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: 2006-05-15

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. This supports the 'AccessForAll' approach to accessibility that differs from previous reliance solely on good resource design and construction. The AccessForAll approach:

  • makes it easier, or possible, to find accessible resources;
  • makes it more likely that a resource of use to an individual user will be found, even when it is not generally 'accessible', and
  • enables accessibility services to deconstruct resources containing inaccessible material and to replace, augment or transform that material before replacing it in the composite resource and delivering it to the user.

There has been a proposal for a new DC term for some time. This is because adaptation of resources is of interest to many users but currently there is no standard way to indicate the adaptability of resources. There are a number of different communities interested in such adaptability e.g. those concerned with:

  • local dependence and independence of resources and services;
  • internationalisation (multi-lingual and multi-cultural resources);
  • accessibility, and
  • mobility and ubiquity, etc.

The aim of the DC Accessibility WG has been to use such a term in an accessibility application profile and to this end, such a profile has been proposed. The definition of 'accessibility' is wide to include a range of definitions, particularly including those based on the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

All the work done to date has been done in collaboration with others also working on accessibility metadata. The work started with two metadata profiles developed by IMS Global Consortium: one for describing the needs and preferences of individual users and the other for describing the resources they might want to use. This work was adopted by the ISO JTC1 SC36 WG7 and is now in final committee draft stage prior to becoming an ISO standard. See Framework, Digital Resource Description and Personal Needs and Preferences docs.

The first Digital Resource Accessibility Application Profile is designed to enable matching of resources and services to people's needs and preferences for display, control and content. Another is expected to follow that will enable matching the accessibility of places and events. This matching 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 digital resource adaptations are possible. Inconvenience and frustration will be lessened if it is possible to find out about events and paces in advance of arriving at them. We are concerned that the number of people suffering disabilities is increasing as populations around the world age. If the accessibility of resources, services, events and places are described in standard ways, many more people will be able to find what they want.

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

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


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

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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.