“The publisher says this e-book is accessible so that’s enough right?”

Not exactly. When it comes to e-book accessibility there’s a big difference between an e-book that is “born” accessible, fully accessible, partially accessible or inaccessible.

How can you tell the difference? That’s where the story begins.

Benetech is a nonprofit organization that supports and helps to advance technology for the benefit of social good. They offer a variety of different programs around social justice with the largest being their global literacy program. Their e-book repository Bookshare offers 900,000 accessible books, which are available for free to people who have certified print disabilities.

To make an additional impact, Benetech also offers the Globally Certified Accessible (GCATM) program. The GCA certified publisher program works directly with the publishers to analyze their current e-book workflow and educate them on how to adjust their workflow to develop a fully accessible e-book. Once a publisher goes through this process, they can become a GCA certified publisher. From that point forward, each e-book they create includes a field in the EPUB file that designates it as a Benetech GCA E-Book.

With new rules and regulations coming for academic libraries in the UK and the U.S., partnering with organizations that are moving the needle towards accessibility for all users is an important step for library vendors.

Where EBSCO Can Help

As an aggregator of information and an advocate for the EPUB format, EBSCO works with publishers to help them identify weaknesses in their files and promote those producing truly accessible e-books. The inclusion of the Benetech GCA certified title stamp in the EPUB file presents an opportunity to bring that information forward to e-book buyers to help make better informed purchasing decisions. We are working towards highlighting GCA certified publishers on our e-commerce sites such as EBSCOhost Collection Manager®. (Stay in the know on our progress by signing up for our Knowing eBooks monthly newsletter!)

An Official Partnership Dedicated to E-Book Accessibility for Everyone

With new rules and regulations coming for academic libraries in the UK and the U.S., partnering with organizations that are moving the needle towards accessibility for all users is an important step for library vendors.

The EBSCO partnership with Benetech aims to educate and inform librarians on accessible resources and supports publishers on their accessibility journey. Here is a peek at what we are working on together:

  • Available Now: A List of GCATM Certified Publishers (and Publishers Working Toward it!)

A small number of publishers have already achieved GCA certification. This number will only increase as the need for born accessible e-books continues and the demand for digital resources increase. EBSCO has created a webpage that lists publishers who have achieved certification, along with those who are committed to the process. Bookmark this page and check back for updates.

  • Available Now: A Conversation with Benetech Director of Content Partnerships Michael Johnson

In the podcast series The Digital Squeeze, EBSCO Product Director Kara Kroes Li and E-Book Product Manager Rob Smith talk to Benetech Director of Content Partnerships, Michael Johnson, about e-book accessibility, why accessibility is a spectrum, the GCA certified publisher program, and more.

Partnerships like the one with Benetech offer EBSCO customers peace of mind and confidence that we are committed to improving e-book accessibility. Our goal is to promote the resources that offer the best experience for all users regardless of disability.