Understanding EPUB: How to Examine the Structure and Accessibility of EPUBs (BYOD Workshop)

Presented at 1:30pm in Meadowbrook II on Tuesday, November 13, 2018.



  • Rachel Comerford, Senior Director of Accessibility Outreach and Communication, Macmillan Learning
  • Amy Salmon, Senior Accessibility Consultant, TechForAll
  • Chris Auclair, Software Engineer, VitalSource

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 3-hr
  • Format: Lab
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: Pre-conference


Accessible EPUBs are becoming easier to find and purchase from any number of channels but in the educational world, many are far more comfortable with PDF. This workshop will take an accessible EPUB checklist and walk users through a live EPUB step by step, examining the features and resources that are available within the format.


Users that are new to EPUB may find the format intimidating or confusing. Confirming that the file contains everything your students need thus becomes a complex activity. New resources, such as Ace by DAISY make assessing an EPUB easier, but if you are opening an EPUB for the first time, how do you know what to look for?

In this workshop we separate the assessment of the file into four main areas: Semantics, Content, Style, and Navigation. A simple checklist for each of these areas will be available to participants as will a sample EPUB. We will go through each checklist, line by line, explaining what to look for and why it's important while participants do the same in the lab or on their own device.


  1. Obtain a simple EPUB checklist that will assist in EPUB assessment
  2. Explore how the four major EPUB areas (Semantics, Content, Style, and Navigation) impact student experience
  3. Become comfortable with EPUB format and the tools available to assess them

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Accessible Course Design, Alternate Format, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Rachel Comerford

Rachel Comerford is the Senior Director of Accessibility Outreach and Communication at Macmillan Learning where she leads cross-functional efforts to ensure students of all abilities have access to their course materials. In 2020, BISG awarded Rachel the Industry Innovator award for her work helping Macmillan Learning to become the first Global Certified Accessible publisher by Benetech. Under her leadership, Macmillan was recognized by WIPO’s Accessible Book Consortium with the International Excellence Award for Accessible Publishing in 2020 for their work towards providing educational materials that any student can use. 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.

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.

Chris Auclair