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August 2012 Standards Update

2012 August 31
by gfreed

DIAGRAM Content Model

From Matt Garrish:

The recent approval of ANSI/NISO Z39.98-2012 brings to a close four years of work by the DAISY Consortium to upgrade its text production standard to latest best practices for XML data. It opens the content model to a more modular model, allowing for community-driven contributions and extensions, and regional adaptations.

One notable content model that has been developing in parallel with the specification is the DIAGRAM content model for accessible descriptions. A kind of hybrid grammar, the DIAGRAM model enables a document of all descriptions in a work to be compiled for distribution, and also enables individual descriptions to be stored in a content repository. The content model is also available for all DAISY producers to use directly in their production of text formats as they migrate to the new standard.

With the approval of the framework, accessible description producers can freely use the DIAGRAM content model now without the worry that the underlying framework it’s built on was still in the approval process. From this point on, the DIAGRAM content model working group will be the sole maintainer of the standard, and will continue to evolve it as new cases and needs present themselves.

More information about ANSI/NISO Z39.98-2012 can be found in the latest issue of the DAISY Planet and this short DAISYpedia article. A fuller discussion of the standard can be found in this NISO article.

HTML5

From Geoff Freed:

The HTML5 accessibility task force at the W3C continues to press its case for restoring @longdesc in HTML5 until an improved method for providing long image descriptions can take its place. The process is long and grinding (3+ years and counting), but persistence may eventually pay off. The latest change proposal developed by the TF is worth reading, if only for the sheer number of @longdesc use cases that the group has assembled. Earlier this week, the HTML5 chairs announced that they would be issuing a working-group survey— a method of gathering opinions from the entire working group– on the matter. The results of the survey will be non-binding, but will surely heavily influence the chairs’ decision on the issue. The survey results will be public, and we’ll update this blog with the results when they are available.

The W3C’s Responsive Images Community Group continues to debate the worthiness of “a markup-based means of delivering alternate image sources based on device capabilities, to prevent wasted bandwidth and optimize display for both screen and print.” Recent discussions have centered on a proposal for a new HTML5 element called <picture>, which would allow user agents (such as browsers or e-text displays) to select and display images appropriate to the agent’s screen size, resolution, display density, etc. Accessibility support in the <picture> element is, fortunately, part of this discussion: currently, the proposal requires @alt on the <picture> element itself, which has generated some debate about whether @alt should be repeated on the child <img> element (which might be redundant), eliminated from the <img> element (which could prevent older AT from locating and conveying the @alt), or provided only on the <img> element. The proposal is very new and so is quite changeable. We’ll post new information in next month’s standards update.

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