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Re: Call for Consensus (CFC) to move forward the HTML5 Image Description Extension spec for publication (FPWD)

From: Geoff Freed <geoff_freed@wgbh.org>
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2012 18:19:22 +0000
To: HTML Accessibility Task Force <public-html-a11y@w3.org>
CC: Matthew Turvey <mcturvey@gmail.com>
Message-ID: <A3CD72FE7CF8DE4B953A034D1982200C2FF12E7B@WSMBX1.wgbh.org>

Following up:

I've heard back from one publisher, Pearson (a major publisher of textbooks and other materials), who is willing to say something publicly about their image-description work.  Paraphrasing somewhat, Pearson is an example of a major publishing house which-- because the status of longdesc is (or has been) questionable and because there are no solid alternatives in place-- has felt forced to entertain possible alternatives for delivering image descriptions to students.  I've alerted them to the existence of the longdesc extension spec; they are "hopeful that @longdesc will be reinstated, because we think it is the best way to handle the image descriptions."  

That might be about as close as we're going to get to a publisher saying that they're using, or that they want to use, longdesc.  And speaking solely from a speculative point of view, I think Pearson will be pleased if longdesc is moved forward as an extension specification.


On Nov 27, 2012, at 7:23 PM, Geoff Freed <geoff_freed@wgbh.org>

> Regarding this comment:
>> * Geoff Freed is currently compiling evidence for the Task Force that
>> some educational publishers might be about to start using longdesc. It
>> may be worth waiting until we have that evidence available.
> Hmmm... my apologies, as it appears that I've overlooked an assignment (not an unusual phenomenon...).  Here's what I can say right now:  publishers are a private bunch, and I can almost guarantee you that few, if any, will admit publicly that they are describing images with @longdesc or any other method.  The publishers that work with NCAM all require NDAs so I cannot divulge specific information about our activities with them.  Given this secrecy, you'll have to trust NCAM's non-profit, we-love-everyone-equally reputation in the industry when I say that publishers that deliver books to US markets are all worried about long image descriptions, and some are, in fact, using @longdesc to deliver descriptions or are making plans to do so in the near future.  Really.
> Having said this, I'll speak to some of the publishers with whom we work to see if any would be willing to share information about image-description plans.  I will attempt to make good on this within a week.  
> I'd also like to just reiterate my support for moving this thing forward to FPWD.  As Charles has stated elsewhere (http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html-a11y/2012Oct/0033.html), the idea of the extension spec is to get @longdesc specified as quickly (and perhaps as minimally?) as possible so that there's something "legally" in place in HTML5 while something else more versatile and useful is invented or developed to take its place.  
> Geoff Freed
Received on Thursday, 29 November 2012 18:19:59 UTC

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