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Accessible Publishing and the Marrakesh Treaty—Are you Ready? Event Report from LBF

Logo for AAG Seminar at LBF

This year’s Accessibility Action Group seminar was held on Thursday 14th of March at the end of the London Book Fair. This didn’t deter delegates in the slightest and the seminar was a huge success—The Faculty was packed and no-one was going anywhere until they were up to speed with what is happening with accessible publishing in the U.K.

Emma House, Deputy Chief Executive of The Publishers Association kicked off proceedings with an update on the legal state of affairs in the UK specifically with regards to the Marrakesh Treaty for Visually Impaired Persons and the new European legislation that has been welcomed by FEP in the last two weeks. Publishers have an obligation to make their content available to people with print disabilities. Consequently,  it remains within their interest to make sure that their mainstream digital content is fit for this purpose. If workflows and supply chains are able to embrace this notion then the need for specialist formats will become obsolete and business practices will become more cost efficient and timely.  With the opportunity to increase the size of markets, the business case is clear although different for the huge variety of publishing businesses out there.

The seminar was designed to encourage publishers to build accessibility features and functions into their products from their very inception so that they are complying with the law and benefitting all readers with well built, well-structured EPUB files.

Three case studies were presented from Kogan-Page, Macmillan Educations and Penguin Random House showcasing a real cross-section of the publishing industry, highlighting the opportunities and challenges that still present themselves and ultimately leaving our audience encouraged in the knowledge that accessible publishing is achievable and well within their grasp.

Martin Klopstock and Arthur Thompson from Kogan-Page are truly committed to producing “born accessible” content that is suitable for all their readers, regardless of their disability.  The availability of relevant standards and documentation are a huge motivating factor for them and, together with the Ace by DAISY,  free EPUB accessibility checker they have found that validation is a straightforward component of their digital-first workflow at Kogan Page. They identified 4 areas of focus within their case study: structural semantics, accessibility metadata, image descriptions and tables with the latter 2 items still challenging them in-house. That said, Kogan Page are indeed producing born accessible digital content within their digital-first workflow and plan to look towards their legacy content in the future. For more information on their methods and lessons learnt you can access their full slide deck here.

Astrid DeRidder from Macmillan Education took the stage next and began by discussing the ASPIRE project which was the first large scale interactive ranking of publisher and platform accessibility data. Macmillan scored well and Astrid urged delegates to take the opportunity of this easy win and improve their own accessibility information that is available within their organisation. Important to Macmillan is their forthcoming Employee Disability Network which will greatly influence how accessibility is viewed within the company and the quality of the digital content being output.

Finally, Simon Mellins from Penguin Random House gave us the trade viewpoint, talking about accessibility on a large scale basis and highlighting the opportunities and challenges that EPUB presents for accessible publishing. With its natural aptitude for accessibility EPUB 3 is becoming more mainstream but, ironically, workflows in-house are fairly rigid and it is difficult to influence change on such a grand scale. The opportunity has been recognised, though, and whilst image descriptions remain the biggest challenge, there is much underway at PRH which we should watch out for in the future. Simon’s complete slide deck is available here.

Sarah Hilderley, editor of the Inclusive Publishing website and newsletter, a DAISY Consortium initiative, rounded this event off by giving a brief overview of the state of play with regards to accessibility internationally. She referred to their recent survey on content creation and validation and was pleased to report that 62% of those surveyed are adhering to the EPUB 1.0 accessibility specification and that 54% are using, or plan to use in the near future,  Ace by DAISY for their automated validation. This is very encouraging—publishers are taking accessibility seriously and the tools and standards available to them are providing them with confidence and reassurance that goals are being met.

“Accessible publishing is good publishing after all.”

This event report was prepared by Sarah Hilderley from Inclusive Publishing for the Publishers Association with whom it has been cross-posted.

Accessible Publishing and the Marrakesh Treaty – Are You Ready?

March 14th, 2019

The Marrakesh Treaty allows for copyright exceptions to facilitate the creation of accessible versions of books and other copyrighted works for visually impaired persons. It sets a norm for countries ratifying the treaty to have a domestic copyright exception covering these activities, and allowing for the import and export of such materials. The treaty has now entered into force in the UK and changes to the UK’s Copyright Law have been made which publishers will need to comply with. 

This session will briefly explain these legal changes and the obligations to publishers alongside showcasing best practice from publishers and other organisations on how to ensure your publishing processes are compliant with the new law.  We will also hear from a representative from “Inclusive Publishing” announcing the results of their recent survey on the progress we have made as a global industry in our work towards publications that can be enjoyed by all readers. 

This session is aimed at publishers and distributors of content. Whilst the session will focus on the UK law, the principles of the Marrakesh Treaty will be applicable to WIPO member countries and therefore the case studies will be relevant to all publishers worldwide. 

The annual Accessibility Action Group Seminar at the London Book Fair is suitable for everyone in the book industry who is involved in producing good quality ebooks and bringing them to their readers. No registration is required and the AAG welcomes everyone at the fair.

Date

March 14, 2019, 2.30-3.30pm

Venue

The Faculty at The London BookFair 

 

Call for Nominations: Accessible Books Consortium International Excellence Award 2019

ABC is now inviting nominations for the 2019 Accessible Books Consortium International Excellence Award for Accessible Publishing. This award recognizes outstanding leadership and achievements in advancing the accessibility of commercial ebooks or other digital publications for persons who are print disabled. Two awards will be presented, one to a publisher and one for an initiative.

You may nominate either your own organization/company or a third party anywhere in the world, and ABC encourages nominations of companies, organizations or individuals based in developing or least developed countries. The two awardees will be presented with trophies at the annual awards event held at the London Book Fair on Tuesday, March 12, 2019.

Please submit your application by Thursday, January 10, 2019 through the London Book Fair site.

Accessibility – Strategies for Success

April 12th, 2018

The annual Accessibility Action Group Seminar at the London Book Fair is suitable for everyone in the book industry who is involved in producing good quality ebooks and bringing them to their readers. No registration is required and the AAG welcomes everyone at the fair. With case studies from publishers who have experienced the challenges and opportunities of accessibility, this seminar will aim to show how achievable a successful accessibility strategy can be. Emerging technology solutions and tools to assist strategies (including Ace by DAISY, the new free EPUB accessibility checking tool) will also be presented along with an overview of challenges facing students when trying to access published learning materials.

Date:

April 12th, 2018, 13.00-14.00 UCT

Venue:

London Book Fair, Olympia, London, UK

Learn More:

Information is available at the LBF website

 

ABC International Excellence Award – Seeking Nominations

The Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) International Excellence Award, to be given at London Book Fair 2018, is now open for nominations. ABC aims to increase the number of books worldwide in accessible formats, and make them available to people who are print disabled; the ABC International Excellence Award, given at LBF, recognizes outstanding leadership and achievement in advancing the accessibility of commercial e-books or other digital publications.

Two awards will be presented, one to a publisher and one for an initiative.  You can nominate your own organisation or a third party anywhere in the world, and nominations are encouraged from those based in developing or least developed countries.  The submissions deadline is Friday 26th January 2018, and the awards will be given on Tuesday 10th April 2018.  Click through for full detail and a submission form.