Accessibility in Open Textbooks



  • @jmitchell I think I’m in the same boat… haven’t seen the link to the ebook yet.



  • @jmitchell @greeark I’m glad someone brought it up cause I wasn’t sure if we got a book to look at either!



  • @hugh are we missing something?


  • administrators

    @jmitchell there was no “Yes” given to the proposed workplan above. So, let’s get that (or something like it) tomorrow on the call & move forward with giving access to the book.



  • @hugh ah ha! roger that. anon.


  • administrators

    Hi all,

    Thanks again for your time yesterday. I’ve been in touch with Justin, the author of our guinea pig book, to work out logistics and have made the book public with the EPUB and PDF files available to download from the landing page of the webbook: https://press.rebus.community/financialstrategy/

    Note that there are a couple of formatting issues that we’re aware of (in particular a couple of tables running off the page), but please note anything that might be relevant so I can run it against our (short) list of known issues.

    For anyone who wasn’t able to make the meeting, we discussed the proposed workplan and some initial thoughts on what to keep in mind during the review. @jmitchell could you possibly give a short summary for those who weren’t there?

    In terms of timeline, we are aiming for the end of March to have the review completed, but with the understanding that some of you have other commitments and might need to push that out a bit. I will check in with you all again closer to the time to see how things are going.

    In the meantime, if you have any questions or need anything else from our end, let me know! Really pleased to be working with you all on this.


  • administrators

    Hi Everyone,

    I wanted to add an addendum to @zoe’s “next steps” post here.

    Everyone should now have access to the book (please let us know by replying here if not).

    We are hoping that by the end of March, each of you can produce a “review memo” of this book, which will cover:

    1. all of the objective elements you would typically look at when performing an accessibility review on any book, and an assessment of how this book does or does not meet those standards in each case
    2. a more subjective analysis of other things that might be adjusted to make the book more accessible to the widest audience—the modalities, preferences, etc. that @jmitchell mentioned in our call last week.

    We will be sending you access to a shared Google folder for the reports.



  • Sat in this presentation at CSUN. Developing Accessible, Integrated, Interactive EPUB 3 Content. They advertise that their platform creates accessible content in the background without content creators really knowing. Sounds similar to what PressBooks wants to move towards.


  • administrators

    @greeark Very interesting, thanks for sharing. Krista.


  • administrators

    @greeark Pressbooks already does this, assuming the author, for instance, does things like adds decent alt tags in images. Indeed, any semi-modern (webby) content management system will very likely manage accessibility from the start.

    The kinds of things we are thinking of at Rebus (and Pressbooks) is go go beyond basic “accessible markup” (which should happen by default) , and include, eg, requirements not just that alt tags exist, but are meaningful.

    That is, you might have an image that is:

    <img src="pic_mountain.jpg" alt="17657325476.jpg">

    which technically is “accessible” … it has an alt tag… it’s just that the alt tag should be useful, such as:

    <img src="pic_mountain.jpg" alt="A picture of a bear in a stream">

    So really this project’s starting point is about making sure that Open Textbooks:

    1. have bare minimum accessibility covered (eg, images have alt tags)
    2. have enhanced accessibility (eg, images have useful alt tags)
      and … going forward
    3. have a wider/broader interpretation of accessibility, to include, for instance, thinking about how different students might need different kinds of content to illustrate certain principles etc…

    1 is “easy”, 2 is “easy, but requires work” and 3 is complex.



  • @lizmays @zoe

    Do we know if the “shared Google folder for the review memos” has been widely shared? I may have missed it in my inbox if this was already sent. Myself and a colleague are putting together our review memos.


  • administrators

    And, is the link to that folder posted somewhere on this thread? (@zoe ?)


  • administrators

    @greeark Hi Krista - sorry about that! I was away for a couple of weeks and it dropped off my radar. You can access the shared drive here.

    How is everyone else going with their reviews? Is the end of March still looking reasonable?



  • @zoe Thanks! My goal is to have my initial feedback done by end of day today – the new quarter starts on Monday and things have already been hopping!


  • administrators

    @greeark Awesome, thank you! I just had a read through and can already see some good stuff we hadn’t considered before. Looking forward to seeing what everyone else comes up with.


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