Promising Developments in Accessible Publishing

By Susan H. Hildreth
Director, IMLS

 At IMLS, we are extremely encouraged by recent efforts in the public and private sectors to make published materials accessible to individuals who are blind or otherwise print-disabled.

At last week’s mid-winter meeting of the American Library Association, OverDrive announced that it will soon be making eBooks available that incorporate HTML 5 and EPUB 3 fixed layout and media overlays using SMIL documents, enabling libraries and publishers to provide readers with more accessible and interactive reading experiences.

Jiangping Chen with 3D printed object at WebWise Conference

WebWise attendee, Prof. Jiangping Chen of the University of North Texas holds an object created by a 3D printer. The session demonstrated how 3D printing can transform education for students with visual impairments.

This week, at IMLS’s own WebWise 2014 conference, Dr. George H. Williams, from the University of South Carolina Upstate, provided an overview and demonstration of accessible options for creating online content with two common content-management systems: WordPress and Omeka. We also heard from Marcy Goot and Sue-Ann Ma of Benetch, who demonstrated how 3D printing through “DIAGRAM” can make accessible digital images.

And, IBM has just announced that it will adopt EPUB 3 as the default format in its document distribution procedure.

The adoption of accessible formats by information technology companies is a vital step in ensuring that material is published, by default, in a manner that is accessible to all individuals, including those who are blind or otherwise print disabled.

Museums and libraries play a critical role in connecting everyone to information and ideas. We are encouraged by the remarkable transition that is taking place in the area of inclusive publishing, which will enable these institutions to better serve all members of the public.


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One Response to Promising Developments in Accessible Publishing

  1. Apex Capstone says:

    From Apex Capstone:

    It is very important to me that all websites do everything they can to make their websites accessible to all individuals regardless of all disabilities, keep up the good work.