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EPUB 3.1 Now Proposed Specification

The IDPF Board recently approved working group recommendations to advance the EPUB 3.1 specifications to Proposed Specification status. A public review and comment period will be open through November 7th. The final step according to IDPF policies is a member vote to approve as Recommended Specifications.


The EPUB 3.1 revision also introduces a new accessibility specification and techniques document. Both also apply to older versions of the EPUB specification. Developed as part of EPUB 3.1, the goal is to provide guidance on making conforming EPUB publications accessible.

IDPF members and non-members are welcome to submit comments via the IDPF GitHub Issue List.

More information is provided on the IDPF website.

WCAG 2.1 under exploration, comments requested by November 1st

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Working Group announced a plan to develop WCAG 2.1, which builds on but does not supersede WCAG 2.0. The group would like input from stakeholders on this plan.


Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 became a W3C Recommendation on December 11th, 2008. It has been one of the major resources for making web content accessible to users with disabilities. WCAG has been referenced by accessibility policies of many countries and organizations, translated into twenty languages, and it has become an ISO standard (ISO/IEC 40500:2012).


WCAG 2.0 was structured to be a stable resource. Technology-specific implementation guidance was provided separately (in the Techniques and Understanding supporting documents) and updated as web technologies evolve.


In 2015, the WCAG Working Group had chosen to develop extensions to WCAG 2.0, in order to provide targeted guidance quickly, without changing the meaning of conformance to WCAG 2.0 itself or disturbing policies that reference WCAG 2.0. In review of the Requirements for WCAG 2.0 Extensions, however, it became apparent that the interrelationship of extensions could be complicated, and accessibility for some user groups could vary if organizations chose to meet some extensions but not others.


After careful consultation, the Working Group has decided not to put the new guidance in extensions, but instead work on an updated version of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. WCAG 2.1 will build on WCAG 2.0 to provide guidance urgently needed for today’s technologies. Because of the backwards compatibility, sites conforming either to WCAG 2.0 or WCAG 2.1 will share a common base of accessibility conformance. More information is provided on the W3C blog.

Petitions Committee calls on EU countries to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty

The Council and European Union (EU) member states need to accelerate the ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind, have low vision or are print disabled. The treaty, which entered into force September 30th, was signed by the EU in 2014 but is yet to be implemented by the Council.


“The EU should be in the forefront when it comes to facilitating the lives for people with disabilities. Therefore, I deeply regret that the Marrakesh Treaty will not come into force in Europe today”, said Petitions Committee Chair Cecilia Wikström (ALDE, SE).


“This issue has been of the highest priority for the PETI committee for a long time and we will continue supporting the ratification process and its measures until the treaty is properly implemented in all European Union member states”, she added.


By signing the Marrakesh Treaty in 2014, the EU member states have taken a political commitment to ratify the treaty. More information is available on the Global Accessibility News website.

Australia and Canada Exchange First Books Under the Marrakesh Treaty

Australians who are blind or have low vision are the first in the world to benefit from the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled through the symbolic exchange of book titles between the DAISY Consortium members Vision Australia and CNIB (Canada).


The Treaty came into force today. It has already been ratified by 22 countries, allowing the free sharing of titles in accessible formats between organisations in ratified countries. People who are blind, have low vision or print disability can now access a wider range of content.


Vision Australia General Manager for Accessible Information Solutions, Mr Michael Simpson stated:

“Today’s exchange is symbolic and marks the first step in expanding the collection of titles for the print disability communities here in Australia. The books included in the exchange are fiction titles, but in time, we expect other content to become available including journals and periodicals, educational materials and sheet music.” More information is provided on the Vision Australia website.