[Athen] for all you math accessibility guru's

James A. A.James at soton.ac.uk
Sun Oct 18 13:42:20 PDT 2015

Hi Krista

There has been some working going on in the UK that may help answer your questions. There is a publication from 2012 http://www.mathcentre.ac.uk/resources/uploaded/inclusivecurricula.pdf that might be useful. The articles on starting on page 19 may be useful as they explain how to blind students developed a system of reading LaTeX in a pretty raw form as a reading medium instead of braille. They considered this the quickest route to access maths. But these were very talented mathematicians who started to develop this technique before the graduated school. The advice we give to VI mathematicians keen to study it at college is to learn LaTeX as soon as possible.

Some thoughts on your questions. The main reason that LaTeX is a difficult format to convert from into one that works with assistive technology is that it is an unstructured. That is there are no semantics within the maths notation and it is possible to create a document without any structure. The other problem is that anyone can create their own LaTeX macros and can use a range of packages/templates used to compile the LaTeX into other formats. This has a huge impact on how easy it is to convert LaTeX into another format. Emma Cliffe at the University of Bath is the expert in the UK on this area. She had a project in 2012 to look at the process of converting LaTeX into accessible formats - http://www.bath.ac.uk/study/mash/maths-access/overview/index.html - and she is currently working on a project to produce an up-to-date databased on the best techniques. I am going to talk a bit about this at Accessing Higher Ground. Currently her team prefer PlasTeX as a conversion route http://plastex.sourceforge.net/.

Best wishes


Dr Abi James
Assistive Technology Consultant & Researcher
Visiting Research Fellow, University of Southampton
STEMReader Project Manager / Researcher
Email: a.james at soton.ac.uk<mailto:a.james at soton.ac.uk>

From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of KRISTA L. GREEAR
Sent: 16 October 2015 00:15
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu>>
Subject: [Athen] for all you math accessibility guru's

I have the blessing to train all the faculty at one of our campuses School of STEM about accessible math content. In my preparation I have come across these questions:

1) Why does LaTeX not work with adaptive technology?

2) How would you explain professor about how to make LaTeX accessible? (aka is the only option to turn into MathML and use it in a word document or with HTML)?

3) What do you use to go from a LaTeX-based document to a MathML one?

4) Do you know of any updates about making math accessible within a PDF?

5) If you got to stand in front of all math faculty at your campus, what would you want to share with them?

In return, I'm happy to share with the listserv any nuggets of gold I discover from this experience.

Krista Greear
University of Washington | Disability Resources for Students
Accessible Text & Technology Manager
011 Mary Gates Hall | Box 352808
Seattle, WA 98195-2808 | disability.uw.edu/<http://disability.uw.edu/%22%20%5Ct%20%22_blank>

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