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Re: Query from APA WG on longdesc usage

From: Bill Kasdorf <kasdorf.bill@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 13 Aug 2019 09:11:51 -0400
Cc: Matt Garrish <matt.garrish@gmail.com>, Ralph Swick <swick@w3.org>, W3C Publishing Steering Committee <public-publishing-sc@w3.org>
Message-Id: <08BA8057-093D-4D52-96AE-1D322589FA8D@gmail.com>
To: George Kerscher <kerscher@montana.com>
Thanks, very helpful. I’ll be really interested in the results of the testing. 

Sent from my iPhone

On Aug 12, 2019, at 6:53 PM, George Kerscher <kerscher@montana.com> wrote:

Hello All,
 
Attached is a test EPUB Book we are working on for extended descriptions. We provide a range of options and techniques for providing extended descriptions. We do not test the longdesc in this title.
 
Now that the HTML details element is supported more-and-more and we now have aria-details (not totally supported) we believe there are many mainstream options for extended descriptions.
 
This title can also be downloaded from:
http://epubtest.org/testbooks
 
We plan to test Reading Systems with this title and hopefully come up with a best practice recommendation for providing extended descriptions.
 
Hope this helps.
 
Best
George
 
From: Bill Kasdorf <kasdorf.bill@gmail.com> 
Sent: Monday, August 12, 2019 4:01 PM
To: Matt Garrish <matt.garrish@gmail.com>
Cc: Ralph Swick <swick@w3.org>; W3C Publishing Steering Committee <public-publishing-sc@w3.org>
Subject: Re: Query from APA WG on longdesc usage
 
If you're interested, here's what the JATS spec says:
 
Accessibility: Please reserve this tag for accessibility uses such as pronouncing screen readers. The <long-desc> is not a visual element; rather, its purpose is to be spoken in circumstances where the visual form of the object cannot be viewed. This element differs from the <alt-text> element in both length and purpose. The <alt-text> is typically very short, for quick scan reading by a screen reader or showing as words behind a graphic. The <long-desc> is meant for an extended description of an object such as a figure, table, graphic, etc., for example, a textual summary of a pie chart that explains both the visual form of the chart and significance of its findings.
 
And yes, I realize you don't need longdesc for extended descriptions, and that ARIA markup is needed. But unless I'm mistaken I still think there's some uncertainty about exactly how to provide extended descriptions in HTML in a way that actually works reliably for AT. I would love to be wrong about that.
 
 

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On Mon, Aug 12, 2019 at 5:49 PM <matt.garrish@gmail.com> wrote:
It’s not the case that you need longdesc is order to provide extended descriptions, and it doesn’t quite sound like the JATS implementation is entirely compatible with the longdesc attribute. The longdesc attribute only takes a URL to the description, which could be inline in the document or out-of-band. The JATS description sounds more like a general mechanism for providing the description text, that only grudgingly takes a URL (but that may be my naïve reading).
 
The ability to store the description is certainly useful, but there are other, better ways of transforming such information into a usable form. aria-describedby and aria-details provide more viable, but still imperfect, methods for associating the descriptions, for example.
 
Matt
 
From: Bill Kasdorf <kasdorf.bill@gmail.com> 
Sent: August 12, 2019 18:35
To: Ralph Swick <swick@w3.org>
Cc: W3C Publishing Steering Committee <public-publishing-sc@w3.org>
Subject: Re: Query from APA WG on longdesc usage
 
One other comment on why I responded the way I did. The answer to how much longdesc is used--very likely "hardly at all"--can easily but mistakenly be construed as meaning nobody needs it. I encountered the same problem when EPUB folks (some very smart EPUB folks) were saying "Why do we need to bother with MathML? Nobody uses it." Well, nobody uses it _in EPUB_ because it doesn't work well in EPUB reading systems. But millions upon millions of equations are created in MathML in scholarly publishing workflows. It's important for folks not to interpret "nobody uses X" as "nobody wants to use X." So no, probably few if any publishers use longdesc (I've never advised a client to use it), but they need the functionality it represents in some form. I just wanted to make sure that point wasn't missed.
 
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On Mon, Aug 12, 2019 at 4:29 PM Bill Kasdorf <kasdorf.bill@gmail.com> wrote:
Yes, I understood that. I just figured it was relevant to know whether a lot of scholarly content has <long-desc> content because it needs a counterpart in HTML. As long as that's available, no problem. But my understanding is that there is some uncertainty to that. I never advise people to actually use longdesc in HTML, so I don't think that is explicitly used much at all, certainly not to my knowledge. In fact it was only recently that I realized that it was un-disappeared. ;)
 
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On Mon, Aug 12, 2019 at 3:57 PM Ralph Swick <swick@w3.org> wrote:
Thanks Bill.   Your answer is related but not exactly to the question I 
intended to ask.

The question here is specifically about the longdesc attribute to W3C 
HTML5; i.e.

   https://www.w3.org/TR/html-longdesc/

Other architecturally similar variants, such as a <long-desc> element, 
can be evidence of a still-useful concept but are less relevant to the 
HTML specification.

And yes; this is a question about the actual use in practice.

-Ralph

On 2019-08-12 03:31 PM, Bill Kasdorf wrote:
> I can report that the XML model that is pretty much universally used in 
> scholarly publishing--JATS for journals and its counterpart BITS for 
> books--contains longdesc in the form <long-desc>, as well as the element 
> <alt-text>.  In my modeling work I always encourage the use of both, 
> with <alt-text> being used for the content of the required @alt 
> attribute on <img> in HTML and the content of <long-desc> for what would 
> currently be referred to as an extended description. What I can't report 
> is how much they are actually used in practice; I hope some of the 
> publishers or service providers in the PBG or PBGSC can comment on that.
> 
> The best way to find out how commonly those are used would probably be 
> to check with the major scholarly journal hosts--Atypon (now owned by 
> Wiley and thus a W3C member), HighWire Press, Silverchair, and Ingenta. 
> The four of those host the vast majority of scholarly journal content. 
> Atypon has the biggest proportion of those four so I would suggest 
> checking with Marty Picco of Atypon as a start (mpicco@atypon.com 
> <mailto:mpicco@atypon.com>).
> 
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> <#DAB4FAD8-2DD7-40BB-A1B8-4E2AA1F9FDF2>
> 
> On Mon, Aug 12, 2019 at 2:26 PM Ralph Swick <swick@w3.org 
> <mailto:swick@w3.org>> wrote:
> 
>     In what Publishing forum is Janina Sajka's query about current usage of
>     longdesc in Publishing best addressed?
> 
>     On 2019-08-12 12:21 PM, Janina Sajka wrote:
>      > Hi, Judy:
>      >
>      > APA has become aware that there is a proposal afoot to obsolete
>      > longdesc. We would likely not oppose that unless there is still
>     use of
>      > longdesc, perhaps in legacy education publications still actively in
>      > distribution.
>      >
>      > If there is still such use, or if Details/Summary and/or
>     Annotations use
>      > isn't sufficiently mature to completely replace longdesc, we need to
>      > know that from our Publishing people.
>      >
>      > It seemed this would be a useful agendum for our upcoming CC call.
>      >
>      > Best,
>      >
>      > Janina
>      >
> 
> 
> 
> -- 
> *Bill Kasdorf*
> /Principal, Kasdorf & Associates, LLC/
> /Founding Partner, Publishing Technology Partners 
> <https://pubtechpartners.com/>
> /
> kasdorf.bill@gmail.com <mailto:kasdorf.bill@gmail.com>
> +1 734-904-6252
> 
> ISNI:http://isni.org/isni/0000000116490786
> ORCiD:https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7002-4786 
> <https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7002-4786?lang=en>
> 
>

 
--
Bill Kasdorf
Principal, Kasdorf & Associates, LLC
Founding Partner, Publishing Technology Partners
kasdorf.bill@gmail.com
+1 734-904-6252
ISNI: http://isni.org/isni/0000000116490786
ORCiD: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7002-4786

 
 
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--
Bill Kasdorf
Principal, Kasdorf & Associates, LLC
Founding Partner, Publishing Technology Partners
kasdorf.bill@gmail.com
+1 734-904-6252
ISNI: http://isni.org/isni/0000000116490786
ORCiD: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7002-4786

 

 
--
Bill Kasdorf
Principal, Kasdorf & Associates, LLC
Founding Partner, Publishing Technology Partners
kasdorf.bill@gmail.com
+1 734-904-6252
ISNI: http://isni.org/isni/0000000116490786
ORCiD: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7002-4786

 
<Advanced-Accessibility-Tests-Extended-Descriptions-v1.0.0 (1).epub>
Received on Tuesday, 13 August 2019 13:12:17 UTC

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