[accessibility] Current packages and methods of generating tagged PDF from LaTeX

Ross Moore ross.moore at mq.edu.au
Fri Jun 28 23:41:19 CEST 2019

Hi Jason,

On 29/06/2019, at 2:34, "Jason White via accessibility" <accessibility at tug.org<mailto:accessibility at tug.org>> wrote:

From a user’s standpoint, reading the LaTeX source and reading an HTML or (in the future, preferably a tagged) PDF rendering are two quite distinct activities. It seems to me that there’s a need to support both.

Sure. Including the full LaTeX source document is a way that some journals choose to satisfy their accessibility obligations. I regard this as a cop-out, which does not adequately satisfy those obligations. Furthermore, it does not generalize to larger publications like text-books, as authors and publishers can have very good reasons for not wishing to release the source.

The problem of mathematical notation merits a separate discussion. The minimal approach would be to embed the original LaTeX source of the expression as alternative text in the PDF.

There are at least 3 different places where this can be done.
In my limited experience of screen-reading software, different applications access different places. Thus in my documents I usually populate all 3.

So far as I know, there’s no analogue of MathML tags that PDF reading applications can process to make mathematics accessible.

Are you not familiar with the MathPlayer plug-in to Acrobat ?
This does a great job of reading MathML from tagged PDFs.
The limitation is the lack of PDFs built that way. I've done some early work on doing this from LaTeX source (see a PDF linked from TUG's Accessibility page).
I hope to return to this once the non-math stuff is nearly perfect, for PDF 2.0.

Then there are chemistry, music, and probably other notations to consider as well – just as is true on the web in general. So the solutions ought to be generalizable, so far as is feasible.


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