DIAGRAM 2016 Year-End Roundup
As 2016 comes to a close, we are pausing to look back at all we’ve done together in the last year and to celebrate all those who were instrumental in making it happen. Here are just a few highlights from the last twelve months, which encompassed the conclusion of Year 1 of our five-year award from the Department of Education:
Strides for Accessible Math
- The Accessible Math Code Sprint hosted by the DIAGRAM Center in partnership with OERPUB and OpenStax and co-sponsored by the Shuttleworth Foundation took place in late February at the 2016 CSUN conference in San Diego, CA. Twenty-two developers from all over the world volunteered to spend a day hacking digital solutions to issues around accessible math.
- Following the sprint, DIAGRAM launched a project with Volker Sorge on related work to enhance his open source math Speech Rule Engine so that automated text transcription of math can be more versatile to support varying user needs.
- We released Math Support Finder, an online resource to help people navigate the complex world of assistive technology for math and find the combination of tools that meets their needs. Special thanks to Sina Bahram who helped with the development of the tool this year and to Aaron Page, Marlene Zente, and Derek Reimer all of whom helped identify which tools worked.
Big Wins in Accessibility Standards and Guidelines
- In May, Charles LaPierre, Technical Lead for DIAGRAM and co-chair of the W3C Accessibility Task Force, announced that the group had published the Accessibility Note “Digital Publishing and Accessibility in W3C Documents.” This document addresses what is missing from WCAG in terms of digital publishing needs, provides guidance on resolutions, outlines future work such as assessments, mathematics etc., and points to relevant work outside of the W3C that they should be aware of such as Diagrammar.
- This year also saw the expansion of the partnership between Benetech and DAISY through two new collaborations, the community management of the reading system testing group, and the start of development on a baseline accessibility checker for publishers so they can take another step toward realizing the dream of “born accessible” content.
- DIAGRAM’s 3D Tactile Standards Working Group published a guide to printing braille with 3D printers. Special thanks to Mia Lipner and Jim Allan who have both chaired the working group and to the members of Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco and Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, who participated in testing to determine the best practices for the 3D printing of braille.
- The team at WGBH’s National Center for Accessible Media, Bryan Gould, Madeline Rothberg and Geoff Freed, released three new DIAGRAM reports, including an update to our series on image description metadata, rounding up the latest in standards and recommendations.
New Tools and Resources
- A new prototype of a Registry-Repository of Accessible Images (RRAI) was released in alpha for testing. With technical development led by Sina Bahram and key content supplied from DIAGRAM partners APH, LibraryLyna, and OpenStax, we have begun to do user testing and will be building it out further in 2017.
- We also began work on the first DIAGRAM Report, an interactive report that we will publish annually beginning in 2017, which will identify and examine emerging technologies and their impact on students and teachers, with a special focus on areas of enormous opportunity for students with disabilities and different learning needs. We have received great feedback from you all on potential areas to explore and are both grateful for your contributions and excited to dive in and learn about new innovations for accessible education.
A Growing Community
- We now have 96 members of the various DIAGRAM committees and working groups, and many others in the broader community all contributing their expertise and passion to advancing accessible education. We are grateful to our wonderful working group co-chairs, whose expertise and energy continue to be invaluable. Of special note is the new working group we added this year: the DIAGRAM Developers Working Group, which provides insight on technical solutions and has already given rise to a subcommittee focusing on ways to make drag-and-drop accessible.
As you can tell, it has been a busy year and there is even more in store for 2017, so stay tuned to learn about other projects we have in the works. In the meantime, thank you to everyone for your continued participation in our community. (If there are any highlights we missed or names we should have mentioned above, please let us know.) We are truly humbled and thankful to be surrounded by so many amazing people. We wish you very happy holidays and a terrific new year!
All of us on the DIAGRAM team at Benetech
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