Blog Series on Accessibility at The “Lib Pub” Blog

Since July of 2015, the “Lib Pub” blog has been publishing an occasional series of posts about accessibility in digital publishing. These posts came out of a seminar held at West Virginia University titled Access/ibility in Digital Publishing, and for the most part consist of discussions of that seminar or basic discussions of how to make things accessible on the web. However, the posts as a whole make some interesting points about the intersection of digital publishing and Open Access (OA) with accessibility.

In her post, “A library perspective”, Susan Ivey discusses the conflict between access and accessibility, and notes that librarians tend to concentrate on access in terms of standardized metadata, linked data, and other technical considerations, and can loose sight of accessibility in a broader sense.

In “A role for libraries”, Sarah Kennedy mentions two concepts in particular: lo-fi production technologies and perseverant design.

Lo-fi production technologies (as discussed by Karl Stolley in the Lo-Fi Manifesto) are just what they sound like—low-tech methods of creating and distributing content. These technologies are less likely to obsolesce, and are also more likely to be human-readable with little or no additional work. (Note that this does not necessarily mean they are accessible, though. The header in Stoller’s manifesto is made up of ASCII art—certainly not screen-reader friendly, and probably difficult to read in general for people not used to the font.)

Perseverant Design is a term used by Melanie Yergeau which refers to reappropriating “perseverant behaviors”—those “which are restrictive and repetitive and which do not necessarily follow appropriately with the social context”. Like Kennedy, I am intrigued by this idea, but am uncertain how it could be used in practice. Still, the idea of phrasing design in these terms is an interesting one.

Beyond these posts are several which focus on technical details of creating accessible content: a post by Melanie Schlosser on accessible publishing in HTML, a post by Sarah Kennedy which lays out accessibility testing workflows and tools, and a post (published today) by Kevin Hawkins which briefly discusses accessibility in journal publishing.