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VitalSource Updates Bookshelf Accessibility

VitalSource Technologies, a provider of digital educational content for colleges and universities, is updating the accessibility features of its VitalSource Bookshelf e-book platform.

In 2014, VitalSource acquired CourseSmart, another higher education digital textbook provider. VitalSource is migrating all of CourseSmart's accessible PDF content to the VitalSource Bookshelf platform and expects to complete the migration by mid-August 2015. The new VitalSource Bookshelf content will include more than 1,000 textbook titles enhanced through the Student E-rent Pilot Project (STEPP), which was initiated by the Alternative Media Access Center (AMAC) to help college students with print-related disabilities access affordable textbooks.

VitalSource has also announced updates to its desktop and mobile applications. According to information from the company, the updated applications "provide greater support for assistive technologies interacting with EPUB and PDF content." VitalSource's downloadable apps will also gain support for user-added EPUB content to provide "access for assistive technologies to a wide range of Open Education Resources (OER) and other content sources."

VitalSource is increasing its collaboration with members of the accessibility community to help ensure that its platform meets accessibility standards. The company is an active participant in the Center for Accessible Materials Innovation (CAMI) and collaborates with organizations such as the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), Tech For All, JISC and AMAC. VitalSource evaluates the accessibility of its Bookshelf platform using screen-reading programs including JAWS and NVDA for Windows, VoiceOver for Mac and iOS and TalkBack for Android.

Further information about VitalSource Bookshelf's enhanced accessibility features can be found on the VitalSource site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].

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