Monday, June 25, 2007

Metadata for Disabled Access to Electronic Documents

The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative is proposing to add a new element "Adaptability Statement" to describe how an electronic document can be accessed by disabled people. This would, for example say if a digital video has closed captions for the deaf, keyboard shortcuts for those who can't use a mouse, or an audio cometary for the blind.
Resources that are made available electronically are often not in a suitable form for users because the users have particular needs resulting from their choice of devices, user agents, circumstances or perhaps a disability. While many of these problems can be adjusted automatically, there are some that can't and, as much as anything, should not be adjusted without input from the user about how they want these adjustments made.

Currently, there is no way for a user to determine if a resource will satisfy their needs, or to allow a system to automatically match a user's specified needs to the characteristics of a resource, in a way that enables all users to access content equally. Metadata descriptions of resources (and a user's needs) can be used to provide the necessary information and the term being proposed aims to facilitate this.

When a resource does not itself have the necessary accessibility characteristics or components, they may nevertheless be available and discovered as the result of a suitable search, in which case they could be assembled into the original resource for the user. Isolated use of the new term is not recommended but its use in combination with other descriptive information should enable the AccessForAll process described. ...

From: Adaptability Statement, Dublin Core Metadata Initiative, 2006-02-23
You can read about the AccessForAll accessibility strategy on the DC Wiki.

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