Accessible Publishing Newsletter - March 2013
Accessible Publishing Newsletter: published by the AccessText Network

March 2013

The Accessible Publishing Newsletter's focus is on accessibility-related issues of interest to academic publishers. Please send your questions, comments, and suggestions to
Featured Article

From The Daisy Planet's review of the 2013 O'Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing Conference Session

End To End Accessibility: A Journey Through The Supply Chain

End To End Accessibility presented by Dave Gunn (RNIB - Royal National Institute of Blind People), Sarah Hilderley (EDItEUR), Doug Klein (Nook Media, LLC), and Rick Johnson (Ingram/Vital Source®) highlighted the challenges faced by people and organizations at each part of the supply chain.

Dave Gunn opened the presentation and shared briefly what is being done currently in the field of inclusive publishing in the UK and described in general what the major challenges are. The need for inclusive publishing and what it entails was touched on by all of the presenters. Designing for accessibility now means designing for users who are mobile and content needs to be accessible on a variety of mainstream devices.

It was explained that there will continue to be instances were specialized devices will prevail, but no excuses should be used for not making mainstream digital devices accessible. Many revolutionary new technological ideas have been born by technologists' willingness to adapt a product or service to a specific user need or situational disability – later these ideas have found their way into mainstream, benefitting everyone.

With multimedia becoming more and more complex there is a growing need to educate and guide all users on how to navigate new interactive realms that consist of various user interfaces, devices and formats – all this can be overwhelming for some people.

From content creation to reading systems (both hardware devices and software), to the user experience and content discovery, from retailers to libraries – all involved parties need to understand the implications of their decisions in relation to accessibility. Continued advocacy and support efforts are required if the mainstream is to understand the need for inclusive publishing, accessibility and good practices, and how this benefits everyone.

Thanks go to Varju Luceno, Director of Communications for the DAISY Consortium, for providing this article for publication in the DAISY Planet. (source:


Accessibility is Diversity

The definition of accessible includes 'capable of being reached, understood, used, or seen'. Print disability can be defined as 'a learning disability, visual impairment or physical disability… individuals diagnosed with a print disability cannot access print in the standard way.' 
(source: Learning Ally)

Put these concepts together and accessibility can be seen as a spectrum, or more accurately, a matrix.  A key to accessibility is providing more than one way to perceive information, such as visual, aural, and/or tactile presentations. But another component of access is providing alternate methods of using information, which is especially important for students. Students with a print disability must not only be able to read and understand their textbooks, they need to study and use the material to write reports and complete exams.

Electronic text has created new opportunities for access, but it also poses new challenges. It will remain difficult to address every possible accessibility need in one format - accessibility is diverse, and ultimately, subjective. A comprehensive accessibility strategy for any content provider should include adherence to accessibility standards as well as the flexibility to respond to unique situations and needs.

Short Takes

Accessibility related sessions at the London Book Fair
April 15-17, 2013

Great Expectations of e-books: Are they accessible? An interactive e-book club session

EPUB 3 Update: Latest Developments for HTML5-based Digital Books


Who is eligible to join AccessText?
  • Any publisher (of any size) whose titles are used in post-secondary education is welcome to join AccessText.
  • Any post-secondary educational institution in the United States or US territories may sign up for membership.


The Accessible Publishing Newsletter is published monthly by the AccessText Network ( Our address is 512 Means Street, Suite 250, Atlanta, Georgia 30318.
The AccessText Network (ATN) was launched by the Association of American Publishers to help students with print-related disabilities by making it easier for US colleges and universities to request files and permissions from publishers.

AccessText Network: Improving College Textbook Accessibility
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