Accessible Digital Publishing Resources

Many readers with print disabilities struggle to access books because, these days, most books are not created with them in mind.

The BPAA is committed to increasing the accessibility of Alberta books for readers, including those with print disabilities. Through the Accessible Digital Publishing Initiative, the BPAA is supporting member publishers to create increasingly accessible catalogues. Here, we provide a list of resources for publishers to learn about accessible digital publishing and born-accessible books.

General Resources for Publishers

  • Accessible Publishing Learning Network: An easy-to-use resource library developed by eBOUND for publishers like you! Includes various content streams for EPUB, audiobook, metadata, and more, as well as a community hub to ask your questions and get responses from your peers.
  • LIA tools for accessible publishing: an up-to-date resource list gathered by Libri Italiani Accessibili that describes each resource and how to use it, and links you to the resource. Includes tools for metadata, production, alternative text, document checkers, and more.
  • DAISY webinars: a series of free webinars about the nuts and bolts of accessible publishing.
  • DIASY Accessible Publishing Knowledge Base: A collection of best practices for producing accessible EPUBs.
  • NNELS/eBOUND Accessible EPUB Workflow and Report: This document describes findings about accessible digital publishing workflows, and provides detailed recommendations on how publishers can improve the accessibility of their ebooks by making adjustments to their workflows. A key finding of this project is the knowledge that the burden of work, when it comes to improving accessibility, does not rest solely on the publisher, although they will need to be the driving force for change within their own organizations. 
  • This organization is run by the DAISY consortium and provides the latest news and information about accessible publishing and global conformance standards.
  • Inclusive Publishing in Practice learning centre: An easy-to-use, free, Dutch-designed, English-language, and in-depth pedagogical tool for learning inclusive publishing practices. Check out the content creation, production, and publishing business learning streams. Includes info on metadata, alternative text, semantic structure, and more.
  • Resources for Publishers: Here, you will find a list of resources geared specifically towards publishers about the creation of accessible ebooks, including best practices, tips for working with conversion houses, and how to audit your books for accessibility.
  • Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) Accessible Publishing Resources: ABC is a global organization lead by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). On their accessible publishing page, you’ll find a number of useful resources, including a Best Practices for Publishers document, which can be downloaded in a number of language at the bottom of the page.

Creating EPUB3s

  • Top Tips for Creating Accessible EPUB3 Files by the Diagram Center: Find the basic, must-know tips and tricks for creating accessible EPUB3 publications here.
  • DAISY Consortium Pipeline 2: The DAISY Pipeline 2 is an open-source desktop or web app for the processing of digital content in and between file formats. It can be used to create EPUB3 files.
  • Sigil: A free, open-source software for EPUB creation and editing. It allows you to search through your EPUBs’ HTML to look for errors.
  • Oxygen XML editor: a paid but powerful XML editing software.

Alt Text Resources

Thorium Resources

Thorium is an open-access accessible e-reader software available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. We highly recommend downloading Thorium to experience and test your accessible EPUBS.

Assessing / Auditing Accessibility

  • Ace by DAISY: Ace, or the accessibility checker for EPUB, is a DAISY-made to help publishers evaluate the accessibility of their EPUB files.
  • SMART by DAISY: The Simple Manual Accessibility Reporting Tool offers publishers 2 free evaluations per month. It integrates with the Ace checker to indicate the manual conformance checks that publishers should do, on top of the automated checks, to ensure full EPUB conformance.
  • NNELS/eBOUND Accessible EPUB Workflow and Report: This report contains useful suggestions for developing an accessible EPUB audit workflow.

Metadata Resources

  • BISG webinar on accessibility metadata: What is accessibility metadata, why is it important, and how can you design a workflow to successfully deliver it? This Book Industry Study Group free, recorded webinar has the answers!
  • Sigil and Oxygen XML Editor: Already referenced as a general EPUB creation tool, these are great resources for reviewing embedded accessibility metadata in your EPUBs.
  • OxygenXML
  • EPUB and metadata to ONIX “crosswalk”: A quick guide on how to translate EPUB and accessibility metadata to ONIX.
  • Relevant ONIX Codelists:
    • ONIX Codelist 79: Use code 09 for an accessibility feature, which cross-references to Codelist 196.
    • ONIX Codelist 196: EPUB accessibility details codelist, including codes for all EPUB accessibility enhancement metadata currently supported in ONIX.

Language Code Resources

  • IANA registry of language codes: In an accessible EPUB, the main language of each section must be declared, as does every language shift. The IANA language code registry is the currently used standard for identifying and coding languages in EPUBs, and can be used in XML and HTML.
  • Language tags in HTML and XML: This document, from the W3C, provides an overview of using language tags in the coding of your books.
  • Declaring language in HTML: For a more detailed review of how and where to declare languages in HTML (and some information on XML), see this W3C document on the subject.
  • Languages supported by e-readers: Screen readers can announce any language they have been programmed to accept. Most modern screen readers can correctly announce most common world languages. It’s important to note, though, that they are not programmed to announce every language, and may run into difficulty with less common languages. Still, correctly coding your languages from the get-go will ensure that your books will be ahead of the curve and continue to function correctly as e-reader technologies catch up with accessibility needs.