[BlindMath] Please, more talk between blind math users and LaTeX developers

Tony Malykh anton.malykh at gmail.com
Thu Mar 11 19:37:31 UTC 2021

Hi Jonathan,

Thanks for working on this. I did my own investigation a while ago and I 
came to a similar conclusion that this is largely a social problem. Very 
interesting document about timeline of Latex to tagged PDF development. 
Although it seems almost ridiculously slow: spend 3 years and looks like 
that won't even tag the actual math content. But still good to know that 
they are working on that.

Please let me know if you need any social support to push on this - like 
write an email/petition to latex developers - I myself work in ML and I 
am heavily affected by lack of accessible PDFs in ML conferences. I can 
probably also find a couple of more blind ML devs who would hopefully 
agree to push jointly.



On 3/3/2021 7:46 AM, Jonathan Fine via BlindMath wrote:
> Hi
> This is about improving communication between blind math students and
> support staff on the one side and the LaTeX developers on the other.
> I'll be brief. Kellee Sanchez's request for help started a discussion which
> I found to be very good. It covers many interlinked topics. It will take me
> some time to digest and understand. I'm learning so much from this
> discussion.
> http://nfbnet.org/pipermail/blindmath_nfbnet.org/2021-March/009702.html
> I'm a long-time TeX user. I'd like the developers there, particularly those
> focussed on accessible PDF and on TeX-to-HTML (or XML), to similarly learn
> from this discussion. To make this discussion more accessible to them and
> others, I'll summarize it in posts on my blog.
> https://jfine2358.github.io/
> I think there's a real social problem. TeX users care about typography.
> Blind people can't see typography. TeX users love PDF. Blind people, it
> seems to me, love accessible HTML. Blind students need accessible material
> during the course. TeX developers think long term.
> This need not be a problem. We all care about communication and usability.
> We have shared interests and values. The social problem I see is that there
> are too few connections between these two communities.
> Let's have more sharing between the people on the Blind Math mailing list
> and the developers on the LaTeX project. This conversation can help both
> sides.
> The LaTeX developers hope to produce tagged PDF no sooner than 4 years from
> now, with math support to follow later. For math support they need to
> extract and store the TeX source for the equations.  Achieving this LaTeX
> developer goal will I'm sure help blind math users.
> https://www.latex-project.org/publications/2020-tagged-pdf-feasibility.pdf
> Let's make progress by talking more with each other. And working together
> when we can.
> with best wishes
> Jonathan
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