Last week 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 throughout this report. 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.
One of the most successful elements of this summit has always been the NNELS tester demonstrations which were as informative and powerful as usual. The first demo concentrated on Reflowable EPUB and was presented by Ka Li (NNELS) and the second demo focused on Fixed Layout EPUB and was presented by Mélissa Castilloux (NNELS). Both sessions are invaluable and it is wonderful to have these now available as YouTube videos.
The User Perspectives Panel asked questions such as: How do you read? What does your access toolkit look like? What does timely and meaningful access mean for you? David Kopman (NNELS) answered this last question with the simple and straightforward answer: “Equality”. 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. This panel is well worth watching if you haven’t yet had a chance.
The Industry Updates and Expert Perspectives Panel, also on day one, 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.
Day two began with the International Panel which was moderated by Sarah Hilderley (Inclusive Publishing). This interesting session asked questions of 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. Well worth a watch if you want an alternative perspective.
Following this opening session. we moved into panel discussion breakout rooms and delegates had the choice of attending sessions on metadata, certification and reading systems which gave everyone an opportunity to familiarise and update their knowledge in these areas before the working groups on day three. Impressive groups of experts sat on each of the panels and it was difficult to choose where to spend time! A second set of panels on digital literacy, publisher needs and publishing education brought this most informative day to a close.
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.