Getting to grips with EPUB

Presented at 10:30am in Standley I (Adobe Lab) on Monday, November 18, 2019.



  • Richard Orme, Mr, DAISY Consortium
  • Amy Salmon, Senior Accessibility Consultant, TechForAll
  • George Kerscher, , DAISY Consortium
  • Joseph Polizzotto, , UC Berkeley

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 5-6-hr
  • Format: Lab
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: Pre-conference


EPUB has become a common file format for academic publications. This workshop will help library, faculty and DSO colleagues get up to speed with this publishing standard and its built-in accessibility features.


Around 80% of new academic titles are published in EPUB. In this workshop, delegates will experience the accessibility features of this digital publishing format. We will show specific benefits for students who are blind, low vision, or learning disabled. We will explain how EPUB is a milestone development in accessibility, and attendees will discover where students can access millions of books and journals. Attendees will discover that they know more about EPUB than they think, because it is built on familiar, accessible web standards. We will spend quality, hands-on time with several reading apps, on both desktop and mobile platforms. Attendees will learn about the accessibility practices of publishers, and how to tell the difference between a good and excellent EPUB. Finally, attendees will learn that there are simple ways for faculty and students to make their own EPUBs.


  1. EPUB is the modern format for digital publishing, the primary standard for the distribution of digital books.
  2. Publishers are embracing best practice, inc many features meaning books don't need remediation or conversion.
  3. There are many EPUB (free) reading apps and devices, and there is good information to ensure wise choices.

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Accessible Educational Materials, Alternate Format, Assistive Technology, EPUB Track, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Richard Orme

When teaching in a college in rural England more than 30 years ago, Richard encountered his first blind student, beginning a career in what we now refer to as accessibility. He has worked for local, national and international organizations, with young, old, and very old people, with visual, physical, dual sensory and cognitive disabilities. Having identified a critical lack of accessible curriculum materials in the UK, Richard led an initiative for a national database of accessible textbooks, now grown to become the national Education Collection operating as RNIB Bookshare.

Richard is Chief Executive of the DAISY Consortium, the global organization whose mission is to develop standards and solutions for accessible publishing and reading.He volunteers in his community as a home visitor, providing technology support for people with disabilities. Richard’s brother James has a profound learning disability, and his son Jim has dyslexia and is currently studying aerospace engineering at university.

Amy Salmon

Amy Salmon has been a Senior Accessibility Consultant for Tech for All, Inc. (TFA) since 2003. TFA is a 17 years old highly regarded international accessibility & universal design consulting firm that serves small to Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, and non profit organizations representing people with disabilities. Amy conducts accessibility analysis and evaluations of websites, software, content, and integrated hardware & software applications. Legally blind since 1995, Amy combines her knowledge of access technology with training and expertise in accessibility guidelines and best practice to provide TFA clients with a comprehensive analysis of the accessibility and usability of their products. She has worked with variety of industries including airlines, eCommerce, higher education, publishing, retail, and telecommunication. Amy’s goal is to make accessibility for all an integral part of the future. She has published and presented numerous times at the CSUN International Technology and Persons with Disabilities and at the Accessing Higher Grounds Conferences. She has a Master’s of Science degree in Rehabilitation for the Visually Impaired from Northern Illinois University where she graduated Summa Cum Laude and a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.

George Kerscher

“Access to information is a fundamental human right.” 2003 to the United Nations George Kerscher began his IT innovations in 1987 and coined the term "print disabled." George is dedicated to developing technologies that make information not only accessible, but also fully functional in the hands of persons who are blind or who have a print disability. He believes properly designed digitally published materials and web pages can make information accessible to all people. George is an advocate for semantically rich content which can be used effectively by everybody. As Chief Innovations Officer of the DAISY Consortium, Senior Advisor, Global Literacy to Benetech, and member of Publishing Groups in the W3C, Kerscher is a recognized international leader in document access. In addition, Kerscher chairs the DAISY/NISO Standards committee, Chairs the Steering Council of the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI, and also serves on the Advisory Board of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Read full Vita at:

Joseph Polizzotto

Joseph is the Alternate Media Supervisor at UC Berkeley. He previously was Assistive Technology Specialist Instructor at the High Tech Center Training Unit (HTCTU) of the California Community Colleges, where he trained college faculty and staff on alternate media workflows and assistive technology. Joseph received a B.A. degree in History from the University of California, Santa Cruz and an M.A. degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from San José State University. He has over 15 years of teaching experience in ESL and basic skills. His research interests include accessible EPUB 3 and mobile reading systems.