Steve Noble, Accessibility Research Consultant (Guest Author)
Rick Clinton, Accessibility Advocate and Leader at Pearson Higher Education, recently blogged in Accessible Mathematics: HTML eBooks about Pearson's work to create "screen-readable" eBook versions of their mathematics and statistics textbooks which are formatted in HTML and MathML. They have been gradually adding to this collection for a while, which now numbers 70 titles. That's a nice-sized library of accessible math textbooks in its own right. But what is really notable in his post is the statement that, "...beginning in 2014, every Pearson college math and stats text will have an HTML eBook version." That's an impressive commitment from a publisher like Pearson Higher Education, and means that every math textbook they publish from now on will include accessible mathematics. Pearson is setting an example for the whole publishing industry, and deserves commendation for their resolve to support math accessibility.
Of course, there are many other publishers of math textbooks, and they all need to hear from people like you who purchase and use textbooks. If you want to see more accessible math textbooks offered by more publishers, then you'll need to make your demands and expectations known to them.
Here are a few ways you can help:
- If you are connected to a college, tell your math department about Pearson's accessible math titles. Teachers should strongly consider adopting one of their HTML eBook versions.
- If you teach a college math or stats course and your favorite textbook isn't one of these Pearson titles, then contact the publisher and ask them how soon they will be creating an eBook version with accessible math like Pearson. If they don't have any realistic plans to create one, then tell them you are strongly considering switching to a Pearson title.
- If you are connected to a K-12 school, then be sure to contact the publishers of your math textbooks with the same message. Even at Pearson, the higher education and K-12 divisions are not connected, so the K-12 publishing sector needs to hear the same message. Hold up the example of Pearson Higher Education as testimony that making *every* math title accessible is a vital goal that can--and should--be done.
To learn more about how and why math should be made accessible, check out Solutions for the Accessibility Community section of our website.
Steve Noble is a research consultant with a core focus in mathematics accessibility and assistive technology, and served as a researcher for the University of Kentucky's MeTRC research project. Currently he continues to serve on grant-funded research projects with both Bridge Multimedia and ETS, and previously served as Director of Accessibility Policy for Design Science.