Global Certified Accessible Third-party Certification for EPUBs

Handouts Media

Presented at 11:15am in Plaza Court 3 on Wednesday, November 17, 2021.



  • Charles LaPierre, Principal, Accessibility and Content Quality Architect, Benetech
  • Michael Johnson, Director of Content Partnerships, Benetech

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: General Conference


Benetech's Global Certified Accessible program is the first third party certification program that stamps publisher EPUBs as conforming to the Accessibility 1.0 Specification. Learn about the program itself, our global partners, and those publishers and conversion vendors who have already been certified since our launch 3 years ago.


Born Accessible is a phrase coined by Benetech's former CEO Betsy Bowmen at the Tools of Change conference in 2012: "If a book can be born digital it should be born accessible." The problem is making a book fully accessible although not rocket science can be challenging which is where we can help.

Benetech and DAISY has partnered together to create a truly Global Certified Accessible program which works with publishers and conversion vendors helping them create accessible EPUBs that conforms to the Accessibility 1.0 standard.

In our session we will cover these key topics. 1. Overview of the process itself 2. Benefits of certification including keeping publishers up-to-date with the latest requirements and innovations 3. Our domestic as well as international clients 4. Retailers providing accessibility metadata 5. Accessibility becoming standard in purchasing agreements 6. Several accessible library projects are underway


  1. Third Party Certification for accessible EPUBs is essential for consistency.
  2. GCA provides publishers with the help and resources they need to make their EPUBs accessible.
  3. Retailers are providing accessibility metadata, and accessibility becoming standard in purchasing agreements.

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Accessible Educational Materials, EPUB Track, Procurement, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Charles LaPierre

Charles LaPierre, Benetech: Principal, Accessibility Standards, and Technical Lead, Global Certified Accessible. Charles has over 25 years’ accessibility development experience and has been a pioneer in accessible product development since 1993. Charles currently a member of the following W3C Working Groups: Publishing Working Group, MathML Refresh, ARIA, APA / Personalization Task Force, as well as a member of the EPUB3 W3C Community Group, and co-chair of the Accessibility Metadata W3C Community Group. Charles is the technical architect of the new Global Certified Accessible initiative at Benetech to certify publisher content as conforming to the new EPUB 1.0 Accessibility Specification. Charles has a bachelor's and master's degree in Electrical Engineering from Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.

Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson is a seasoned executive with almost 40 years of experience in the technology, publishing, and education markets. He has worked on digital database and content projects around the world.

Michael is the Director of Content Partnerships at Benetech. In this role he works directly with publishers, conversion houses, technology platforms, and educational institutions to help them understand and implement processes that allow for fully accessible content to get from authors all the way through to the end reader.

Michael has a long time relationship to standards having sat on several ISO, NISO, BISG, and MARC standards committees throughout his career. He has a deep background in the creation and distribution of content.