Sepedi
  59. Serbian
  60. Sesotho
  61. Setswana
  62. Slovak
  63. Slovenian
  64. Spanish
  65. Swedish
  66. Tamil
  67. Tatar
  68. Telugu
  69. Tshivenda
  70. Turkish
  71. Ukrainian
  72. Unified English Braille
  73. Urdu
  74. Uzbek
  75. Vietnamese
  76. Welsh
  77. Xhosa
  78. Yakut
  79. Zulu
Read More

What Does EPUB 3.3 Mean For Accessibility?

EPUB logo

EPUB logoEPUB 3 has widely been adopted by the commercial publishing community as the chosen format for digital books, and is being increasingly utilized for accessible format delivery by educators and specialist libraries. The new version of the standard, EPUB 3.3, the related EPUB 1.1 accessibility specification and the updated version of EPUBCheck is imminent and we asked EPUB 3.3 editor and DAISY developer Matt Garrish; ‘What does this mean for accessible publishing?’

What is EPUB ?

The EPUB specification is a distribution and interchange format standard for digital publications and documents. There are huge opportunities for accessibility within the EPUB standard and indeed for born accessible publications. At DAISY we have some overview information to help you familiarize yourself with the standard itself and its component parts. In addition, the W3C maintain an overview document that provides a general introduction to the state of the format as of this revision.

Can We Expect Major Changes For Accessibility?

Neither the EPUB 3.3 nor the Accessibility 1.1 revisions represent major changes. Most of our efforts are focused on taking the work we’ve already done and moving the documents through the W3C process to make formal recommended specifications of them (i.e., to be fully recognized by W3C membership). EPUB 3.2 was published by the W3C publishing community group, so those documents did not have any formal standing (they didn’t have to go through W3C membership votes, they didn’t have to show independent implementations, etc.). So, EPUB 3.3 will formalize the standard.

So, EPUB 3.3 Doesn’t Look That Much Different?

Actually, EPUB 3.3 does not look at all like EPUB 3.2 from a document structure perspective. EPUB 3.2 was made up of five specifications (not including Accessibility 1.1 which is a separate specification):

  • EPUB 3.2
  • EPUB Packages 3.2
  • EPUB Content Documents 3.2
  • EPUB Open Container Format (OCF) 3.2
  • EPUB Media Overlays 3.2

The authoring requirements from these specifications have now been merged into a single specification called EPUB 3.3, which is available in draft form right now at: https://www.w3.org/TR/epub-33/

EPUB 3.3 Splits Authoring From Reading Systems

The reading system requirements have now been split out into a new specification called, appropriately enough, EPUB Reading Systems 3.3 which is also a working draft: https://www.w3.org/TR/epub-rs-33/

Separating authoring and reading systems also has the side benefit of having fewer documents to take through the W3C process and better isolation when it comes to showing how the specifications can be implemented.

What Stage of the Process Have You Reached?

We’re just getting ready to wrap up the working draft stage and move to a candidate recommendation (the links above won’t change when we do). What this means is that our focus will change from revising the technical details of the specifications to showing that the specifications can be implemented by authors and reading systems. There is a testing task force working on creating tests for all the normative requirements and then during the candidate recommendation stage we’ll be looking for implementations to prove the tests.

How Does This Affect the EPUB Accessibility 1.1 Specification?

The Accessibility 1.1 revision is very similar to EPUB 3.3 in that there are not a lot of major changes from 1.0. The new version incorporates the text improvements that were made to EPUB 1.0 as part of making it an ISO standard (ISO/IEC 23761:2021), but those changes were editorial in nature (i.e., the IDPF and ISO specifications read differently, but have the same base requirements).

The most significant change that people will need to be aware of is that we’re now allowing conformance to adapt to the latest versions of WCAG 2 as they become recommendations (the Accessibility 1.0 specification only allowed conformance to WCAG 2.0). You still have to minimally meet WCAG 2.0 Level A to meet the base requirements of our specification, but publishers are now encouraged to conform to the latest recommended version of WCAG 2 (which is 2.1 right now, but 2.2 is coming). Level AA conformance is also recommended. This means that there is now a new conformance identifier that publishers will have to use in the metadata that adapts to what WCAG version and level you have met. The details are explained here: https://www.w3.org/TR/epub-a11y-11/#sec-conf-reporting-pub.

Other minor tweaks include the separation of the page navigation and media overlay objectives into separate sections to make them easier to read, but they aren’t different from the 1.0 specification.

Will EPUBCheck be Updated to Support EPUB 3.3?

The next version of EPUBCheck, the free command-line EPUB checking tool, will provide complete support for checking conformance to the EPUB 3.3 standard. The Public Beta version is due out shortly.

Read More

CSUN Conference 2022 Files

CSUN Conference Logo

CSUN Conference LogoThe DAISY Consortium is delighted to once again support the CSUN Assistive Technology Conference by creating accessible digital versions of the conference materials, and offering them for download in HTML, DAISY 2.02 and EPUB formats. Thanks to the CSUN Conference Team for making the information available in advance to facilitate conversion.

This page contains a complete lists of downloadable files, which are shown with their approximate size. Downloads start immediately after a link is selected.

All session information should be reviewed alongside the addendum on the CSUN website for changes to the schedule.

Entire conference program and menus

HTML version .zip file (3MB)
EPUB text only version .zip file (0.6MB)
EPUB text and audio version .zip file (176MB)

Conference information in DAISY 2.02 format [.zip files]

General Information (12.6MB)
Pre-conference Sessions (3.2MB)
Featured Presentations (0.7MB)

Advertisements (3.4MB)
Combined Sessions (33MB)
Tuesday Sessions (6.8MB)
Wednesday Sessions (9.8MB)
Thursday Sessions (9.2MB)
Friday Sessions (6.6MB)
Speaker Index (7.6MB)
Exhibitor Directory (20.8MB)
Exhibitor Directory by Category (7.6MB)

Quick Guide By Date (7.8MB)
Quick Guide By Room (8.4MB)
Quick Guide By Topic (32MB)

Fresh Bites – In Room Dining (2.4MB)
nFuse (6.6MB)
Slice Pizzeria (0.5MB)
The Market (1MB)

Direct Access via Reading Solutions

The conference materials are also being made freely available directly through reading solutions including:

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NNELS Accessible Publishing Summit 2022

NNELS logo

NNELS logoFebruary saw the 4th iteration of the hugely successful NNELS Accessible Publishing Summit, held virtually for the 2nd time. One of the benefits of being held virtually was evident in the number of international delegates who joined the summit to share their expertise and experiences with the Canadian publishing industry. For the 1st time NNELS made some of the main sessions available via YouTube and the links for these sessions can be found below. What this summit does so well is to bring together communities of people to discuss and share ideas on accessible publishing via panel sessions, presentations, moderated group sessions and working group sessions.

Read our more thorough Summit Overview on Inclusive Publishing

Tester Demos

One of the most successful elements of this summit has always been the NNELS tester demonstrations and this year was no exception:

  1. The first demo concentrated on Reflowable EPUB and was presented by Ka Li (NNELS)
  2. The second demo focused on Fixed Layout EPUB and was presented by Mélissa Castilloux (NNELS)

Panels

  • The User Perspectives Panel asked many useful questions of the panel such as: How do you read? What does your access toolkit look like? What does timely and meaningful access mean for you? Lots of thoughts and ideas were presented in response to the question: What is the one issue or factor which impacts your reading experience that you would most like to see prioritized within the reading ecosystem? Answers included: access to sample chapters, DRM, reading apps to improve accessibility for screen readers, structure always, one app for everything.
  • The Industry Updates and Expert Perspectives Panel was a chance for accessibility organizations to update delegates on what is new and what is on the horizon for accessible publishing. DAISY was pleased to update everyone on current activities and it was helpful to hear from others on this panel about all the good progress being made.
  • The International Panel was an interesting session speaking with panelists from Italy, Australia, Brazil and the UK, highlighting the very different landscapes that we all work in and the various challenges in these markets.

Working Group Sessions

Day three allowed the delegates to get down to the nitty gritty in the 3 hour-long working group sessions . We are looking forward to the notes and resources that result from these stimulating sessions where everyone felt very comfortable in expressing their opinions and contributing to discussions. Creating the right atmosphere for this type of working experience is undoubtedly where NNELS have excelled at the summit. Congratulations to all involved.

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Accessible Publishing – 2021 DAISY Information Sharing Day (W)

Cover slide Accessible Publishing DAISY Information Sharing Day

Cover slide Accessible Publishing DAISY Information Sharing DayTowards the end of 2021 we held a special DAISY Information Sharing Day webinar. This part of the webinar was focused on Accessible Publishing.

This page contains:

Full Video of the Webinar

Speakers

  • Richard Orme, The DAISY Consortium
  • Maarten Verboom, President of The DAISY Consortium
  • Avneesh Singh, The DAISY Consortium
  • George Kerscher, The DAISY Consortium
  • Gregorio Pellegrino, The LIA Foundation
  • Charles La Pierre, Benetech
  • Erin Lucas, RedShelf
  • Stacy Ray, Vital Source

Session Overview

Maarten Verboom opened the session by welcoming the large audience and explaining that this final session looks at the developments in accessible publishing that The DAISY Consortium have been involved in.

Avneesh Singh gave an overview of this final part of the day, describing briefly the projects and areas that will be looked at:

  • The European Accessibility Act Mapping Project. As EPUB Accessibility 1.1 nears Candidate Recommendation Stage (i.e. it is feature complete) it has been timely to look at whether it meets the requirements of the upcoming legislation, The European Accessibility Act.
  • The User Experience Guide to Displaying Accessibility Metadata. It has always been desirable that accessibility metadata should be included with publications. 2 years ago, VitalSource began displaying accessibility metadata as it appeared within an EPUB file and it became clear that the industry would benefit from guidance in how to present this machine readable information in a user friendly way. The development of the UX Guide is a major development for the presentation of metadata.
  • Reading Systems Evaluations Project. The reading systems evaluation project began in 2013 and is now managed and maintained by The DAISY Consortium via epubtest.org. Test results from this project help developers to improve their ebook reading systems for people with disabilities.
  • Near Future Plans

European Accessibility Act Mapping

Gregorio Pellegrino described to us the focus of this project: Do the requirements of EPUB 1.1 meet the requirements of the European Accessibility Act? The EAA, which becomes law in 2025, requires ebooks to be born accessible and the European Commission is working on which standards support the requirements of the new directive. The short answer to the question posed is “yes” and Gregorio gave us detailed examples, backing this up. The European Commission is now evaluating the mapping document and it is expected that EPUB will be deemed a suitable standard for accessible ebooks.

The User Experience Guide for Displaying Accessibility Metadata

George Kerscher and Charles La Pierre presented the newly launched UX guide which was edited by Charles and Gregorio. User want to be able to discover content which meets their needs but in today’s market persons with disabilities do not know if they will be able to read a title or not. The good news is that there are many more born accessible publications available but it remains difficult to discover these and we need a consistent method for displaying this information in a user friendly manner.

The UX guide is divided into 2 parts: principles and techniques. The principles section looks at the key information that is required by the user and suggests a method of display that makes it straight forward for the purchaser to identify if a title meets their needs. For example; the metadata string in schema.org which reads “Access mode sufficient = textual” can actually be presented as “screen reader friendly”. A much more palatable solution!

Reading Systems Evaluations Project

Richard Orme, Erin Lucas and Stacy Ray presented the epubtest.org project which has become increasingly important for reading system developers as they work to improve the accessibility of their reading solutions. The consistent evaluation across platforms is welcomed together with the thorough feedback. Participation is welcomed from developers, publishers and testers globally.

Near Future Plans

Avneesh Singh completed the session by describing the focus of the near future:

  • EPUB 1.1 – driving this specification through to Final Recommendation Stage
  • UX Guide – Further improvements from feedback and continued work on the harmonization of metadata standards
  • Accessibility Summary – Publishers would welcome best practice guidance on completing the only human readable accessibility metadata field and work has begun on the development of this documentation.
  • Publishing Specification of the Future – DAISY is involved in current discussion on what the next major publishing specification might be
  • Reading Systems – testing continues particularly for Math ML and Extended Descriptions

Related Resources

Discover the other webinars we’re running!

 

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Member Activities – 2021 DAISY Information Sharing Day (W)

Cover slide Member Activities DAISY Information Sharing Day

Cover slide Member Activities DAISY Information Sharing DayTowards the end of 2021 we held a special DAISY Information Sharing Day webinar. This part of the webinar introduced some of the innovative activities involving DAISY Members.

This page contains:

Speakers

  • Richard Orme, The DAISY Consortium
  • Maarten Verboom, President of The DAISY Consortium
  • Hiroshi Kawamura, ATDO
  • John Brown, NLS
  • Dave Williams, RNIB
  • Paul Porter, RNIB
  • Daniel Ainjasoja, Pratsam
  • Georgine Auma, eKitabu
  • Brad Turner, Bookshare

Session Overview

Maarten Verboom opened the day by welcoming the large audience and explaining that this second session focuses on the activities currently being undertaken by DAISY members.

DAISY in Egypt

DAISY in Egypt transcript
Hiroshi Kawamura spoke about the DAISY in Egypt project being run by the Accessible Technology Development Organization (ATDO), The Japan International Cooperation Agency, Egyptian Government partners and other Business partners to further the development of DAISY and accessible EPUB. Capacity building for multi-media trainers has gone well together with the development of an environment that can support this work. Next steps include: Internationalization of the EPUB Accessibility specification for use in Arabic together, making COVID 19 documentation accessible in Arabic,  and the introduction of school text books with human narration that is synchronized with the full text.

Next steps include exploring the possibility of a twinning program via an International Cooperation, for Egyptian EPUB and DAISY producers with libraries who are looking to outsource to companies for Arabic content. The ABC resource sharing system could be particularly beneficial in this scenario.

Digital Braille Innovations

Digital Braille Innovations transcript
This presentation explored the work of two major braille libraries who are expanding their braille options for readers.

John Brown from the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled in the US (NLS) presented work on the new electronic braille reader that NLS have developed which represents a huge shift in focus for the organization who can now offer electronic braille as a primary means of distribution. This small, compact device has been met with a terrific response from patrons and readers. Plans for the future include introducing compatibility with other formats (specifically EPUB), exploring the possibility of offering magazines to readers which would greatly boost the volume of content available.

Dave Williams and Paul Porter, RNIB, impressed us with the word they have been focusing on during the pandemic which initially forced them to suspend their hard copy braille library service. In response to this challenge, RNIB accelerated the digital transformation work for members, offering them a free electronic braille display together with a memory card holding thousands of titles. The ORBIT display can also be used to access millions of commercial, mainstream books. Alongside this RNIB also brought their hard copy offering via a print on demand braille service, managing the needs of all their readers.

Voice Assistants and DAISY Online

Voice Assistants and DAISY Online transcript
The possibility of being able to leverage the new and exciting voice technology, such as Alexa or Google Assistant, is being explored by Pratsam in Finland in conjunction with DAISY members. Pratsam is a software developer, engaged in the development and delivery of systems for the production, distribution and playback of accessible books and newspapers.  The Pratsam Reader Voice service supports the DAISY 2.02 specification and the DAISY online delivery protocol, enabling organizations to provide end-users with accessible content. Currently available on the Google Assistant platform, it is also being developed for Amazon Alexa. The following video explains how this works and features that are included, together with information on what has been learned along the way.

Sign Language Video in Accessible Digital Content

Sign Language Video in Accessible Digital Content transcript
Georgine Auma presented a technical note on guidance for including sign language videos in accessible digital publishing which was published by UNICEF in 2021. The video includes details of the 8 key accessibility features that should be included within a sign language video. After the production of quality sign language all of the content is packaged using the EPUB format. EPUB meets the required accessibility needs for deaf and hard of hearing users – an example of an accessible EPUB with embedded sign language video was shown. For further information and technical resources watch through to the end of the video!

Leveraging Machine Learning with Page AI

Page AI transcript
Brad Turner presented the Bookshare project, Page AI which focuses on transforming PDF to EPUB. The process of transforming PDF traditionally results in problems with image retention, math is not accessible, and it can be a very slow and costly process. Positive results in the development of Math Detective led the Bookshare team to consider automating the PDF transformation process. The Page AI project breaks down text book pages into segments and has trained the AI to interpret the elements – have a look at the video for a demo of this new technology, showing how this information is synthesized into XHTML files. Significantly faster and cheaper this new technology allows Bookshare to fulfill requests much more efficiently.

Related resources:

DAISY Activities at the Information Sharing Day
Accessible Publishing at the Information Sharing Day

Discover the other webinars we’re running!

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DAISY Activities – 2021 DAISY Information Sharing Day (W)

Cover slide DAISY Activities DAISY Information Sharing Day

Cover slide DAISY Activities DAISY Information Sharing DayTowards the end of 2021 we held a special DAISY Information Sharing Day webinar. This part of the webinar highlights some of the activities DAISY is engaged with. This overview below will direct you to individual videos detailing these projects and work.

This page contains:

Speaker Information

  • Richard Orme, DAISY Consortium
  • Maarten Verboom, President of the DAISY Consortium
  • Avneesh Singh, DAISY Consortium
  • Jostein Austvik Jacobsen, NLB
  • Marisa DeMeglio, DAISY Consortium
  • Dipendra Manocha, DAISY Consortium
  • Thomas Kahlisch, Chair of the European Inclusive Publishing Forum
  • Sarah Morley Wilkins, DAISY Consortium

Session Overview

Welcome video transcript
Maarten Verboom opened the session by welcoming the large audience and explaining that this first hour looks at the activities currently being undertaken by The DAISY Consortium via 6 presentations.

DAISY Project Highlights

DAISY Project Highlights transcript
Avneesh Singh gave us an overview of some of the core activities undertaken by The DAISY Consortium.

  1. Standards work where DAISY drives the inclusion of accessibility within mainstream publishing standards. Recent updates in this area include: EPUB Accessibility 1.1 which is approaching Candidate Recommendation stage, the launch of the User Experience Guide for Displaying Accessibility Metadata (more about this in the Publisher Information session)  and continuing contributions to WCAG 3.0.
  2. DAISY Pipeline Case Study which is the backbone of many of the workflows of DAISY Members. Recent work includes the development of a new MS Word plug-in.
  3. DAISY Tools: WordToEPUB version 1.0.7, Obi version 4.7 and the continued maintenance of Tobi
  4. Transition to EPUB 3 and the work of the production processes group and the reading systems testing group (more about this in the Publisher Information session).
  5. Accessibility Baseline Project for establishing and driving inclusive publishing worldwide, originally a Google Impact funded project and still driving work on tools such as Ace by DAISY and Ace SMART alongside the Inclusive Publishing website.

DAISY Pipeline Case Study

DAISY Pipeline Case Study transcript
Jostein Ausvik Jacobsen gave us an overview of the production workflow at NLB and how files progress from source files, through pre-production, conversion, post-production and, finally, distribution. Workflows for braille, TTS narration, human narration (including a hybrid version) and ebooks were outlined. Jostein explained which Pipeline versions are used and why for each specific workflow.

Accessible Books on the Web

Accessible Books on the Web transcript
Marisa DeMeglio, DAISY software developer, described this project which aims to create a completely accessible reading experience within the web browser, leveraging native web technologies: the creation of browser-ready content which offers text and text + audio accessible reading experiences. This includes offering full navigation, playback of synchronized audio and the ability to make visual adjustments. A traditional DAISY book requires specialized software to open and read the content. By building the controls into the book itself, we can use the browser as the platform with the reassurance that web accessibility practices are already in place. Watch the video above for demos of all the features!

Capacity Building During Covid Times

Capacity Building During Covid Times transcript
Dipendra Manocha explained some of the challenges that The DAISY Consortium has had to overcome during the pandemic: onsite training could not continue, the ABC capacity building projects were put on hold and workshops, orientation sessions and awareness based work were postponed. The development of a bespoke LMS allowed DAISY to deliver a huge variety of content and training modules, enabling ABC to deliver on training commitments as part of their capacity building projects in 14 countries. The advantages for trainees of being able to learn at their own pace are huge, allowing them access to quality instructional materials for an extended period of time.

Preparing for the Revolution in Born Accessible Publishing in Europe

Preparing for the Revolution transcript
Thomas Kahlisch introduced the work of the European Inclusive Publishing Forum, set up to concentrate on the new landmark legislation The European Accessibility Act. The legislation dictates a minimum set of requirements for the production of accessible goods and services, including ereaders and ebooks. The forum has established a mechanism for stakeholders to work collaboratively both in Europe and internationally.

Information and resources surrounding the EAA and the work of this project group are available at inclusivepublishing.org/eu which Thomas presented in his session. A baseline survey and resulting case studies have been particularly welcomed.

Improving Access to Music Braille

DAISY Music Braille transcript
Dr Sarah Morley Wilkins is leading this project which focuses on securing the future of music braille production in the face of declining expertise, a lack of suitable conversion tools and file format standards. Activities include the development of a professional conversion tool for transcribers, an interactive end-user tool, influencing file format standards and inclusive publishing practices together with the maintenance of an international stakeholder group.

Sarah shared with us information on the development of 2 important tools: Firstly, MakeBraille (dzb lesen), the online professional automatic conversion tool for transcribers which takes well marked up scanned music files and well structured music XML files and converts them into music braille. With prioritized feature request from the project’s stakeholder group, this tool will be available via a license agreement in 2022.

Secondly SMB-MuseScore, a free interactive tool for end-users that offers a fully interactive, multi-media music notation editing tool for creating, reading and exploring music independently in speech, sound and braille.

Other project activities include: work on music file standards, work on a music braille network, exploring the possibility of inclusive music publishing for the creation of born accessible music scores, access to online collections and the promotion of teaching and learning resources.

Related Resources

Member Activities at the Information Sharing Day
Accessible Publishing at the Information Sharing Day

Discover the other webinars we’re running!

Read More

EU Accessibility Act: Update (W)

EU Accessibility Act - Update Cover slide

EU Accessibility Act - Update Cover slideIn our series of free weekly webinars December 1st saw a session focused on the European Accessibility Act giving us a chance to check-in and find out the latest updates as we prepare for the act.

This page contains:

Full Video of the Webinar

Speakers

  • Richard Orme, DAISY Consortium—host and chair
  • Antoine Fobe, European Blind Union
  • Cristina Mussinellim, The LIA Foundation
  • Thomas Kahlisch, dzb lesen

with contributions from:

  • Louis Marle, Albin Michel, France
  • Oscar Heslinga, Inginitas Learning, Netherlands
  • Jonas Lillqvist, Svenska Litteratursällskapet, Finland

Session Overview

This webinar discussed the implementation progress and latest developments in EAA legislation which is already shaping practices in Europe and around the world. Many organizations that sell into Europe are having to adapt their practices to comply with the new accessibility requirements.

The European Accessibility Act: Why, What and When?

Antoine Forbe began the webinar by giving us an essential refresher to the EAA, reminding us that it is essential for approx 80 million people in Europe who rely on accessible content. It became necessary to develop a single, coherent set of accessibility rules and in 2015 the European Commission proposed a wide-reaching accessibility act. After long periods of negotiation, the EAA was adopted in 2019, creating an obligation for member states to ensure that selected products and services placed in the EU market comply with accessibility requirements. There are many benefits, including:

For Businesses

  • A reduction in costs for the production of accessible goods
  • Easier cross border trading
  • Marketing opportunities for accessible products and services

For Citizens

  • More accessible products in the market
  • Competitively priced products
  • Fewer barriers to access
  • More jobs where accessibility expertise is needed

The act is not truly horizontal in that it applies to only a select list of products and services, with specific emphasis on digital. It does, however, bring a comprehensive set of minimum accessibility requirements that all businesses must respect and this is a wonderful step in the right direction. The act will have a wide impact on the publishing industry throughout the supply chain.

Requiring national transposition by June 2022, the EAA is in fact a directive, the entry into force date is 2025.

Update on Technical Developments

Cristina Mussinelli spoke to us about digital publishing standards that are important in meeting the requirements of the EAA directive.

EPUB offers the greatest opportunity for the econtent itself and a new version, EPUB 3.3, is due to be published soon. Accessibility requirements are one of the main areas of focus within the standard and it is accompanied by EPUB Accessibility 1.1, an accessibility specification together with the Digital Publishing WAI-ARIA Module 1.1.

Metadata standards are vital for the end-user in order to inform the reader about accessible content. The following standards need to be adhered to: schema.org within the EPUB package, ONIX to directly inform the retailer and coming soon, a standardized method of describing content accessibility from W3C.

Work and research have been completed to make sure that these standards are robust enough to meet the requirements of the EAA.

For retailers and libraries, the W3C has recently published the User Experience Guide for Displaying Accessibility Metadata 1.0

Work continues in this area to look at other ebook formats, all the various departments in the publishing supply chain and a focus on end user awareness.

DAISY’s EU Inclusive Publishing Initiative

Thomas Kahlisch explained the work of The DAISY Consortium and its efforts to improve collaboration between the organizations involved in the EAA and the publishing industry via a community network.

Areas of focus include: guidance, survey, case studies and signposting of resources. The survey was sent out to all EU countries and we have heard back from 14 (74% of the market). The complete findings will be published in January 2022 but results already show that countries are at very different stages in their preparation for the EAA. Some countries have steering groups which help to connect and collaborate both nationally and internationally.

Case studies from Finland, The Netherlands, Germany and Italy look more closely at some of the preparatory details and materials that are already being used and we look forward to publishing more of these country-specific studies as part of the EU Inclusive Publishing Initiative.

Thomas finished by drawing attention to the variety of resources available on this good work at Inclusive Publishing’s EAA Resource page which includes details of how to collaborate with the EU Inclusive Publishing Initiative.

Publisher Voices

Previous webinars about the EAA have emphasized the importance of starting to prepare now for 2025 and many publishers have begun their journey towards accessible publishing already. We heard from Luis Marle, Albin Michel, France; Oscar Heslinga, Inginitas Learning, Netherlands; Jonas Lillqvist, Svenska Litteratursällskapet, Finland on the progress they have been making, informing us of some of the lessons they learned on the way. Please take the time to listen to their extremely useful advice.

Related Resources

Legislation Resources

Standards and Technical Developments

Communication Activities

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Creating and Editing Accessible EPUB (W)

Title slide: Creating & Editing Accessible EPUB

Title slide: Creating and Editing Accessible EPUBIn our series of free weekly webinars November 17th saw a session focused on “Creating and Editing Accessible EPUB”. This webinar follows our previous session on Validating and Conformance Checking EPUBs.

This page contains:

Full Video of the Webinar

Speakers

  • Dawn Evans, AccessText Network—host and chair
  • Richard Orme, DAISY Consortium
  • Amit Verma, InDesign Trainer
  • Marianne Gulstad, Publizon

Session Overview

Dawn Evans introduced today’s session by explaining how the panel of experts would guide us through a journey from content creation in mainstream tools and conversion processes, to how the resulting EPUB can be edited and amended to deliver accessible content for use by anyone.

Workflow Options for Accessible EPUB

InDesign

Amit discussed how to produce accessible content using InDesign:

  • Why and When to Use InDesign. InDesign is used by content creators to produce both print and digital publications. Once you have converted your InDesign file to EPUB there are a number of modifications that can be made to improve the overall accessibility of the content.
  • How to Use Accessible EPUBs with InDesign. Very often we hear that InDesign does not produce good EPUB files but if certain steps are followed, much of this can be avoided: use well-defined styles, anchor the images at the correct places, add ALT text to images and define the layout order using the story or articles panel, generate a well-defined TOC, insert chapter breaks and last but not least, making sure that the content structure is well defined with the correct HTML mapping headings. Watch the webinar recording to see examples of these.
  • InDesign + Circular Software. At this point in the webinar, Richard Orme conducted a brief interview with Ken Jones, Founder and Director of Circular Software to hear what he has been working on to make this process easier. The “no code accessibility” tools that Circular software has developed assist with the export of InDesign to accessible EPUB, making this a much easier process for users.

PressBooks, Hederis: Web-Based Services

Richard talked us through both of these platforms, with consideration given to the accessibility support offered and how he found the experience. Both platforms fared well in his assessments and it’s worth checking out both in the recording or transcript for details.

Google Docs, Apple Pages, Word: Word Processing Options

Richard discussed these options and the accessibility support they offer, emphasizing that in all cases it is vital to start with a well-structured document. Google Docs offers a “nearly valid” EPUB with some limitations which were outlined. Sadly an EPUB generated from Google Docs is not really fit for purpose in terms of accessibility.

Using Apple Pages resulted in “valid” EPUB. There are some missing elements but overall it is fairly clean.

And finally, Microsoft Word using WordToEPUB which also produces “valid” EPUB with the option to include many other accessibility features on top of the basic set including being able to integrate quality assurance tools to check accessibility (such as Ace by DAISY).

Editing EPUB to Improve Accessibility

Marianne Gulstad described the two ways to edit EPUBs:

  1. you can unzip the EPUB container and use any editing tool to change the text before using a specialist tool to rezip the EPUB archive.
  2. or you make life easier and use an EPUB editor. There are a number of EPUB editors that can open, edit and save edits such as Sigil, Calibre, Oxygen, Scrivener, Jutoh and Blue Griffon. Marianne took a close look at Sigil giving lots of examples and demos and showing how this editor can be used to check the EPUB using EPUBCheck.

Related Resources

EPUB testing

InDesign Resources

Web-based EPUB Production Services

Note: many other web-based EPUB conversion and production tools exist, this is not a comprehensive list or an endorsement of these services over others.

GrackleDocs – Google Docs accessibility plugin

Desktop EPUB Production Tools

Useful Sigil Tutorials

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