Abstract

Access barriers do not only exist in the physical environment but also online. Just as certain architectural design features make it possible, or impossible, for people with certain disabilities to move about independently, so does design of the electronic environment, which includes all the library e‐resources, creates either enabling or disabling conditions for certain individuals. Recently conducted research reveals a rather grim picture: while policy statements issued by professional library organization call for inclusive selection and procurement procedures, books on collection development do not cover the issue adequately. When librarians make decision about the selection of specific e‐resources, the needs of people with disabilities are rarely on their radar screen. Collection development policies requiring conformance to established accessibility standards, Section 508 and WCAG 2.0, are the exception rather than the rule. One of the exceptions is California State University (CSU). Driven by CSU policy, a systemwide Accessible Technology Initiative has been put into place to remove access barriers over time. Profit driven database vendors such as Cengage Learning are extremely sensitive to what current and prospective customers want. Responding to demands for accessible products, the company seeks to conform to WCAG 2.0. For efforts to continue, it is important that vendors hear from their customers. Generally speaking, vendors appreciate specific suggestions on how to improve their product. As with all suggestions, prioritization is a matter of competing pressures. The more often vendors hear about certain issues, the more likely these are to gain priority over competing demands.

DOI

10.5703/1288284315579

 

Collection Development, E-Resources, and Meeting the Needs of People with Disabilities

Access barriers do not only exist in the physical environment but also online. Just as certain architectural design features make it possible, or impossible, for people with certain disabilities to move about independently, so does design of the electronic environment, which includes all the library e‐resources, creates either enabling or disabling conditions for certain individuals. Recently conducted research reveals a rather grim picture: while policy statements issued by professional library organization call for inclusive selection and procurement procedures, books on collection development do not cover the issue adequately. When librarians make decision about the selection of specific e‐resources, the needs of people with disabilities are rarely on their radar screen. Collection development policies requiring conformance to established accessibility standards, Section 508 and WCAG 2.0, are the exception rather than the rule. One of the exceptions is California State University (CSU). Driven by CSU policy, a systemwide Accessible Technology Initiative has been put into place to remove access barriers over time. Profit driven database vendors such as Cengage Learning are extremely sensitive to what current and prospective customers want. Responding to demands for accessible products, the company seeks to conform to WCAG 2.0. For efforts to continue, it is important that vendors hear from their customers. Generally speaking, vendors appreciate specific suggestions on how to improve their product. As with all suggestions, prioritization is a matter of competing pressures. The more often vendors hear about certain issues, the more likely these are to gain priority over competing demands.