[Athen] comic book conversions?

Nast, Joseph Joseph.M.Nast at lonestar.edu
Tue Jan 23 13:15:04 PST 2018

Thanks Joseph for this thorough response!

Heidi, I think there might be something in the water lol. For some reason, our ENGL 1301 textbooks are mostly graphic novels this semester too. MAUS I, MAUS II, Ms. Marvel: No Normal, Understanding Comics. (?). None of which are available through AccessText (sigh). I suppose we’re fortunate so far… we only need to make these accessible to students with print disabilities (audio) at the moment. I’d be sunk if we had a student who was functionally blind. I’m dubious even raised tactiles would be effective at making a graphic novel equally accessible in that circumstance. (Well, not the tactiles I’d have to create in less than a week anyway.)

<rant on> Look, I get it – the department is trying to make the instruction “edgy” or “relevant”. And I’m all for academic freedom. But as far as I know, academic freedom does not override students’ rights to equitable access. <rant off>

Clearly, graphic novels are inherently inaccessible. Now I’m wondering how I can gently but firmly drive that point home with administration.

Joseph M. Nast, ATAC
Assistive Technology Specialist
Lone Star College Cy Fair, Disability Services
Office Phone: (281) 290-3207
Website URL: http://www.lonestar.edu/19287.htm

From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Joseph Polizzotto
Sent: Monday, January 22, 2018 8:24 PM
To: 'Access Technology Higher Education Network' <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: [Athen] comic book conversions?

I second the C-Pen Reader suggestion.

In addition, I have one other solution I have used and another experimental workflow I would explore (only if you are familiar with InDesign and Sigil).

When working with a student with Dyslexia years ago, we created a DAISY book using MS Word + the Save As DAISY plug-in<http://www.daisy.org/project/save-as-daisy-ms-word-add-in>. The student was happy with the result.

Here was our workflow:

1. Save each page as an image file.

2. Insert each image file onto its own MS Word page

3. Add the captions and narrative of each graphic novel page as ALT TEXT for the image.

4. Add periods and spaces in the Alt-Text box to try to adjust the length of pauses in the generated MP3

5. Use the Save As DAISY plug-in for MS Word to export to DAISY

6. Use AMIS, Voice of DAISY (mobile) or your favorite DAISY player for reading.

Note: If possible, use a high quality TTS voice for the DAISY conversion.

Finally, you might explore creating a fixed-layout (FXL) EPUB with media overlays using Adobe InDesign, where a text layer (with all the captions and narrative) exists as multiple <p> tags and is hidden behind a image layer (with a picture of each page from the graphic novel). You would then create media overlays using a combination of Sigil + a few plug-ins.

Perhaps it’s a bit time-consuming and challenging, yet it *could* work out pretty nicely. The student would see the picture and hear the text that goes with it (as in the DAISY book)

It’s also a free way of doing what Circular Flo<https://www.circularflo.com/> seems to do with its Read-Aloud book workflow in InDesign. ☺

I offer this as an “experimental” workflow:

1. Create separate DOCX files (e.g., p01.docx, p02.docx etc.) for each page’s worth of captions/ narrative in the graphic novel. Utilize paragraph returns and punctuation to separate caption content and enhance mp3 production (e.g., pausing)

2. Create MP3 files of each DOCX file (e.g., p01.mp3, p02.mp3 etc.). I recommend using Balabolka for this bulk audio file conversion process.

3. Save each page as a separate image file (e.g., p01.jpg, p02.jpg etc.)

4. Next, place each DOCX (p01.docx) and image file (p01.jpg) into separate InDesign Documents (p01.indd, p02.indd) and make sure you map your InDesign paragraph style to an EPUB <p> in the Export Tagging panel of the Style menu.

5. Use the layers panel to hide the “text layer” behind the Image layer of each InDesign document.

6. Combine all the InDesign documents into an InDesign book file (my_graphic_novel.indb) so that separate XHTML files will be created for each page on export.

7. Export as FXL EPUB.

8. Import the FXL EPUB into Sigil<https://sigil-ebook.com/> and use the Icarus Plug in<https://github.com/pettarin/icarus> to add <span IDs> for each <p> tag and prepare for an Aeneas job (see Icarus tutorial<https://github.com/pettarin/icarus/tree/master/tutorial> for more information)

9. Execute an Aeneas job (I recommend the Aeneas Web App<https://aeneasweb.org/login>) to create the SMIL files for the content of each XHTML file’s content (p01.smil, p02.smil etc.)

10. Once the SMIL files have been created with Aeneas, you import the SMIL files back into Sigil and then export to EPUB 3 using the EPUB3-itizer plug-in.<https://github.com/kevinhendricks/ePub3-itizer> See documentation.

11. Open EPUB with iBooks or other reading system that supports FXL EPUB with media overlays (MO).

Best of luck,

Joseph Polizzotto
HTCTU Instructor

From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Jane Berk
Sent: Monday, January 22, 2018 3:29 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu>>
Subject: Re: [Athen] comic book conversions?

Hi Heidi,
I wish we had a better solution, too. The ones we’ve done have had to basically be written out with a description of the graphics and then the text to accompany it. Lots of work! Hoping someone out there knows a better way!
Jane Berk
AT Educational Assistant
Assistive Computer Technology Service
Services to Students with Disabilities
MacEwan University
Room 7-198 D3 CCC
10700 - 104 Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5J 4S2
E: berkj at macewan.ca<mailto:berkj at macewan.ca>
T: 780-497-5826
F: 780-497-4018


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From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Heidi Scher
Sent: Monday, January 22, 2018 4:11 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu>>
Subject: [Athen] comic book conversions?

Hello everyone!

I hope your Monday has been more productive than our has been. Seems to be the day for strange issues and computer gremlins!

We have a student who has requested that the graphic novels (i.e. comic books) be converted for her class. The course uses a textbook plus 5 graphic novels. The student uses text-to-speech software (i.e. is not blind but does have a print-related disability).

Has anyone else had the request for graphic novels to be converted? How did you accomplish the task? These are obviously important course materials, but just not sure how to accomplish the task. (Hard to believe in 13+ years I've not dealt with this topic previously!) OCR will be a mess to attempt.

Any suggestions would be appreciated!!

Kind regards,

Heidi Scher, M.S., CRC
Associate Director
Center for Educational Access
University of Arkansas
ARKU 209
Fayetteville, AR 72701
479.575.7445 fax
479.575.3646 tdd
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