[community] Accessible online magazines?

Bob Dodd Bob.Dodd at cnib.ca
Tue Oct 24 12:37:04 UTC 2017


I'm the Library Web Developer the CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind). We currently produce over 150 accessible versions of popular commercial magazines in DAISY text format, plus a bunch of magazines in DAISY audio (narrated), and in electronic and physical Braille.

Those magazines are distributed free to print disabled users in Canada by CELA (the Centre for Equitable Library Access,  part of the Canadian public library system). Our current range:
http://celalibrary.ca/Magazines (English) http://bibliocaeb.ca/Magazines (French)

The part of our process nearest to what you want to do, is the way we make our DAISY text magazines. We don't work from PDF, we work from the publisher's raw source files in a subset of HTML called NewsML. It's the raw format that they use to generate their digital, and sometimes print formats.

NewsML contains both text and images, and this we transcode the content using bots written in Python into standard DAISY 2 Text format books. Our biggest problem is with image captions as they are not always associated with the images and may be some distance away from them in the content (think Canadian Geographic where they have blocks of captions referring to content across pages). We also have a problem I call "black small square", which is what we often get from some publishers who don't believe in marking up lists properly, and instead use bullet characters in paragraph formatted text.

Why DAISY 2?  Partly because it is the lowest common denominator for commercial accessible book players. And partly because we find publishers are happier to collaborate for DAISY 2 rather than for E-PUB, as it is perceived to be a speciality accessible format, rather than a commercial easily played/stolen format.  We will be moving format late next year when we have our new digital fingerprinting system in place, but even then we will probably standardize on DAISY 3.

The advantage of sticking with established formats rather than creating a specialized web player is breadth of user base. The print disabled community is a very wide user base, with carrying abilities visual, physical, and cognitive design spaces. A well-supported international format like DAISY maximizes the chance of the content being usable across assistive technology, whether you are using PC, tablet, mobile, or specialized hardware.

If you'd like to chat more about it, or see what a DAISY 2 magazine looks like internally, then please contact me at bob.dodd at cnib.ca

Bob Dodd
Library Web Developer,

-----Original Message-----
From: community [mailto:community-bounces at lists.idrc.ocadu.ca] On Behalf Of Andrea Lamarre
Sent: October 23, 2017 7:53 PM
To: community at lists.idrc.ocadu.ca
Subject: [community] Accessible online magazines?

Hello all,

I am helping to establish an online repository for research project products (reports, infographics, etc.). We are looking at using an "online magazine" format, which essentially transforms PDFs into interactive, multimedia content. We've looked at platforms like Joomag (www.joomag.com<http://www.joomag.com>) but I can't seem to find any information on the site or by Googling/looking at forums about whether or not the platform is accessible to those using screen readers. I'm sorry if it is a silly question, but I'm wondering if anyone has experience in creating something similar and knows about accessibility features of such platforms? There are similar ones to Joomag, like FlowPaper and Issu...

Thanks so much,


Andrea LaMarre

PhD Candidate, FRHD

Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition

University of Guelph

Knowledge Mobilization Coordinator

ReVision Centre for Art and Social Justice

alamarre at uoguelph.ca

519 993 6435
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