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Monday, June 13, 2011

EPUB3 - An Answer to the Accessibility Problem with eReaders?

Over a year ago I reported on the "DOJ and ADA Mandate Ebook Readers Be Accessible to All" and the problems this posed to the ereader industry in a news feature for Information Today's NewsBreaks

At the May BookExpo America, EPUB3 was announced, which will make it possible for true accessibility for ebooks on any platform. EPUB is the industry standard that guarantees "a distribution and interchange format standard for digital publications and documents. EPUB defines a means of representing, packaging and encoding structured and semantically enhanced Web content -- including HTML5, CSS, SVG, images, and other resources -- for distribution in a single-file format."

With the May 2011 release of EPUB 3, we can hopefully expect to see more innovative, born-digital "enhanced ebooks" in the coming years. In the words of George Kerscher representing the DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) Consortium, EPUB 3 "fills gaps missing in previous versions" of the standard and gives hope that the two standards may eventually be merged in the future. "Every digital book will be an accessible book now," notes Kerscher.

Great news for us all!

All the News That's Fit to Post. Or Is It? Quality Information and the Social Web

Earlier this month while on her bus tour of the east, Sarah Palin managed to nearly rewrite the history of Paul Revere's famous ride. Regardless of your opinions on Palin, the interesting part of the story starts after the initial news coverage when people attempted to rewrite Wikipedia entries related to that midnight ride with revisions that would support the Palin interpretation. In his New York Times blog, Noam Cohen describes the subsequent activities on the Wikipedia site. Amazing!

Although my article in the current issue of SEARCHER predates this by over six months, the article looks at how the culture of 'instant news' sometimes cuts corners of fact-checking that can affect not only credibility but the course of events. The HTML version of the article is available freely at the SEARCHER site. Give it a look.

What do you think about the state of news today? Is quality, reliable information easier to find today - or is the unfiltered nature of the web making it more difficult?