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Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

Accessibility of Online Library Information for People with Disabilities

Accessibility of Online Library Information for People with Disabilities
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Author(s): Axel Schmetzke (University of Wisconsin, USA)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 7
Source title: Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch001

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Abstract

After 20 years of digitization efforts, hardly a single type of library information resource remains that has not shifted, at least to some extent, to an electronic, Web-based format: information about the library itself, catalogs, indexes, dictionaries and encyclopedias, books and journals, tutorials, reserve materials, and reference services. The online migration of these resources has opened unprecedented opportunities to people with “print disabilities” who cannot independently access printed works because of lack of sight, dyslexia, or insufficient motor control (Coombs, 2000), but who are able to access electronic text with the help of assistive input and output technology such as modified computer keyboards and screen readers with speech or Braille output (Lazzaro, 2001;Mates, 2000). The extent to which these new opportunities become realized depends on the design of the Web environment. From the perspective of accessibility, design in the online world matters as much as it does in the physical world. This article seeks to determine the extent to which the library profession addresses the need of people with disabilities for accessibly designed online resources—by reviewing the professional library literature for coverage of this issue, by summarizing empirical accessibility studies, and by analyzing pertinent policies adapted by libraries and their professional organizations.

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