The ABELab project concluded on June 30th, 2024. This website will remain available until we consider the content out of date.

The Follow Up section will continue to be maintained, with EDRLab responsible for providing updated watch content. The remainder of the content will not be updated, except for typographical corrections.

A collaborative project aiming to provide publisher with correct information about options and costs for remediation to make backlist ebooks accessible.

European Digital Reading Lab (EDRLab), Fondazione LIA and Koninklijke Bibliotheek the National Library of the Netherlands are partners of this Creative Europe funded project.

The European Accessibility Act (EAA) is a directive that aims to improve the functioning of the internal market for accessible products and services, by removing barriers created by divergent rules in Member States. The EAA will take effect per June 2025, affecting many products and services, including e-books categorized as services.

In many conversations with publishers and publishers association we encountered a lot of practical questions, many still not answered. Given the limited timeframe, and the fact that many parties have limited resources to look into this, we have set up Accessible Backlist Ebooks Laboratory (ABELab), a project funded by the EU Creative Europe program, that has the goal of centralizing some of the necessary research and sharing the results with anyone interested.

One topic is particularly important: how can a publisher evaluate the impact of converting any backlist ebooks titles. Earlier studies have shown very different results. In particular, the issues related with different categories of ebooks have not been addressed yet. At the same time, we see companies offering remediation tools for converting existing EPUB2 and PDF files into accessible EPUB3 versions, but which issues do these tools actually solve and which not?

To get insight into the possibilities and costs of remediation, the partners of the ABE Lab project European Digital Reading Lab (EDRLab), Fondazione LIA and KB – National Library of the Netherlands, are now starting their research activities to provide insight on:

  • which elements in backlist ebooks hinder accessibility
  • how to categorize clusters of ebooks that need the same treatment
  • tools on the market that help with remediation of different ebook categories (fiction, non-fiction, complex layout books)
  • complete costs per title