July 31, 2023 Digital Hub Update

By Scribe Inc.


Digital Hub ePub Accessibility Improvements

Several accessibility improvements have been made to ePubs produced in the Digital Hub. Many of these improvements will be applied automatically to all ePub 3 books produced in the Hub, while others need to be specified in the Hub project record to be included in the output.

Reflecting the growing importance of accessibility in digital publishing, accessibility metadata has been moved into its own dedicated tab on the project page.

Markup Improvements

These changes will apply to every ePub 3 produced in the Digital Hub.

  • Table markup has been improved, with main table headers/titles being placed in caption tags.
  • ARIA page labels will be encoded with the pattern " Page #. ", with the additional spacing and punctuation improving how certain readers announce page labels. Example: " Page 40. "
  • List head styles (nlh, blh, and ulh) will be specified as the label for the list where they appear.
  • Endnote and reference sections are encoded as real HTML lists.
  • Each note reference (fnref or enref) in the body text will receive an attribute of epub:type="noteref".

Specify Presentation Images

You can specify that an image is serving only a decorative role by setting the alt text to PRESENTATION anywhere in the workflow. The resulting ePub will have empty alt text and the role set as follows:

<img src="image01.jpg" role="presentation" alt=""/>

Accessibility Features

Additional Accessibility Features can be added to an ePub’s metadata. Some of these features need to be selected manually, while others will be automatically added to certain ePubs based on the content of the book.


  • Long Description: This can be added from the Accessibility tab. The Digital Hub does not currently have an automatic way to add Long Descriptions, so this metadata should only be selected for projects where the ePub will be modified locally after it is generated in the Digital Hub.

Automatically Selected

  • ARIA: Automatically added as an Accessibility Feature for any project with accessibility metadata.
  • Page Break Markers and Page Navigation: Automatically added as Accessibility Features for any project with accessibility metadata and page IDs. Page Break Markers replaces the Print Page Numbers accessibility feature. Print Page Numbers should no longer be used and will be removed in a future update to the Digital Hub.

Conformance Metadata

The Conforms To property is used to indicate that the ePub conforms to a published accessibility specification. Projects can have multiple statements included in their ePub that either describe or link to established accessibility specifications. Users can

  • enter a URL in the description field, or
  • enter a text description and certifying organization.

Certifying organizations are not included in an ePub when a conformance line references a URL. See examples under conformance reporting in the EPUB Accessibility 1.1 Specification.

Scribe does NOT certify e-books against accessibility requirements. It is the publisher’s responsibility to gain the certification of the listed organization or individual before making the ePub available for users. Publishers can list their own organization name if they are self-certifying the conformance level.