Home | News & Events | Events | 2014 Events | NISO Webinars | April 9: Back from Marrakesh: Implementing an Accessible Content World

NISO Webinar: Back from Marrakesh: Implementing an Accessible Content World

April 9, 2014
1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. (Eastern Time)

System Requirements:

  • NISO has developed a quick tutorial, How to Participate in a NISO Web Event. Please view the recording, which is an overview of the web conferencing system and will help to answer the most commonly asked questions regarding participating in an online Webex event.
  • You will need a computer for the presentation and Q&A.
  • Audio is available through the computer (broadcast) and by telephone. We recommend you have a set-up for telephone audio as back-up even if you plan to use the broadcast audio as the voice over Internet isn't always 100% reliable.
  • Please check your system in advance to make sure it meets the Cisco WebEx requirements. It is your responsibility to ensure that your system is properly set up before each webinar begins.

    About the Webinar

    In June of 2013, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) agreed to a landmark treaty in Marrakesh, Morocco to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled. This treaty outlined for the first time a set of principles regarding the rights of the print-disabled to have all content made equally accessible for them. The opportunities afforded by digital content distribution to provide accessibility functionality built-in from the start of a publisher’s production process and then be carried throughout the distribution process are tremendous. 

    This session will provide an overview of the treaty, discuss its potential implications, and describe how standardized technology can facilitate access to the visually-impaired community.


    Todd Carpenter, Executive Director, NISO

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    Setting the Standards: Identifying Rights for Print-disabled and Visually Impaired
    George Kerscher, Secretary General DAISY Consortium, and President, International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF)

    George Kerscher will present the background on standards that lead up to the Marrakesh Treaty. It was not until there were worldwide standards in place that an international treaty became feasible. He will go on to explain the convergence of DAISY and IDPF standards. Finally he will discuss a variety of issues in the overlapping space between commercial availability and the cross border exchange of titles through the Marrakesh exception.

    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 recognized 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).

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    Making History in Marrakesh: How the Blind Led Everyone Else
    Thiru Balasubramaniam, Geneva Representative, Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)

    The Marrakesh Treaty for the Visually Impaired was signed on June 28, 2013, establishing a new UN treaty on copyright exceptions for persons who are blind or have certain other disabilities. The Marrakesh Treaty though focused on the rights of the users, proved controversial, facing opposition from the motion picture industry and other patent owners. Thiru Balasubramaniam and Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) played a major role in the development and negotiation of the treaty, beginning with the drafting of the original treaty text in KEI's Washington, DC offices in July 2008, and his presentation will focus on what was achieved and what was not achieved in the negotiations, and on continuing efforts to promote access to knowledge.

    Thiru Balasubramaniam is the Geneva Representative of Knowledge Ecology International. Mr. Balasubramaniam has represented KEI in various multilateral fora including the Marrakesh Diplomatic Conference to Conclude a Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) General Assembly, the WIPO Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP), the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), the WIPO Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP), the Internet Governance Forum, the World Health Organization (WHO) World Health Assembly, the WHO Executive Board, the WHO Intergovernmental Committee on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property (IGWG) to name a few.

    Prior to his post as KEI’s Geneva Representative, Mr. Balasubramaniam worked at Health Action International in Colombo and at the World Health Organization in Geneva as a technical officer in the Department of Essential Drugs and Medicines Policy dealing with access to medicines and intellectual property. During his first year at WHO, Mr. Balasubramaniam was a Global Health Leadership Fellow, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation and the United Nations Foundation. He began his career with CPTech working on issues related to health care and intellectual property.

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    Walking the Walk: A Publisher’s Perspective on Moving from Aspiration to Reality in Making Content Accessible
    Paul Belfanti, Director, Content Architecture, Enterprise Architecture & Core Platforms, Pearson Education

    Making content, products and services accessible is core to Pearson’s mission to help people of all ages and abilities to make measureable progress in their lives through learning. While content accessibility has been limited through traditional print based products, the advances in digital delivery have put these goals squarely in sight. Challenges remain, however, as accessibility guidelines have to be implemented at the content creation, design, product and platform technology levels to achieve the goal. Even as technology solutions emerge, issues of cost and limitations of legacy platforms can slow progress. And while assistive technology like text-to-speech readers and keyboard navigation makes educational content more accessible than ever before, the advent of rich, interactive digital content and functionality like drag-and-drop risks leaving that community behind again unless accessibility metadata can be provided to assistive technologies.

    Standards-driven workflows aligned with industry accessibility standards such was WAI-ARIA, and WCAG 2.O give publishers an opportunity to plan, create, and deliver accessible products and services in an efficient, cost-effective manner that supports disabled users while providing a rich, flexible, and adaptive learning experience for all. This presentation will outline how Pearson is incorporating standards into its production strategies and how efforts such as EDUPUB are putting accessibility at the center of industry standards development.

    Paul Belfanti is Director of Content Architecture for Pearson Education. Paul has worked in educational publishing for 20 years in a variety of creative, production, and technology roles, and has been developing and supporting XML workflows since 2000. In 2009 he established the first ever team within Pearson fully focused on standards and best practices. Paul’s team has led development of standards around content structure (XML), metadata/taxonomy, rich media and image file formats, accessibility and assessment, among others, to lay the foundation for Pearson’s transformation to a unified global, digital and efficacy-driven learning services company.

    Paul was program co-chair with Markus Gylling (CTO – IDPF and DAISY Consortium) of the EDUPUB 1 Workshop held in Boston in October 2013 and remains active in the development of the EDUPUB Alliance and promoting adoption of industry open standards within Pearson and across the educational publishing industry, and he was recently elected to the Board of Directors of the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF).


    If paying by credit card, register online.

    If paying by check, please use this PDF form.

    Registration closes on April 9, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. (ET)

    Registration Costs

  • NISO Member
    • $95.00 (US and Canada)
    • $109.00 (International)
  • NASIG Member
    • $95.00
  • Non-Member
    • $125.00 (US and Canada)
    • $149.00 (International)
  • Student
    • $49.00

Additional Information

  • Registration closes at 12:00 p.m. (ET) on April 9, 2014. Cancellations made by April 2, 2014 will receive a refund, less a $25 cancellation. After that date, there are no refunds.
  • Registrants will receive detailed instructions about accessing the webinar via e-mail the Monday prior to the event. (Anyone registering between Monday and the close of registration will receive the message shortly after the registration is received, within normal business hours.) Due to the widespread use of spam blockers, filters, out of office messages, etc., it is your responsibility to contact the NISO office if you do not receive login instructions before the start of the webinar.
  • If you have not received your Login Instruction email by 10:00 a.m. (ET) on the Tuesday before the webinar, at please contact the NISO office or email Juliana Wood, Educational Programs Manager at jwood@niso.org for immediate assistance.
  • Registration is per site (access for one computer) and includes access to the online recorded archive of the webinar. You may have as many people as you like from the registrant's organization view the webinar from that one connection. If you need additional connections, you will need to enter a separate registration for each connection needed.
  • If you are registering someone else from your organization, either use that person's e-mail address when registering or contact the NISO office to provide alternate contact information.
  • Library Standards Alliance (LSA) members receive one free webinar connection as part of their membership. You do not need to register for the event for this free connection. Your webinar contact will receive the login instructions the Monday before the event. You may have as many people as you like from the member's library view the webinar from that one connection. If you need additional connections beyond the free one, then you will need to enter a paid registration (at the member rate) for each additional connection required.
  • Webinar presentation slides and Q&A will be posted to the site following the live webinar.
  • Registrants and LSA member webinar contacts will receive an e-mail message containing access information to the archived webinar recording within 48 hours after the event. This recording access is only to be used by the registrant's or member's organization.