# Fw: Making math equations accessible

From: David Poehlman <poehlman1@comcast.net>
Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2002 17:47:51 -0500
To: wai-ig list <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-id: <003a01c2959d\$db129f30\$19e03244@DAVIDPOEHLMAN>

----- Original Message -----
From: "Alan Cantor" <Alan.Cantor@MBS.GOV.ON.CA>
To: <EASI@MAELSTROM.STJOHNS.EDU>
Sent: Tuesday, November 26, 2002 5:21 PM
Subject: Re: Making math equations accessible

Thank you to everyone who responded with their ideas. The approach we
have decided to adopt is to include an alt tag with each equation. The
equations themselves are images. The alt tags will follow these basic
rules:

1. Write equations linearly.

2. Use different levels of brackets to indicate different nested levels.

3. Use / for divide, * for multiply, ^ for exponent, etc.

4. Use commonsense expressions like sqrt for square root, Sum for sigma,
d(x) or dx for differential of x, etc.

Therefore, the alt tag for the equation V equals the cube root of x + y
squared, all divided by z, would be:

V = [ (x + y) ^ (1/3) ]  /z

Alan

Alan Cantor
Project Manager
Strategic e-Government Implementation
e-Government, OCCS
416-212-1152
Alan.Cantor@mbs.gov.on.ca

>>> richj@ASU.EDU 11/26/02 04:34pm >>>
The question needs some clarification.  Do you have specific users that
need
to have access?  Are  you looking for a conversion process for math to
Braille or audio?  Or are you looking for a web based method of
presenting
math to anyone who clicks on the URL?

If it is the later, there are no complete answers.  MathML and LaTex
offers
several possible solutions.  Duxbury will convert some LaTex files. BUT
there is no standard for writing MathML or LaTex to create an accessible
files.
A completed conversion process is dependent on money, not ideas.

The short answer is that there is not an automatic way to do it.  The
most
usable (quick and dirty) method  of presenting symbolic information on
the
web is to use the same approach that is used with pdf files.  Have the
symbolic document in whatever, editor or graphic file you want and then
include a second accessible format.  An audio file of the symbolic
information would work. It would be nice if you also had the information
in
Nemeth Code, but unless you are expecting the users to compute the
information, audio would suffice.
Received on Tuesday, 26 November 2002 17:48:23 UTC

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