DCMI Accessibility Community

DCMI Accessibility Working Group

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Chair: Liddy Nevile
Status: This working group is currently active.
Established: 2001-10-25
Last Update: 2006-01-09

The aim of the work of the DC-Accessibility Working Group is to ensure that DC metadata users can describe resources and services in a way that will increase the accessibility of information for everyone. There is a proposal for a new DC term that will be used with other DC terms in an application profile. The application profile for resource description will work with a description of user needs and preferences where services are built to match resources to user needs and preferences. The definition of 'accessibility' is wide to include a range of definitions, particularly including those based on the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. The work of the DC-Accessibility Working Group is carried out in collaboration with a number of other groups so that we can maximise interoperability as well as to ensure that the requirements and solutions are well defined.

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. We are concerned that the number of people suffering disabilities is increasing as populations around the world age. If resources and services are adaptable to their needs, many more people will be able to become users.

The Working Group participants are, by DCMI definition, all those on the mailing list. The Task Group is a smaller group of people who work intensively and meet weekly by teleconference.

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 others and they are maintained by IMS: 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 a first public draft of a three part proposal is now available for public comment: see http://jtc1sc36.org/doc/36N1024.pdf, http://jtc1sc36.org/doc/36N1025.pdf, http://jtc1sc36.org/doc/36N1026.pdf

Discussion about any of the work should be directed to the DC-Accessibility Working Group's mailing list.

There is a draft document that describes the Access For All abstract model for resources and their metadata. See http://dublincore.org/accessibilitywiki/AdaptabilityElementAbstractModel

Anyone interested in contributing will be welcomed - there is a lot of work to be done and everyone has something to contribute!


The aim of the work of the DC-Accessibility Working Group is to ensure that DC metadata users can describe resources and services in a way that will increase the accessibility of information for everyone.


Establish Accessibility Task Group

  • small group (volunteers) to work regularly on document drafting etc and to report to the list on a regular basis
  • finalisation of terminology and abstract model
  • develop controlled vocabularies for term
  • develop some 'very good' examples
  • write best practice notes

Liaison efforts

  • Continue working with related groups and activities
  • Encourage involvement of new members/experts

*Seek formal liaison of DCMI with ISO JTC1 to work on adaptability standards (including accessibility standards) in JTC1 SWG-Accessibility and SC36 WG7 and other contexts


  • develop accessibility application profile
  • work on the necessary matching metadata (needs and preferences descriptions)
  • consider the description needs for non-digital resources in mixed digitial/non-digital environments
  • support the development of relevant tools


The aim is to develop an application profile for accessibility in 2006. Other activities will possibly depend upon the success of this activity.


The DC Accessibility Working Group main mailing list is: http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/lists/dc-accessibility.html This list is used for open discussion and for reporting of Task Group work. It is also available for notification of the community of other activites that may be of interest. Practitioners may use it to seek help from their peers.

Recent tasks

  • many revisions of the proposal for a new term
  • many revisions of the ISO JTC1 SC36 proposal for an ISO standard for accessibility metadata for education
  • development of an abstract model for DC Access For All resources and metadata

Open Issues

The DC-Accessibility Working Group seeks the addition of a term 'adaptability' with the label 'adaptability statement' in order to enable accessibility metadata to be used in the description of resources.

The Working Group's 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, and so more information mobility. It does not avoid the need for content authoring to be done according to the WCAG Guidelines.

Face-to-Face Meetings

  • DC Working Group meeting in Melbourne Australia in December 7 - 9
  • IMS/DC Working Group meeting in New Jersey ??? in November 2005
  • ISO JTC1 SC36 meetings in North Carolina USA in September 2005
  • DC-Accessibility Working Group sessions at DC 2005 in September 2005
  • IMS/DC Working Group meeting in Toronto Canada in July 2005
  • IMS/DC Working Group meeting in Sheffield UK in April 2005
  • ISO JTC1 SC36 meetings in Tokyo Japan in Febuary 2005
  • AltiLab and IMS meetings held in Melbourne Australia in February 2005.
  • OZeWAI 2004 - December 2004 in Melbourne, Australia
  • IMS/DC Working Group meeting - November in Milton Keynes, UK
  • DC 2004 - October 2004 in Shanghai, China
  • Semantic Web Advanced Development in Europe/MMI-DC 2004 Copenhagen
  • MMI-DC 2004 Brussels
  • DC 2003 - October 2003 in Seattle
    Two special sessions were held at the DC 2003 Conference: see http://www.ischool.washington.edu/dc2003/accessibility.html
  • DC/INCITS Accessibility Roadmap Meeting - January 2003 in Washington
    There is a report of this meeting at http://www.dc-anz.org/access-roadmap/
  • DC 2002 - October 2002 in Florence


Mailing list

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!)


Meeting of interested members at DC 2001, Tokyo, October 2001

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.