It’s been a busy year for Inclusive Publishing and, as we look forward to 2020, Richard Orme, CEO of the DAISY Consortium, reflects on some of the year’s successes for accessible publishing and our industry.
As an industry hub and news portal, InclusivePublishing.org has seen and reported on some major advancements in 2019, culminating in the release of a desktop version of our very popular Ace by DAISY tool, which gives the industry an EPUB accessibility checking tool—invaluable to many in-house workflows. Open source and free, the Ace App allows you to quickly test EPUB files through a familiar graphical user interface and highlight any issues which need to be addressed.
For those publishers who have joined our Inclusive Publishing Partner program they have the additional benefit of the enhanced SMART license (Simple Manual Accessibility Reporting Tool) which can be integrated with Ace, providing manual conformance checks. Other benefits of the program include expert advice and support and quarterly bulletins on the latest developments.
We’ve been pleased to report on some terrific events this year as accessibility becomes a major focus for publishers worldwide:
In March DAISY staff could be found at 3 major international events. The London Book Fair saw the annual Accessibility Action Group seminar focus publisher efforts towards inclusive and accessible publishing. DAISY presented results of our seasonal survey, framing the case studies and giving us some context to the challenges and opportunities for publishers. DAISY were also delighted to present at the LBF BIC Building a Better Business seminar where accessibility is always a highlight.
The CSUN Assistive Technology Conference was a huge success, as usual, and DAISY staff presented on a variety of inclusive publishing themes to packed audiences. Ebookcraft in Toronto had an enormous focus on accessible publishing and we were thrilled that our Ace developers were able to present a three-hour workshop at this very popular event.
In May we supported Global Accessibility Awareness Day with a publisher’s toolkit of ideas for highlighting the event in-house. We plan to give this even greater attention this year and urge our publishing colleagues to start planning asap.
EDRLab ran their annual DPUB Summit in June and DAISY staff played a prominent role in updating delegates on standards and DAISY tools. This is quite a technical event where accessibility is of huge importance.
In September we attended Digital Book World and we were delighted to play a major role at this event where we delivered a session on Born Accessible publishing and were proud to present the DAISY Award for Accessibility to Vital Source. We were also honored to receive an Outstanding Achievement Award for the Ace by DAISY tool.
In October we attended the LIA Accessibility Camp in Milan, presenting on standards developments and the Accessing Higher Ground conference in November was a huge opportunity to hear from a wide variety of publishers about the strides being made towards inclusive publishing practices. In particular, the face-off between various publishers was a terrific session.
The DAISY Consortium maintains and develops EPUBCheck, the conformance validator for the EPUB format and which received several updates, with a major release coming in 2020. EPUBCheck is overseen by the W3C and continues to be funded by generous contributions from across the digital publishing landscape.
We also maintain epubtest.org to conduct and facilitate reviews of reading systems, offering benchmark feedback to developers and consumers on flexible reading support. Working with technology companies of all sizes globally has proved incredibly fruitful, and we have seen a growth in interest from the wider community of developers seeking to maintain and improve their support for readers with print disabilities.
We’ve been very lucky to work with some top-quality contributors this year and our thanks go to all of them for their submissions. From event reports to opinion pieces, we’ve been fortunate to be able to publish some terrific pieces of extremely high quality. We very much hope that all our readers and supporters will take five minutes to update us on their progress by taking this year’s survey. Please make sure that we are aware of all your good work. Our thanks to all those who have completed this already—we look forward to sharing the anonymous results with you all soon.
We look towards 2020 with perhaps more optimism and enthusiasm than previous years. It has been wonderful to see how the industry has responded to our Inclusive Publishing website and newsletter, and we hope that you will all continue to support us—we rely on your input and are very grateful for it. There are some exciting developments we look forward to sharing with you next year, and we will continue to publish both technical and non-technical information to cater for all our readers in this way.
We wish you all a very happy new year and we look forward to working with you in the forthcoming months.
CEO DAISY Consortium