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Update on the AAPs Alternate Formats Solutions Initiative AHEAD Annual Conference Friday, July 19, 2007.

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Presentation on theme: "Update on the AAPs Alternate Formats Solutions Initiative AHEAD Annual Conference Friday, July 19, 2007."— Presentation transcript:

1 Update on the AAPs Alternate Formats Solutions Initiative AHEAD Annual Conference Friday, July 19, 2007

2 Introduction Background Mounting file requests swamping publishers – confusion on all fronts. Began to surface 2003+/-; accelerating. With NIMAS this will continue to grow for several years. AFSI Launched March 2006 – research effort (Alternate Formats Solutions Initiative) Lookup Service Launched July, 2006 Research completed, report submitted May 2007 Exec Ctte of AAPs Higher Ed Group, based on AFSIs research findings, voted on Tuesday to move from a research phase to a plan of action.

3 The new charge The Exec. Ctte has directed a special committee that includes staff knowledgeable about accessibility issues to determine how publishers, working with AHEAD and its members, may better serve the accessibility needs of students with print disabilities. This will be explained more later, but in a nutshell: over the next 120 days specific action plans are to be developed along with financial requirements for evaluation and subsequent action by the Exec. Committee.

4 Large Scale Challenge 250,000 active titles in bookstores Est. 4,600 Publishers AAP Higher Ed group basically 7 publishers – bet. 70%-85% of Higher Ed titles has about 10% of them Many publishers arent publishers! Est. 3,500+ Institutions/DSSs Both populations are highly diverse – generalized solutions will not be workable - flexibility is essential

5 Both are diverse populations Diversity in publishers Very few large vs a great many small Tech savvy vs not Nature of content Resource rich vs resource starved Commercial vs non-profit vs subsidized Diversity in DSSs Small number of large vs a great many small Tech savvy vs not 4 year vs 2 year have different requirements Resource rich vs resource starved

6 Outline of remarks Selected Key Findings Current Lookup Service Legislative Distractions Lessons from K-12 AFSIs Vision – a look at the pieces Benefits & Concerns AAPs Decision, next steps, timetable Closing thoughts

7 Selected key findings Its all about timeliness. Key to Success: Taking time out of the process brings greatest payoff for students. DSS offices need to Find knowledgeable publisher contact fast Get files fast Get good files Get scanning permission fast if no file available Get user-ready alternate format if its out there Many DSSs under-resourced and/or lack skills to convert quantities of print or publisher files to user files under time pressure of semester starts. Publishers deal with a wide variety of requests and formats. Efficiencies hard to achieve in current environment.

8 Current Lookup Service Launched July, 2006 with HTCTU database 1,024 unique visitors – 25% of campuses Listings are at the imprint level, not the title level Approximately 460 listings in the file 4,600 listings for publishers/imprints currently in college bookstores. Hasnt been proactively promoted – just word of mouth to date. www. (Try it!!)

9 Legislative Distractions Flurry of individual state legislation has diverted AAP staff resources from AFSI AAP has had to stand alone. Institutions need to be engaged in the process – at least to establish reality for legislators. Out of state big national publishers have little local credibility. Some major publishers are loathe to commit to any one course because individual state solutions can foil efforts to achieve economies of scale. Some proposed laws were seriously flawed – e.g., Texas insisted on ASCII as exclusive default, MD repository funding A need for model legislation that DSS and publishers can live with. State legislative proposals are being made without input from knowledgeable parties, and as a result operating people are left to deal with problems created by the uninformed legislation or regulations.

10 Lessons from K-12 The NIMAS/NIMAC Solution – one format, national repository. Mandatory. Took over 6 years, yet major problems are still not resolved Non-Chafee students Publication Date issue Liability issues deter state participation NIMAS not the total answer Costs are prohibitive for some publishers Major training issues Participation is very low at school level Creating and operating Repository technologically and logistically has not been an issue. It is the unresolved policy, legal and regulatory matters that are proving problematic.

11 Slow uptake for NIMAS/NIMAC Started accepting files early December, 2006 File sets avail as of 7/15 for download… 1,166 Textbooks… Supplemental… 711 Consumer….. 46 Other….. 64 Anticipating 1,600 more by the Fall Total downloads to date… States having downloaded… 9 Lesson: Without strategies to encourage publisher participation and DSS membership/use, change will come slowly. Need to invest in participation building.

12 AFSIs Vision – a look at the pieces National Portal/Center Look-up database with links (national registry) Information central (support for small pubs & DSSs) Locus for coordination and development of best practices related to alternate formats Membership environment – trusted transactions Efficient Permission Procedures Standard agreement templates (a finite set) Ability to Share files (publisher authorized) Trusted transactions Virtual Repository (integrated via Portal) Allow publishers and others to physically control their content and direct users to specific distribution points

13 The Portal/Registry Search Possible approaches Federated Search (across multiple databases) Large Metadata database Metadata is the key either way Standardization required Simplicity is essential Costs and time must not be problems Develop collaboratively A non-trivial but essential effort Need to synchronize with other metadata efforts including IMSs to be used by CSU.

14 Search Results to DSS user List of registered files with descriptive info, e.g., Source Format Whole or partial Cost Restrictions or special information Direct Link to acquire file Comments Potential for multiple choices/sources for DSS From publisher From RFB&D From BookShare From Sharing Network

15 Flexibility reqd for decision-making Various file formats Levels of accessibility ( tagging etc.) Publisher options Provide an eText product for sale/license Provide a derivative file under license Give permission with conditions Deny permission (e.g., dont have rights) DSS options Get shared end-user file (quality issues?) Get publisher source file and transform locally? Scan and produce locally? Tradeoffs to consider quality, cost, speed

16 Participation is key to Viability Membership model is necessary Trusted Environment Revenues must fund activities Violating rules gets members expelled Active participation by DSSs is key to membership revenue model Participation by Publishers is key to critical mass of titles. Must be sufficient to warrant DSSs using the service. Access to shared end-user files likely to be a key value for DSSs considering membership

17 Benefits to Institutions/DSSs Operational benefits Access to national pool of files and publisher contacts Timely receipt of permissions, files etc. Quality files – reduce clean-up work required Dampens seasonal workload crises – less conversions Frees resources for low-incidence needs Other benefits of participation Help shape the environment through working groups on best practices etc. Active Membership demonstrates commitment to meeting needs of students with print disabilities if and when legal problems arise.

18 Benefits to Publishers Permissions efficiencies Standard agreement language Computer facilitated processing Production efficiencies Fewer repetitive file requests Distribution efficiencies Fewer orders to be processed and filled for no $ Usage data informs product development Currently no information as to use by scanning Currently no information on reuse of received files Assist in sales situations Helps assure customer that accessible format is available when considering adoption

19 Benefits to Students Faster provision of files Faster location of files Faster procurement of files Faster transformation/delivery of files Better quality files Portal can help compensate for limited ability of local DSS to provide files in certain formats Potentially expands course options for student if files are known to be available – esp Braille

20 Financial concerns Cost to Develop the Portal and related components Cost to Launch and reach self-sustainability Ability to generate revenues necessary to operate on a self-sustained basis – realistic assumption?

21 So heres what the AAP sees: Its AFSI research has identified areas where major process improvements are possible that should benefit all players. A vision has been presented for achieving those improvements that appears feasible; however, funding concerns must be addressed The key to success is broad-based participation by the institutions – otherwise not self-sustaining. Implementing the vision must be a collaborative effort to ensure that the values delivered to DSSs are sufficient to generate membership revenues. Development is going to require significant funding and a credible plan needs to be developed to attract front-end funding.

22 What have they decided? They do want to move forward. They want to do so prudently. They want to do so collaboratively with their customers – the Institutions and DSSs offices (AHEAD). They have tasked a key committee to provide a report in 30 days outlining how it could be done and prepare to lead development of detailed plans. Upon approval of the report, the Committee will be directed to work with AHEAD et al to develop carefully drawn, feasible plans to accomplish specific targeted objectives as follows:

23 AAPs decision contd Develop Plan to implement a National Center/Internet Portal. Plan to incorporate: Lookup Service (at title level) using a database/registry Streamlining procedures for obtaining files and/or permissions to scan Developing procedures for sharing user files between institutional members via the Portal subject to publisher prior authorization/permission Develop Plan to operate the Portal on a self- sustaining basis via a membership subscription model. Develop Plan to manage the financial, technical, operational, legal and procedural details necessary to make the Portal a reality.

24 Timetable: Committee to create plan for accomplishing the assignment & report to Exec. Ctte: 30 days Upon Exec. Committee acceptance, the special committee will immediately start collaborative activities with AHEAD and others to produce detailed implementation plans with funding analyses as appropriate for each of the specific charges. Plans to be submitted in 90 days Based on content of these plans the Exec. Committee will determine next steps.

25 Closing thoughts Weve come a long way, and it hasnt been easy. We can expect more of the same. Thank all of you for your help. We are dealing with complex issues. The unfortunate situation in K-12 shows the danger of moving ahead without addressing all of the issues in advance. We continue to learn from that example and this course hopes to avoid that pitfall. This set of solutions will require considerable investment if full development is pursued; the scope is big and complex. But if the stakeholders actively participate and find real value, it should be self-sustaining. By delivering key benefits for students and by providing a win-win for publishers and institutions, these solutions will prove a worthy investment. The challenge is for publishers, AHEAD, its members and other institutions and interested parties to work together at a fast clip. Committed lean and mean teams need to be assembled and become productive very quickly. The students deserve no less.

26 Closing thoughts contd AHEADs support of the AFSI thus far has been much appreciated by AAP. And as AAPs Higher Ed publishers now assess how best to express and leverage their commitment to finding a win-win way forward, they anticipate continuing to work even more closely with AHEAD and other similarly committed stakeholders to make major improvements in the provision of alternate formats for students with print disabilities. Thanks for your time and attention! QUESTIONS??

27 Contact information Frederick (Rick) Bowes, III PO Box 1637, Duxbury, MA And for the Association of American Publishers: Ed McCoyd, Director of Digital Policy

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