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On writing images: A case study in writing alt text for Orca book publishers

Resource type
Thesis type
(Project) M.Pub.
Date created
Print disabilities are not addressed by the Canadian book market despite initiatives such as Born Accessible and eBooks for Everyone. In response to questions around this systemic privilege built into publishing, certain publishers, such as Orca Book Publishers, have taken strides to make their books more accessible. Orca Book Publishers decided to make their backlist accessible by writing Alternative Text, or Alt Text and creating an in-house style guide that would lay down principles and guidelines for writing Alt Text for their books in the future. While Alt Text does not address all accessibility challenges, it offers valuable opportunities for publishers to contribute to the systemic exclusion of some readers. As such, this report examines the nature of Alt Text from editorial, economic, managerial, and political perspectives, determining the successes and challenges taken on by Orca Publishers. Orca has made significant strides in accessibility through their adoption of Alt Text. The experience of Alt Text has not yet been standardized, and this causes variations in experience, which can be studied through the different technologies used to create it, and the recommendations of publishers. In-house style guides that exist, which attempt to systemize the writing of Alt Text, do offer one guiding principle — that the Alt Text bring out themes of the book. This principle and the rules mentioned are then tested against three images from Orca's titles and considered in a reflective process. Alt Text as a feature is crucial to publishing, the same as any other feature — and has great potential in the future of accessibility in publishing.
45 pages.
Copyright statement
Copyright is held by the author(s).
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Pagé, Mauve
Member of collection
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