George Kerscher: The Changing Practices in Universities. New Regulations, Expectations and Attitudes.

Many independent forces are converging to make universities more accessible.  “Inclusion” is the buzz word in the tech sector,  on the Web, in the strategic plans of responsible companies, in legal frameworks and in publishing.  This presentation will explore the initiatives that are impacting society in general and universities in particular. The session will look at the standards and other developments that are making major advancements. The impact of procurement and how universities and their professors select and develop course materials will be considered. The significant issue of university staff and their skills will be highlighted. Finally we will examine the areas that are lagging and where we can anticipate continued challenges.

Abstract George Kerscher_Changing Practices in Universities

“Access to information is a fundamental human right.” 2003 to the United Nations

George Kerscher began his IT innovations in 1987 and coined the term “print disabled.” George is dedicated to developing technologies that make information not only accessible, but also fully functional in the hands of persons who are blind or who have a print disability. He believes properly designed digitally published materials and web pages can make information accessible to all people.  George is an advocate for semantically rich content which can be used effectively by everybody. As Chief Innovations Officer of the DAISY Consortium, Senior Advisor, Global Literacy to Benetech, and member of Publishing Groups in the W3C, Kerscher is a recognized international leader in document access.  In addition, Kerscher chairs the DAISY/NISO Standards committee, Chairs the Steering Council of the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI, and also serves on the Advisory Board of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Antje Graf „Inclusive OCW“: Inclusive and Collaborative Creation and Use of OpenCourseWare for Vocational Promotion for Visually Impaired People.

The project InclusiveOCW aims at providing an accessible platform for study materials based on the idea of Wikipedia. The platform should enable people to create, share, revise and reuse multilingual contents for teaching and learning. In order to achieve this, the learning platform slide wiki (, which was created in a project nine years ago, will be expanded and enhanced in its practicality. DZB’s main task will be to examine the accessibility of the platform and its contents according to BITV and WCAG. Furthermore, DZB will develop a concept which enables blind users to access copyright protected contents.

The project is run by the the Berufsförderungswerk Halle/Saale in cooperation with different partners (Technische Informationsbibliothek, Forschungszentrum L3S, Leibniz University of Hannover, Fraunhofer IAIS, DZB).

Abstract Antje Graf_Inclusive OCW

Until 2008, Antje Graf studied publishing at HTWK Leipzig. Her final thesis discussed “Reading in old age – demographic change and its challenges for publishing houses”. From 2007 on, Antje worked as projectmanager in the field of electronic media and production of magazines. Since April 2018, she has participated in the project Inclusive OCW and supported the aspects of Accessibility and Usability for blind and visually impaired people.


Brad Turner: Bookshare: Helping Higher Education Provide Accessible Books to Students

Universities in the USA, Germany, and many countries around the world provide services for students with disabilities. Usually, these services include providing accessible versions of books, partial books, or other documents for students who cannot use print material. Creating accessible versions of these books requires the university to request a copy from the publisher or scan and proof the book. Adding complexity to the challenge is that students in higher education use a broad selection of books from all over the world. Unfortunately, the work of the student services office is frequently duplicated across multiple universities due to a lack of sharing or coordination.

This session addresses how Bookshare, an initiative of Benetech, provides technology that allows universities to set up their own university-branded accessible library that automatically converts, stores and distributes titles to students with disabilities. It also discusses how Bookshare utilizes books provided by publishers and books scanned under a national copyright exception to offer a large and ever-growing collection of titles in 34 languages. Universities can find accessible books in the large collection, or they can create accessible versions of new books students need and put them in the library dedicated to higher education, quickly building a collection of frequently used titles. This removes duplication and enables student services offices to provide a broader range of titles. Additionally, with the impending EU ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled, more books are available from more countries. Learn how Bookshare’s distribution engine enables books created in any ratifying country to be distributed directly to the consumer in any other ratifying country, reducing the workload for student services offices. Finally, hear about how Bookshare, in conjunction with other accessible libraries, are driving systemic change in the publishing industry by implementing a global accessibility certification program for books.

Abstract Brad Turner_Bookshare

Brad Turner is the Vice President of Global Literacy for Benetech. In this role, he leads Bookshare, the world’s largest library of accessible books for people with vision, processing, or physical disabilities that affect their use of printed material. Brad also leads the Born Accessible effort, driving systemic change within the publishing industry by providing tools and standards for accessible materials. The Global Certified Accessible program is a key component of the Born Accessible initiative; it is a worldwide program offering third-party certification to publishers creating accessible books. Also in Global Literacy is the DIAGRAM center, tasked with making science, technology, engineering, art, and math content accessible. Prior to joining Benetech, Brad served as the VP of Marketing and Business Development at Inkiru, a big data predictive analytics platform which was acquired by Wal-Mart. Brad was the Founder and CEO of Through the Lens, Inc., where his team created the first SaaS-based medical data management solution for dermatologists and plastic surgeons.  Brad’s career includes executive marketing and business development roles at education technology startups, search engine companies, and networking companies.