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RE: Active lobbying: Math

From: Bill Kasdorf <bkasdorf@apexcovantage.com>
Date: Fri, 21 Aug 2015 17:02:30 +0000
To: "Belfanti, Paul" <paul.belfanti@pearson.com>
CC: Deborah Kaplan <dkaplan@safaribooksonline.com>, Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org>, W3C Digital Publishing IG <public-digipub-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <CO2PR06MB572ECB01BD5DEC4249544A1DF650@CO2PR06MB572.namprd06.prod.outlook.com>
Thanks Paul! As soon as I sent that e-mail, with the focus on University Suits ;-) , I realized that we are all too often focused on HE and forget what a pervasive issue this is at the school level.

We also forget that MathML 3.0 includes the capability of encoding math that _that_ constituency needs, e.g., stacked fractions, long division, etc. Which don't, by and large, "work" anywhere yet. But they're in MathML; that was one of the main advances in MathML 3.0. Which is not even new anymore.

Folks may be interested in this paper, "The State of MathML in K-12 Educational Publishing," that Autumn Cuellar and Jean Kaplansky delivered at the Balisage conference just last week: http://www.balisage.net/Proceedings/vol15/html/Cuellar01/BalisageVol15-Cuellar01.html.

And it's worth pointing out how much bigger a potential constituency the School Suits are: not just teachers, but school administrators, school boards, powerful folks at city and state levels, etc.

So in the interest of coming up with a metric with an appropriate glyph in front of it:

How possible would it be to come up with an estimate (maybe led by the big educational publishers at first, since they have the biggest numbers) along the lines of "it is costing $N,000,000 more per year, just in the US alone, to provide accessible publications with math every year that the math in those publications is not encoded as MathML"?

A round number would be fine. A big, fat round number.

--Bill K

From: Belfanti, Paul [mailto:paul.belfanti@pearson.com]
Sent: Friday, August 21, 2015 12:48 PM
To: Bill Kasdorf
Cc: Deborah Kaplan; Ivan Herman; W3C Digital Publishing IG
Subject: Re: Active lobbying: Math

​Re the case to the SUITS - legal liability for accessible content already exists in K-12 and it's widely seen as coming soon for HE and beyond. Regardless, since the liability lies with institutions that are customers of the publishers they are requiring accessible content up front and adoptions can and have been lost when accessibility requirements aren't met sufficiently. So there's plenty of incentive for publishers, we just need to extend that to the platforms.​

Good news/spoiler alert: IDPF has nailed down dates for "EPUB Week" including EPUB 3.1 launch and a Readium day Oct. 7-9. I've been discussing the need for a publishers forum around EDUPUB with Bill McCoy and Pearson will be hosting that in our NYC office the evening of Oct. 6. Audience will be the SUITS not the geeks with the goal of agreement on the kind of joint statement I outlined earlier.

Hopefully this will be successful and hopefully it will be one of many lobbying efforts that create critical mass of pressure/incentive to get the platforms on board.

Stay tuned.

Paul
--
Paul Belfanti
Director, Content Architecture
Core Platforms & Enterprise Architecture
office: +1 201-236-7746
mobile: +1 201-783-4884

On Fri, Aug 21, 2015 at 11:51 AM, Bill Kasdorf <bkasdorf@apexcovantage.com<mailto:bkasdorf@apexcovantage.com>> wrote:
+1

Picking up on both Paul's comment—"signal their intent to publish content in these standards _at volume_"—and Ivan's—"after all we are all geeks and not suits"—clearly we need a SUITS FOR MATHML movement!!! ;-)

Seriously, though. . . . It is so easy for the suits to say "yeah, of course the geeks want this, the geeks want everything. I've got a business to run."

Suits need numbers. Preferably preceded by glyphs like $, €, £, ¥, etc.

I'm not saying that will be easy to come up with. But here's an anecdote from my personal experience:

--I have always been an advocate of MathML. But I'm an idealist and standards maven.

--Ditto for accessibility.

--Even so, when I was asked to lead the AAP EPUB 3 Implementation work a year or two ago, I have to admit I was surprised and puzzled to see MathML keep rising to the top of the priorities. "Really?" I thought. "How many publishers even publish math?" [Note that my reaction was more suit-like than geek-like. So now you know that the reason you more often see me in a suit than a t-shirt. In fact I can pretty much guarantee you've never seen me in a t-shirt.]

--So in my work with that AAP initiative, I was talking to a key guy at the American Printing House for the Blind, who put some numbers, with one of those glyphs in front of them, in front of me. "Bill, when a student in a class needs a math book, it can take six months and $50,000 to get that book accessible for her. [A legal obligation, btw.] By which time the class is over. If the math in that book had been MathML it would have cost a small fraction of that and we could have gotten the book to her quickly. There are hundreds of books like that."

--"Shit!!!" I thought. "Now I get it!"

Of course now we are off in an even more remote corner of the world, from the suit's point of view: a book _with math_ for a tiny percent of the potential readers of that book. And the suits that are exposed to the legal liability are not the Publisher Suits, they're the University Suits.

That's the challenge we have. I am not trying to be Debby Downer here; I'd like to be just the opposite.

But for SUITS FOR MATHML to succeed, we need a way to say "this makes business sense, it's costing money and creating a dangerous legal liability to not have this problem solved, and I am going to [in Paul's words] make MathML available in volume [in the case of Publisher Suits; or] I am going to make a commitment of staff and resources to help solve this problem [in the case of University Suits] if I can see that this problem is being adequately addressed by the industry."
We need to move beyond shame and conscience, unfortunately. That hasn't worked. So again, to +1 Paul and Ivan, we need to get commitments, and we need to get those commitments from the suits.

--Bill Kasdorf


From: Belfanti, Paul [mailto:paul.belfanti@pearson.com<mailto:paul.belfanti@pearson.com>]
Sent: Friday, August 21, 2015 10:25 AM
To: Deborah Kaplan
Cc: Ivan Herman; W3C Digital Publishing IG
Subject: Re: Active lobbying: Math

I think one important step would be for a broad range of stakeholders to issue joint public statements in support of MathML and EDUPUB and signal their intent to publish content in these standards at volume. This will create both business certainty and opportunity for those who can properly play/display this content and create competitive dynamic to support rich, accessible content.

Paul
--
Paul Belfanti
Director, Content Architecture
Core Platforms & Enterprise Architecture
office: +1 201-236-7746<tel:%2B1%20201-236-7746>
mobile: +1 201-783-4884<tel:%2B1%20201-783-4884>

On Fri, Aug 21, 2015 at 9:46 AM, Deborah Kaplan <dkaplan@safaribooksonline.com<mailto:dkaplan@safaribooksonline.com>> wrote:
On Fri, 21 Aug 2015, Ivan Herman wrote:
Yes, if we can actively lobby, with the weight of the publishing market behind us, to have browser vendors implement a particular feature, that would be a win. For everybody. And that should indeed be the topic of our discussions, too.

(see changed subject line)

I am hijacking this thread because of this comment by Ivan. This is great to hear that you feel this way, Ivan. And in that case, given that it is a truth universally acknowledged in this IG that native browser and reading system support for MathML would be a big win for the publishing sector, how would we go about designing and presenting that case, and then going on to actively lobby for the vendors to implement it?

Deborah


Received on Friday, 21 August 2015 17:03:06 UTC

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