Exciting information from Benetech (also known as Bookshare), regarding Accessible eBooks and commitment from major Education Publishers. The program will empower publishers to produce accessible eBooks and educators to easily recognize accessible content during the procurement process. This is a big step forward on our march toward making sure eBooks serve all students equally. The following article provides information related to accessible eBooks. This should not be considered the CSDE’s endorsement of any product or agency.
BENETECH ESTABLISHES GLOBAL CERTIFIED ACCESSIBLE PROGRAM TO ENSURE CONTENT SERVES ALL STUDENTS EQUALLY
PALO ALTO, Calif. — June 22, 2017 — Benetech<https://www.benetech.org/>, the leading software for social good nonprofit, in conjunction with Dedicon, Royal National Institute of Blind People, and Vision Australia, today announced Global Certified Accessible<https://www.benetech.org/our-programs/literacy/born-accessible/certification/>. The program is the first third-party ebook verification program for accessible content. Global Certified Accessible supports publisher efforts to meet or exceed accessibility requirements set by K-12 schools and post-secondary institutions. Today’s announcement comes on the heels of a six-month beta program with participation from industry leaders spanning educational, academic, professional, and trade publications.
Global Certified Accessible ensures students unable to read standard print due to blindness, low vision, dyslexia, or a physical disability have equal access to the same content as their peers. The program has a global footprint in order to serve students around the world. Benetech developed the certification standards and serves as the lead certification provider for North America. Dedicon provides certification for mainland Europe, Royal National Institute of Blind People for the United Kingdom, and Vision Australia for Australasia.
“The importance of electronically published books continues to grow, but many ebooks lack core accessibility features that students require, falling short of procurement requirements and student needs,” said Jim Fruchterman, founder and CEO, Benetech. “As the nonprofit operator of Bookshare<https://www.bookshare.org/>, the largest online library of accessible books, Benetech is well suited to offer a Global Certified Accessible program that not only gives procurement offices the confidence that comes with third-party certified materials but also allows publishers to serve a larger addressable market.”
Global Certified Accessible is part of Benetech’s Born Accessible<https://www.benetech.org/our-programs/literacy/born-accessible/> initiative, which encourages the education community to request accessible digital content and engages the publishing community to produce content that is accessible from the moment it is created. As a result of the recently released EPUB Accessibility Specification 1.0 and the growing demand for accessible materials, leading publishers and educational institutions are increasing their support for accessibility as a business and a classroom imperative.
Ingram Content Group’s VitalSource® and CoreSource® will include the accessibility ratings for eTextbooks from publishers participating in the Global Certified Accessible program as a part of their metadata and catalog feeds through Bookshelf®, VitalSource’s content-delivery platform. By doing so, procurement offices and school districts will be able to easily identify and prioritize third-party certified, accessible eTextbooks from publishers who choose to participate.
“VitalSource is excited to help accelerate the adoption of accessible publishing,” said Rick Johnson, VP of Product Strategy, VitalSource®. “As a global solutions provider, receiving accessibility certifications from Benetech and their global partners is a logical choice. As publishers increase their ability to produce content that provides access to all students, having a trusted source that can certify their accessibility will provide a welcome level of transparency to all involved.”
Learn more about Global Certified Accessible<https://www.benetech.org/our-programs/literacy/born-accessible/certification/>.