|Status:||This working group is currently active.|
In 2004, the DC-Accessibility Working group completed its set of tasks as chartered and produced a set of documents that were to be considered by the Usage Board for the creation of a new DC element to be called DC.Accessibility. The Usage Board have worked with members of the Accessibility Working Group for some time but this work is not yet complete.
The proposed new term is designed to enable matching of resources and services to people's needs and preferences for display, control and content. This is particularly important when users have limitations for any of these, for whatever reason. It is, of course, essential for some users with physical or cognitive disabilities. Microsoft's research shows that more than 60% of existing users will benefit if adaptations are possible and many more people will be able to become users.
The information model for the new term is closely related to one that describes people's accessibility needs and preferences. Both specifications, for people and for resources, were developed in collaboration with the IMS Global Project and they are maintained by that body: http://www.imsproject.org/accessibility/ These specifications are free and available to all. They are accompanied by an Overview document, a Best Practices Guide, and schema and vocabularies expressed in XML.
Since that work was completed, the work has become the subject of work in the ISO JTC1 SC36 context, and there is a set of documents available for public comment: see http://jtc1sc36.org/doc/36N1024.pdf, http://jtc1sc36.org/doc/36N1025.pdf, http://jtc1sc36.org/doc/36N1026.pdf
In the meantime, the term "accessibility" has raised some issues as it is very easily confused with "access" which is often in people's minds when they are talking about discovery, and so there is discussion currently about whether it would be better to look to the family of issues, the adaptability of the resource, and work with a term such as "adaptability".
Another advantage of this approach is that it brings the work even more closely in line with W3C work in their Device Independent Working Group and it seems it will also fit well with the W3C Mobile Web Initiative work. (It is pleasing to see also that W3C's EARL 1.0 supports what has been done by the DC Accessibility Working Group, as it was hoped it would.)
Anyone interested in contributing time and effort will be welcomed - there is a lot of work to be done and everyone has something to contribute!
Completion of work related to the new DC:Accessibility term
The work for 2005 should be mostly completed in 2005. (Most of what was proposed for "3. Implementation" (above) will not be undertaken in 2005 due to the lack of progress with the term development.)
The DC Accessibility Working Group mailing list is: http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/lists/dc-accessibility.html
2004-12-13, The next F2F Working Group meeting for DC:Accessibility will be held in melbourne in the we February 7 - 11 2005. Those interested in attending in person or via telecommunications should contact Liddy Nevile.
The work behind the user and resource profiles that allow for matching of resources to users' needs and preferences, was predicated upon the notion that digital resources are easily manipulated by computer applications. The initial work was designed to exploit the potential of the applications, in fact. In the UK, however, where there is considerable interest in these profiles for use in education, the context is often mixed (as elsewhere) and so it is likely to be of concern to content providers whether there are physical resources that alter the accessibility of digital resources. A human assistant is one example of such a resource.
Originally, the vocabulary for use in the profiles was part of the profile but it has now been separated to allow for more flexibility. This means there are three parts to the profiles: the user profiles, the resource profiles, and the vocabularies to be used. This opens the way for a multiplicity of vocabularies so there is a warning that what may be achieved in terms of interoperability could be lost through a proliferation of vocabularies.
As well, initially it was thought that any given user might want to have several profiles according to the context in which they might be operating: the time of day, location, etc might make a difference. Clearly, there are also likely to be institutional uses for user profiles and so the idea of cascading profiles is raised. For accessibility reasons, it is essential that the user's profile always overrides all other profiles, as is the case with cascading style sheets.
This approach to accessibility depends upon not just accessible content (WCAG conformant) being created in the beginning, with good authoring tools (ATAG conformant), for use with good user agents (UAAG compliant) but also that responsibility for accessible content delivery be taken by the server. This is a shift from earlier approaches which depended solely on WCAG/ATAG/UAAG conformance. It is consistent with other work that aims to provide more device flexibility for users.
To join or leave:
There have been a number of activities of relevance to this Working Group. (If others know of relevant activities, please let us know!)
Members of the Dublin Core Community who met in Tokyo at DC2001 Workshop considered the need for DCMI to demonstrate its concern for accessibility of Web content by exemplifying good accessibility practices and providing a context for others who also take time to make their content accessible.