11th European e-Accessibility Forum
e-Accessible Culture

19/06/2017, 9am-6pm
Cité des sciences et de l'industrie, Paris

  Version française
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OPALINe, a Research & Development project for accessible books

Alex BERNIER (Paris)

Speaker's information

Alex Bernier

Alex Bernier is the Director of BrailleNet. He graduated with a degree in computer engineering from 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 BrailleNet's research and development program including a project aimed at improving the accessibility of scientific and technical documents for the visually impaired.



BrailleNet is involved in all aspects of digital accessibility, but improving access to reading is one of its core missions. Several Research & Development projects undertaken over the years have led to the development of specific services, including the LN Server for sharing transcription files and the BNFA which has over 40,000 titles available for download. BrailleNet is also France's most active producer of accessible books.

Today, producing mainstream digital books that are born accessible is very much in the experimental phase. In the absence of born accessible publications, organisations such as educational charities and university support services are involved in producing accessible adaptations. Since 2010 the copyright exception in France has made it easier to request source files from publishers, but the lack of accessible books available to the print-disabled is still very alarming.

It is estimated that only around 8% of books available to buy in French book shops are available somewhere in an accessible format (Braille, audio, large print, etc.).

How to remedy this "book famine"?

The OPALINe project ("Outils pour l'accessibilité des livres numériques", or tools for the production of accessible digital books) is a technical response to this problem. Funded by the French Banque Publique d'Investissement (BPI) to the tune of €450,000 (for a total budget of €1,000,000), the project is led by BrailleNet who will be working with four other organisations:

The project will set out to develop a suite of tools designed to improve productivity, including:

Watch Alex Bernier's presentation on YouTube (in French). For subtitles, please use the CC button, and if you require a transcript do not hesitate to contact us at contact[at]

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