STEM access: From author to reader (talks)
- Date: 19 January 2023
- Time: 6:30 to 8:30pm (UK Time)
The video for the talks is above. For the discussion follow this link.
On Thursday 19 January, 6:30 to 8:30pm UK (ie GMT) time there was a special two hour meeting on accessibility in the STEM document toolchain, from author to reader.
Speakers: Jason White, Jonathan Godfrey and Patrick Smyth
We’re fortunate to have three special guests, all with expert knowledge and experience both personal and professional.
Jason White is an accessibility advocate, scholar, and free/open-source software enthusiast with a deep commitment to social justice. He currently serves as Co-Facilitator, with Scott Hollier, of the W3C’s Research Questions (accessibility) Task Force, which focuses on issues arising from new and emerging Web technologies. He recently published Using Markup Languages for Accessible Scientific, Technical, and Scholarly Document Creation.
Jonathan Godfrey is a Senior Lecturer in Statistics at Massey University in New Zealand. He is also blind. He’ll be sharing his experience. After starting with LaTeX he now uses the R-statistics package and its markdown tools. He’s a regular and valued expert contributor to the Blind Math mailing list. Here’s Jonathan’s home page.
Patrick Smyth is a blind humanist and hacker. He researches and writes in a field dominated by print, proprietary databases and other inaccessible formats and systems. His 2021 prizewinning PhD at CUNY, Negotiated Access, is on this very topic. Right now he’s an external contractor for an accessibility project for NASA’s Space Telescope Science Institute. This involves Jupyter notebooks. Here’s Patrick’s home page.
The first hour will be presentations from our speakers. After a break, we’ll then go into Panel or Small Group mode. All are welcome. The meeting will be recorded and published. You’ll find some past videos on the Accessibility page.
Authoring accessible STEM documents with confidence and independence can be hard especially if you’re blind and also if you don’t know which tools are the best ones to use. And even for the sighted, there’s the problem choosing tools that produce outputs that are accessible to those who are not.
The arxiv.org is a massive online repository of STEM preprints, mostly authored in LaTeX and generated into PDF upon submission. They are doing the research and planning work now to be able to offer papers in a more accessible form. Engaging the author will be one facet of this effort.
This STEM author and reader access meeting and its successors are intended to complement and provide mutual support for the work of the arxiv team.