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AXSLIB-L  January 2001

AXSLIB-L January 2001

Subject:

Re: A for ACCESSIBILITY

From:

"Schmetzke, Axel" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Library Access -- http://www.rit.edu/~easi

Date:

Mon, 8 Jan 2001 18:34:52 -0600

Content-Type:

multipart/mixed

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (357 lines) , message/rfc822 (357 lines)

Audrey, here is some information about courseware accessibility:
1. http://library.uwsp.edu/aschmetz/Accessible/pub_resources.htm#courseware
2. posting by Dr. AnnMarie (Paulukonis) Johnson [[log in to unmask]] who
evaluated Blackboard (attached file).
3. EASI posting concerning Blackboard's next version (follows in separate
message).

Greetings,

Axel

-----Original Message-----
From: Audrey Gorman [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Monday, January 08, 2001 3:55 PM
To: [log in to unmask]; Schmetzke, Axel
Subject: Re: A for ACCESSIBILITY


Axel,

Thanks for your suggestions.  I'm already negotiating with a number of
companies that make a variety of accessibility products.  We don't want
anyone in the Pavilion unless their product or service actually increases
accessibility.  I think that having an area devoted to this topic will help
with awareness among vendors as well as attendees. I can also work with
Conference Services to issue an invitation to all exhibitors.  In fact, all
of them will see infromation about the Accessibility Pavilion in this year's
Exhibitor Prospectus.

Web-based courseware is a big concern, and it's part of the even bigger goal
of making all ALA-related (and eventually all library-related) web sites and
web products accessible.  Any information I can get on the topic of
web-based courseware would be greatly appreciated.

By the way, I've been invited to address the ACRL Sections Council (which
includes the Guidelines group) at Midwinter.  I'll only get to talk for
about five minutes, but I'll stress how important accessibility is to
everything we do.  I'll lean hard on the necessity of making all ALA and
library web products accessible.  For those who are interested, the meeting
is on Friday, Jan 12, at 4:30 PM. It's being held at the JW Marriott, in
Salon I.  I'll be on the agenda sometime between 5:15 and 5:30.

I'm also planning to show up at the ACRL Guidelines meeting * Sunday,
8:30-11:00 AM at the Renaissance Mayflower,Colonial room.  I'll try to
address our concerns about accessibility.

Wish me luck!  And wish luck to all of us who are trying to get the proposed
ALA policy on "Library Service for People with Disabilities" passed by ALA
Council.  This is a landmark opportunity that we need to act on now.  Then
we can settle down t real work of applying universal design principles to
real library services.  There's a lot to do!

Audrey


>>> [log in to unmask] 01/05/01 16:24 PM >>>
Audrey,

I may not have the type of suggestions that you are hoping for, but I do
like to share the outcome of an informal survey at ALA 2000. I approached
about ten different indexes/database vendors (Proquest, Ebscohost, Wilson,
Ovid, FirstSearch, etc.) and inquired about the accessibility of their
products for people with disabilities. In most cases, the sales reps had no
idea what I was talking about and I had to educate them on the use of screen
readers etc. Perhaps, it would be good to invite the vendors of
indexes/databases commonly used in libraries. Even if they decline (which, I
suspect most will do), they still get the message that accessibility is in
demand and that, sooner or later, they need to adjust to this.

Another area of concern is the accessibility of web-based courseware
packages, such as Blackboard and WebCT. The information I have received is
rather mixed, especially with regard to Blackboard. There appears to be a
gap between the company's claim and reality. If vendors of web-based course
packages are present in San Francisco, perhaps they could be urged to
demonstrate the accessibility of their products.

Just some thoughts,

Axel



-----Original Message-----
From: Audrey Gorman [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Friday, January 05, 2001 3:50 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: A for ACCESSIBILITY


Ron,

Thanks for the suggestion.  I know a number of people involved in
accessibility issues at San Francisco, including Marti Goddard and Marilyn
Dong.  We've talked about all kinds of things in this area over the last few
years and I touch base with both of them on a regular basis.  I'll check in
with them again and see if they have any additional suugestions.

Anyone else have a suggestion?  At some point I'll post a list of some of
the vendors we're approaching.

Best!
Audey

>>> [log in to unmask] 01/05/01 15:24 PM >>>
On your comment on vendors for your conference I would talk to the access
librarian at the San Francisco library, I visited it right after it was
remolded and was very impressed, and since the Bay area is a Mecca for
accessibility vendors there should be a lot of good folks.

Ron Stewart

-----Original Message-----
From: Audrey Gorman [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Friday, January 05, 2001 12:57 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: A for ACCESSIBILITY


Ron,

Thanks for your clarification.  I agree with most of what you have to say.
However, my information came from direct questions to contact people at the
Department of Education, so my take is that we really don't know anything
yet for sure.  It's all educated guesses/speculation.  And I'm no lawyer
either!

I can only hope that the interpretation that includes the largest number of
libraries will be the one that emerges!  My plan is to work within ALA to
get an official interpretation that all libraries can work from with
confidence.  In the meantime, we're hoping that we can get the proposed ALA
policy "Library Services for People with Disabilities" passed by ALA Council
at the Midwinter meeting.  And I'm working on a new area in the exhibit for
the Annual Conference in San Francisco.  It will be called the
"Accessibility Pavillion."  Any suggestions for vendors to include or help
with recruiting vendors would be greatly appreciated.

In the meantime, I heartily agree that Section 504 applies to libraries and
that they would be very wise indeed to use the Access Board 508 standards as
a jumping-off point or renewal touchstone for their own accessibility
efforts.  Further, Department of Justice interpretations of ADA-related
cases have stated that web sites and other means of information
dissemination are communication covered by ADA as well.  The handwriting on
the wall is very clear so far.

The real issues go much deeper. To put it crassly: Wht it really comes down
to is who needs a strong stick to even slavishly follow the letter of the
law versus who understands the spirit of disability law as a body and is
willing to do the right thing without being coerced. There are lots of
people and organizations that fal somewhere between these poles, of course.
There's lots of work to do. Our core mission in this area, as I see it, is
to help libraries provide the greatest access to the most information to the
largest number of people possible.

Regards,
Audrey
Chair, ALA Web Accessibility Task Force
Director, Roads To Learning

>>> [log in to unmask] 01/04/01 17:57 PM >>>
First I must state that I am not a lawyer so this is not a legal opinion,
but let me share with the list a briefing paper that I prepared for my
university. This letter is based on the best information currently
available, but also represents a proactive interpretation of the impact of
Section 508. I should also note that this discussion is somewhat rhetorical,
because if you are subject to Section 504 of the Rehab Act then it would be
in the best interest of your institution to have the kind of standards 508
mandates in place anyway.

I am very sure the courts will be involved in the final determination of
this, and additionally I would no be surprised if 508 does not get some
more revision in the next session of congress. For those of us that have
followed OCR rulings and case law particularly on the west coast I think the
legal trends are very evident. The other thing that should be noted is that
these are Standards not Guidelines, and that is very important from a legal
perspective.

I do not think anyone would be naive enough to state that it does not apply
to state agencies, that is clearly stated in the provisions of the Tech Act,
and in the letters of assurance states have had to submit as a part of their
receipt of Tech Act funds. What is in question is what a "State Agency" is.
What the Department of Ed. will be providing is guidance on ompliance, not
clarification of its applicability. The one thing that is up in the air is
who will be responsible for enforcement, and I would venture to guess it
will not be the OCR, but may be directly enforced by the Department of
Justice.

If you want more informatin on this I would suggest you consult the
following web sites:

http://www.resna.org/taproject/policy/initiatives/508.html

http://www.section508.gov/docs/508law.html

http://www.section508.gov/docs/AT1998.html

http://www.section508.gov/requirements.html

Ron

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ron Stewart, Director
Technology Access Program
Information Services
Oregon State University
109 Kidder Hall
Corvallis, Oregon  97331
Phone: 1.541.737.7307
Fax:   1.541.737.2159
E-mail: [log in to unmask]
WWW: http://tap.orst.edu


-----Original Message-----
From: Schmetzke, Axel [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Thursday, January 04, 2001 3:14 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: A for ACCESSIBILITY


Hi Ron,

I read with much interest your response to Audrey's posting. I'm a bit
puzzled by your statement that Sect. 508 "will most likely apply to ....
public and college university libraries in the majority of instances." I
thought that this is really up in the air at this point--a impression that
got confirmed by what Doug Wakefield stated during the recent EASI
interview.  According to Doug, the applicability of Sect. 508 to State
universities has to be clarified by the Department of Education (recent EASI
interview). Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if, ultimately, the courts
would also have a say in this matter.

Would you share with us your information source? What information do you
have that has shaped your opinion on this issue?

Thanks,

Axel

Axel Schmetzke
Library
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point



-----Original Message-----
From: Ron Stewart [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Thursday, January 04, 2001 3:13 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re:A for ACCESSIBILITY


I would like to make a couple of clarifications to your message. Section 508
applies to "State Agencies" in states that have received funding under the
Tech Act, which in a nutshell is all states. The issues come up in what is a
state agency, ad here is were you may find that most local libraries are
exempt, since they are not state agencies. It will most likely apply to
state libraries, and public and college university libraries in the majority
of instances.

They current standards will go into effect on February 21st, 2001, and
agencies will have six months from that date to comply with the standards.

Ron Stewart

-----Original Message-----
From: Audrey Gorman [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Thursday, January 04, 2001 9:18 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: A for ACCESSIBILITY


Ellen and all,

I too believe that Section 508 may be a big help to accessibility advocates
in the long run.  However, 508 applies (ie, has legal teeth)for federal
agencies, not the society at large.  There are even some federal agencies
that are exempt. It may apply to some state functions when federal money is
involved, maybe even state libraries.  That's still being teased out by the
Department of Justice and others.

But experts on 508whom I've asked say that most libraries probably are not
subject to the requirements of the statute.  Besides that, the federal
accessibility standards still must go through a comment period from
Congress.  At best, they won't be technically applicable even to federal
entities until at least June of 2001. As far as libraries are concerned, we
need to get an official legal opinion through appropriate channels.

Section 508 may be a sign of things to come (let's support and work toward
that bright time), but it's not there yet.  If, as we know, libraries are
not yet compliant with the ADA and Section 504, which do apply to them, why
ask them to wave the flag for or get excited about a statute that doesn't or
might not

Let's use Section 508 as an example, a shining bellweather, when we talk
about the bigger issue of accessibility.  Let's talk about vendor reaction
and the companies that are jumping on the bandwagon. Let's not tell
libraries that 508 definately applies to them.  T do so would be a very
negative thing, with potentially devestating backlash and loss of
credibility for all of us who advocate for access for all, including people
with disabilities.

Regards,
Audrey


>>> [log in to unmask] 01/02/01 15:55 PM >>>
Dear Accessibility Advocates-Everyone:

A happy, healthy, and thanks t the Access Board and the new
Section 508, ACCESSIBLE New Year!

Whatever meetings and sessions we attend at ALA Midwinter and
elsewhere, the "Digital Divide" program included, let us
celebrate the new Section 508 standards by making our slogan,
chorus, and refrain that we "sing" proudly in unison:

ACCESSIBILITY!

- The need for accessibility is universal.  Everyone needs
access, whether it be to healthcare, the local grocery store, the
Post Office, a mode of transportation (especially after a 20-foot
snowstorm), information, reading materials, or the Internet, etc.
So everyone inherently personally relates, appreciates, and thus
supports accessibility - when framed as "accessiblity" in
positive terms.

- Accessibility is POSITIVE language at its finest. As Madison
Avenue teaches us so well: Positive Language Sells. Positive
Language Wins.*  Every Time.

[*ex. The title of the successfully passed "Children's Internet
Protection Act" - also an accessibility issue]

- Accessibility puts us at the top of every [English-language]
index, and through positive language, at the top of everyone's
agenda.

Ellen Perlow
Chair, ALA ASCLA Century Scholarship Committee
"Celebrating a New Century that Celebrates Diversity"
http://www.ala.org/ascla/centuryscholarship.html
Next Application Submission Deadline: March 1, 2001
ALA 2001 Scholarship Application page:
http://www.ala.org/work/awards/cholars.html
Have YOU recruited/applied to be a Century Scholarship applicant today?
----------------------------------------------------
Manager of Information Services
School of Library and Information Studies
Texas Woman's University
P.O. Box 425438
Denton, TX76204-5438
Tel.: 940-898-2622  Fax: 940-898-2611
Web: http://twu.edu/~s_perlow/
E-Mail: [log in to unmask]


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