Transparency in Textbooks – Knowing ahead of time what you will get

Handouts Media

Presented at 8:00am in Lakehouse on Thursday, November 15, 2018.



  • Rick Johnson, Vice-President Product Strategy , VitalSource Technologies, LLC.
  • Amy Salmon, Senior Accessibility Consultant, Tech for All, Inc.

Session Details

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


Buyer Beware is not what learners want when looking for accessible materials. Transparency into the accessibility features of a textbook or other learning materials before purchase, or before the selection by an instructor has long been a dream, but no longer! Come learn how VitalSource, and the industry are providing this long wished for ability.


Far too often, when a learner is searching for course materials, they have to rely on others to help with their discovery. They may be purchasing from the campus bookstore, another reseller, directly from the publisher, or even have them included in the course, but how do they know the accessibility of the materials beforehand? Historically this has required the learner to self-identify as needing accessible materials, and searching out assistance from the appropriate institutional department. There needs to be a better way!

The past year has seen tremendous advances in the standards and tools to help content creators know, and improve the accessibility of their content (the EPUB 1.0 Accessibility standard, and the DAISY ACE checker are two excellent examples!). Combining the latest standards, tools, and collaborative efforts of the industry, it is now possible to extract the metadata describing the accessibility capabilities of content, and put that information into the same discovery locations that users currently access. This means when you go to a store to find your content, just like you currently see the author, title, price, publisher, and other information, you can now also see what the publisher has included in the content for accessibility.

Come to this session to learn how all of these parts fit together to enable this exciting capability, and understand how your institution can take advantage of it!


  1. The latest tools being provided for content creators to understand, examine, and remediate their materials.
  2. How the information about the accessibility of learning materials will be transmitted thru the supply chain.
  3. How users, and DSS offices will be able to use this information to make decisions.

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Accessible Course Design, Alternate Format, Assistive Technology, Uncategorized, Web/Media Access

Speaker Bio(s)

Rick Johnson

Rick Johnson is the Vice President of Product Strategy, and one of the founders of VitalSource Technologies, Inc. Now a division of the Ingram Content Group, VitalSource the maker of Bookshelf®, the most widely used platform for delivery of electronic textbooks in the world. As VP of Product Strategy, Rick manages the strategic direction of the fast growing platform, guiding the architecture, and implementation of its clients and systems.

Rick's career has been focused on bringing together his three passions: technology, publishing, and education. He is a frequent speaker internationally on electronic textbooks, their integration into an institutional environment, and how the accessibility needs of individual students can best be accommodated in their delivery. He has served on multiple committees addressing the needs around delivering accessible content to students, was a member of the working groups responsible for version 2 and version 3 of the EPUB standard, currently serves on the board of directors for IMS Global ( and the IDPF (, and is the co-inventor of 3 domestic and international patents dealing with electronic books and their distribution.

Prior to Ingram and VitalSource, Rick spent more than 12 years with Apple Computer, Inc. As a Senior National Consulting Engineer for them he was instrumental in the implementation of complex solutions for many higher education and corporate customers, and received numerous national and international awards.

A graduate of the communication and business departments of Biola University in 1984, Rick has lived in the Phoenix area with his family since they moved from Southern California in 1991. Married to his wife Susie for more than 30 years, together they have raised two children, and are very active in their church and community. Rick also serves on the board of directors for several non-profit ministries.

Amy Salmon

Amy Salmon, MSEd., 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 a 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.