MathML Cloud 1.0 for Publishers: Renders Accessible Formats for Math
May 2015 brought the beta release of MathML Cloud 1.0, an open source, cloud-based tool that automatically converts mathematical expressions into multiple formats that allow content developers to easily render digitized math in an accessible manner.
Using input from the publisher via an API, MathML Cloud generates the image (.png) that the publisher needs for display while also generating the image description, scalable vector graphics (SVG), and MathML that the reader needs for accessibility. In addition, the MathML is saved in the cloud for later retrieval and use by future reading systems as new technologies emerge. Because it is free and open source, publishers can easily integrate MathML Cloud into their content production workflow, ensuring that their MathML-encoded math is compatible with all reading devices and is made accessible from the outset.
The idea for MathML Cloud had its origins during DIAGRAM’s “Born Digital, Born Accessible Sprint” in May 2013, where participants were eager to test the idea of converting MathML into browser-agnostic, ARIA-accessible SVGs by server-side processing of MathJax and ChromeVox using PhantomJS and Node.js. Now, the debut of MathML Cloud 1.0 has been made possible thanks to an award from Microsoft’s Solutions for Good Program, and through partnerships with the American Mathematical Society. It is built using open source technology for MathJax and ChromeVox, Google Chrome’s text-to-speech engine.
“Math is a universal tool and part of all sciences,” commented MathJax’s Peter Krautzberger, “but until now we did not have the technology parse it for accessibility in a non-proprietary way. A tool like this has never been open source before, and I am pleased that the work we have done here can now feed back into ChromeVox and other applications.”
During this beta period, we are eager to hear your feedback. Please take it for a spin and tell us what you think! Visit https://www.mathmlcloud.org/