Getting Started with EPUB

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>> Lesley, if you can go ahead and start the recording.

Let me know when it's good to go.

>> We are recording.

Hello, everyone.

And welcome to this AEM Center webinar, Getting Started with EPUB.

We're so happy that you're with us this afternoon.

I want to make sure that you know about some of the supports we have in place for this webinar.

First of all, we do have captions available.

In your zoom interface, there is a closed caption button, and when you select that option,

the captions will appear along the bottom of your screen.

And I want to give a shout out and a big thank you to Beth from ACS

for providing the captioning today.

And we welcome your contributions and your questions

and again, in zoom, there is a chat option.

So, when you open the chat, there was one other step that you need to take to make sure

that everybody can see your contributions.

You want to make sure that you choose the 'all panelists and attendees' option

from the pulldown menu in the chat pod.

Once you select that, then you will be sending your messages to everybody,

as opposed to an individual person.

And we are on Twitter at aem_center.

But we also love it when you share your insights

and your new understandings using the #aem4all --

a l l. This is information that I shared in the first slide.

But just in case, as a reminder, we do have a number of supporting resources

for this webinar that you can download.

The link is

That will take you to the same page where you register for this webinar.

While you're there, you can download the slides, you can download a handout.

And then there will be a link to a new page on the AEM center website dedicated to EPUB

that I'll mention later on in this presentation.

That page is also where you going to find a recording from this session.

So, we are recording right now and we typically post a recording

about a week after the session concludes.

That gives us a chance to go through the recording and add the captions,

so you get the best experience possible from the recording.

You can also find a recording on the AEM Center's channel on YouTube.

So that's another option, as well.

Alright. So, with those housekeeping details out of the way we're ready

to get started with EPUB in earnest.

So, this is a joint presentation between the National Center

on accessible educational materials or AEM Center for short, and the Daisy Consortium.

So, I want to thank Daisy for joining us today

and sharing their extensive understanding of this format.

I want to introduce our presenters.

I was joking during the preshow banter that this is like having the Avengers

of EPUB accessibility or the Justice League.

Depending which movie series, you follow.

But I want to give them a chance to introduce themselves before I turn it over to the content.

So first we have George Kerscher.

George, can you say a few words.

>> Sure, George Kerscher, chief innovations officer with the Daisy Consortium

and with Benetech, as well, as Senior Officer of Global Literacy.

>> Great. Nice to have you here today, George.

That's that two times in one day so this is always a pleasure.

Then we have Richard Orme from Daisy Consortium.

Richard, can you introduce yourself?

>> It'll be a pleasure to do that.

I'm Richard Ormonde, Chief Executive at the Daisy Consortium and as you may be able to tell

from my accent, I'm joining you today from the beautiful, green countryside of United Kingdom.

>> Oh. You're so are lucky.

We wish we could be there with you.

And then next I have the pleasure of our presenting Lynn McCormack,

who is my colleague at CAST in the AEM Center.

So, Lynn can you tell us what you do at the AEM Center?

>> Sure. Thanks Luis.

I can't tell you how excited I am to be here with all of you today, and my second meeting

with George, and so thrilled about being presenting with you as well.

At the AEM Center, I'm the Senior Technologist, so I do a lot of work thinking

about specifications and EPUB is one of those things that I think a lot about.

As well, as here at CAST I'm a Software Engineer and working on a project called CISL,

and I'm going to talk about that later in the presentation today.

>> And then finally, I'm Luis Perez.

I'm a Technical Assistant Specialist with the national AEM center and I'm a little bit biased

about the content today because I'm a person with a disability myself.

I have low vision, and I benefited greatly from the development of EPUB.

It's the format that I turn to for reading specially when I'm on the go and I need

to access content on my mobile devices.

So, I'm just putting my bias out there.

EPUB is a big differentiator in my life and has made a big difference.

So, with that I'm going to turn it to George who is going to tell us a little bit

about modern digital publishing, and the role of EPUB in that movement.

>> Okay, so in terms of modern publishing, we're talking about a technology that was engineered

and designed for online reading, whether it be through website

or downloadable for off-line reading.

But the architecture is all about the visual and auditory presentation and [inaudible]

of the information using modern technology.

We insist that this technology be accessible to everybody right out of the box

and that's what we mean by born accessible.

And we need to make sure that everybody with all kinds of disabilities

and without disabilities need to be able to read.

So, people that are blind that use screen readers, people with low vision who need

to increase the font, and people with learning differences that can use features

like Read Aloud, all need to be supported by the modern technology.

Okay, so the next slide.

So, the basis for modern digital publishing is the EPUB standard.

And the publishing industry has broadly embraced EPUB 3.

Eight percent of the educational materials in higher education at least

for the first two years are now available in EPUB 3.

And the publishers as they go to their backlist and bring their titles forward,

they will upgrade those titles to EPUB 3.

And the publishers now have XML archives of their materials.

So, their production flow is based on XML.

And printers are controlled by those XML repositories,

and the production of the EPUB is controlled.

So, in many cases, a PDF is never created.

And, hey, I think we'll go to the next slide.

>> So, we've got plenty of information in this presentation later on about the origins of EPUB,

the standards which it's based on how to find

out about accessibility properties, how to create your own EPUBS.

But early on, we wanted to show you the kind of thing that Luis was just talking about

and why he's raving about this format, and why we're so excited about EPUB, and what it brings

for people with print disabilities in terms of user experience.

So, we're going to transition now to a demonstration of the accessibility features,

a high-level demonstration and to make sure this goes well,

and that Murphy's Law doesn't apply, hopefully.

This is a canned demonstration we're going to watch.

And it's got open captions so the experience on the screen will be a little bit different.

When thinking about digital books and the diverse requirements of people

with different print disabilities, we can consider navigation,

reading with a screen reader, visual adjustments, and read aloud.

Here we'll review what the EPUB format offers in each of these areas of accessibility.

We know that providing excellent navigation

in digital books is essential for readers with disabilities.

Fortunately, the EPUB format excels at this.

Let's take a look.

We're looking at this e-book on a Windows computer.

The same principles apply whether you're reading on a Mac

or an Android or on iOS handheld devices.

Of course, I can move through the book, page by page backwards and forwards.

Or I can use the Table of Contents feature to move straight to a section of the book.

If I want to go to the same place as page 102 in the print book, I can jump straight there.

And it's probably faster than someone who's got that paper version

of the book already open on their desk.

We've got a reference here to and endnote, so I can jump straight to it.

I can read the reference, and then I can go back to where I was reading in the book.

I can set my own bookmarks for places I want to come back to, and I can quickly jump

to a place that I've already bookmarked.

I can search in the book and go straight to that section.

So, with the ability to easily move forwards and backwards through the book

or jump to a specific page to use the Table of Contents to follow linked to content

within the book, to have bookmarks and search, it all makes EPUB a highly navigable experience.

For digital books to be accessible they need to work well

with screen readers on Windows computers.

The popular options are JAWS, NVDA or Narrator.

On Apple devices the built-in screen reader is called Voice-over and on Android, it's Talkback.

EPUB books are put together using an open standard based on the web,

so it's highly compatible with all of these options.

We'll show the principles here of reading EPUB with a screen reader on Windows.

As I explore the books in my library,

the screen reader announces the information about each title.

>> Book Covers.

Fundamentals of World Regional Geography.

Marketing: An Introduction.

Understanding Motor Development by David L Gallahue.

Early Childhood Education Today, 14th Edition, by George X. Morrison.

>> I'm going to open this book by pressing the enter key.

I can then read through the book, using regular screen reader controls

for navigating text content.

>> Page edit Maslow and Self-Actualization Theory.

Banner Landmark.

Heading Level 1.

Maslow and Self-Actualization Theory.

Abraham Maslow 1890 to 1970 developed the theory of human motivation called self-actualization.

His theory is based on the satisfaction of human needs, and he identified self-actualization

or self-fulfillment as the highest human need.


>> As expected, the screen reader is speaking the text.

It also told me essential information, such as the first item being heading,

and I'll hear when I go into and come out of the list.

>> List with five items.

Bullet. Life essentials such as food and water.

Bullet. Safety and security.

Bullet. Belonging and love.

Bullet. Achievement and prestige.

Bullet. Aesthetic needs.

Out of list.

>> This rich experience with a screen reader is because the EPUB is built on web technologies.

I can use the familiar commands I've learned for surfing the web, and enjoy the same advantages,

such as hearing image descriptions.

>> Graphic.

A flow chart shows Maslow's hierarchy of needs and your roles as a teacher.

>> In addition to alt text, this EPUB from Pearson has extended descriptions.

Link figure 5.6.

Full alternative text.

If I select this link, I'll get a very detailed description of what's in this image.

>> Early childhood education today document.

The following list provides each level of Maslow's hierarchy of needs and the roles

of a teacher from lowest to highest.

List, bullet life essentials, food, water, air.

List bullet.

Provide snacks in the classroom.

Bullet. Work with parents and families to ensure that children are well fed.

Bullet. Provide designated water fountain times or have children keep water bottles

in the classroom, not paper or Styrofoam cups.

Out of list.

Bullet. Safety and Security.


>> There is a lot of information in this figure, so I'll stop there and go back to the text.

I did this by following the link in the EPUB.

I don't need to learn how to use new commands for this.

If I already know how to use my screen reader on the web then I can use the same commands

in an EPUB to move between the headings and links, jump to the next graphic,

navigate around a table, and so on.

So, because EPUBs are built on web technology,

the compatibility with screen readers means there's a great experience reading the

HTML-based content not just to the text, but to rich information such as headings,

lists, tables and image description.

And the use of links provides a familiar navigation model

for endnotes and other features.

And the superior navigation features of EPUB, including the table of contents,

page navigation, and search are also highly valuable to screen reader users.

For many years, people with print disabilities have needed to make special versions of books

and documents to suit their visual needs.

These could have been enlarged photocopies, large print editions

or copying pages onto colored paper.

However, the ability to adjust the visual presentation is designed right

into the EPUB format.

Let's see this in action.

So, if I have a book open and the print is too small for me, then I can make it larger.

And rather than going off the edge of the display,

notice how the text magically adjust to suit the new layout.

This is called reflow.

It's one of the killer features of EPUB.

It means the same file can be read on a laptop with a large screen

or on a smart phone, held in portrait mode.

I can adjust the size of this window, and still read the paragraph

without having to pan the text back and forth.

People with low vision or specific learning differences often need larger text

and in EPUB, this is really easy to use.

Also, colors are important for many readers with print disabilities and the EPUB format allows

for flexible selection of text and background colors.

This reading app has more than 20 combinations.

I'll just switch this back to black on white.

Now, the choice of font can make a big difference to the reading speed

and comprehension for some learning disabilities.

And for people with some eye conditions and it's easy to change the font

of an EPUB to find one that suits you.

So, with the ability to change the size of words and images with magical text reflow

and the facility to choose your own colors and fonts, EPUB offers many ways

to suit the visual needs of readers with print disabilities.

People with low vision will sometimes use text-to-speech

to increase their reading speed and reduce eye strain.

And research shows that reading both visually and through audio is very helpful to people

with specific learning differences such as dyslexia.

This is often referred to as Read Aloud,

and we can use this capability in this EPUB from Pearson.

It's built right into this EPUB reader I'm using on Windows.

I'll just start it from the toolbar.

>> Critical issues of assessment.

In early childhood education, essential questions around what constitutes appropriate

and inappropriate practice, and what is best for children and families.

Assessment is no exception--

>> Notice how the visual highlighting emphasizes the current line being spoken

and each word as it's being read.

Next, I can use the controls to move the Read Aloud further ahead in the text.

Blurring the line between assessment and teaching as an early childhood professional,

you are constantly multitasking--

>> I can change the speed of the Read Aloud

>> Teaching children, children.

But many believe that the emphasis on assessed assessment leads

to teaching to the test [inaudible]

>> And I could select a different voice.

>> [Inaudible] Emphasis on accountability is creating an education culture

that puts test scores ahead of intellectual growth--

>> Read aloud works very well in EPUB.

It complements the visual adjustment capabilities and the formats designed

so that the reading order is always followed correctly.

So, in those demos, we looked at the powerful navigation features built

into the EPUB format and reading apps.

Could we just move to the next slide?

Great. We looked at the great compatibility with screen readers

and the familiar experience for users.

We looked at the use of how web technology means

that the visual appearance can be adjusted pretty flexibly and instantly,

and because the contents of the EPUB are standard HTML, the text can be read aloud

in a predictable order, visually highlighting as its red.

So hopefully you found these demonstrations useful.

They were intended to give you a high-level overview of the accessibility features

of the EPUB format, but now I can hand over to George,

who can tell us about the origins of EPUB.

>> So, the development of EPUB started right around the year 2000.

And the publishing industry, the tech sector and organizations representing people

with disabilities were the primary participants in the development.

And they brought requirements to the table.

So the publishing industry had a goal of developing a single file that they could deliver

into all of their distribution markets, whether it's Apple or Playbooks or Kindle

or Vital Source of [inaudible] of any of the distributions they have available to them,

they want a single file to go out.

And the tech companies wanted a file that they could use so they could develop a reading app

with all these cool features like supporting the navigation,

and the Read Aloud and the visual adjustments.

So, there we see the separation of the content, and the reading app that's used to deliver it.

And of course, the end users wanted a great reading experience,

and we saw the low vision these, the blindness features with screen readers

in the read aloud functions with synchronized text demonstrated just a moment ago.

Moving on...

So, the EPUB 3 specification is under the W3C, the World Wide Web consortium,

which is the same standards body that is responsible for the World Wide Web,

and web accessibility guidelines.

And EPUB is using the same technology that's used on the web.

if you took an EPUB file .EPUB and renamed it to .zip, you could unzip it

and see all of the files in there.

The XHTML, the CSS.

The JPEG images.

Everything that makes-- and it's all built in web technology.

And we'll move to the next slide.

So, in addition to the specification for publishing.

We have the EPUB accessibility conformance and discovery specification,

which was published in the beginning of 2017.

And it sets the baseline for accessibility.

If you conform to this accessibility specification,

you know your publications will be a baseline for [inaudible].

It references [inaudible] and adds some specific publishing features to the specification.

And the publishers can make conformance claims.

And this is something that's new, that the publisher can actually go through

and say this whole publication, all of the files in it conforms to [inaudible]

and the EPUB and the specification.

Included in the file is accessibility schema [inaudible] meta data which talks

about the various accessibility feature.

And the publishing industry has been embracing the specification and finally,

then they've told us this for a long time.

Just tell us what to do.

Well, we're telling them exactly what to do.

And, they love it.

Moving on.

So here are some of the things that make up a high-quality publication.

It conforms to EPUB three at the WCAG level.

All text on all images.

Well, not all images.

Images that are not decorative or that have not been described in the surrounding text.

And that's part of the requirements for the images.

Many publishers are now adding extended descriptions

for image content that's very informative.

And the information is too long to fit in all text.

And so extended descriptions are provided that provide more information, if the user needs it.

So, if a print version is used, page navigation is also provided in the file so that

if in a classroom, teacher says turn to page 15, the sighted person

with the paper version turns to page 15.

The person with a disability says go to page 15,

and the person with a disability is probably there sooner

than the person flipping through the pages.

The metadata about the accessibility, we recommend that it be disclosed,

and that distributors be transparent about that.

And certified as accessible by third parties can actually be initially be embedded into the book.

So, moving on.

So, one of the things that we've learned at-- .

So, this is an example where a chat message comes in

and my screen reader reads it to me, and I get distracted.

But that's cool.

Keep the messages, the questions coming in.

So, when we found that it's very difficult to check the accessibility of any kind

of publication, unless you've got tools to do it.

So fortunately, Google through the Google impact challenge, has helped us fund the development

of the accessibility checker for EPUB base.

It's free and open source.

It works on all versions of EPUB, and it checks the entire title for errors

and reports them out in the report.

And in the report, there's data visualizations of information

that cannot be checked automatically.

So, for example, you know, alt-text.

Is this good alt-text or is it something that's really silly,

and yet provides a data visualization which allows a person to go through

and examine the images, the alt-text, and surrounding text,

and determine whether this actually passes.

So, this part of the manual process that's involved with checking the accessibility.

And, okay, moving on.

>> This is Luis.

I just wanted to include an example of the report and what it looks like.

So, here I've done a check on a file and you can see reports,

so WCAG 2.0 level A and double A, as well as EPUB.

In this case, it looks like I have one serious error

for WCAG 2.0 level A. I have four serious errors for every EPUB and one moderate error

for a total of five serious errors and one moderate.

So, this is just one example of those HTML reports that you get out of ACE [inaudible].

>> And I've run [inaudible] sub titles and first time it passes through I get hundreds of errors

which is shocking to the publisher who thinks they've done a pretty good job,

and then they use the software and go OMG.

And this open source software's available to publishers.

It's available to anybody, but it's really helpful in the production process

to establish information about the status of their-- Okay, so moving on.

So, global certified accessible is an initiative in the United States.

Benetech is participating in it [inaudible].

And it's the first time that we've been able to certify content

as accessible from a third party.

It informs the user's librarians, anybody who's going to purchase content

about the accessibility of the publication before they buy.

And it's quite a process that the publisher goes through in order to have their titles certified.

But it establishes a process

so that a publisher's workflow will consistently produce fully accessible born

accessible content.

And at that point, I'm going to turn it over.

>> So, George has talked about the accessibility meta data that goes into the EPUB

and he's talked about the certification program that's offered by--

Benetech's the first of the blocks there.

But how would you discover about these accessible publications.

Well, what we'd want really is something so that before you buy or borrow something

that exposes this accessibility meta data to the end user, to a librarian, or an academic member

of staff use and supporting them.

And, we would want it, not only to give the detailed information

but maybe make it human readable as well.

So, give you simple bits of information about whether the title is screen reader friendly.

And the really important piece of this is, and a summary really

of the accessibility features may be hazards that might exist are within the title.

It would tell you whether or not the title conforms to say WCAG AA,

and indeed whether it's been certified by third parties like Benetech.

And what we'd want is for this to be available in the catalogs

that are you use for buying and borrowing titles.

So, through the retail platforms, through the library platforms and so on.

What's really exciting is that we now are seeing these turn up, and the first example is this one

that we're going to show you live now on vital source.

This is, too, the title that was used in those demonstrations.

This is Early Childhood Education Today.

It gives me the usual bibliographic information about the title

and the author, and the ISBN and so on.

And then some information about the textbook features.

But one of those where it has accessibility meta data in the entry is the accessible icon

and that gives me the accessibility summary and the detailed information too,

about the properties of this title.

The fact that it's reflowable, the text can be reformatted on the screen,

and that has images on and so on.

I can't actually read this now coz my screen view is too small.

I'm doing this for memory.

So, isn't it exciting to know that the publishers have a format

that has all these accessibility capabilities

that the publishers are building this into the EPUB?

They're shipping and that before you buy or borrow the title,

you can check to what level a title has been produced

and whether it's been certified by a third party.

Really exciting stuff.

Well, we know that we've talked quite a lot about what publishers are doing and the titles

that are produced by the publishing industry.

But what about content is produced within faculty, and I think Luis you going

to talk a little bit about this, aren't you?

>> I am. But I also want to pause here to see if we can take a few questions.

I have one in the queue already by Colton.

[inaudible] I feel that and see what your thoughts are Richard and George.

So, the question from Carlton is, how is the print page navigation, it's scrolling for me.

So, give me a second here.

How is the print page navigation best included in a file?

From our testing, it seems that most reader apps do not support page list nav.

So would like to tackle that one, George

>> Sure.

>> Or Richard?

>> Sure. Okay.

So, the way it's included in the file, there's the content

so the file that's Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3 .

Wherever there's a page break, that page break would be inside the file with the end EPUB type

of page break and you don't see that, it's just something that's there.

Then in the navigation document, the Nav Doc, you have a page list of all the pages

in the title, say, 1 through 500.

And that link from 300 goes directly to the chapter

and the page break that you inserted into the file.

And EPUB check and ACE will check these things to make sure they're working correctly,

so that the file is correct, and then when you look at it in a reader if the reader supports go

to page, it should take you right to that page.

Now we are also doing a lot of testing of reading systems,

and not all of the reading systems out their support go-to page.

It's been introduced in EPUB 3, and if you look at EPUBs produced 10 years ago,

especially novels, they were doing EPUB2 and page navigation was not supported.

But right now, in education, boy, I think everybody's hooked on EPUB 3

which does support page navigation.

>> In terms of the readers, examples of the reading systems of reading apps

that support page navigation is Adobe Digital editions, Microsoft Edge,

[inaudible] Book Reader, Red Shelf which is a browser accessed reading system,

Dolphin easy reader, which is a specialist app that is free that's available on android

and iOS, and vital source bookshelf also supports page navigation

and vital source bookshelf is white labelled to a long list of other publishing distributors,

and they use that technology so they would also have the page navigation too.

When it's not in there, we shout about it to the people who are making the reading app,

because we know how important it is in education.

Whenever we do a session on EPUB, page navigation comes up and people are really happy

to know that it's coming out in the EPUB's and that some reading systems support it but,

of course, we want them all to support it.

A final thing I'd say on this is, it's been pointed out that, of course,

the page navigation is built into the EPUB where reprint equivalent exists,

so you could have an EPUB that doesn't have page navigation

because there isn't a print edition of it.

So that can be a valid situation.

I have a couple of additional questions here.

We'll see if we can answer these really quick,

but then will also try to have some time at the end.

If I don't get to them, we'll try to answer them on the website on the same page

where you downloaded the resources for today's session.

So, the next question is from, I think, Kasan [assumed spelling] from Brantford, Ontario.

We get a lot of questions about getting an audible,

accessible format of a book done in a human voice.

Would this be an option, or is there a voice option that is close to a human voice?

>> In audio version of an EPUB, is that right?

>> I think that's what the question is.

>> So--

>> Yep, that's-- Kasan says.

>> Okay, so we-- little plug here for Learning Ally

where they are using EPUB and delivering audio books.

They also have some books that are text and audio synchronized.

The number of EPUB readers that support what is called media overlays,

which is where you've got human audio and text synchronized is pretty small.

They are out there, that is how the Apple iBook's does their little children's picture

books, but we do not see that extensively being used.

There is a audiobooks specification that's being developed in the W3C, and probably will be

out later this year or next year.

>> Great. Thanks so much for taking the question, George.

All right so we're going to continue here.

Again, we'll try to have some time at the end for some additional questions.

So, as Richard was saying, I'm going

to be talking just briefly about educator produced content.

So, it's not just the big publishers, you, too, can create your own EPUBS.

So, learners also need access to accessible documents

that are produced by their own instructors.

And there's some ways to create those documents in EPUB,

using a variety of common word processors.

A few of the ones that I've tried, and use are Google docs.

We know a lot of schools have gone to the Google suite of products and so there is an option

in Google docs to export to EPUB or if you're in an Apple environment,

the pages word processing application and page layout as well, it does that as well.

It does provide the option to export to EPUB.

But what I'm really excited is the third option here.

The add-in for Microsoft Word.

That's something that is not available yet natively.

But I'll let Richard explain it.

I think he's going to do a much better job, but it's something that I'm really excited about.

So, Richard...

>> Well, whenever we tell people about the wonderful options that exist in Google Docs

and pages, people are good to know about that.

But, of course, the most popular web presence on the planet is Microsoft Word.

People want to know how to do that and telling them the answer is to take your word document

and open it in pages and go from there, or to open it in Google Docs.

These are options but they're not great, are they?

So, we basically now have an alpha version of a tool.

It's gone out to people in the first wave, we're getting some great feedback.

And the intention here is to create an easy tool that makes it is easy for a professor to be able

to create an accessible and valid EPUB as it is for them to print something out or make a PDF.

And, it's working great.

Like any first, kind of, an alpha piece of software there's some things we want to improve

on it, but I made an EPUB, so it's not just professors.

Students might will make EPUB's as well their own work.

I did my master's thesis and produced an EPUB without having to think too hard about it.

We've produced books in Russian and Hindi and French and Spanish,

as well as regular conference proceedings and things like that, so watch this space.

This add-in for Word is coming soon.

>> That means soon, stay tuned folks.

I'm really, really excited about that.

I hope you are, as well.

Let me go back to the slides here.

So, in terms of what you can do right now for creating an EPUB,

one of the options that you have is Google Docs.

Now the first thing that you want to do is make sure

that your source document is formatted well, it has a good structure,

and you're following accessibility best practices.

So as Richard mentioned with the navigation, making sure that you have things properly coded

as headings and there is a good hierarchy within the document, and so on.

And the AEM Center has a number of resources to help you with that part of the process.

Once you follow those accessibility best practices,

then the next step is to do an accessibility check.

And in the chat, Lesley just included a link to one of the tools that you can use

to do that which is Grackle Docs.

This is a checker for the G suite, for Google suite.

It allows you to check the accessibility of that source document.

And then you have an option to download that source document as an EPUB file.

So, on the next screen, I have a visual of that, and it's really just three simple steps.

You go up to the file menu, you choose the download as option, and then,

where it lists all the different formats that you can export to, you're going to choose EPUB

or .EPUB as the option for your exported file.

So, as you can see that's a really simple process but the key is make sure

that the source document is following those best practices in that you done

and accessibility check to make sure that those errors

in the source document don't convert into the exported file.

Now there may be some limitations to this.

Right, Richard?

>> Yeah. But I don't have that slide in front of me.

But we got, we can post some resources that do a grid [assumed spelling] of the things

that are missing from these things.

In particular, the one that really springs to mind is the page navigation.

We just talked about how important that was.

Page navigation isn't supported by the EPUB exports from pages from Google Docs

or from LibreOffice, which is another one that you didn't mention there,

but it will be supported by our add-in.

>> Perfect, excellent.

Once you have exported that EPUB file, there's a variety of different ways that you can read it.

And there is lots of choice out there for the selection of EPUB readers that you can use.

Some of them are come from the vendors.

So, in Richard's demo.

You notice that he was using the edge web browser for Windows,

that has a built-in capability to open an EPUB, it gives you the read aloud feature,

it gives you a number of display adjustments that you can make to the file, so that again,

you can adjust the text size, change the font, and so on,

so that you can customize the reading experience for yourself.

There're some generic e-reader apps.

One that I'm thinking about is Adobe Digital Editions.

That's across, available across a number of different platforms

and then there's the specialist apps.

So, for instance, Voice Stream Reader on iOS devices is one that's more

of a specialist app that allows you to read EPUBS.

And with some of these apps you may have additional features

that can be helpful in an instructional setting.

So, for instance, a number of study aids such as the ability to highlight or the ability

to create your own notes within the EPUB file.

Those are great supports that are available to learners.

So, really, what we want is a combination of an accessible lab accessible content,

that's where EPUB comes in, and then the AT that supports all these features.

>> Now you can comment there.

Just sorry for interjecting but, Adobe's Digital Editions is a weak contender and suffers

from a lot of stability problems.

So, I would personally, I turn to some other application other than Adobe's offering

until they upgraded and fix some of the problems they've got.

>> Thanks for pointing that out, George.

Of course, you can get

You can see some reviews and some more detailed test results for a number

of these different apps, and we posted some links in the chat to some of them, so,

that's some resources for you to do more research about these apps.

Alright, so, Richard, you want to do some quick takeaways before I turn it over to Lynn.

>> Yep. So, as you've seen, born accessible textbooks and journals, we didn't talk so much

about them are here courtesy of EPUB 3.

And we heard how George mentioned that over 80% of high read textbooks are coming out as EPUB 3,

and publishers are putting some great accessibility enhancements in them

because EPUB three makes it easy for them to do that.

And there are standards out there for publishers and tools to help you choose accessible titles,

and we'll hope to see more of the exposure of the accessibility meta data on platforms

such as library platforms in addition to the one I showed you of VitalSource.

There is a choice of reading apps, Luis was just talking about some of those.

Do head over to the inclusive publishing site.

You'll see our roundup which gives you kind of top-level summary, and then if you want

to you can drill down into this really specific test results

for the ones that you are most interested in.

So, I hope that's a useful takeaway on the EPUB side of things.

>> Thank you so much, George and Richard.

And I want to mention that we've started a page on the AEM Center website.

It's called getting started with EPUB.

And in there you'll get some basic information about the format and, of course,

lots of links to additional resources like this reviews.

Alright, so with that I am an going to turn it over to my good friend and colleague of CAST,

Lynn MacCormack and she's going to tell us about some exciting work that's going

on at CAST on their project CSIL.

>> Thanks, so much Luis, and George, and Richard.

This has really been exciting, and I'm so thrilled

to be talking to you about Project CSIL.

So, Project CSIL is Center on Inclusive Software for Learning.

And what we've done over the last year is really do a scan of what's happening

in the education space from the K-12.

And so, what is happening there is that there's a widespread use of digital materials nowadays.

That those materials, the accessibility of those materials really varies.

The amount of engagement the learners have for those materials vary.

And the learner's awareness of their strengths and preferences vary.

And I have an image here of the CISL website, and so if you want to learn a little bit

about the CISL project you can head over to the website which is at

and I'm sure Lesley will put that in the chat for you as well.

So, this CISL project is built up of three different facets essentially.

So over the last year, our research base did market scan and more recently they started

to actually look at specific features that we're thinking about

and what is the research base behind those features, and also as we start to work

with students how do those features impact student learning.

So that's our research-base.

I'm going to hop over to CSIL suite and then pop over to design guidelines

because in this project our process for designing new features for working

with students, for understanding learning, all of those pieces we're hoping will be able

to put together in a set of design guidelines for other researchers and other publishers

and other curriculum developers to be able to use those guidelines to develop their products.

And then in the middle we have the CISL suite,

which is a series of three different tools that we're working on right now.

The CISL discovery tool which I'll talk about in a minute,

the CSIL reader tool, and the CISL Authoring tool.

So, if you'll go to the next slide, I'll talk about each of those.

So, the CISL reader tool is Readium based we didn't talk about Readium and where that fits

in the EPUB but the Readium organization is a large consortium of publishers

that have banded together to provide common technology for [inaudible] and reading EPUBS.

So, we are on a weekly basis in Engineering meetings, thinking from our perspective

about accessibility and learning.

So, we are injecting that into those conversations.

So, on top of our EPUB reader, we're actually joining in with the GPII,

the Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure.

So, your basic EPUB allows a lot of personalization and customizations

and I'll call those sort of more of a assistive technology preferences.

So, the font size, the font style, align spacing those, sort of, features,

have been sort of the traditional features but we are thinking about being able to go beyond

that and having UDL preferences baked in to that as well.

So, thinking about how I use the Glossary for learning.

How I might want scaffolds and supports.

What level of scaffolds and support I might want?

And so, we're using the GPII in hopes because we are thinking big, that someday the Pearsons

of the world might want to hook in with what your preferences are as a learner,

and that they may in fact pick this part

up so this is really forward thinking on the CISL project.

All of [inaudible] code that we're developing is available on GitHub,

so this is a completely open source project, and so anytime you want to jump in there, as well,

we do have a live demo right now this is our second demo that we've created

in the last five months, at this point.

So, our round two of our demo and so, I don't have time now but if you go

to you'll be able to take a look at that.

And if you do, we would love your feedback, so there is a capacity for providing feedback,

and please do send us an email connect with us and provide us feedback.

Okay, the CISL Discovery, and what we've--

what our goal is to help learners really understand what are those features

that are available, and how can they start thinking about what those features are

for their learning in sort of a fun and playful way.

So, on the right-hand side, we have a cat that says, Oh, I like to move slowly or another cat

that says I like to move quickly.

So, introducing the concepts of maybe the text to speech level for them to be meta,

to be reflective about how those might impact their learning.

And so, there are other features as well they're thinking about.

Contrasts in a playful way enlargement in the playful way.

So, all those features we talked about before but oftentimes, learners specially in the K

to 12 space, they don't think about making those modifications, right?

It might be if they're sitting with the instructor one on one,

they might think about this, but in here this is going to be baked into the product.

So, we can go to the next slide.

And this is the CISL Authoring, so we are not actually building the Authoring.

And George [laughing] we have this conversation this morning, because so many of you are

out building OER's, and so many of OER's are not -- [inaudible] last year.

So many of those OER's are not built with accessibility in mind or thought of at all.

So, then you'd get into the classroom, and you can't use it with your students.

So, we are in a partnership right now with ISKME, and that means we are working

with the folks at OER Commons, which is one the largest OER consolidators, and so we are working

with them to build accessibility checking into their platform.

We are adding a way for the accessibility metadata to be added in either by the Author

as they're doing it as well as providing metadata

that could be automatically created behind the scenes.

So not all of that would be there.

And while we won't have the Benetech seal of approval,

we're hoping for adding a much higher level of accessibility checking for those that might be,

have the capacity for being able to provide that, so there may be another level even in here

that we're hoping for as well long term.

And then we're also hoping, so not only just providing the accessibility

but providing UDL inspired supports, so finding common ways to be able to do that

and providing the scaffolds and supports for the Authors to actually be thinking

about those UDL support in the day to day of actually developing [inaudible] instructions.

And so, if you're interested, so we're in that process right now

of building with the ISKME folks.

If you are interested in participating in that, or providing feedback for that,

we would love for you to do that.

And if you are interested in that, if you are interested in testing our prototype

or you're interested in working with us

in a classroom setting all those things would be fantastic,

and you can sign up at and we would so welcome your participation

and your expertise and your feedback.

Your ten minutes, Luis [laughing].

>> You did so great.

Alright, everybody, so as you can see, are you excited?

>>[Lynn laughing]

>> I'm excited, because you've heard about EPUB, and all the capabilities of that format,

and then you've also heard about some of the research that's going

on to help learners find those preferences that work best for them.

So, I want to give you, we have about five minutes.

Oh now, it's four minutes because Luis is blabbing on.

But we have about four minutes for you to ask any outstanding questions that you have.

Before you do that or as you do that in the chat,

I just want to share some contact information so get those questions ready show them with us.

Remember you can contact us in a number of ways at the AEM Center,

you can email us, we're at

You can call us even though most of us are remote,

so it may take a while for us to get that call.

And then, of course, you can follow us on social media.

We're at AEM_Center on Twitter, and then just @AEMCenter on Facebook without the underscore.

And I also want to thank our partners today from the Daisy Consortium, George and Richard.

Thank you so much for your wonderful presentation.

You can learn more about the Daisy Consortium by going to their website.


You can follow them on social media as well.

They're @AccessibleDAISY on twitter and @DAISYConsortium on Facebook.

So, I highly encourage you if you want to keep up with all these wonderful developments,

definitely make sure you follow both organizations on social media.

Now I did see your question flash by it will take me second to find --

>> [Inaudible] about the word doc.

I think it was Word to EPUB was the question.

>> Let's see.

>> Is there a way to convert a Word doc to EPUB?

Well, there, maybe soon.

>> So, right now, there are, kind of, three approaches.

One approach is to take your word doc and load it

into Google Docs and then save as EPU from there.

And use the accessibility checker in word first, but also use GrackleDocs to try and tidy it up.

I found that actually doing that conversion then introduces additional artifacts into the word,

and into the EPUB that's produced.

So, it's not brilliant.

A second method is to use the command line tool, Pandoc.

So Pandoc P A N November, D O C. It's a free tool.

You find it out there on the web with a quick search.

And that will convert a docx to an EPUB.

It does a pretty good job, and in fact the add-in that we have is currently based

on Pandoc, but the add-on does a lot more than you get with the vanilla Pandoc.

So, you could use Pandoc if you want to do something now.

We have a document that explains how to do that,

but it will hopefully not be too long before you have an add-in, makes it all super easy.

[Inaudible] to get to that command line.

>> I should have said I should have qualified my answer.

There are ways of doing that now, we just want to make sure that it's easier,

because then I will encourage people to do it.

So, we want to provide incentive there by making a lot easier.

Alright, any other questions, feel free to share them.

We have about a minute to go.

Let's see, there is one that just came in.

Just to clarify, from Cassandra, do all files need

to be edited properly before it can convert to EPUB.

>> You can create an EPUB from a file that is not well formed,

but you'll get it you know garbage in, garbage out.

So just as Luis talked about, you want a word document that's got heading structure.

You want a word document where the images have alt-text.

If you got a table in there, you want a properly inserted table, not an image of a table.

And then these all would then turn into an EPUB.

The same is true with your using Google Docs or any other production tool,

or if you're converting to a different format.

So yeah, get your source document right and that will help a lot.

>> Now, we're wanting to have publishers and everybody you know, produce really, great EPUB,

but most EPUBs, even the older ones, EPUB2 from 5, 8 years ago are highly accessible, much more,

I find them more accessible than old publishing formats, and...

but we do want to see the born accessible initiative moving forward.

But, boy, I pick up an EPUB from Penguin Random House, and boy, it works pretty darn good.

>> Yeah, it's been said to me that, you know, even the worst EPUB, and I don't see bad EPUBS.

I just see good and very good EPUBS.

But even the worst EPUBS are better than a lot of the old publishing formats because its html,

you know, the reading order's there.

You know, their kind of familiar structures, so, yeah, as George said--

>> Absolutely.

>> [Inaudible] be the enemy of the good.

>> I would second that emotion, for sure.

Alright, everybody.

So, we're about a minute past.

I don't want to hold you past the time that we promised here.

But there is one question.

Lesley's going to post the link, there is a page

where you can download the resources for this webinar.

That includes the slides that we use today the handout that I've created,

just to give you another way to access the information.

And then a link to our page on the AEM's Center website.

So again, thank you, everybody, for joining us today.

Thank you, George.

Thank you, Richard.

Thank you, Lynn.

>> Thank you, Luis.

Always great to have wonderful presenters.

I also want to thank Beth for providing the captions.

So, we love our captioners.

They do a wonderful job of making these webinars accessible.

So, thank you so much, everybody.

Take care, and we hope to see you soon.

>> Thank you.


>> Thank you for having us.

>> Bye-bye.

>> Bye.