Inside EPUB

Presented at 9:00am in Standley I Lab on Tuesday, November 19, 2019.



  • Richard Orme, Mr, DAISY Consortium
  • George Kerscher, , DAISY Consortium
  • Amy Salmon, , TechForAll
  • Joseph Polizzotto, , UC Berkeley
  • Rachel Comerford, Senior Director of Content Standards and Accessibility, Macmillan Learning

Session Details

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


When university staff are familiar with accessible EPUBs, they will want to take it to the next level. Attendees will learn how to evaluate EPUBs for accessibility, use free tools to enhance the files for an even better student experience (such as adding notes, descriptions, additional resources) and understand how faculty faculty can create EPUBs.


In this workshop we will break open the EPUB to show how they are put together. We will show how the main contents of an EPUB are web pages, and with simple tricks you can even view them in a web browser. Just like web pages, EPUBs can vary, so using free tools, delegates will learn how to evaluate whether an EPUB is valid and accessible. You may want to modify even a perfectly constructed EPUB, such as by adding specific explanatory notes or additional resources. Using freely available tools, we will learn how to make improvements to an EPUB file, and how to validate the new version we made. We’ll also look at ways that professors and altformat colleagues can make their own EPUBs with a variety of tools, and then distribute them to students.


  1. EPUB files are containers that include files that may be surprisingly familiar to you.
  2. Software tools can quickly assess if a file conforms to the standard, and help identify accessibility issues.
  3. It isn’t rocket science to edit an existing EPUB, or to show others how they can make their own.

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.

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:

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.

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.

Rachel Comerford

Rachel Comerford is the Senior Director of Content Standards and Accessibility at Macmillan Learning where she spearheads cross-functional efforts to ensure customer satisfaction and access for all. Recent projects include the implementation of a company-wide accessibility training initiative, accessibility authoring and quality assurance guidelines, and a new customer outreach and response plan. She has over a decade of experience in the print and digital publishing world. Prior to coming to Macmillan as an editor, she held a variety of editorial and sales positions at WW Norton and Pearson.