[Athen] Success getting LaTex source files from textbook publishers?

Joseph Polizzotto jpolizzotto at htctu.net
Mon Feb 13 14:03:42 PST 2017

Not sure which TEX editors provide the best reading experience for screen
reader users...I would recommend converting the TEX files into either DOCX
or HTML files.

This can be done simply with Pandoc (CLI tool):

1) TEX to DOCX

pandoc -s /path/to/sample.tex -o /path/to/output.docx

Note: NVDA users can read math directly in MS Word + MathType + MathPlayer.
First convert OMML equations to MathType equations.

2) TEX to HTML + MathJax

pandoc /path/to/sample.tex -s --mathjax -o /path/to/output.html

Note: MathJax accessibility extensions will be loaded as well for collapsing
lengthy expressions, for highlighting expressions etc.



>-----Original Message-----

>From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu]

>On Behalf Of Russell Solowoniuk

>Sent: Monday, February 13, 2017 10:35 AM

>To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-

>list at u.washington.edu>

>Subject: Re: [Athen] Success getting LaTex source files from textbook



>Hi Brian,


>If one is able to obtain the LaTex file from a publisher, would the math

>content in this file then be readable by a screen reader, or would the file


>to be converted to some other format? I'm not at all familiar with LaTex,


>apologies if this is a stupid question! :)






>Russell Solowoniuk

>AT Educational Assistant, Services to Students with Disabilities MacEwan


>7-198 D4, 10700-104 Ave.

>Edmonton, AB T5J 4S2

>E: solowoniukr at macewan.ca

>T: 780-497-5826

>F: 780-497-4018


>This communication is intended for the use of the recipient to whom it is

>addressed and may contain confidential, personal, and/or privileged

>information. Please contact me immediately if you are not the intended

>recipient of this communication, and do not copy, distribute, or take


>relying on it. Any communication received in error, or subsequent reply,

>should be deleted or destroyed.

>Please consider the environment before printing this email.



>>>> Brian Richwine <blrichwine at gmail.com> 2017-02-10 2:31 PM >>>




>I'm wondering if any schools have been successful at negotiating publisher

>contracts to allow quick access to LaTex or other publishing source files


>textbooks as needed to facilitate more efficient alternate media


>I'm not talking about the PDFs that ATN always wants to send. I mean the


>source files for the textbook that contain semantically usable information


>facilitates alternate media conversion.


>Does anyone know of any higher ed groups working on such a project?


>We were just successful at getting the LaTex source files for a advanced

>mathematics textbook from a major higher ed textbook publisher. However it

>took weeks and contact from many university officials to get them to


>the files. We just received the files and we are now 5 or so weeks into the

>semester. Even still, it will literally save us thousands of dollars in

editing costs

>and will greatly increase the speed at which we can produce the rest of the

>book in braille.


>If the publisher would have responded earlier, we could have saved even

>more money and provided a better result to the student by focusing our


>energies on tactile diagrams and other efforts.




>The LaTex source files for mathematics texts are great, because they can be

>very easily (read quickly and accurately) converted into a format the


>Braille Translation software will process. This prevents the laborious


>of each equation into MathType. (we tried the most recent Infty Reader with

>very frustrating and poor results; it crashed on most every source page).


>We originally requested a publisher copy of the textbook via ATN. ATN's

>system did not offer LaTex as a request format choice (it only offered



>However, it was fairly obvious to those familiar with LaTex that the


>had been typeset in LaTex/Tex. So, we tried a special instructions ATN


>for LaTex. ATN's response was a flat out the publisher does not have a


>version of the textbook.


>Through various channels we have directly with the publisher, we got them


>admit that they did indeed have the LaTex source, only we'd have to wait


>they could get their permissions department to release those. It took us

>several weeks of contacting them repeatedly before their permissions

>department gave permission to release the files.



> Brian Richwine



>Manager, UITS Assistive Technology and Accessibility Centers, Indiana





>(812) 856-2757 [Direct Line]


>(812) 856-4112 [Office Number]


>brichwin at iu.edu



>athen-list mailing list

>athen-list at mailman13.u.washington.edu


More information about the athen-list mailing list