Posts

Ebookcraft – An Excellent Adventure Indeed!

Group of signs for various locations at the conferenceThis blog piece was kindly written by Romain Deltour, lead software developer for the recently released EPUB accessibility checking tool Ace by DAISY. Romain delivered a workshop at ebookcraft entitled: Is Your EPUB Accessible: Put it to the Test. This image is one of Romain’s slides used during his workshop.

Last month, on March 21 and 22, while the lovely Toronto was still hesitating between staying firmly in winter or boldly entering spring, I attended ebookcraft, a two-day conference on ebook production. I have followed previous ebookcraft conferences remotely via twitter, and been told several times by friends and colleagues that this event was an amazing experience, so when I was invited to speak about accessibility testing on the workshop day, I was thrilled. And well, ebookcraft didn’t disappoint. It was a fantastic conference.

From the inclusivity guidelines in the speakers’ guide, to the pronoun stickers attendees could put on their badges, you knew that the awesome Lauren Stewart and the BookNet Canada team were serious about organizing an inclusive event. This welcoming atmosphere no doubt helped the attendees and speakers to feel at home and made us enjoy, all the more, the very interesting presentations, round-tables, and corridor discussions. Among the various topics in these exchanges, accessibility was perhaps the most often cited subject. I was very happy, in particular, that the leading efforts of the DAISY Consortium to help make digital publications accessible to everyone were unanimously acknowledged. Despite the technical challenges, the enthusiasm of ebook developers and publishers to make born-accessible publications was tangible. Ebookcraft was all about learning and sharing; when it comes to inclusivity and making information truly accessible to everyone, this feels very heartwarming.

There have been a number of excellent event reports written since the conference and we have listed those that we have found here below. Booknet Canada has already provided access to the slides from the conference, once again increasing inclusion in this ground-breaking event.

Publishing @ W3C Goes to Ebookcraft

An excellent conference report written by Tzviya Siegman, Information Standards Lead at Wiley and Chair of the W3C Publishing Working Group

For many of us who work with ebooks, the highlight of our year is ebookcraft in Toronto…. Why do we love ebookcraft? It’s full of “practical tips and forward-thinking inspiration.” It’s impeccably organized, by the wizardly Lauren Stewart and her team. It’s warm and welcoming. There are cookies. More than half the speakers are women. It really is about making beautiful, accessible ebooks. Of course, that requires standards. The ebook world has suffered more than most, with interoperability being a dream rather than a reality.

Accessibility, Accessibility, Accessibility: A Recap of Ebookcraft 2018

Kris Tomes, author of this Lerner Blog piece, focuses on accessibility as one of the major themes of the conference

As more schools, libraries, and governments set a11y requirements, it is important to understand why a11y features matter and how to implement them in digital publishing.

That’s a Wrap on Tech Forum and ebookcraft 2018

A Booknet Canada blog piece by Kira Harkonen listing conference resources including slides, you tube videos of presentations, links to articles, a round up of conference tweets and information on next year’s event.

@Simon_Collinson’s conference tweet stood out in particular:

Steve Murgaski: ‘For a lot of blind people, books are really important. They’re one of the aspects of popular culture which are available to us without modification.’ Fascinating talk at #ebookcraft

Ebook Magiks

A blog piece for epubsecrets by Melissa deJesus, Associate Production Editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

If we get it right, ebooks can combine with any technology, ereader or assistive technologies, to enshrine content not in dead tree sheets but in machine-readable, universally accessible, deathless code.

Booknet Canada and Rakuten Kobo Award 2018 – Ebook Coding Prize

This news piece by Porter Anderson, Editor in Chief of  Publishing Perspectives highlights the winner of the So You Think You Can Code competition held every year at ebookcraft. This year’s winner, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Katy Mastrocola, used Ace by DAISY to check the accessibility of her entry.

Getting ‘aesthetically pleasing and accessible content’ out of what the judges gave her as a mashup of sci-fi and Lewis Carroll, Katy Mastrocola beats the competition.

Hats off to Laura Brady and the rest of the ebookcraft steering committee – we can’t wait till next year!

Understanding ebooks, London

April 25th, 2018

Join publishing industry expert Ken Jones (@circularKen) for this one day Book Machine course to help you understand the ebook market and to gain some of the practical skills required to produce your own digital content. Accessibility plays an intrinsic part in successful ebook publishing and Ken will be looking at this as part of this fascinating insight.

Date:

April 25th, 2018

Venue:

London, U.K.

Learn More:

Inspiring Words from Industry Leaders: Interview with Luc Audrain, Hachette Livre

Inclusive Publishing has embarked on a series of interviews with industry leaders and their approach to accessibility. Luc Audrain, Head of Digitilization at Hachette Livre, has been a driving force within the publishing industry, both in France and internationally, on the subject of accessibility. Headshot of Luc Audrain, Head of Digitalization at Hachette Livre and subject of this interview

Nothing has been more valuable for me during these last two years than being in touch with visually impaired people and understanding their skills in managing mails, sms, ebooks, etc.

Why is inclusive publishing important to you and/or your organization?

Market Expansion: visually impaired people are suffering from a “book famine”. They are eager to be included in the mainstream reading experience and when a natively accessible ebook catalogue becomes available, I’m sure they are more than ready to lend or buy these titles

Regulations: at a national and European level, rules are being set to enforce the accessibility of products and services. We are taking these rules seriously and are preparing ourselves in advance.

Good Practices: structuring information is a must to implement accessibility within ebooks. We know, by experience, that the foundation of good practice in an editorial workflow is necessary for any kind of reuse of high quality content.

Do you have a top tip for others new to accessibility?

Structure your content!

What do you wish you knew about accessibility 5 or 10 years ago?

I wish I had had the opportunity to understand how blind people read and write digital text in their day-to-day life!

Nothing has been more valuable for me during these last two years than being in touch with visually impaired people and understanding their skills in managing mails, sms, ebooks, etc.

What do you think will be the biggest game changer for inclusive publishing in the next few years?

Technology and standards are mature: Web accessibility is well described and EPUB3 production is increasing. From the French publishers side, the subject has been grasped and a significant move has already been made to publish simple monochrome titles as natively accessible ebooks.

Be prepared to see accessible categories in ebook stores in 2018.

For those still on the fence, why should they consider accessibility?

Using the EPUB3 format and accessibility guidelines available from the IDPF and the DAISY Consortium, it is quite possible for simple books to achieve a good level of accessibility. Establishing good content structuring practices within editorial workflows helps to implement accessibility in EPUB3 files, and, in that case only, it is inexpensive.

Can you sum up your attitude towards inclusive publishing in one sentence?

Inclusive publishing sums up all the digital support I have brought to publishing teams throughout the years of my career.