Writing and publishing for everyone; Not just the 90%

Authors need to consider accessibility when creating materials and choosing a publisher, but how can they this when it is such a misunderstood word?

Accessibility, in regard to publishing, means making content available in alternative formats for individuals with visual impairment or learning disabilities.

People may conjure up Braille as making content accessible to people with disabilities or learning issues. Publishing, however, has progressed so much farther than this. Using such technical standards as ePub3, HTML5, alt text, and other specific initiatives, publishers can make their content accessible to a growing audience. [Read more…]

Leveraging our authoring experience in electronic media

new ideasThe publishing industry is quickly evolving, and with it, the role of an author is changing as well. Where once instructional and academic material was destined mainly for a printed book or journal article, today the landscape looks very different, with electronic media options continually growing. But while these changes can be disorienting for experienced and new authors alike, the new world of electronic media offers many new opportunities for people with specialized knowledge, strong communication skills, and the ability to meet deadlines. Whether you want to supplement existing written work or work in a new medium altogether, the opportunities are exciting – and perhaps the best part is that you don’t need an acquisitions editor to get started! [Read more…]

How to incorporate accessibility throughout the publishing process

Digital AccessibilityIn his recent webinar, “Making Textbooks Accessible to Students With Disabilities”, Robert Martinengo, Publisher Outreach Specialist for the CAMI project at AMAC Accessibility, said that the issue of accessibility is even more important when it comes to digital products.

“The ability to navigate through a digital textbook is a critical component of accessibility,” he said. “Navigation is enabled by consistent and rational use of tags throughout the text.”

In addition to effective navigation, accessible manuscripts should also include these four elements, said Martinengo: [Read more…]

Textbook authoring in the digital age, Part two

Mary Ellen Lepionka

Mary Ellen Lepionka

There is a whole new language for the teaching and learning enterprise today, and it is not textbook-based. The very word textbook has become vilified, vulgarized—a dirty word associated (rightly and wrongly) with the profit-taking and business practices of commercial higher education textbook publishers. Expository writing on a course subject for digitized delivery is not even called a textbook. Rather, the product is content—in the form of learning objects, modules, and media assets, offered in the form of an online course or a portal or gateway to new (or newly networked) knowledge. The term textbook will become obsolete or will be narrowly defined to refer only to conversions—non-interactive digitizations of textbooks in print.

Textbook authoring in the Digital Age thus requires a different way of looking at yourself, your mission, and the students. Today, as an erstwhile textbook author, you are regarded not as an instructor but as an SME (subject matter expert). SMEs provide authoritative content and sources, organized into templates that reflect principles of instructional design. [Read more…]