Jim Fruchterman wants to make the book truly accessible and feels we have a good start, but a long way to go. Bookshare is the largest online library for people with disabilities, they download more than 1 million books per year. His service only serves about 1% of the population, and they turn away so many people who don’t qualify for the free service. He feels this is an untapped market for publishers. People with disabilities want to buy books, read books, listen to books, etc. At bookshare, they do a lot of content conversion to more accessible formats and can offer the content back to the publishers. Their main product is the digital text, which is not a commercial quality ebook, thus you won’t find them on pirated sites. If Bookshare finds any of their titles on pirated sites, they contact the client, remove content, etc. Continue reading
EPUB 3 was just announced this morning by the IDPF. The final draft of standard being readied for release at BEA 2011. http://idpf.org/epub/30 – public release of standard here, ready for comment, looking for lots of comment/feedback from the international community. They have a great “human readable” document to give everyone an overview/introduction of what this is.
A few items of interest from the presentation are below. Lots more tweets at #toccon
Accessibility Issues – DAISY consortium have been an integral part of the development of EPUB 3. Accessibility features are woven throughout EPUB 3. Some key features: reading order will be well defined, ability to use navigation center to go to different areas of the book, page numbering that is aligned with the print counterpart, semantic structure will be enriched.
Metadata side of things – this standard is designed to be backwards compatible. New model is built on Dublin CORE and uses a tiny subset of RDFA 1.1. Not just books! This will work with other formats too – newspapers, magazines, etc.
Multimedia – now have a way to embed multimedia into EPUB. Also inheriting richer multimedia – MathML, SVG, allow more of the app like experience, etc.
Concluded with Collective Soul’s “Better Now”
Can you afford not to consider accessible publishing practices?, presented by Dave Gunn, Royal National Institute of Blind People. Dave commented on how TOC last year had no mention of disabilities and was appreciative of the discussions already happening this year. More info on accessible publishing here: rnib.org.uk/ebookguidance
Dave provided an overview of accessibility and discussion on how people with disabilities can/cannot access eBooks. The following notes are my own interpretation of Dave’s presentation and my best attempts were made to ensure accuracy.
If this was just down to morals, we’d all be doing this already. What is happening is the justification of the business end/challenges of making books accessible. What are the benfits, risks, ROI, etc. for businesses?
- It makes business sense
- It makes business sense
- It makes business sense Continue reading
Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak with Ken Petri, the Director of the Web Accessibility Center at The Ohio State University, about the accessibility of eBooks and eBook readers. Ken is incredibly knowledgeable on the topic and offered a great deal of information during the interview. It’s about 25 minutes in length, so I strongly encourage you to download the file before listening due to it’s size. Ken provided us with a great list of resources for various aspects of eBook accessibility, which are below. Thanks Ken!
From the Booklist Points of Reference blog:
Gale announced yesterday the availability of Biography in Context, a new next-gen resource evolving from, and soon replacing, the Biography Resource Center database.
Biography in Context includes the following:
- Read Speaker text-to-speech technology, available on every page, is an ideal option for struggling readers and the visually impaired
- Document translator allows students to translate any document into French, Spanish, Japanese, German, Italian, Portuguese, simplified Chinese, and Korean Continue reading
From an O’Reilly Media press release:
For years O’Reilly Media has supplied digital files of our books to Bookshare, a non-profit that provides accessible reading material to the print disabled. For qualifying readers, these ebooks are made available worldwide. And now, through a collaboration with Bookshare, we’ve started making the easy-access DAISY (Digital Accessible Information Systems) formats available within our ebook bundles on oreilly.com for more than 800 titles. Continue reading
Flashback to fall 2009 and the pilot textbook study with the Kindle DX on 4 college campuses. Result…failure due to law suit from the National Federation of the Blind. The device, not accessible. Luckily Amazon learned from this mistake and went back to development, producing their new Kindle with a voice guide that reads all menu options aloud so blind and other print-disabled people can navigate the device menus.
Kudos from the Federation Press Release: “Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “We commend Amazon on the unveiling of a new Kindle that blind and print-disabled people can use. In order to compete in today’s digital society, blind and print-disabled people must be able to access the same reading technologies as the sighted. The National Federation of the Blind has long been urging Amazon to make its reading device accessible, and we are pleased that our efforts have come to fruition.”
Each week the number of blog posts and articles relating to eBooks, publishing, and eReaders is on the rise. This week was no exception. Articles I am linking to focus on the use of readers in elementary schools and higher ed and how fast/slow reading is on devices, future of publishing and business models, textbook costs, and the new SONY reader library program.
Departments of Education and Justice Announce Continuing Commitment to Accessible Technology for All Students | U.S. Department of Education
This posting is taken in full from a U.S. Dept. of Education Press Release.
Today, the Departments of Justice and Education announced the publication of a joint ‘Dear Colleague’ letter reaffirming the agencies’ commitment to ensuring students with disabilities have equal access to emerging technologies in institutions of higher education.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the two departments share responsibility for protecting the rights of college and university students with disabilities. These landmark laws bar institutions of higher education from requiring the use of technology that is inaccessible to individuals with disabilities, unless the institutions provide accommodations or modifications that would permit an individual with a disability to use the technology in an equally effective manner. Continue reading
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. Continue reading