May. 3rd, 2012

deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (loc)
I'm used to thinking of myself as having an invisible disability, because out in the real world, I do. It just occurred to me that in the Internet, where nobody knows you a use a wheelchair unless you tell them so, my disability has a tendency towards the visible. I probably let through about 5% of my dictation errors in blog posts but 40% of my dictation errors in online chat; people who regularly interact with me chatting online have learned to decipher the bizarre word salad that sometimes comes through. If I'm communicating (chat, Twitter, e-mail) on a mobile device, my recognition errors get even weirder, because the mobile recognition has its own strange features.

So to people with whom I communicate online, I have this big obvious disability. But in person, I pass for able-bodied. Sure, I'm usually carrying this very strange bag around my waist, and I'm usually not clicking away with my laptop in public, and sometimes I'm wearing one of those Bluetooth headsets that has a big flashing light in order to make you look like a jerk who spends all day on a Bluetooth headset. But I don't look not able-bodied, I just look strange.

It's just odd that most people pass on the Internet, whereas for me, the Internet is one of the only places I don't pass. (Technically I could pass if I proofread better, but proofreading is really difficult in IM/IRC.)


On an entirely unrelated note, I just registered for my first ALA Annual. It seems terrifyingly large, but I'm required to go for the Odyssey committee. (Odyssey Committee FTW!) Booking my flight on Egencia was a wonder of accessible web design, where even the seat selector was fully keyboard accessible. The ALA Annual scheduling website, however... Not so much. I suppose it's no surprise. Every few years ALA redesigns all of their websites to be worse than they were before. :(
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