March 13, 2019
RALEIGH, NC – Leading digital content provider VitalSource® has launched a new initiative to encourage greater accessibility transparency in the digital marketplace. This makes it easier for students with disabilities to understand which eTextbooks and course materials offer valuable accessibility features.
Recognizing the challenges students face when seeking accessible digital course materials, VitalSource has enabled its publisher partners to identify accessible content and highlight specific accessibility features. All eTextbooks and course content in the VitalSource catalog with one or more accessibility features will now be clearly designated with an icon.
“VitalSource has worked closely with leading advocates to find ways we can make it simpler to identify and purchase accessible digital course materials,” said VitalSource President Pep Carrera. “A growing number of publishers are taking important steps to ensure their content is fully accessible for all students, and VitalSource is pleased to launch this new initiative that highlights this important work. We hope that this new transparency will not only benefit students and consumers but will also encourage more textbook publishers to evaluate and improve the accessibility of their products.”
VitalSource co-founder and Vice President of Product Strategy Rick Johnson said: “At VitalSource, we are committed to exceeding industry standards and ensuring our content and tools are accessible. We also want to showcase the work our publisher partners have already done to enhance accessibility. With these goals in mind, we’ve collaborated with advocates to address the demand for better, more useable content.”
Johnson continued, “For the first time, instructors will be able to quickly identify the accessibility features available through their chosen eTextbook and determine whether that content can meet the needs of their unique students. We are excited by the early positive response from users and hope this effort will encourage more publishers and content developers to embrace the inclusion of critical accessibility features.”
“There is simply no reason in this day and age that accessible content should not be available for all users, including individuals with print disabilities,” said George Kerscher, Chief Innovations Officer of the DAISY Consortium and Senior Advisor, Global Literacy at Benetech, an influential global advocacy organization focused on the development and promotion of international standards for reading and publishing. “VitalSource is leading a very meaningful initiative, and we applaud the time and energy the company has invested in supporting transparency, inclusivity, and accessibility in the digital marketplace.”
According to a survey conducted as part of a 2017 study on eBook accessibility, 96 percent of respondents agreed that accessibility information should be readily available from eBook publishers.
The new VitalSource accessibility initiative considers a wide variety of accessibility features that improve usability, including font resizing, alternative text, and annotations, among others. Currently, at least 5,000 titles with accessibility features have been identified, and VitalSource is working with more than 30 publishers to identify additional accessible content.
To learn more, visit https://get.vitalsource.com/accessibility.
Erin McCarthy, VitalSource
About VitalSource | get.vitalsource.com
VitalSource Technologies LLC, part of Ingram Content Group, is improving the learning experience by making it easier to create and deliver effective and affordable content. The preferred choice among educational institutions and companies for digital learning materials, VitalSource helps over 1,000 educational content providers create and deliver seamless interactive learning experiences through its exclusive Bookshelf® platform to millions of learners at 7,000 institutions. Bookshelf users opened more than 20 million digital textbooks last year and read more than 3.3 billion pages. Follow VitalSource on Twitter at @VitalSource.