Accessibility Release for Ingram’s VitalSource Bookshelf

Last years law suit against 4 Universities piloting the Kindle reader as a eTextbook solution has done a lot to guarantee the accessibility of textbooks to all students.

Ingram Content Group, working with the American Foundation for the Blind consulting group (AFB Consulting), announced a new disability release for their eTextbook platform – VitalSource.  The release, which makes the application more usable for disabled students, contains extensive internal feature and function enhancements, as well as support for third-party screen-reader applications. These new features include the new DTD (Document Type Definition) v3.4 and VitalSource’s “MathSpeak” program which adds rich English-language articulation to MathML tags.  With this release, VitalSource is the only eTextbook platform on the market to offer full accessibility in downloads, online, and mobile access points for content.  Windows, Macintosh®, and online updates are expected in June, and iPhone®, iPod Touch®, and iPad™ releases in August. More from the Ingram Press Release:

“A publisher who is already working with us doesn’t have to do anything differently to see the benefit of these changes. However, for those publishers who are already moving to XML workflow—and most of them are—they can add a few simple tagging instructions to their process and see an even greater accessibility improvement,” Mr. Chesser added.  “We are working with publishers to provide them with the ability to enhance their content for really advanced accessibility support through the release of a revised DTD (Document Type Definition) (v3.4), our “MathSpeak” program, which adds rich English-language articulation to MathML tags, and industry standard alt tag support.”

In addition to the accessibility features, the new release also includes enhanced navigation for users, automatic updating of content, enriched reference and dictionary options, and simplified content ingestion for publishers.

“The VitalSource platform from Ingram is just getting better and better,” Chesser said, “and as it does, every relevant aspect is being reviewed extensively by the AFB,” said Chesser.

Accessibility has emerged as a key issue around the world as educators have begun to wrestle with electronic content delivery. While digital content is often seen as a potential money-saver for schools and students, educators are required to make sure implementations do not exclude disabled students.

VitalSource is currently delivering content from the world’s leading textbook publishers, including Elsevier, Pearson, Cengage, Macmillan, John Wiley and Sons, McGraw-Hill, Oxford University Press, and many others.