[accessibility] At this time, the best way to create an accessible PDF?

Stitz,Tammy A tstitz at uakron.edu
Tue Jun 6 14:50:45 CEST 2017

Hello Everyone:

I joined this list in December. I wanted to email prior to now, but this was the first chance that I was able.

I am the Applied Science Librarian (computer science, most engineering disciplines and engineering tech.) at The University of Akron (UA). I started a workshop series for LaTeX in 2011 for students, staff, and faculty at UA. I run it nearly every semester. Since it is non-credit, sometimes students get busy with requirements and can't attend all eight sessions. Those that attend say they are helpful and that they prefer LaTeX to other document creation means. Most of the time, they prefer it to Microsoft Word. Who wouldn't?

One of my research areas of interest is online accessibility. A colleague and I created a rubric to help library workers in particular. Mostly, the rubric is a compilation of the WCAG 2.0, 508 Standards, and Web Design Best Practices. When we apply the rubric, we have universal design in mind, but there are no criterion that address this topic specifically. Initially, we applied this rubric to a sample library guides. We have expanded our research to library archives, which contain many artifacts including theses and dissertations, where many are created using LaTeX. We have a Wiki that is a "work in progress." I am responsible for the PDF content on the Wiki. I want to create a page containing information about how to correct accessibility issues when creating these documents using LaTeX.

When I create PDFs to be posted online, I use Adobe Acrobat Pro to create a tag structure, which I inevitably need to correct. Of course, Acrobat performs worse when the structure of the document is complicated. I have noticed that Adobe can perform poorly on long documents as well, where all theses and dissertations are long. I thought of using LaTeX to generate my thesis as a test. It won't be wasted effort because UA has an institutional repository and I could post it. I don't think it will be highly popular, but I will load it...because I can.

Until another solution is available, is using Adobe Acrobat Pro to create a tag structure and editing the tag structure and reading order the best way to create a compliant PDF? Any information that you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Best Regards,
Tammy Stitz
Associate Professor, Bibliography
Applied Science Librarian
Science & Technology Library
The University of Akron
Akron, Ohio 44325-3907
Office: 330-972-6192
Fax: 330-972-7033

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