Accessibility Camp—A Moment of Study Between Experts

A collection of pink sticky notes being positioned on a boardThe LIA Foundation recently organized a day completely dedicated to the theme of accessibility for professionals in the publishing world and for content producers at the  Talent Garden Calabiana in Milan , as part of the MiCA project—Milan for Accessible Culture.

It was a day in which participants were able to meet experts from the world of digital accessibility to share knowledge, information and experiences—offering a moment of study, exchange and comparison on the subject of accessibility amongst professionals.

The first part of the day was dedicated to presentations from national and international experts who introduced and explored the dynamics and scenarios taking place at a global level.

Speakers included:

  • Cristina Mussinelli—The LIA Foundation
  • Antonio Cotroneo—The LIA Foundation
  • Avneesh Singh—The DAISY Consortium
  • Luc Audrain—Hachette Livre

The day began with a demo of a visually impaired user trying to buy and read an ebook which was great for setting the mood for the day.

Print impaired reader presenting to delegates with Gregorio Pellegrino assisting

 

Cristina Mussinelli from the LIA Foundation then introduced the workshop and explained the need to work together in order to comply with the new European legislative framework for accessibility: Marrakech Treaty and European Accessibility Act. The LIA Foundation has recently produced a white paper entitled: EBooks for All: Towards an Accessible Publishing Ecosystem

Avneesh Singh from The DAISY Consortium gave a keynote speech on publishing standards, including:

  • an introduction to EPUB 3.2
  • EPUBCheck—the prerequisite for adoption of EPUB 3.2 together with plans for further development
  • State of the art accessibility of EPUB 3—greatly reinforced by EPUB 3 Accessibility Conformance and Discovery specifications
  • information on EPUB 3.0.1 and EPUB accessibility specifications becoming ISO standards which will serve to further elevate EPUB and the EPUB Accessibility specification worldwide.

Luc Audrain, Head of Digitalization for Hachette Livre, rounded off the first part of the day with a keynote describing Hachette’s move to an EPUB 3 born accessible publishing workflow, without incurring additional cost. Luc’s drive has been a major factor in Hachette’s success made possible because he was the right person, in the right place, at the right time. It was great to see how just one person can bring about such a change.

 

Luc Audrain presents on EPUB 3 and workflows within Hachette Livre

 

During the second part of the Camp, three operational working groups were organized to explore specific topics in more detail:

  • How to make mathematics accessible in traditional production processes. This workshop also looked at other STEM materials.
  • Reading solutions: platforms and user experience
  • Discoverability and metadata : what do users want and what steps are needed to meet the deadlines set by the European Accessibility Act?

The LIA Foundation has also recently announced that the notable organizations, Associazione Italiana Dislessia (AID) and the Biblioteca Italiana per i Ciechi (Italian Library for the Blind) (BIC) have signed an agreement for the production and distribution of accessible copies of textbooks to blind and visual impaired students. The full press release of this announcement is available. The Foundation is busy setting up a Scientific Committee with many esteemed collaborators and we look forward to hearing about the plans and work of this group.

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