It’s been a busy year for Inclusive Publishing and, as we look forward to 2019, Richard Orme, CEO of the DAISY Consortium, reflects on some of this year’s successes for accessible publishing and our industry.
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We’ve been pleased to report on some terrific events this year as accessibility becomes a major focus for publishers worldwide. In March we presented the Ace tool at ebookcraft in Toronto. The London Book Fair in April saw the 10th Annual Accessibility Action Group seminar focus on Strategies for Success and we were proud to stand alongside other industry stalwarts on the podium. June saw our DAISY Symposium entitled Building Bridges for Better Access, which focused on the accessible study materials.
In October we covered the new-look Digital Book World and we were delighted to play a major role at this exciting event. We are already looking forward to next year! And the Accessing Higher Ground conference in November was a huge opportunity to hear from a wide variety of publishers about the strides towards inclusive publishing practices.
The DAISY Consortium now maintains and develops EPUBCheck, the conformance validator for the EPUB format. We rounded off the year by reporting on the release of version 4.1. EPUBCheck is overseen by the W3C and funded by generous contributions from across the digital publishing landscape.
We’ve been very lucky to work with some top-quality authors this year and our thanks go to all of them for their contributions and news updates. From event reports to opinion pieces, we’ve been fortunate to be able to publish some terrific pieces of extremely high quality. In addition, we have been delighted with the response to our new interview pieces: Inspiring Words from Industry Leaders. Our interviewees are indeed an inspiration and we will be adding to this stellar line-up in 2019.
Accessibility has been a common thread in conversations across the publishingindustry for quite a few years now, but from anecdotal evidence 2018 appears to mark the start of something special—widespread mainstream adoption of accessibility. This reflects the changes we have seen and supported in accessible content creation and validation, but also throughout the supply chain, with a positive impact on education services, reading systems and the metadata which makes the whole process function.
It’s very important to us that we continue to support the wider industry on this journey towards inclusive publishing, and with this in mind, we have created a short end of year survey so that we may take a snapshot of our community. We’d be very grateful if you could spare a few minutes to complete the survey (now closed) and to help us gauge where we are, and also to report to you all on how we are progressing as an industry. 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 2019 with perhaps more optimism and enthusiasm than previous years. It has been wonderful to see how the industry has responded to our InclusivePublishing 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 peaceful holiday and we look forward to an exciting year ahead.
EPUBCheck plays a significant role within the ebook production process, checking EPUB files against the specification to ensure they validate. As the EPUB specification has evolved over time it is important that the tools we use to create and validate EPUB files are kept up to date. Many retailers require EPUB files to have been validated by EPUBCheck. However, in its current state, EPUBCheck cannot properly validate many EPUBs that meet the most up to date standards.
To address this the Publishing Business Group at W3C put out a request for proposals to update EPUBCheck, and following a competitive selection process the DAISY Consortium has been selected to perform the update to:
- Bring EPUBCheck in sync with the dynamically evolving core web specs of HTML, CSS, and SVG and also with the current version of EPUB 3
- Fully support the EPUB Accessibility Guidelines, making sure that your products are usable for everyone
- Add new features, such as HTML validation (in coordination with the W3C validation services) and a better check of media overlays
- Offer better service to the publishing industry with a faster response to bug reports and feature request.
This work is being funded through donations from organizations which use the EPUBCheck tool, and while there are different sponsorship levels, any amount of donation is welcome to help support this effort to update and overhaul EPUBCheck. Full details are available at the Publishing@W3C fundraising page.
We look forward to bringing you updates as this exciting work evolves.
The Digital Book World Awards Committee has announced that The DAISY Consortium is a finalist in their category, Innovation in Accessibility at the conference awards this year. DAISY is delighted to be listed alongside such an esteemed set of organizations. The full list of awards finalists can be accessed via the Digital Book World web site. Winners will be announced at the conference during the first week of October.
The DAISY Consortium will also be presenting the session Building Accessibility Into Publishing Workflows: From The Ground Up featuring the free open source accessibility checking tool Ace by DAISY. For more details on the conference see our Digital Book World events page . Inclusive Publishing readers have been offered a 25% discount on their conference passes with the code DAISYDBW2018
The Book Industry Study Group held their regular BIC Breakfast meeting last month on the 25th of April focusing specifically on accessible ebooks. Speaking to a full room Emma House, Deputy CEO of the Publishers Association in the UK, opened proceedings with a presentation on the importance of accessibility and setting the scene in terms of legal and international requirements.
Do not wait; the time will never be “just right.” Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.
Richard Orme, CEO of the DAISY Consortium, followed presenting a range of tools and support services based on industry accessibility standards. In particular, he concentrated on Ace, the new , open source, EPUB Accessibility Checker, a newly developed knowledge base built to accompany Ace and SMART (Simple Manual Accessibility Reporting Tool).
Chris Saynor from EDItEUR rounded off proceedings with a presentation on the importance of accessibility metadata looking specifically at schema,org, ONIX, the crosswalk and the role of each. Chris was asked the question whether accessibility metadata was actually being used by retailers and it was promising to hear that this is indeed starting to happen and that Amazon are keen for publishers to supply this level of detail.
Metadata improves discoverability. “Good” metadata improves sales. People with print impairments require different functionalities and the population of specific metadata fields to find the book they need. #
For further information on this interesting event and access to the slide deck used by all speakers, readers should visit the BIC website.
Ace, by DAISY, the newly developed accessibility checking tool for EPUB, has entered its last phase of testing with a new beta release this week. The full release of Ace 1.0 is scheduled for the end of January 2018, so now is the ideal time to explore how you can incorporate accessibility checking within your workflows. For full details on Ace and what it can achieve for you, visit https://inclusivepublishing.org/toolbox/accessibility-checker/