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By Julie Ganner AE, Chair, Accessibility Initiative Working Party (AIWP)

Books without barriers continues to be well received, with further articles by ArtsHub and the international newsletter Publishing Perspectives following a media release by IPEd last month.

Our accessible PDF and EPUB versions are almost ready and should be uploaded to the IPEd website soon, along with a digital braille transcript by NextSense.

After the IPEd conference I also made a submission to the editors of the Australian Government Style manual, asking them to change their advice from single to double quotation marks and citing Books without barriers as evidence for the change. (For those who may have missed the debate, single quote marks are a headache for braille transcribers, as they can be confused with apostrophes and must be checked manually in each publication when transcribed into braille.) The editors have responded that they are taking the issue seriously and will commission a report from their accessibility consultants, Intopia, before deciding how to proceed. They noted, however, that changing all government content from single to double quotes would be a huge undertaking, as most of their systems (including the manual itself) do not have the capacity to make global changes.

The Accessibility Initiative Working Party has now wound up, as the tasks set out in our terms of reference are complete. However, I will retain my email address,, to act as a contact for members and other organisations on accessibility matters for IPEd. Agata, Kayt, Maryanne and I will also be working on ideas for professional development events in the coming months, so if you have any requests for accessibility topics that you would like us to cover, please do get in touch.

In the meantime, I will deliver a talk on Books without barriers for writers on 19 July, hosted by the Australian Society of Authors. The presentation will be online and is free to attend.