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DIAGRAM Advisory Board Meeting Notes – June 30, 2015

2015 June 30


Jim Allan, Anh Bui, Jim Downs, Lucia Hasty, George Kerscher, Sue-Ann Ma, Brian McDonald, Julie Noblitt, Elaine Ober, Helen Popper, James Pritchett, Madeleine Rothberg, Laurie Vasquez


Betsy Beaumon, Geoff Freed, Jim Fruchterman, Bryan Gould, Markus Gylling, Mark Hakkinen, Glinda Hill, Andrew Kirkpatrick, Jim Koopman, Ike Presley, T.V. Raman, Lore Schindler, Robin Seaman, Mike Sharpe, Jane Thompson


1.      Tools WG (Julie Noblitt on behalf of Geoff Freed)

  1. Meeting in March featured Neil Soiffer, a reprise of his CSUN presentation on latest developments in accessible math. Recording & slides available on the wiki at
  2. Next meeting is on July 14. Topic will be the new math-tool matrix under development in Benetech Labs, including a demo of the prototype that will allow users to determine what combination of hardware & software will support the reading of MathML.

2.      Outreach WG (Julie Noblitt)

  1. Meeting in March focused on how to gather impact stories on the DIAGRAM Project. Next meeting (date TBD) in July will continue discussion with input from support letters gathered during recent RFA process, and beginning to think about how to reach stakeholders who comprise or serve those with disabilities not typically associated with print. Will also discuss how to get word out about revised description guidelines, the 2nd Accessible Image Sample Book, MathML Cloud.
  2. Next webinar is July 15 – Sanders Kleinfeld of O’Reilly Media and Sue-Ann Ma of Benetech will present MathML Cloud and discuss how O’Reilly integrated the tool into their production workflow. Well over 100 registrants in first day that registration opened. Link to register:

3.      Content WG (Lucia Hasty)

  1. Second edition of Accessible Image Sample Book has been released. Added several new formats and image types, as well as an updated glossary. See last meeting notes for details. Next meeting will be held July 22 at 10am Pacific – we’ll discuss the design of the image repository/registry.
    1. George Kerscher: How are images in the sample book linked? W3C says that if AIRA is not used for linking mechanism then they may drop support for it (aria-describedat).
    2. Anh Bui: Good point – our aim is to dovetail all the initiatives together to get end-to-end processes for image accessibility. We’re at a culminating moment where we can tie all of this together.

4.      Standards WG (George Kerscher):

  1. Working on EPUB 3.1 – due to release during 1st or 2nd quarter of 2016.
  2. EDUPUB – adds more semantics to collection of epub types than we have right now. Collection has been submitted to W3C protocols and formats WG – will become ARIA roles – e.g. footnotes, references. Designed for mainstream and a11y. Will be a module. 1st draft has been submitted to PF. Done through W3C Digital Publishing Interest Group. Working on figuring out use cases for the web. Markus Gylling is co-chair of that wg and the 3.1 development, so good harmony there. Tzviya Siegman from Wiley is the other co-chair. Took enhancements from EDUPUB and submitted to PF.
  3. DPIG Subgroup on a11y has been created – chaired by Deborah Kaplan (Safari) and Charles LaPierre (Benetech)
  4. BISG A11y WG chaired by Robin Seaman is developing a Quick Start Guide, all about accessible epub AND revising the Top Tips in conjunction with BISG.
  5. Drafted a “Baseline for Born Accessible” document – call for formation of international group to informally agree on what is needed for basic a11y. Follows W3C WCAG A-AA guidelines.

5.      Project development roundup (Sue-Ann Ma):

  1. Beta launch of MathML Cloud – webinar coming up July 15. Gathering stories about how people are using the tool.
  2. Significant revision of the image description guidelines has just been completed and will be available soon via the DIAGRAM web site.
  3. Math Sprint at Benetech – see blog post – with Sina Bahram, Neil Soiffer, Steve Noble, and Benetech staff. Building a front-end tool that will allow end users to look up tools – hardware & software – that support MathML.
  4. GoogleServe project – worked with a dozen Googlers to identify the gaps in MathML support. Came out of event with more robust back-end data structure for prototype tool.
    1. Helen Popper – kids don’t learn math by reading/seeing/hearing. They learn by doing the math. They need to be able to manipulate it. Authoring platforms must be accessible. Reading is not enough – it’s like being only able to listen but not to speak.
    2. Anh Bui – Yes, this is really important. We should go back to our matrix and look at the affordance table to look at the things that we need to create a pathway to this. We’re looking at multi-modality.
  5. Other GoogleServe project – speech rules – autogenerating descriptions for math equations. E.g. allowing people to tweak MathSpeak rule set in accordance with their own preferences.
    1. Anh Bui: Please let us know if you want to be part of a focus group on speech rules for math.
  6. Laurie Vasquez: Is it time for a math instructors focus group? I worked with math instructors recently – one instructor putting a lot of effort into videos – turns out videos aren’t used. A tool to train teachers on making math accessible would be really useful.
    1. Sue-Ann: I’ve seen academic institutions working on solutions – I can share what I’m learning.
    2. Anh: time for a new webinar aimed at AT providers on Math? The field has exploded into lots of splinters – how to gather them all up and make sense of them.
  7. George: Notion of organizing the info in the form of a tree – has Benetech looked at this?
    1. Sue-Ann: We talked to someone in the UK last week who is doing this, as a matter of fact.
    2. George: T.V. Raman did this in the 1990s. Makes it possible to manipulate it.

6.      3D Printing Forum (Lisa Wadors)

  1. IMLS grant to look at 3D tactiles for education. Convened a forum of 40-50 people across museums, libraries, schools this month in San Jose
  2. In addition to the Forum and community, we are also putting together a Quick Start Guide. During the forum we started work on creating 3D tactiles for a biology textbook. Also looked at how to measure success and formed pilots to look at these issues.
    1. Brian McDonald: Very well managed forum. Very exciting – good collaboration among people who didn’t know each other. Great early connections. Jim Allan, Lucia Hasty, Ting Siu were all there. Great outcome: Standards WG formed to establish 3D standards.
    2. Jim Allan: We have lots of 2D guidelines but not yet 3D. We want to modify the 2D guidelines for application to 3D. Library of textures that work – can we create those in a 3D space? If the object is too small you can’t see the detail with your fingers. Need guidelines for how high a line needs to be, how wide it has to be, etc. Guidelines for designers are really important. We’ve got 10 people in our working group.
  3. Lisa Wadors: What are you interested in in this area? How would you like to be involved? Email
  4. Anh: Maker spaces may have under-used capacity. Can we harness energies to make use of them? Library & museum folks didn’t know what to expect from the meeting but walked away with great ideas about how to collaborate to provide services to schools and students in their communities. We’ve got people ready to do pilots – need to be sure that we have good pedagogical principles behind what is done.
    1. Helen Popper: Would be great to have people looking at input devices that are accessible to blind people. Software needs to be accessible. Not just to make things for people, but allow people to make things for themselves.
    2. Anh: that was a big topic at the meeting. Design day included attention to this. Participatory accessibility – not just being a recipient, but the ability to create for themselves. Just a question of how we resource this extensive R&D.
  • At Forum: Univ of CO working on “CraftML” and 3D Systems working on haptics-based modeling software.

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