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9th European e-Accessibility Forum
e-Accessible Knowledge

8/06/2015, 9:00-18:00
Cité des sciences et de l'industrie - Universcience - Paris

  Version française

General description


Programme committee

Press Kit

The conference at a glance

BrailleNet was delighted to welcome over 250 participants from 30 different countries to its 2015 European e-Accessibility Forum. This year's topic, e-Accessible Knowledge, was discussed and promoted by leading experts from a variety of fields. The event closed with a speech by Axelle Lemaire, French Minister for Digital Affairs, who signed a formal agreement with BrailleNet to promote e-Accessibility for disabled people, and an e-Accessibility charter with a selection of schools specialised in training professionals for the digital industry.

Relive the event as it happened through delegates twitter feeds as captured in the 9th European eAccessibily Forum Storify.

On this occasion, and in partnership with G3ICT (Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies), BrailleNet published their 4th White PaperUser-driven e-Accessibility, which takes up and builds on themes discussed at the  2014 Forum. This document can be downloaded from the BrailleNet website (3,2Mo, PDF).

Have look at EAF2015 Photo Album (When re-used those pictures should be acknowledged to Romain Gresillon)


Knowledge is a key driver of social and economic development. It helps shape individual and collective identity and can be a tool for empowerment and inclusion.

Its production, dissemination and acquisition continues to gain currency in our information-rich society and economic growth is increasingly determined by society's capacity to transform learning outcomes into quality goods and services.

In this context, disparities in capacity to access and use knowledge can greatly hinder the development of an inclusive society and become a significant source of inequality. While significant progress has been made through assistive technologies and accessibility standards elaborated by major stakeholders such as W3C, IDPF and DAISY, persons with disabilities are still at risk of exclusion, from education in particular.

Access to the tools of production, distribution and acquisition of knowledge for people with disabilities is therefore of crucial importance in modern society. It is also indicative of how we are able to address the need for access to knowledge for all.

Providing they are used appropriately, emerging ICTs can help overcome these disparities and greatly enhance access to knowledge for all. The 2015 European e-Accessibility Forum  provided a concrete demonstration of this through the following themes:

The conference was organised in conjunction with the 2015 Daisy Consortium Board Meeting which was held in Paris on the 9, 10 and 11 June 2015. It was open to all those seeking to discover, discuss and exchange best practice in the promotion of access to knowledge for all, including academics, IT professionals, publishers and disability specialists from the public and private sector.

Mr. Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, addressed a written message to all participants, which reminds that, on the 5th April 2006, the Council of Europe adopted an Action Plan for the period 2006-2015 “to promote the rights and full participation of people with disabilities in society: improve the quality of life of disabled people in Europe". For more details, please consult the full text of the Action Plan or the "easy to read" version.

Plenary Speakers

Born Digital, Born Accessible: New Developments in Creation and Use of Accessible Images

By Betsy Beaumon, President of Benetech

The DIAGRAM Center (Digital Image and Graphic Resources for Accessible Materials), a Benetech Global Literacy initiative, provides tools, standards, and research to make complex images, such as those found in scientific and mathematical textbooks, accessible to people with print disabilities. Today we have arrived at an important moment in the evolution of the publishing industry: all materials that are born digital can also be born accessible. Large international publishers, including Elsevier, Pearson, and many others, are responding to this opportunity by including accessibility as an important component of their digital products. What new standards and resources are available to educational content creators to help them create “born accessible” materials? This session will report on the latest research and tools created in partnership with Benetech, the U.S. Fund for DAISY, and the National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM).

 photo de Betsy Beaumon

Betsy BEAUMON is the President of Benetech, a Silicon Valley nonprofit with a vision to serve humanity through technology. Her largest social enterprise service is Bookshare, an online accessible library serving over 300,000 users with print disabilities. She also runs Route 66 Literacy, a service for adolescent and adult beginning readers, as well as the DIAGRAM Center, an R&D center focused on accessible images and math. She holds a BSEE from Northwestern University and has co-founded two software companies. She is also a member of the international DAISY Consortium and an Advisory Board Member for the National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials.


Accessible Scientific Content: Challenges and Prospects

By Alex BERNIER, Technical Director, BrailleNet

The print-disabled currently have only very limited access to scientific content. To be afforded equal opportunities, particularly in the fields of education and employment, this imbalance needs to be redressed as a matter of urgency. Scientific literacy is also, and above all, a tool for empowering citizens as it fuels political, social and economic debate. The growth of digital resources, particularly in publishing, has the power to dramatically improve the amount of scientific material available, whether specialized or for the general public. Alex will review existing solutions, and explore barriers that must still be overcome before the print-disabled are granted equal access to knowledge..

 photo de Alex Bernier

Alex BERNIER is the Technical Director of BrailleNet. He is a computer engineer of the National Institute of Applied Sciences (INSA) in Rennes. He has worked on various projects related to books and digital libraries. He is responsible for the Accessible Francophone Digital Library (BNFA) and a research and development program aimed at improving the accessibility of scientific and technical documents for the visually impaired.


Learning is all very well, but how? Exploring Multisensory and technological approaches to learning

By Dr Edouard Gentaz, Professor of Developmental Pyschology, University of Geneva

Dr Gentaz will present the different forms of learning used by humans during their development: association/conditioning; observation/imitation; habituation; instruction/mediation. He will then demonstrate how multisensory approaches, some of which integrate new technologies, can help develop basic skills such as reading, writing and geometry.

 photo de Edouard Gentaz

Dr Edouard GENTAZ is a Professor of Developmental Psychology in the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences at the University of Geneva, Switzerland and Director of Research at the CNRS Laboratory of Psychology and Neurocognition, Grenoble. His research is particularly focused on the development of sensori-motor and cognitive abilities in typical populations and in blind people. He has authored or co-authored over 80 articles in peer-reviewed journals and publications.


Using Digital Technology to help Children with Learning Disabilities

By Hervé GLASEL, Neuropsychologist and founder of the CERENE schools


 photo de Hervé Glasel

Neuropsychologist and founder of the CERENE schools, Hervé GLASEL is a specialist in child and adolescent development. A scientist by training, and a graduate of the Ecole Polytechnique, he is passionate about cognitive sciences and detecting and managing learning disabilities. In addition to clinical practice in the Reference Center for the Neuropsychological Evaluation of Children (CERENE), he directs the CERENE schools which are geared towards children with dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia, etc. where he applies his knowledge in cognitive science to the field of education.


The stick, the carrot, and cozying up: a litigation and legislative strategy for making e-accessibility the default in American post-secondary education

By Daniel Goldstein, attorney at Brown, Goldstein & Levy

In 2011, the US Authors Guild sued the HathiTrust, alleging that mass digitization of library collections constituted copyright infringement. Represented by Dan, the National Federation for the Blind and certain blind scholars intervened as defendants and were successful in getting the court to rule that the making and distributing of copyrighted content for use by persons with print disabilities is a fair use.

In his presentation, Dan will outline the implications of the HathiTrust case and legislative and litigation efforts to make accessible instructional technology and materials the default, and then look at what efforts need to be taken to fix the barriers students with disabilities are still facing in instruction.

 photo de Daniel Goldstein Daniel GOLDSTEIN is an attorney with the Baltimore, Maryland law firm of Brown, Goldstein & Levy. Dan became involved in the field of disability rights law nearly twenty-five years ago at the behest of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB). After successful agreements reached with Apple, eBay, Ticketmaster, and Amazon on the accessibility of their websites, Dan helped form the Reading Rights Coalition in February 2009, bringing together 30+ organizations representing persons with print disabilities. The goal of the RRC was to make mainstream digital book devices, applications, and content accessible. As part of that work, Dan represented the NFB in a suit against Arizona State University over its Kindle pilot program and filed complaints with the Department of Justice against five other schools with similar programs. Since then, Dan or members of his firm have been involved in reaching agreements with Florida State University, Penn State University, University of Montana and Maricopa Community College to make their digital curricular content and instructional technology accessible.


Implementing the Legislative Strategy: Accessible Digital Publishing within and beyond the legal threshold

By George Kerscher, Secretary General for the DAISY Consortium

This presentation follows Daniel Goldstein’s presentation “The stick, the carrot, and cozying up: a litigation and legislative strategy for making e-accessibility the default in American post-secondary education”. George’s presentation will address DAISY's technical and strategic response to the legislative framework. Since its creation in 1996, how has the DAISY Consortium encouraged the implementation of digital accessibility within, and beyond, the legal threshold? How does it work to bridge the gap between theory and practice? What are the practical steps that DAISY and its members can take to fix the barriers students with disabilities are still facing in instruction that Dan will have touched upon in his presentation?

 photo of George Kerscher 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 information systems can make information accessible to all people. George is an advocate for semantically rich content which can be used effectively by everybody. As Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium and President of the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), Kerscher is a recognised international leader in document access. In addition, Kerscher is the Senior Officer of Accessible Technology at Learning Ally in the USA. He chairs the DAISY/NISO Standards committee, serves on the USA National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) Board, and also serves on the Advisory Board of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).


Helping children with Developmental Coordination Disorders at School

By Caroline Huron, Psychiatrist and Cognitive Science Researcher, Collège de France

Children with Developmental Coordination Disorders (DCD) often fail to achieve their full academic potential. One reason is that a large percentage of the school day involves writing-related activities (30-60 % according to Mc Hale and Cermak, 1992) and that the speed and legibility of handwriting are impaired in children with DCD (Rosenblum et al., 2003; 2008). In order to allow these children to achieve their full potential, it is therefore critical to adapt schooling to their needs. We propose an approach that aims to “change the environment, not the child”. Caroline Huron will present the “Cartable Fantastique” website which offers free and practical educational materials specifically developed for children with DCD. This approach allows children with DCD to get around both their handwriting and visuo-spatial information processing difficulties. Disability compensation tools and examples of educational materials will be presented.

 photo of Caroline Huron Caroline HURON is a psychiatrist and cognitive science researcher in the laboratory of Stanislas Dehaene. She develops an approach to dyspraxia which ranges from basic laboratory research to practical support in the classroom.


"E-Accessibility for Learning", an investment program of the National Centre for Distance Learning

By Jean Millerat, Director of Innovation, Centre National d’Enseignement à Distance (France)

The National Centre for Distance Learning (Centre National d’Enseignement à Distance, or CNED) is moving towards becoming an online learning institution open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With the support of the Fund for Employing Disabled Persons in the Public Sector (Fonds pour l’Insertion des Personnes Handicapées dans la Fonction Publique, or FIPHFP), the CNED has set up an investment program called "E-Accessibility for Learning". This program offers digital solutions for access to knowledge for three user groups: CNED teachers with disabilities, students enrolled in CNED courses and all school pupils, civil servants, and public service users who may require access to digital learning modes.

 photo de Jean Millerat Jean MILLERAT studied engineering at the Ecole Centrale in Lille. After creating his first start-up, he developed his skills in management and technology in the Information Systems Department of the building materials distribution group, Saint-Gobain. From this he joined Motorola as head of French operations in applied research on artificial intelligence and machine learning. He then moved on to create a digital business that encourages French IT services companies to sponsor skills in partnership with charities, working in particular with disability and educational organisations. In 2012 he joined the National Centre for Distance Learning as director of innovation and launched the investment programme "E-Accessibility for Learning".
 photo de Frederic Vinzent Frédéric VINZENT has been working as a web consultant for 14 years. For 11 years he worked as a medical biology engineer before converting to web design and project management. Frédéric spent 5 years working in a media agency, then 6 years at Jouve, before joining Alter Way in 2013 as a business analyst and editorial and ergonomic design specialist. He currently manages all business analysis and change management activities related to implementing accessibility standards within teams, projects and workflows at the CNED.


Accessible EPUB 3 and large-scale digitisation: the experience of the National Library of France

Par Jean-Philippe Moreux, Bibliothèque Nationale de France

In 2013, the BnF opted to use EPUB 3 as the format of choice for its large-scale digitisation project. At the end of 2014 the first accessible eBooks were produced. What lessons can be learned from this pilot project? What feedback can we give with regards to accessible digital content?

 photo de Jean-Philippe Moreux

Jean-Philippe MOREUX is the in-house advisor on Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and editorial formats in the digitalisation service of France's National Library. In this capacity he works on all digitisation projects at the BnF, including the production of digital books and research projects in which the national library participates. He is a member of ALTO and METS boards. An engineer by training, he was a project manager in an IT company, a scientific publisher and a consultant (editorial engineering, digital publishing) prior to joining the BnF.


Reliant on Readers, Stuck with Scribes or Independent with ICT? Can technology replace human support in examinations?

By Paul NISBET, The University of Edinburgh

Over 10% of candidates sitting formal examinations in Scotland require some sort of support to access question papers or write answers, and in thousands of assessments, a practitioner reads the questions to the candidate and scribes their dictated answers. This practice raises questions about independence and is labour intensive.

In 2008, the Scottish Qualifications Authority introduced digital question papers that can be read using text-to-speech software, with ‘answer boxes’ for candidates to type responses, and these have proved very successful and over half the schools in Scotland now use the papers.

The digital papers are beneficial for candidates with a wide range of challenges, including for example physical disabilities, dyslexia and visual impairment.

This presentation will explore the benefits and limitations of the digital question papers from the perspectives of candidates, schools and the examination board.

 photo de Paul Nisbet

Paul NISBET is a Senior Research Fellow and Joint Coordinator of CALL Scotland, The University of Edinburgh. CALL (Communication, Access, Literacy and Learning) Scotland is the Scottish centre of excellence in the application of ICT to support pupils with additional support needs. CALL is funded by the Scottish Government and through consultancies and contracts.

Paul is a member of CALL's assessment and support service for pupils, with particular responsibility for access technology for pupils with physical disabilities; and for students with dyslexia or literacy difficulties.

In addition to direct work with learners and staff in schools, Paul has driven a number of national developments.

In 2010, Paul was awarded the University of Edinburgh Principal's Medal in recognition of his work.


The British Museum – Embedding access best practice for disabled audiences

By Jane SAMUELS, Access Manager, British Museum

Jane Samuels’ presentation will focus on access at the British Museum for disabled audiences. During her presentation she will take a brief look at the key motivations for an accessible museum and set out examples of building access through digital technologies.

photo de Jane Samuels Jane SAMUELS has managed the programme for Access and Equality at the British Museum for the last twelve years where she collaborates with and advises all departments on issues of intellectual, sensory and physical access for disabled audiences. Previously, Jane worked as Access and Learning Director for Turtle Key Arts, a London based disability arts charity. In this role she established partnerships with many London based arts and cultural institutions including Sadler’s Wells, the Royal Opera House and the Serpentine Gallery. Jane lectures on the MA programme for the Institute of Education, University College London where she also completed her MA in Museum and Galleries in Education.


The State of Accessible Math

By Dr Neil Soiffer, Senior Scientist, Design Science

The last few years have seen tremendous advances in solutions that make mathematical equations accessible in Web pages and elsewhere. If you have an Apple device (Mac, iPad, or iPhone), VoiceOver in Safari will read the equation. If you have an Android device or use the Chrome browser on a computer, ChromeVox will likewise read equations. On Windows, equations can be read with JAWS 16 in IE; MathPlayer 4 in combination with NVDA and other AT makes equations in all the major browsers, in Office (Word and PowerPoint), and elsewhere accessible. Most of these solutions support speaking the math expressions, synchronized highlighting of what is spoken, and interactive keyboard navigation of equations. Entering and editing equations is less developed, but there are several solutions that are now available. Demonstrations and discussion of the strengths and limitations of many of these solutions will be covered in this talk.

 photo de Neil Soiffer

Dr. Neil SOIFFER received his PhD in Computer Science from U.C. Berkeley. He was a member of Tektronix's Computer Research Lab, where he created experimental math computation systems, math editors, and tools for embedded systems. Dr. Soiffer moved to Wolfram Research, where he was responsible for a number of user elements that are part of Mathematica, including the WYSIWYG math editor and programmability of Mathematica's notebook interface. He joined Design Science in 2003 and has worked on math accessibility in their MathPlayer plug-in for Internet Explorer. Dr. Soiffer was a principal architect of MathML, and continues to have an active role in the W3C math effort.


The Chem Access project - From Bitmap Graphics to Fully Accessible Chemical Diagrams

By Volker SORGE, University of Birmingham

Chemical diagrams are an important means of conveying information in chemistry and biosciences to students, starting as early as secondary school. However, even in electronic teaching material, diagrams are commonly given in standard image formats leaving them inaccessible for visually impaired learners.

The ChemAccess project aims to provide end-to-end support for making these diagrams Web accessible, by employing image analysis solutions to recognise and semantically analyse diagrams, and by regenerating them in a format that makes them amenable to assistive technology. We provide software that allows readers to interactively engage with diagrams by exploring them step-wise and on different layers, enabling aural rendering of diagrams and their individual components together with highlighting and magnification to assist readers with low vision or learning difficulties.The technology to be presented builds on open standards, supporting a number of computing platforms, browsers, and screen readers, and is extensible to diagrams in other STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

photo de Volker Sorge Dr. Volker SORGE is a senior lecturer in the School of Computer Science at the University of Birmingham in the UK. He is heading the Scientific Document Analysis Groups at Birmingham, working primarily on mathematical document analysis, diagram recognition and handwriting recognition from white boards. As application of this work he has been concentrating on making scientific content accessible, for example, in the context of the European Digital Maths Library, working as a Visiting Scientist with Google on the maths integration into ChromeVox and, most recently, by exploiting image recognition to generate accessible chemical diagrams.



The Right to Access Library Materials in one's Native Language, incuding Sign Language

By Riitta VIVOLIN-KAREN, Finnish Association of the Deaf

Sign language users have very limited access to material in their own language through public libraries. The Sign Language eLibrary of Finland was set up to rectify this situation. The eLibrary (www.viittomakielinenkirjasto.fi) was officially launched on 30 October 2014 with some 250 videos in sign language, and this number is rising consistently. Most of the videos have voice-over or subtitles. The Finnish Association of the Deaf is the administrator of the eLibrary whch is funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture. This presentation will discuss how the eLibrary was designed and built, the feedback that has been received since launch, and ambitions for the future.

photo de Riitta VIVOLIN-KAREN Riitta VIVOLIN-KAREN is the coordinator of the Sign Language eLibrary of Finland at the Association of the Deaf. She has been involved in various projects focusing on sign language, lobbying, and network communication since 1982. She has a vast experience of working as a sign language teacher for deaf immigrants and hearing L2 learners and has been involved in the development of sign language tests (L1, L2). She has a Master of Arts degree in Sign Language from the University of Jyväskylä, and a Bachelor degree in Sign Language Interpretation from the Humak University of Applied Sciences.


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