Research and development
Japan. Fondazione LIA cooperates with Keio Research Institute and APL
The E-books for all: towards an accessible publishing ecosystem whitepaper, created by Fondazione LIA will be translated and distributed in Japan. The initiative stems from an agreement signed between Fondazione LIA and the Keio Research Institute at SFC, an important Keio University’s research institute committed to leading-edge research and innovation, with Advanced publishing laboratory (APL), promoter of the adoption of open standards and software in publishing.
This collaboration is part of a broader project to raise awareness in the Japanese publishing industry on the importance of accessibility and follows the 2019 Act to further the improvement of reading environments for visually impaired persons, which aimed to “the realization of a society that enables all of the people to enjoy the blessings of book culture”. To achieve this goal, specific measures were developed in this direction and a task force dedicated to the topic was created (the Accessibility Friendly Reading Group).
The cooperation between APL/Keio Research Institute at SFC and Fondazione LIA is part of this effort. The first step was a webinar on 18th February, which was attended by the associates of Keio Research Institute at SFC, including leading Japanese publishing groups such ad Kadokawa Corporation, Kodansha Ltd., Shogakukan Inc., Shueisha Inc., Digital Publishing Initiatives Japan. The webinar was hold by Fondazione LIA’s experts, who provided an overview on the subject of accessibility of the publishing ecosystem and on the roles of every actor in the publishing chain.
Advanced Publishing Laboratory’s objectives
Japan’s publishing industry has a distinctive culture and world-class high-quality publishing technology, but until a few years ago it still preferred a traditional form of publication that mainly revolves around paper.
In recent years, however, many publishers have begun to publish digitally and to choose the EPUB format, the mainstream format chosen for publications all over the world, also thanks to a series of training and awareness initiatives. Precisely in this direction, in 2017 Keio Research Institute at SFC launched a laboratory expressly dedicated to the spread of EPUB in Japan as a shared standard: the Advanced Publishing Laboratory (APL).
It has been involved in the research and development of innovative solutions such as technologies enabling vertical writing, ruby characters and other expressions unique to the Japanese language. APL’s members also participate in international working groups on standardization of digital publishing formats.
E-books for all, first published in English in November 2019, provides useful information to all publishing companies interested in being part of an accessible digital publishing ecosystem and it examines the roles and responsibilities of content producers, aggregators, online stores and reading solutions developers.
The whitepaper is the result of the international experience of Fondazione LIA, which has matured over the years being an active part of working and study groups focused on developing standards for the production of accessible digital publications as W3C, DAISY Consortium, ISO and EDRLab. It is also the result of the collaboration with 76 italian publishing imprints that every day enrich the LIA catalogue of Born Accessible e-books that now include more than 26,000 accessible titles.
It has been already translated to German and distributed in Germany, thanks to an agreement signed with the German Publishers and Booksellers Association (Börsenverein) and the German Center for Accessible Reading (dzb lesen), an important centre for the promotion of reading for people with disabilities. More information about here.