Press Release From The LIA Foundation in Italy

Mario Barbuto Confirmed as President of Fondazione LIA

Barbuto: “We have come a long way and we are now looking ahead to the implementation of  the European Accessibility Act by 2025”. 

Levi (AIE): “LIA is a leader in the accessibility field in Europe, we are proud to be among the  founding members”.

Mario Barbuto, president of Italian Union of the Blind and Visually Impaired (UICI) has been confirmed  as President by the Board of directors of Fondazione LIA for the next three years. Italian Publishers  Association (AIE), UICI and the Foundation’s Assembly have as well confirmed the Board of directors,  composed of: Piero Attanasio (AIE), Giorgio Dossi (Centro Studi Erickson), Rodolfo Masto (Institute of  the Blind of Milan), Federico Motta (Forma Edizioni). Cristina Mussinelli was confirmed as Secretary  general. 

Fondazione LIA, a non-profit founded by AIE and UICI, deals with the digital accessibility of publishing  contents and works alongside Italian publishers to encourage best practices and innovations. The goal is  to allow visually impaired people to access the book production with the same reading quality and  possibility to choose among the latest published books as everyone else. 

“Fondazione LIA and UICI, of which I have been recently reconfirmed President, will continue to  contribute to the inclusion of the visually impaired people in the fields of culture, study and work,  through books” said Barbuto. 

“The results achieved by the Foundation are remarkable, but it is our responsibility to look ahead at what  remains to be done, in particular concerning the European Accessibility Act implementation” added  Barbuto. The European Accessibility Act requires that the entire publishing sector becomes accessible in  all the European Union by 2025. 

“I wish all the best for their work to Barbuto, the Board of directors and the LIA team – said Ricardo  Franco Levi, President of AIE –. We are extremely proud to be the founding members of this Foundation,  leader in Europe in the field of accessibility”. 

Fondazione LIA’s catalogue collects now 26,000 accessible digital books, available at  www.libriitalianiaccessibili.it. This achievement was possible thanks to the publishing houses members  of the Foundation and with the support of MIBAC – Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities.

NISO Plus 2021

February 22nd to 25th, 2021

The NISO Plus Conference has been devised as a place where publishers, vendors, librarians, archivists, product managers, metadata specialists, electronic resource managers, and much more come together to both solve existing problems and more importantly have conversations that prevent future problems from ever occurring. DAISY developer Marisa De Meglio will be speaking alongside EDRLab’s Laurent Le Meur on “Accessibility and Ebooks: Strategies for Ensuring it’s Done Well” and we encourage all of our readers to take the opportunity to hear for themselves from one of the Ace by DAISY developers.

Date

February 22-25, 2021

Venue

Online

Learn More

For full program details and registration information visit the NISO Plus 2021 Conference website

Inclusive Publishing 2020 Review

Profile picture of Richard Orme2020 has been an unusual year for us all and as we look forward to a more positive year in 2021, Richard Orme, Chief Executive of The DAISY Consortium, reflects on this extraordinary time.

As an industry hub and news portal, Inclusive Publishing has taken part in and reported on some major advancements in 2020 culminating in the second wave of our DAISY webinar series, updates to the Accessible Publishing Knowledge Base, refreshed evaluations of reading apps, and the latest release of the WordToEPUB tool.

For those who have joined our Inclusive Publishing Partner program this year, a huge welcome and we hope to see more publishers and content providers joining the ranks of IPP members who enjoy such a close collaboration with the Inclusive Publishing team at the DAISY Consortium. With such a high-profile group of members we are thrilled that accessible publishing is receiving the attention and focus that it deserves.

We’ve been pleased to report on some terrific events this year, albeit almost all them virtual but it has been extraordinary to witness how these events have adapted with an attitude of “the show must go on”, delivering high quality content and allowing us all to connect in ways that we would never thought possible before now.

Our very own DAISY webinar series has been an overwhelming success and the resources, recordings and overviews of these 21 webinars remain available to our readers on both the DAISY website and on inclusivepublishing.org. An extraordinary set of speakers have taken part in these weekly webinars, and several Inclusive Publishing Partners were represented. We are very proud to have been able to deliver these to you, look out for more in this series in 2021. There is bound to be something that is relevant to you and your work, and we welcome ideas and suggestions to keep our webinars fresh and exciting.

It has been a wonderful year for awards and we have been delighted to report on many of these:

The Inclusive Publishing team at the DAISY Consortium was pleased to collaborate on the production of a white paper entitled: It’s Time to Use the Modern Digital Publishing Format for your Organization’s Documents. Exploring the benefits of EPUB 3, this white paper has created quite an impact in government and professional circles where EPUB is less known than in the publishing arena. We hope that these organizations will be encouraged to discover the flexibility of accessible EPUB 3 for themselves.

We know that 2020 was a difficult year for us all but we look forward to 2021 with renewed enthusiasm and we wish all of our readers the very best for the next 12 months. Keep us in touch with your stories, your experiences and your activities so that we can keep our readership connected and in touch with everything that is happening with accessible publishing. A Very Happy New Year from us all.

New Australian Research Offers a Valuable Insight into Accessible Publishing

Smart phine being held up with a picture of book shelves which take up the whole screenThe findings of an exploratory survey of Australian book publishers seeking to better understand the issues affecting the production of accessible content show that although producing digital books is almost the norm, ensuring that they are accessible is not.

But there is a lot of good will. Publishers are motivated by ethical considerations, the need for legal compliance and the desire for innovation to engage with the production of accessible ebooks, and see the return on investment to be of lesser importance.

Need for More Guidelines and Training on What Accessibility Is and How to Achieve it

Interestingly, publishers of all sizes have been able to produce accessible content, which shows that this is achievable regardless of the human, organisational, and financial resources available to them. However, there is a clear need for “plain language instructions and resources that can be understood by publishing staff without prior knowledge”.

This survey is part of a larger study investigating the production of accessible content in Australia carried out at the University of Sydney. It collected information from staff working for Australian publishers regarding the key drivers and challenges to transitioning workflows to create “born-accessible” books. The second survey was aimed at staff of disability organisations and alternative format providers, as well as disability support services from universities, vocational training organisations and state departments of education, about the process of converting books into accessible formats, and the key challenges that they need to deal with.

While the results from this small study, developed in collaboration with the Australian Inclusive Publishing Initiative and the Round Table on Information Access for People with Print Disabilities, cannot be generalised to the whole publishing industry in Australia, it offers valuable insights into the level of engagement of the publishing industry in the implementation of accessibility standards, and provides preliminary recommendations for the sector.

The surveys identify an important role that the Australian Inclusive Publishing Initiative can play in raising awareness of accessibility, developing industry-specific guidelines, resources and training, and facilitating collaboration with the disability sector, libraries and other stakeholders.

Long Term Aspirations

In the long term, publishers need to incorporate accessibility standards directly into their publishing workflows and produce basic accessible ebooks and perhaps even audiobooks themselves, leaving disability organisations to focus on more complex projects such as braille transcription and other specialised services. In order for publishers to embed accessibility in the whole publishing workflow, they need to make an organisational commitment to accessibility, develop and implement an accessibility policy, and invest in staff training.

Short Term Possibilities

In the short term, there is a lot that publishers can do to help make the conversion process easier and ensure faster access to books for individuals with print disabilities. The key suggestion is for publishers to improve response and turnaround time for providing files, provide updates on the processing of requests, and provide access to suitable files, such as InDesign, Illustrator, EPUB or MS Word, or editable PDFs (free of DRM restrictions or watermarks). It would also be good – and easily achievable, even in the current COVID-19 environment – for publishers to have on their websites a clearly defined and accessible policy and procedure for requesting content.

Further Research Would Help Inform Development

Finally, it is also clear from the responses that further research is needed to investigate the distinct needs of people of print disabilities themselves, as well as of the various stakeholders across the book supply chain. This would then inform the development of a set of best practice guidelines for writers and all publishing professionals involved in the creation and distribution of books, which is urgently needed by the industry.

The reports can be downloaded via the following links:

This report was kindly submitted to Inclusive Publishing by Agata Mrva-Montoya, who conducted the surveys discussed and prepared the above detailed reports on their findings.

Agata Mrva-Montoya, PhD, is Publishing Manager at Sydney University Press. Agata has been involved in the Australian Inclusive Publishing Initiative since 2018 and led the implementation of accessible publishing practices at Sydney University Press (SUP), which resulted in SUP becoming a signatory of the Accessible Book Consortium’s Charter on Accessible Publishing in January 2020. She can be contacted at agata.mrva-montoya@sydney.edu.au and @agatamontoya. ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6043-575X

W3C Announces the First Public Working Draft of EPUB 3.3

The EPUB 3 Working Group has published four First Public Working Drafts today for EPUB 3.3. This technology defines a distribution and interchange format for digital publications and documents and is the main format for accessible digital publications.  Read the full W3C announcement which indicates that EPUB 3.3 is now on a W3C Recommendation Track.

How Leading Production and Operations Departments Successfully Introduce New Workflows

February 10th, 2021

The Bookmachine Unplugged series of events kicks off the year with a Production focused event on workflows. The theme for the event is about how to find out about, assess and apply workflow transformations and Martin Klopstock will be talking specifically about his accessibility work and how they introduced this change into their workflow at Kogan Page.

Date

February 10, 2021

Venue

Online

Learn More

Discover more about this program for this exciting event and how to register via the Bookmachine Unplugged event page.

Event Report: Key Takeaways from NIPI Include! 2020

NIPI conference logoThe following report was prepared by Marianne Gulstad and we are delighted to cross-post it here on Inclusive Publishing. Marianne is the EPUB QA Officer at Publizon A/S, a key distributor of digital publications in Denmark.

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So, back in November 2020 I had a splendid day with my Scandinavian colleagues at the NIPI Include! 2020 conference. About 125 like-minded joined in at 9:30 am and stayed online until the end, at 3 pm. We came from Latvia, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Many from MTM Sweden, I noticed – only a from Denmark, which actually surprised me a little … But I was happy to ‘see’ my former workplace Systime being represented by Claes Sønderriis, with whom I have created many text books for music and physics 20 years ago when I was working there as a graphic designer. It was also nice to see a handful of NOTA-people present, also from Denmark – which I will look forward to getting to know. Well, back to the story: We had a full programme of well-known speakers from the accessible publishing world – and a few new ones (to me, that is) – and they all had important takeaways. I was not disappointed.

Let me enlighten you with my key takeaways – things I did not know beforehand, or statements I find important to know:

Key Points from the Speakers

First up, Molly Watt (accessibility and UX expert):

  • Not all visually impaired readers prefer audio to text as their first choice
  • Many visually impaired readers rely on color adjustment, text scaling in order to enhance text visually
  • When designing reading apps, give users multiple choices for color adjustments, scaling and margins

Richard Orme (cool DAISY dude … CEO of the DAISY Consortium):

  • Try to think accessibility broader
  • Focus on visually impared, but also on how physical handicaps and situations can be helped
  • Understanding who you are doing this for will make you (ebook authors and RS developers) create smarter solutions for ALL users and situations

Daniel Saidi (freelance software engineer):

  • Being reachable, is not being accessible

Cristina Mussinelli (Secretary General of Fondazione LIA) on what “Born Accessible” means:

  • Define a specific procedure aimed at defining accessibility checks (internal or external) of the publication
  • Adopt international standard metadata schemas and distribute them along the value chain
  • Provide to end users an accurate, but friendly, description of the accessibility features available in the publication
  • Use the checkers that already exists for accessibility validation, like Ace.
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel – You don’t have to go through the same workload that we did. Seek help from organisations that are further in the process, like LIA. We are here to help

Wendy Reid (Accessibility and Publishing Standards Lead at Rakuten Kobo – @wendy_a_reid):

  • You can now create accessible audio books with W3C Audiobooks specs. Plz, feel free to invent its checker

Luc Audrain (former Head of Digitalization, Hachette Livre):

Lunch Break was Tool Time

I stayed glued to the screen during the lunch break, watching the two tool presentations.

Elisa Molinari (LIA Project Manager with M.A. in Italian literature) showcased some best practice for writing image descriptions, and how not to.

Also from Fondazione LIA was Gregorio Pellegrino (Chief Accessible Officer & Computer Engineer) who showcased how their pilot project can create image descriptions using AI algorithms. Still work in progress but I find this pilot project very interesting. You can find more on YouTube, or contact LIA directly.

Richard Orme showcased how to use Ace by DAISY and SMART to self certify your accessible EPUB publications to WCAG Level AA. If you are an ebook creator, I strongly advice you to see how to use Ace for analyzing your files for accessibility.

How to Accomplish the Move into Accessible Publishing?

Well, some changes are easily implemented, others will take months to get right. But we (the publishing ecosystem) have 4 years to get it right. And like you would begin any new journey – like climbing Mount A11y – or eating an elephant – start with one step at a time. One mouthful at a time. It is important NOT to be overwhelmed, but be excited to begin implementing accessibiliy into your publishing workflow. Start now. Reach out. Take the first step… or bite.

Thank you, NIPI-folks, for a lovely inspiring conference.

(If I did not mention you, I am sorry, you were not boring – I just have an extreme appetite for tech info)

About NIPI

The Nordic Inclusive Publishing Initiative (NIPI) is a Nordic network of governmental agencies committed to provide accessible information, products and services to people with print disabilities.

The Include! 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. #nipi_include!

Go to Programme and Speakers  or YouTube to see the entire NIPI Include! 2020 Conference.