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JISC-REPOSITORIES  December 2010

JISC-REPOSITORIES December 2010

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Subject:

BS 8878, Accessibility and Institutional Repositories

From:

Brian Kelly <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Brian Kelly <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 9 Dec 2010 16:20:06 -0000

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Back in December 2006 there was some discussion on this list about the
accessibilities of items in institutional repositories e.g. see
https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/webadmin?A2=ind0612&L=jisc-repositories&T
=0&O=D&F=&S=&P=40351 and
http://ukwebfocus.wordpress.com/2006/12/12/accessibility-and-institutional-r
epositories/

The discussion highlighted tensions between those who argued that items in
repositories should conform with WCAG accessibility guidelines (for legal
and ethical reasons) and those who felt that this would be difficult and
expensive to implement and would be a barrier to the growth of
repositories).

In a paper on "Accessibility 2.0: People, Policies and Processes" - see
http://opus.bath.ac.uk/398/ - I argued that I agreed with the point that
implemented WCAG guidelines was too expensive and difficult (who, for
example, is going to retrospectively annotate images?) but, rather than
saying we can't do anything, we should be looking for an alternative
approaches.  Such alternative approaches (which myself and other
accessibility researchers and practitioners called an holistic approach to
accessibility' have been described in a series of papers.

I'm pleased to say that such approaches are now endorsed in the BS 8878 Web
Accessibility Code of Practice.  This provides a 16 step approach to Web
accessibility which focusses on documentation of policies - rather than
seeking to achieve 'universal accessibility' in goes for an approach based
on 'inclusive design'. 

It strikes me that it would be timely to provide examples of how BS 8878
could be implemented in the context of institutional repositories.  Such
case studies could be documented in BS 8878 supporting studies and help to
raise the profile of how IRs can enhance access to research publications not
only through use of metadata, open licences, etc but also though appropriate
and documented policies.

Would anyone be interested in doing this?

A blog post summarising my thoughts on the BS 8878 Code of Practice is
available at:
http://ukwebfocus.wordpress.com/2010/12/09/bs8878-accessibility-has-been-stu
ck-in-a-rut-of-technical-guidelines/

Note also that following paper also describes the approaches we developed
and highlights how such approaches can be applied in the context of
institutional repositories: 

Accessibility 2.0: Next Steps For Web Accessibility, Kelly, B., Sloan, D.,
Brown, S., Seale, J., Smith, S., Lauke, P. and Ball, S. Journal of Access
Services, Vol.6 Issue 1 & 2, 2009, pp. 265-294
http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/papers/journal-access-services-2009/
   
Brian 
--------------------------------
Brian Kelly
UKOLN, University of Bath, BATH, UK, BA2 7AY
Email: [log in to unmask]
Phone: +44 1225 383943
Web site: http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/
Blog: http://ukwebfocus.wordpress.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/briankelly/
Twitter (automated posts): http://twitter.com/ukwebfocus/

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