Tools WG meeting notes from 3 February 2014

Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata



1. MathMLCloud funded

2. EasyPublish support for a11y metadata in Learning Registry

3. Accessibility Wordpress Plugin supports a11y microdata

4. Sample search: video accessibility: :videoobject-accessibilityfeature

-- Structured Data Testing Tool:

-- OERPUB has support for MathML and descriptions, adding support for metadata, planning a11y sprint

7. gh-Accessibilty WAVES Toolbar JS web library



Geoff Freed

Gerardo Capiel

Richard Lardner

Steve Noble

Keith Creasy

Julie Noblitt

Neil Soiffer

George Kerscher

Kathi Fletcher

John Gardner


Bruce Walker



Gerardo/Neil:  Some of the work that was prototyped in April 2013 to enable publishers to deal with MathML has progressed.  For example, providing support for math on older devices (Kindle/Nook).  During the accessibility sprint and EDUPUB, came up with the idea to preserve the MathML by putting it into the cloud and supplying an LCD via @alt.  Doing this because there’s no way to preserve the original MathML.  Also provides a bridge to the ideal solution, which is access to MathML.  Received funding from Microsoft for this work. describes the proposed architecture.

Gerardo: EasyPublish; accessibility metadata in the Learning Registry ( LR is a registry where anyone can submit metadata about own or others’ resources:  e.g., someone submitted metadata about Kahn Academy resources; Gerardo/others used the LR tool to add metadata regarding captions for these resources.  Accessibility metadata that can be added included the four attributes that were added recently to  Gerardo will post a link to the prototype when it is more stable.

Gerardo: WordPress accessibility plug-in now supports accessibility metadata.  Google only searches for accessibility data (e.g., captions) on YouTube.  Would be better if a wider approach would provide more results.  Turned to WordPress for a potential solution.  The plug-in that was developed runs across (i.e., searches) thousands of sites.  Includes support for mmicrodata but didn’t include accessibility metadata.  Worked with him to add code to the plug-in that checks for caption info in YT database.  This new plug-in was rolled out over the weekend; info now available at .  Over the next few weeks more and more results will be available as the plug-in crawls the Internet and finds metadata for captions.  Current searches only turn up a few captioned videos.

Kathi: Work w/OERPUB editor.  Editor is basically textbook editor which produces clean HTML using a WYSIWYG editor.  Encourages authors to provide descriptions for images; nag for table markup, headings, other structural features.  Makes it easy to insert MathML rendered by MathJax.  Also keeps the original MathML source.  Will be adding accessibility metadata so these features will show up in searches.  Slides about some accessibility features and plans in the oerpub editor: .  Will add descriptions to PPT images and reupload.

George:  is output HTML5 or epub?

Kathi:  basic output is HTML5 turned into EPUB ([[must verify; can’t hear the entire answer).

Keith: Is the editor accessible?

Kathi:  Math editing is good; accessible via keyboard.  Other features of the editor are not entirely accessible.  

Keith: Shortcuts are good but don’t make everything accessible.

Kathi: Dragging features are not accessible.  Would not take a lot of work to make the editor more accessible.  Editor is available at .  Try.

Gerardo:  gh work re WAVES Toolbar/DIAGRAM subcontract.  How to make it easier for kids to write math in a test/quiz/homework?  Dave S at gh noted that math editors are generally too complex for many students.  Initially designed WAVES toolbar but w/DIAGRAM subcontract they redeveloped it as a JS library that can be dropped into any Web page.  Allows users to author accessible math: .

Keith: Why has there not been attention to blind students editing math in braille code (e.g., Nemeth)?  Why must they edit in other code (MathML)?  Students already know Nemeth.

John: if the Nemeth is perfect there are still ambiguities.  Also very few people can author perfect Nemeth.

Keith: Agree, but math won’t be perfect using WAVE editor, either.  

Neil: HumanWare makes a reverse translator (converting Nemeth). As John says, if you make a single mistake the entire equation is garbage to a blind student.

John: The real trick when writing math is being able to check your work and find errors (e.g., check the output as an equation).

Neil: Nemeth is really not that well learned or used.

Disconnect between what the students can do and what the teachers can read or understand re math and Nemeth.

Steve: Students at the secondary level at schools that support Nemeth, once in a higher-ed setting the ability to receive Nemeth code in class is difficult.  Would have been useful if screen-reader/braille vendors supported Nemeth output from the beginning.

Keith: Agree.  How to get vendors to support Nemeth, or even improve braille support?  Braille is an excellent learning method.  Not everybody can use speech.

George: second half of 2015 will see the price of braille cells drop. Production costs will be lower so braille will be easier to produce.  This is because a coalition of different organizations will have developed new technology for printing braille. ([[lost connection and had to dial back in)

Keith: one reason I joined the WG is because APH is involved in a project called Braille Blaster (, a tool to fix existing markup to add braille to a document.  Provides a quick and productive way for professionals to create a high-quality textbook for hard copy or e-book.

Steve: Progress regarding POET and math-description engine?

Gerardo: Still not complete. Have done work with mathTrax but hasn’t been integrated into POET yet.  Needs more work around templates for generating descriptions.

Also researching using audio in browser-based technology for conveying graphs, charts, etc.  All prototypes and proof-of-concept stuff at the moment.

From Julie:  Bookshare reader survey finds gap between ability and desire to read image descriptions in reading tools:

Enter labels to add to this page:
Please wait 
Looking for a label? Just start typing.