NIPI Include! 2020

November 11th to 12th, 2020

The Nordic Inclusive Publishing Initiative conference aims to connect key participants from the Nordic world of reading and inclusion with the goal of initiating the joint work on inclusive publishing. If you work in the publishing industry, with distribution or with key library functions, this is a great opportunity to find out how you can start the movement towards making your own products and services accessible for all.

Date

November 11-12, 2020

Venue

Online

Learn More

Information on registration and programming details can be found at the NIPI event site

 

Accessing Higher Ground 2020

November 9th to 19th, 2020

This 10 day virtual conference, presented and hosted by AHEAD focuses on the implementation and benefits of:

  • Accessible media, Universal Design and Assistive Technology in the university, business and public setting;
  • Legal and policy issues, including ADA and 508 compliance.
  • The creation of accessible media and information resources, including Web pages and library resources.
  • Universal Design and curriculum accessibility.
  • Best practices for web design, reaching untapped audiences through accessible design, and compliance with existing and anticipated Section 508 and ADA stipulations.

Delegates will be interested in sessions presented by DAISY staff and Inclusive Publishing Partners:

Monday November 9th

  • Pre-Conference workshop, Getting to grips with and creating and editing EPUB (Richard Orme, George Kerscher, Rachel Comerford, Joseph Polizzotto)

Friday November 13

  • Reading System Face Off: How to access EPUB reading systems and how you can know which are the best (George Kerscher, Joseph Polizzotto)
  • Math and STEM in EPUB: What to expect and demand (George Kerscher, Rachel Comerford, Charles La Pierre)

Tuesday November 17

  • Accessible HTML – Why it’s a good format for your students and how to create it! (Joseph Polizzotto)
  • Quick Talks: Campus transition to EPUB (George Kerscher, Teresa Keenan, Charles La Pierre, Joseph Polizzotto)
  • Current and next generation digital study tools (Rick Johnson, Stacy Ray)
  • Writing and reading accessible math in Word, HTML and EPUB (Richard Orme, George Kerscher, Charles La Pierre, Joseph Polizzotto)

Wednesday November 18

  • Creating accessible OER and other materials by leveraging advanced features of Word and WordToEPUB (Richard Orme, George Kerscher, Joseph Polizzotto)

Date

November 9-19, 2020

Venue

Online

Learn More

Visit the AHG website to learn more about this conference and the program

Inspiring Words from Industry Leaders: Interview with Erin Lucas, RedShelf

head shot of erin lucasInclusive Publishing is continuing with its popular series of interviews with industry leaders, focusing on their approach to accessibility. Erin Lucas is Senior Director of Accessibility at RedShelf and her passion for accessible publishing is contagious! RedShelf are working tirelessly to improve the reading experience for all their readers and we are very proud that they are Inclusive Publishing Partners.

Providing born-accessible digital textbooks is a crucial part of a campus support ecosystem to empower ALL students and can provide peace of mind to accessibility office personnel and faculty.

Why is inclusive publishing important to you and/or your organization at this moment in time?

It’s never been more important to ensure students have access to accessible course materials. As many schools continue to limit on-campus learning this fall, the most vulnerable students are in danger of slipping through the cracks. Those who rely on the in-person support of the accessibility office are at even higher risk. Providing born-accessible digital textbooks is a crucial part of a campus support ecosystem to empower ALL students and can provide peace of mind to accessibility office personnel and faculty.

Do you have a top tip for others new to accessibility?

Accessibility is a journey, not a destination – expand your horizons and get connected to other accessibility champions! Look for MeetUps, Facebook Groups and LinkedIn posts to keep learning and connecting. I know from experience that it can be challenging to feel like you’re the only person in an organization who cares about accessibility, but the passion that the a11y community has for the important work we are doing is contagious! Become your organization’s a11y evangelist by sharing your experiences and knowledge with others and I guarantee you’ll find others who care as much as you do.

What you wish you knew about accessibility 10 years ago?

Having worked in the government IT sector for so long before coming to RedShelf, it was always a part of my job – but 10 years ago I had no idea that accessibility would be my full-time job someday. I probably would have connected with more folks outside of the government sector, to better understand how far behind some industries were with accessibility.  

What do you think will be the biggest game changer for inclusive publishing in the next few years?

It’s encouraging that so many publishers recognize the many benefits of EPUB and, thanks to this shift, we have seen an incredible change in the inclusivity of our catalog from only 40% EPUB to 75% EPUB in just three years! But, I think the true game changer will be campus stakeholders embracing EPUB format. Adoption of PDF still outpaces EPUB by a large margin and accessible course materials often isn’t top of mind for faculty. Bookstore managers may not know how to encourage accessible adoptions with those faculty members. In addition, many accessibility offices don’t have the bandwidth to learn how to handle EPUB, or have legacy assistive technology that only ingests PDF. But, if nothing else, the accessibility community is tenacious and I’m confident that by continuing to work together – on and off campus – we can affect change. 

For those still on the fence, why should they consider accessibility, bearing in mind the possible “new normal” for students in September?

I would reiterate the answer to question #1 – not considering accessibility places students at additional risk. Accessibility and usability go hand in hand, so by keeping accessibility top of mind, you help ALL students

How have good inclusive publishing practices influenced the majority of your customers?

It’s been especially influential on campuses where the accessibility office is part of the process of ensuring inclusive adoptions. They can be the voice for all students, helping faculty understand how time consuming accommodations can be and how EPUB can often eliminate the need for an accommodation. But it’s not just about the students who need additional support. The current generation of learners has always been digital and learns in a completely different way than previous generations. They also expect their technology to work in very specific ways, and only inclusive materials can support those expectations. 

Can you sum up your attitude towards inclusive publishing in one sentence.

Inclusive publishing is the key to success for EVERY student’s digital educational experience.

Do you have any final thoughts on accessibility or inclusive publishing practices you would like to share?

A huge thank you to all of our publishing, campus and accessibility industry partners for being so willing to share their knowledge and work with me and my colleagues at RedShelf. Together, we can ensure an accessible future for more generations to come!

Inclusive Design 24 2020

September 17th, 2020

Inclusive Design 24 (#id24) is a free 24-hour online event for the global community. It celebrates inclusive design and shares knowledge and ideas from analogue to digital, from design to development, from planners to practitioners, and everything and everyone in between.

Date

September 17, 2020

Venue

Online

Learn More

For registration and program details:  https://inclusivedesign24.org/2020/

Back to School….Are We Ready?

graphic containing back to school items including screens and tabletsWith countries issuing plans and advice for the long-awaited return to school in September, we thought it would be useful to pause and consider how the accessibility of digital learning materials remains as important as ever. Some element of online learning seems inevitable in the “new normal” and it’s amazing how many educational content providers have adapted and reinvented their own workflows and content to suit these new environments.

It’s not been easy. Change to workflows to accommodate staff working from home is an enormous step but combined with adapting content to allow for greater access is an even greater challenge. For some publishers this second hurdle was not a problem…already producing born accessible EPUB 3 and giving students the best online experience as a result. But for those just dipping their toes into digital publishing, this will have been a fast learning curve and one that requires the collaboration of all supply chain partners. It takes a village.

The publishing supply chain around the world  reacted very quickly to support homeschooling parents and teachers delivering online learning resources,  making digital content available to all readers as much as they could. Platform providers set up schemes to ensure students could access, free of charge, the materials they needed and in most cases, these materials come with a high degree of accessibility. Our Inclusive Publishing Partners, Red Shelf and Vital Source are fine examples of this and their good work was highlighted in one of our early webinars, dedicated to considering access for students during a global pandemic.

But where do you start if you are hoping to make a difference in September but this is new and daunting for you and your team? There are some quick wins and some more challenging areas but the most important thing is that you take the plunge. None of it is quite as difficult as you might think and there is plenty of help and guidance on hand if you know where to look.

Quick Wins

  • Prepare a company commitment to accessibility and publish this on your website. This doesn’t have to say that everything you publish is 100% accessible but rather that your mission includes making your content as accessible as you can and that your work and focus is centered on user access and requirements.
  • Assess your digital content.  How complex is the content that you are producing? Focus on the monochrome simple layout documents to start with as these can ease you into the path of accessible publishing.
  • Consider EPUB – EPUB is the most widely used format within the publishing industry and offers the greatest opportunity for accessibility. EPUB 3.2, the latest version, is where you want to focus your attentions and you should instruct your developers (whether in-house or 3rd party) to take advantage of all the accessibility features it offers.
  • Use Ace by DAISY – Ace by DAISY is a free accessibility checking tool for EPUB content and you can use this on your desktop for one off documents or build it into your production workflow. The resulting report will help you to focus on what areas need attention.
  • Use the metadata! If you are confident that your content has passed Ace, then you should use the metadata options available in schema.org (for your EPUB file) and Onix for Books (for your retailer feed) and let your customers know that a particular title might indeed be suitable for them. Shout about your good work and your sales will increase accordingly.

All of these things can be put in place with relatively little aggravation. For some, your developers will already have fully embraced the EPUB 3 format so it might just be a question of making sure that they are using it to it’s full capability. Wherever you are in the process, you can embrace some of this in time for September….anything you are able to install is better than doing nothing.

And Then What?

Once you’ve got started with the simpler content you will want to think about more complex documents that might include rich and interactive material. How do we make this accessible to readers with a print disability? It is a challenge, indeed, but much of the hard work has been done for you and it’s simply a question of deciding what methods work for you. This can depend on the size of your organization, whether you outsource any areas of your workflows and what the subject matter is of the content. All of these elements coincide to produce a unique environment and you will want to take time to consider what works best.

We have heaps of guidance to help you make these choices.

Why Exactly Do You Need to do this Now?

Accessibility has always been important and the business case for it has been proven in the past so why is it particularly important right now? Well, access is a vital issue for everyone, whether fully-abled or disabled and it is understood that an EPUB with all the accessibility features enabled provides a richer and more satisfying experience for everyone. We should be affording students the best online learning experience that we can offer them and an accessible EPUB file does that.

But it is worth noting that it is also possible to remediate files so that they can be made accessible after the fact, but imagine the time and potential cost of this when you could just build everything from the start? Your files can be born accessible so that you are offering all students the same material, in the same format, at the same time and for the same cost as everyone else. This is what true accessibility looks like and we should be doing our level best to make this happen for September. Education challenges are going to be great but let’s make the “new normal” an accessible one.

Commit to making your content as accessible as you can and you are part of the solution for September. It’s simple!

Resources

  • Our Introduction to Inclusive Publishing is a great place to understand the benefits of accessible content. Take a look at the rest of the publisher resources within this area of our website to further your understanding.
  • Our developer area will give you some idea of what is required of you technically—it’s not as hard as you think!
  • There is plenty of guidance highlighted in both these areas of our website so that you can start to put some of your understanding into practice.
  • Register for our Weekly Webinar series put together is in response to multiple challenges faced by conferences around the world, as well as feedback from the wider DAISY community expressing interest in online training resources.

Publishers have stepped up to the challenge in a big way and the International Publishers Association has gathered together details of resources available in various countries to assist during this time. This list of IPA resources brings together the good work being done around the globe to provide as much information as possible.

Hugo Setzer, IPA President said:

Self-isolation around the world has seen a boom in reading. Books and reading are the ideal way of escaping our four walls but also to understand what is happening around us, how to overcome this and how to make our lives better in the future. We will need books and we will need each other. The International Publishers Association will play its role to support our international colleagues, our authors and readers, our researchers, our teachers and pupils, to overcome this crisis.

WordToEPUB Extended Tutorial (W)

WordToEPUB opening slideIn our series of free weekly webinars July 29th saw a detailed session focused on our new groundbreaking tool, WordToEPUB, following on from the introductory webinar on this topic held earlier in the series.

This page contains:

Full Video of the Webinar

Speakers

  • Dara Ryder—host and chair
  • Richard Orme, The DAISY Consortium
  • Joseph Polizzotto, U.C. Berkeley
  • Nancy Zhang, Provincial Resource Center for the Visually Impaired, British Columbia

Session Overview

Richard Orme introduced the themes of webinar, opening with an overview of the basics for anyone new to the WordToEPUB tool. WordToEPUB is free to use and can create EPUBs from accessible Word documents for any platform and reading app.

A point and shoot demo of an academic paper showed us just how straightforward the method of creating accessible EPUB can be using this tool which is available in multiple languages. The originating word document does have to be accessible in the first place. By clicking on the WordToEPUB button in the ribbon, a dialogue starts within which you can modify the file name and its location. You can also convert by right clicking on your document or you can run the tool from the desktop….easy and straightforward to create an accessible EPUB document.

There are many advanced features available in WordToEPUB and the rest of this webinar looked at these in some detail:

  • Accessibility checker and Headings report
  • Metadata and Word properties
  • Cover images
  • Languages​ (with a demo using the Thorium reader)
  • Table of Contents
  • Splitting level
  • Stylesheets
  • Pagination

Our presenters spoke about these from their unique perspectives giving us examples of use cases and practical insights into how WordToEPUB has been a game changer already. With default conversion options available within the preferences menu, there is much opportunity for this tool to create bespoke documents that work for your particular environment. The Q & A session was lively and worth catching up on! Feedback opportunities and release updates are available.

Related Resources

Discover the other webinars we’re running!