Some important insights for getting EPUB 3 adopted in higher education

Dear EPUB 3 CG and Publishing BG,

Many of us are concerned about adoption of EPUB 3 family of specifications.
The following email thread provides some critical insights from higher education space, highlighting the issues that are blocking adoption of EPUB 3.

With regards
From: Deborah Armstrong 
Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2018 23:28
To: Transition to accessible EPUB 
Subject: RE: EPUB in Higher ED

I agree. I have had students request a PDF (I’m an alt media specialist) simply because it preserved the page numbers even when a more accessible option was preferred for courses where they didn’t need exact page numbers.





From: [] On Behalf Of Richwine, Brian L
Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2018 10:52 AM
To: Transition to accessible EPUB <>
Cc: 'George Kerscher' <>
Subject: RE: EPUB in Higher ED




The UITS Assistive Technology and Accessibility Centers provides alternate media and assistive technology to students at Indiana University. We believe that it is important for a student user to be able to navigate an EPUB file according to the original pagination and page numbers of a print book (where the instructors and other students could be referring to a print version). 


In order for a student with disability to have equal access in terms of alternate media, they must be able to follow along with reading assignments according to the same syllabus given to other students, and able to follow along with in-class discussions in which the instructor and other students are likely to refer to readings by the page numbers in the original book. An EPUB file or reading system that lacks navigation by original print page numbers does not allow for this active participation without a significant expense of extra effort on the part of the student with disability.



  Brian Richwine


Manager, UITS Assistive Technology and Accessibility Centers, Indiana University

(812) 856-2757 [Direct Line]

(812) 856-4112 [Office Number]

(812) 650-2897 [Cell]





From: <> On Behalf Of Joseph Polizzotto
Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2018 1:03 PM
To: Transition to accessible EPUB <>
Cc: 'George Kerscher' <>
Subject: EPUB in Higher ED


Hi Reading Sytems Group:


During our Reading Systems Testing conference call today, we discussed the transition to EPUB in the Higher Ed. Community. A few members of our Reading Systems group are in the Higher Ed community, and they mentioned a few issues that are perceived as roadblocks to EPUB adoption by their colleagues across the Higher Ed landscape. The issues that they brought up during our call today represented the following concerns:

·         Lack of support for the Page-List Nav in popular reading systems

·         Lack of access to popular study skills features (e.g., highlighting, annotations) in Vital Source Bookshelf when sideloading an EPUB

These representatives from Higher Ed mentioned that these issues are indeed important since they bear upon typical accommodation offerings to students in Higher Ed who request a reading system. These students often request that their textbook contain the print equivalent page numbers and that their reading system have study skills features. 

To promote the adoption of EPUB as the standard for accessible publishing, these members of the Higher Ed community urge publishers to adhere to the EPUB accessibility standards, especially the inclusion of the Page-List Nav (if a print equivalent of the book is available). In addition, they encourage more innovation between publishers and typical AT providers, such as Kurzweil, so that students using these AT tools can have a seamless transition between use of their AT and access to the rich features available in EPUB 3.


Note: A member of our call today mentioned that these concerns had also been raised in popular listservs for disability professionals working in Higher Ed.





Joseph Polizzotto

HTCTU Instructor




Received on Thursday, 15 March 2018 13:09:25 UTC