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Re: DIAGRAM project and image descriptions

From: Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2011 14:21:01 -0600
Message-ID: <AANLkTim71xefVJxbBNUGUHgL8wpv6jjfkgGcM8TqSj=+@mail.gmail.com>
To: Geoff Freed <geoff_freed@wgbh.org>
Cc: "public-html@w3.org" <public-html@w3.org>, HTML Accessibility Task Force <public-html-a11y@w3.org>
Hi Geoff,

This sounds like a very important use case to add to the change
proposal to reinstate longdesc into HTML.

Thank you very much for this new information.

Best Regards,
Laura

On 2/25/11, Geoff Freed <geoff_freed@wgbh.org> wrote:
>
> Hi, everyone:
>
> Benetech, NCAM and the DAISY Consortium are currently collaborating on a
> five-year project funded by the U.S. Department of Education to help find
> ways to make image descriptions in textbooks for print-disabled students
> more effective and less costly.  You can read all about the project at
> http://diagramcenter.org/ .
>
> Regarding the long-running discussions over image descriptions:  any new
> version of HTML that lacks a mechanism for conveying long image descriptions
> to users will be a severe blow to blind, visually impaired and
> print-disabled users worldwide, as well as a huge setback to decades of work
> done in the accessibility industry.  In addition to the arguments already
> offered on these lists in favor of a long-description mechanism, bear in
> mind that long descriptions are typically produced after the original
> content has been published.  They are often likely be produced by volunteers
> (via a variety of methods, including  crowdsourcing) and third parties who
> are contracted to create sophisticated descriptions for complex images (such
> as those found in science and math textbooks).  This is particularly true in
> the case of online textbooks and digital textbooks. Without @longdesc, it
> will be very difficult to incorporate descriptions into new or existing
> textbooks or other content.
>
> Furthermore, those hosted descriptions will be living documents which may
> need to be improved upon in a collaborative and moderated fashion. This is
> particularly true in the case of e-books- volumes which have already been
> downloaded by users could easily benefit from new, expanded or otherwise
> updated image descriptions.
>
> If we want HTML to be a foundational standard for reading technologies, such
> as e-books, then it is critical that @longdesc continue to be supported.
> Even if @longdesc is reinstated as an interim technology while something new
> is developed to replace it, it is still the best technology that the DIAGRAM
> project (not to mention textbook publishers, universities and others around
> the world) can build upon today to accomplish our objectives around
> improving the accessibility of images in digital textbooks.
>
> Geoff Freed
> WGBH/NCAM, on behalf of the DIAGRAM project


-- 
Laura L. Carlson
Received on Friday, 25 February 2011 20:21:37 GMT

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