Publishing Scientific Journals Accessible to the Vision Impaired

The long range goal of this research project is to develop authoring and publishing technology that can make electronic scientific journals automatically accessible to all people including those who are blind or have other print disabilities. The specific aim of this project is to develop software so that the American Physical Society (APS) can offer accessible versions of all their journals. The new process would capitalize on the existing XML/ MAthML composition process to produce the print version of the APS journals, the on-line PDF articles, and DAISY XML articles that provide a much better on-line viewing experience than PDF. In particular DAISY XML can be listened to and navigated by a blind scientist. This new non-traditional content in the peer reviewed journal process permits journal articles to be much more searchable and classifiable than ever before.

The key new technology is the use of well-made SVG instead of postscript for the figures and a new ViewPlus SVG viewer to enable the selection of text labels and hear them spoken. Improved methods for saving SVG from authoring applications can include a great deal of data and meta data that can also be spoken to visually impaired readers. The additional information also makes the figures far more useful for everybody than they now are.

This research project was supported in part by a Small Business Innovation Research Phase I grant from the National Institutes of Health.

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