[syndicated profile] fanhackers_feed

Posted by fanhackers

[P]arafanfiction…refers to a particular subset of parafictional art that claims to be fanfiction of, or some other record of, an external media object that does not actually exist. The most notable examples of this are the Homestuck Anime and Squiddles, both of which are spinoffs of the actual Homestuck hypercomic. The idea with those projects is to fabricate an entire alternate reality where Homestuck is an anime and the in-comic show Squiddles actually exists. The fans participating in these projects create objects ostensibly taken directly from the shows in question—screencaps, pictures of old VHS tapes, GameBoy Advance cartridges, gif edits, and so on and so forth—in order to sell the idea that these shows actually exist.

Parafanfiction and Oppositional Fandom by

Tags: , , , , , , ,
[syndicated profile] fanhackers_feed

Posted by fanhackers

Generally speaking, media fandom operates on a labor theory of value—not necessarily in the Marxist sense of the phrase, but in the sense that value derives from work. Fandom’s gift economy assigns special worth to “gifts of time and skill” (Hellekson 2009, 115), gifts made by fans for fans. The worth of these gifts lies not simply in the content of the gift, nor in the social gesture of giving, but in the labor that went into their creation. Commercially purchased gifts, such as the virtual cupcakes and balloons that can be purchased in the LiveJournal shop, may be given and appreciated, but will generally be worth less, in the context of fandom, than gifts made by the giver (note 2). This labor theory of value is often invisible or unarticulated until something goes wrong: a site skin doesn’t work as anticipated, a vid is plagiarized, a story in progress—or an entire archive—is abandoned. These events remind us that our experience of fandom depends on the labor of others: “A gift is a thing we do not get by our own efforts. We cannot buy it; we cannot acquire it through an act of will. It is bestowed upon us” (Hyde 1979, xi).

Tisha Turk, Fan work: Labor, worth, and participation in fandom’s gift economy ift.tt/1g9d3Vi

Tags: , , , ,
[syndicated profile] aotus_feed

Posted by David Ferriero

In this goal we recognize that public access to government information creates measurable economic value, which adds to the enduring cultural, historical, and evidentiary value of our records.

Maximize Value
National Archives Identifier: 196401

When we talk about economic value, we are not talking about the appraised value or the replacement value of our records. Historically, we have talked about economic value in terms of the large number of jobs and economic activity that NARA generates. Examples include the local economic activity generated around our public programs; the numerous professional researchers and authors who write non-fiction and best-selling works of fiction based on NARA records; popular films that came to fruition only because of the existence and hard work of the National Archives.

“Maximize NARA’s Value to the Nation” charts a course forward from this legacy. The course forward supports our transition to digital government, so that we can quickly and efficiently provide public access to our records. We want to ensure our historical government data is accessible by customers when they need it and in the format or technology platform that is easy for them to use. And when we talk about economic value today, we are not talking about commercial value only. We are expanding this idea beyond a simple commercial concept, to consider the social valuation of our returns on investment. These are opportunities to … [ Read all ]

[syndicated profile] scholarlyoa_feed

Posted by Jeffrey Beall

International Research Promotion Council

Snake oil research.

You may receive an unexpected email from the International Research Promotion Council telling you that you’ve been nominated for the “Eminent Scientist of the Year Award.” I think it’s a scam.

The email will come from Ms. Sarika. S. Anil, writing for the chairperson, Dr. Alice Franklin (who is too busy to deal with this trivial stuff).

International Research Promotion Council

Don’t ask Alice.

Seeking clarification, I have emailed and telephoned Dr. Franklin, but she doesn’t reply.

The nomination letter states, “The award will be announced through an award special journal published exclusively for this purpose.” That journal is the irregular Recent Advances and Research Updates, published only when they have content and generally not made available to the public. I suspect that there is a hefty fee charged to the award winners to publish their work in the journal. I question the authenticity of this award and suspect that it’s a gimmick to draw attention to the “International Research Promotion Council” and to get money from the award winners and others.

The rules and regulations for the award indicate that there are multiple awards given out each year.

This outfit publishes one additional journal, the Austral-Asian Journal of Cancer. I think it’s a low quality journal, and I was easily able to find plagiarism in it.

I don’t see a legitimate need for an “International Research Promotion Council” as pretty much every university in the world is already promoting research. The council — like the Eminent Scientist of the Year Award — looks fake to me.

Hat tip: Dr. Elizabeth V. Arkema


[syndicated profile] philipnel_feed

Posted by Philip Nel

Uncensor KansasParticipating in today’s “Five On the Hour: Stand for Freedom of Speech,” I’m posting the statements I prepared for my two classes. In practice, I ended up improvising. During my first class (English 725: African American Children’s Literature), I realized that I should have started with the connection to the class and then moved out to the Kansas Board of Regents, and so I began re-structuring things on the fly. During my second class, I was much looser, using the statement only as a broad guideline — I began with the connection to the work we were reading (The Watsons Go to Birmingham — 1963), and then moved out to the Regents’ repressive social media policy.

So. What you see below is not what I read in each class. They’re what I planned to read.


Engl 725: African American Children’s Literature | Engl 355: Literature for Children


ENGLISH 725: AFRICAN AMERICAN CHILDREN’S LITERATURE

Five on the Hour: Freedom of Speech and Higher Education

Philip Nel

I’m going to take the next five minutes to say a few words about Freedom of Speech, and why it’s important in higher education in general and in African American Children’s Literature in particular. Back in December, as you were taking exams, faculty were grading exams, and everyone was preparing to leave town, the Kansas Board of Regents imposed a new social media policy, which they passed over the objections of all faculty, students and administration present at their meeting.

The policy says all speech expressed through social media (Facebook, Twitter, blog, any website, email) can be grounds for firing. Employees (faculty, staff, student employees) may not say anything that’s “contrary to the best interest of the university,” nor may they utter something that “impairs discipline by superiors or harmony among co-workers.” Those terms are so broad as to encompass any speech. As many have noted, this policy creates a repressive climate for the free exchange of ideas — which is at the heart of what we do at a university.

The university is a community of scholars. We discover new knowledge and create new ideas. These ideas are different than what has come before, and difference can be controversial. Indeed, sometimes our ideas challenge social mores. To test our ideas, we debate them, refine them, change them. This process of creation and discovery — evaluated through open and unfettered dialogue — is the means by which our civilization progresses. And the only environment under which this process can occur is an environment of free speech.

Robin Bernstein, Racial InnocenceThere are of course many examples from African American Children’s Literature. As Robin Bernstein has shown us, until relatively recently the notion that children of color can feel just as acutely as white children can feel was not part of the dominant culture in the U.S. Topsy, the Golliwog, and their many descendants propagated the lie that African American children were thicker-skinned and less human than white children. And thus, the notion that black children would deserve a literature that spoke to their experiences was also not an accepted truth. Once, people accepted these ideas as true. But then other people challenged these ideas. We — well, a majority of Americans, at any rate — now regard the notion that African American children would be any less human than white children to be absurd, racist, nonsense. And, though the publishing industry has much work yet to do, there are now books that address the many experiences of growing up black, Latino/a, Native American, or Asian American in the U.S.

But to recognize the foolishness in established “truths” about childhood and children’s literature, we need the freedom to question those “truths.” We need freedom of speech.

So, even though the Regents announced their policy when people were least likely to notice, it did not slip by unnoticed. From across the state, across the country, and across the world people condemned it. Our own local paper, The Manhattan Mercury, called the policy “an anti-free speech manifesto that sounds like a pronouncement from the government of a banana republic.” Our student government has called for its suspension, as has KU’s, as have student governments across the state. All faculty senates have spoken against it. All university presidents have, too.

In response, the Regents then appointed a workgroup of representatives from all Regents campuses to revise their policy. The workgroup crafted a model policy that offers guidelines for speech, but respects the right to freedom of speech. Were the regents to follow the advice that they solicited, Kansas — for a change — could be in the news for doing something thoughtful, even admirable. Yet, at the Regents’ meeting last week, they signaled that they would retain the original policy, but add some of the workgroup’s language affirming freedom of speech. So, in May, I expect they will announce their new, “compromise” policy, which both threatens freedom of speech and yet alleges to uphold it.

Questions of freedom of speech are frequently a concern of children’s literature: most of the books on the ALA’s annual banned books list are books for children or adolescents. Many of the books we have read this semester raise, quite explicitly, the question of what’s appropriate for children. For most of its history, America has been a white supremacist police state. Implicitly and explicitly, African American children’s literature confronts facts about America that most Americans prefer not to think about.

So, here are some resources where you can learn more about this issue.

The Board of Regents will probably vote on this at their May 14th meeting. The workgroup presented the revised policy at the April 16th meeting.



ENGLISH 355: LITERATURE FOR CHILDREN

Five on the Hour: Freedom of Speech and Higher Education

Philip Nel

I’m going to take the next five minutes to say a few words about Freedom of Speech, and why it’s important in higher education in general and children’s literature in particular. Back in December, as you were taking exams, faculty were grading exams, and everyone was preparing to leave town, the Kansas Board of Regents imposed a new social media policy, which they passed over the objections of all faculty, students and administration present at their meeting.

The policy says all speech expressed through social media (Facebook, Twitter, blog, any website, email) can be grounds for firing. Employees (faculty, staff, student employees) may not say anything that’s “contrary to the best interest of the university,” nor may they utter something that “impairs discipline by superiors or harmony among co-workers.” Those terms are so broad as to encompass any speech. As many have noted, this policy creates a repressive climate for the free exchange of ideas — which is at the heart of what we do at a university.

The university is a community of scholars. We discover new knowledge and create new ideas. These ideas are different than what has come before, and difference can be controversial. Indeed, sometimes our ideas challenge social mores. To test our ideas, we debate them, refine them, change them. This process of creation and discovery — evaluated through open and unfettered dialogue — is the means by which our civilization progresses. And the only environment under which this process can occur is an environment of free speech.

Here’s an example. Earlier in the term, I told you that the notion that children deserve their own literature is a relatively recent one. And that, a hundred years ago, experts argued that women should not be allowed to attend college because it would make them infertile (all that blood going to the brain would deprive the womb of blood, you see). Once, people accepted these ideas as true. But then other people challenged these ideas. Now, we recognize that children, cognitively, are different than adults, and indeed that “children” itself is a very broad category: children at nine tend to have more developed cognitive abilities than children at three. Now, we recognize that women can learn without becoming infertile. Indeed, we regard these earlier ideas as laughable. Ridiculous.

But to recognize the foolishness in established “truths,” we need the freedom to question those “truths.” We need freedom of speech.

So, even though the Regents announced their policy when people were least likely to notice, it did not slip by unnoticed. From across the state, across the country, and across the world people condemned it. Our own local paper, The Manhattan Mercury, called the policy “an anti-free speech manifesto that sounds like a pronouncement from the government of a banana republic.” Our student government has called for its suspension, as has KU’s, as have student governments across the state. All faculty senates have spoken against it. All university presidents have, too.

Christopher Paul Curtis, The Watsons Go to Birmingham — 1963In response, the Regents then appointed a workgroup of representatives from all Regents campuses to revise their policy. The workgroup crafted a model policy that offers guidelines for speech, but respects the right to freedom of speech. Were the regents to follow the advice that they solicited, Kansas — for a change — could be in the news for doing something thoughtful, even admirable. Yet, at the Regents’ meeting last week, they signaled that they would retain the original policy, but add some of the workgroup’s language affirming freedom of speech. So, in May, I expect they will announce their new, “compromise” policy, which both threatens freedom of speech and yet alleges to uphold it.

Questions of freedom of speech are frequently a concern of children’s literature: most of the books on the ALA’s annual banned books list are books for children or adolescents. The book we are reading right now — Christopher Paul Curtis’s The Watsons Go to Birmingham — 1963 — raises, quite explicitly, the question of what’s appropriate for children. The Watson children cope with the trauma inflicted by racist white terrorists who kill black children. This is serious stuff. And it’s an award-winning children’s book.

So, here are some resources where you can learn more about this issue.

The Board of Regents will probably vote on this at their May 14th meeting. The workgroup presented the revised policy at the April 16th meeting.

[syndicated profile] kirkus_kidlit_feed
As the first-ever Wimpy Kid Month slogs its way to its epic climax on April 28 with the reveal of the title and color of the next volume in Jeff Kinney’s wildly popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, it is probably worth spending some time to reflect on what can legitimately be called a phenomenon.
[syndicated profile] alaskanlibrarian_feed

Posted by Daniel Cornwall

Now that I’ve spent a whole week talking about the benefits of my local public library, it is my devout wish that you will go forth and visit your local library. If you live in Juneau, that would be the Juneau Public Libraries that I’ve been writing about all week. Here are some pointers if you live elsewhere:

 

Ideally you would visit in person. But checking out their website or even Listen Alaska Plus would do. But visit. Then share what you find. On your blog. On Twitter. On Facebook. Whereever suits you.

 

 


Filed under: alaska, libraries Tagged: nlw14
[syndicated profile] alaskanlibrarian_feed

Posted by Daniel Cornwall

As recently as two years ago, only about of a third of Americans were aware that libraries loaned ebooks. So I want to be sure to let you know that the Juneau Public Libraries (JPL)  and more than three quarters of libraries nationwide do lend ebooks. Actually, Juneau Public Libraries goes the extra mile and loans Nook readers as well.

JPL has a number of sources for ebooks. The three that I think are the most useful for the general patron are:

 

listen_alaska graphic ListenAlaska+ brings you digital downloads from the library, available anytime, from home or on the go!

    • eBooks (ePub, PDF, Kindle)
    • Audiobooks (MP3, WMA)
    • Music (WMA only)

 

Titles available in ListenAlaska can also be found in the library catalog.  If you see [electronic resource] next to a title, it is available in electronic format (ie ebook or audiobook).

 

Need ebook help? Check out the great resources at OverdriveHelp or contact a librarian.

Image link to Freading eBook collection

Freading Ebooks, a new look at ebook lending.

No more waiting for eBooks!

  • More than 20,000 ebooks (ePub, PDF)
  • Always available, no holds lists.
  • Cardholders receive 4 tokens per week to use for ebook downloads. Tokens refresh Monday morning and carryover for 4 weeks.
  • Mobile apps available for iOS and Android or you can use the same Overdrive Media Console Mobile app used with ListenAlaska.

 

Need help? Check out this list of Frequently  Asked Questions or contact a librarian.

Tumblebooks

  • Animated, talking ebooks for kids!
  • Select titles are iPad compatible.
  • Over 300 titles including 100 in French and Spanish.

I haven’t tried Tumblebooks, but I have used Listen Alaska Plus and Freading on mobile devices and desktop computers. Listen Alaska these days has gotten very easy to use. If you tried it a few years ago and didn’t like it, try it again.

As the name implies, Listen Alaska Plus includes audiobooks. These can come in very handy on the lengthy flights we Alaskans often find ourselves on. Sometimes I’ll check out an ebook or audiobook from the library just to see if I like it. If I do, often I’ll buy it. That’s how I became the proud owner of an electronic library of the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold.


Filed under: alaska, books, libraries Tagged: ebooks, nlw14

Mike Mullin

Apr. 18th, 2014 11:10 am
[syndicated profile] kirkus_ya_feed
Post-apocalyptic fiction has been undergoing a resurgence these past few years. The world’s been destroyed by plague, aliens, zombies, nuclear war and catastrophic climate change, to name a few. Mike Mullin’s apocalypse of choice for his YA trilogy—which now concludes with Sunrise—was the eruption of the supervolcano at Yellowstone. He chose that potential event because no one else had previously chosen it as a cause; the first part of his series, Ashfall, actually pubbed just one month before Harry Turtledove’s Supervolcano: Eruption.

Be Bold: Connect with Customers

Apr. 17th, 2014 07:01 pm
[syndicated profile] aotus_feed

Posted by David Ferriero

Connect with Customers
State Fair, 10/1972. National Archives Identifier 545457

The second of our new strategic goals is to “Connect with Customers.”

Having spent most of my career working with the public, customer service is a passion of mine. In my personal life I am always looking for exemplars—places where I am dazzled by attention to service, places which learn from their customers, places which put their customers at the center of the service equation.

At the National Archives, we connect with customers in a multitude of ways: nationwide, face-to-face, over the phone, across the desk, in our research rooms, in the classroom and of course, online.  We have a wide-variety of customer communities, including educators, historians, genealogists, researchers, veterans and now groups such as civic hackers, Wikipedians and many more. We need to become more agile, more creative in connecting with them – whoever they are, wherever they are, to deliver what they want when they want it.

But connection is not just about delivery, it is about engaging with the public in ways we have not done in the past. Much of the work we have been doing with Open Government has been about connecting with customers in new ways.  In speaking about Open Government, President Obama said, “Our commitment to openness means more than simply informing the American people about how decisions are made.  It means … [ Read all ]

Red Alert: Avens Publishing Group

Apr. 17th, 2014 03:00 pm
[syndicated profile] scholarlyoa_feed

Posted by Jeffrey Beall

Avens Publishing Group

A complete impostor.

 

The purpose of this blog post is to warn scholars to avoid having any association with Avens Publishing Group. By this I mean: don’t serve on their editorial boards, don’t submit papers to the firm’s journals, and don’t agree to review any papers for them.

When this publisher first appeared, it listed this contact address:

Avens Publishing Group
877 W 23rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90007 USA

Now it uses this address, which is a house:

Avens Publishing Group
47 Hemlock Dr.
Northborough, MA 01532
USA

The actual address is this:

Avens Publishing Group
Flat No. 502
Jyothiraditya Apartments,
Srinagar Colony,
Hyderabad, India

Avens Publishing Group headquarters

Headquarters for 46 medical journals? 47 Hemlock Drive, Northborough, Massachusetts

Avens Publishing Group’s portfolio now includes 46 journals (see list below), chiefly in the area of biomedical sciences.

In its early spam emails, the publisher claimed to be non-profit:

“We are glad to invite you as an eminent editor for the Journal of Cancer Sciences. Journal of Cancer Sciences, nonprofit, open access, peer reviewed journal that is being recently launched by Avens Publishing Group with a commitment to serve the scientific community.” [emphasis added. Source: Avens Publishing Group spam email message]

There is no evidence to indicate that the firm is truly non-profit. When it first began operations, Avens Publishing Group sent spam emails to editors listing these enticements:

Editorial Board benefits:

  1. We will provide 20% of Journal’s yearly revenue to individual editor, for their valuable service and on fulfilling their responsibilities.
  2. Articles suggested (or) submitted by Editors will be provided a 50% discount.
  3. We will be conducting conferences yearly; relating to happenings, advancements and breakthroughs in our Journal and editors will be playing a key role in suggesting titles, educating the young scientific community and also promoting our Journal.
  4. The article’s fate i.e., both the acceptance or rejection of article is purely dependent on the Editor’s decision and the peer reviewing process will be confidential.
  5. We will be providing scientific credits to all the Editorial board members based on their active participation towards our journal.

[Source: Avens Publishing Group spam email message]

The publisher has the annoying habit of saying its spam is not spam.

“Note: This is not a spam message, and has been sent to you because of your eminence in the field. If, however, you do not want to receive any email in future from Avens Publishing Group, then please reply with your request.” [Source: Avens Publishing Group spam email message]

Avens Publishing Group is a shrewd and dishonest publisher that all researchers should avoid. If you are currently serving on one of its editorial boards, I recommend that you resign. Above all, do not submit your work to this publisher’s journals. There are many better options.

Appedix: List of Avens Publishing Group journals as of 2014-04-13

  1.  International Journal of Nutrition
  2. International Journal of Otorhinolaryngology
  3. Journal of Addiction & Prevention
  4. Journal of Analytical & Molecular Techniques
  5. Journal of Andrology & Gynaecology
  6. Journal of Antimicrobial Drug Design and Therapy
  7. Journal of Bioanalysis & Biostatistics
  8. Journal of Bioelectronics and Nanotechnology
  9. Journal of Biowar & Defence
  10. Journal of Cancer Sciences
  11. Journal of Cardiobiology
  12. Journal of Chemistry and Applications
  13. Journal of Clinical & Medical Case Reports
  14. Journal of Clinical and Investigative Dermatology
  15. Journal of Clinical Trials & Patenting
  16. Journal of Cytology & Molecular Biology
  17. Journal of Emergency Medicine & Critical Care
  18. Journal of Environmental Studies
  19. Journal of Epidemiology & Drug Research
  20. Journal of Food Processing & Beverages
  21. Journal of Forensic Investigation
  22. Journal of Gene Therapy
  23. Journal of Geriatrics and Palliative Care
  24. Journal of Glycemic Disorders
  25. Journal of Hematology & Thrombosis
  26. Journal of Human Anatomy & Physiology
  27. Journal of Integrative Medicine & Therapy
  28. Journal of Metabolomics & Systems Biology
  29. Journal of Neurology and Psychology
  30. Journal of Obesity and Bariatrics
  31. Journal of Ocular Biology
  32. Journal of Oncobiomarkers
  33. Journal of Oral Biology
  34. Journal of Orthopedics & Rheumatology
  35. Journal of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease
  36. Journal of Pediatrics & Child Care
  37. Journal of Pharmaceutics & Pharmacology
  38. Journal of Plant Biology & Soil Health
  39. Journal of Proteomics & Computational Biology
  40. Journal of Surgery
  41. Journal of Syndromes
  42. Journal of Toxins
  43. Journal of Transplantation & Stem Cell Biology
  44. Journal of Urology & Nephrology
  45. Journal of Vaccine & Immunotechnology
  46. Journal of Veterinary Science & Medicine

[syndicated profile] alaskanlibrarian_feed

Posted by Daniel Cornwall

Aside from providing meeting space for community groups to meet, the Juneau Public Libraries (JPL) offer quite a bit of specialty programming. Some of it is based around books, but not all of it is. While there may be a TV channel or website for everything, the advantage of a library event is that it gets community people talking to each other about shared interests.

Here’s a sampling of events from April 2014:

  • Cuentacuentos Infantil
  • Second Friday Author Tea (Lois McMaster Bujold)
  • Kim Heacox Author presentation
  • Fourth Thursday TEDx
  • John Straley Author presentation

For more information, visit the JPL calendar.

If you liked this post or have a library event story of your own, share on your favorite social media using #nlw14.


Filed under: alaska, libraries Tagged: nlw14
[syndicated profile] paciello_a11y_feed

Posted by David Sloan

TPG’s Accessible User Experience team recently did some work for a client exploring legislation and standards on digital accessibility in selected countries around the world, and their impact on defining an organizational accessibility policy for globally-active organizations.  In particular, since we didn’t have time to conduct an exhaustive review, we were interested in discovering how easy it was to find authoritative national digital accessibility policy information that organizations could act on.

We wrote about our findings in a paper that we presented at the Web For All (W4A) 2014 conference in Seoul.  Here’s the text of our paper, amended slightly from the original to include additional hyperlinks for ease of online reading.

Abstract

Awareness of the nature and implication of legislation and policy regarding web accessibility in different countries is important in guiding organizational web accessibility policy. Our review of published legislation and supporting documentation relating to disability rights and digital accessibility in five countries—Australia, Brazil, China, India and South Africa—reveals diversity in the nature and extent of legislation and policy, but offers some indication of trends that could inform a global web accessibility policy.

Introduction

Widespread recognition of the contribution of ICT, and the web in particular, towards promoting social inclusion and reducing discrimination of people with disabilities is reflected in legislation and policy across the world. For organizations authoring or providing web content and applications intended for international use, there is a complex challenge in defining an accessibility policy and strategy that is sensitive to the diversity of cultural, technical and legislative situations that may exist in different target markets [4]. This challenge is exacerbated when one considers the efforts required to create and maintain high-quality translated versions of content—and its accessible equivalents.

To help define a pragmatic and locally-sensitive global accessibility strategy, we argue that an essential first step is to understand the nature and diversity of the legislative situation with regard to digital accessibility, for example the extent to which guidelines such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) feature in national policy. In this paper, we describe observations of a short study of the legislative environment for digital accessibility in five selected countries, and identify some trends and implications on developing and implementing a global digital accessibility strategy.

A Global View

Before considering each territory in turn, we give an overview of key global treaties that have influenced, or are likely to influence, territory policy and legislation.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD)

For many countries, particularly those in the developing world, disability legislation and policy has been driven by the commitments made when the country ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) [8], which was adopted in 2006 and entered into force on 2008. The terms of the treaty are likely to form the basis of any new legislation and policy or changes to existing legislation relating to the rights of people with disabilities to participate in public life, including access to education, access to technology and digital content, and to copyrighted content.

Of relevance to digital accessibility in the UN CRPD is a recurring theme of a commitment to Universal Design, with further emphasis of the contribution that ICT can make in improving accessibility of information, services and experiences to people with disabilities. Article 9 (Accessibility) obliges signatories to promote access for people with disabilities to new information and communications technologies and systems, including the Internet, and to promote accessibility early and throughout the technology development lifecycle. Articles 21, 24 and 30 deal with access to web-based services, education and cultural life respectively.

UN records show 158 ratifications of the UN CRPD, as at January 2014, though notably this does not include the US. Additionally, the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (G3ict) provide summary data on adoption with relevance to ICT accessibility, which indicates that, amongst countries surveyed, web sites and television are most common ICTs addressed [2].

The WIPO Marrakesh Treaty

A significant concern of global digital accessibility is the difficulty in access to copyrighted content by people who, for reasons of disability, are unable to access the content in its original printed format. The unavailability of accessible format content is often due to copyright limitations that make it prohibitively expensive or time-consuming—or unlawful—to create and distribute accessible formats. To address this challenge, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) published The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled on June 27, 2013 [9].

The Treaty specifically addresses the need for copyright legislation to provide necessary exceptions to facilitate creation and distribution of accessible format copies of published works. The Treaty focuses on people with print disabilities as beneficiaries, and defines this as including:

  • people who are blind;
  • people who have a visual or reading disability (including dyslexia) that prevents them from having equivalent access to printed published content;
  • people with physical impairments that make it difficult or impossible to hold a book.

The provisions of the Treaty acknowledge the advances in technology that facilitate easier creation and distribution of accessible formats. They set out a framework for enabling access to these alternative formats, while also recognizing the rights of copyright holders over distribution of their content. So, from a web accessibility perspective, the Treaty can be considered another motivating factor for preparing digital content in a manner such that it can successfully be used by people with print disabilities, including:

  • Ensuring text can be effectively presented by screen readers and other text-to-speech software, for people who are blind and for people who have difficulty reading.
  • Ensuring that the appearance of text can be customized to enhance readability, for example by changing text and background colors, text size, font, line spacing or justification.
  • Ensuring digital content is navigable when accessed using diverse alternative input devices.

Legislation and Policy Review

We considered five territories in conducting this review:  Australia, Brazil, China, India and South Africa. The latter four countries were selected for study as each is an emerging economy where economic growth is globally significant, but the legislative framework for disability equality and digital accessibility can be considered to be still evolving. We note that coverage of the situation in the US and the EU is comprehensive, so, for contrast, we chose Australia as a country with a mature and stable disability rights legal situation, including web accessibility case law, and a prominent and active digital accessibility movement.

We conducted a review of publicly available legislation and policy documentation regarding disability rights and digital accessibility, including of copyrighted content, for each of the selected territories during December 2013. Some information gathered was based on third party accounts and automated translations of content not provided in English. Some potentially useful material that is not provided in English may exist but was not found during this research. Nevertheless, the conclusions that follow are based on a principle of diminishing returns—if, after a period of searching, only relatively limited information on digital accessibility and disability equality in a territory, it was concluded that:

  1. There is no such information available, or;
  2. There is information available, but it is sufficiently difficult to find by affected organizations that it is at present of relatively limited real-world impact.

Patterns and Trends

Based on our findings, we can make some observations on patterns and trends emerging from the policy and legislative situation in the territories reviewed.

Disability rights legislation and web accessibility

Existence of disability rights legislation: All territories have legislation intended to protect the rights of people with disabilities. However, despite each territory’s ratification of the UN CRPD, there is significant diversity in the extent, detail and maturity of disability legislation across the territories studied. Definitions of disability and the legal rights of people with disabilities vary across the territories reviewed, but generally focuses on rights to access basic public information and services.

Status and evolution of disability rights legislation and supporting documentation: Through its Human Rights Commission (HRC), Australia provides details supporting guidance documentation to help organizations meet their obligations under the relevant legislation, the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1992. Brazil has enacted a number of laws and decrees to gradually extend and provide more detail to the rights expressed in its original piece of legislation, Law No. 7853 (1989), protecting the rights of people with disabilities. These include Decree 6949 (2009), which adopts the full terms of the UN CRPD.

China modified its disability rights legislation, the Law on Protection of Disabled People, in 2008, after signing of the UN CRPD. The terms of this legislation appear to be aspirational rather than providing details of rights and obligations. India’s disability rights legislation is the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Right and Full Participation) Act 1995, which predates the UN CRPD. There is no clear detail of plans exist to update it to better reflect the terms of the UN CRPD.

South Africa does not have a specific item of legislation protecting the rights of people with disabilities; these rights are bound in a more general equality act, the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 2000. However, the government indicated in 2011 that it plans to draft a disability-specific law, although progress towards fuller adoption of the terms of the UN CRPD is unclear.

Reference to technology in disability rights: Each territory formally recognizes the value of technology in reducing inequality for people with disabilities, in legislation or supporting documentation. However, territories differ in the level of definition of the rights of people with disabilities to be able to successfully access and use digital content, products and services; with no obvious mention made in China’s disability rights legislation or in South Africa’s equality legislation.

Reference to minimum standards for web accessibility: No territory provides direct reference to technical requirements in legislation for digital accessibility. However, Australia, Brazil and India do provide guidance on a recommended standard for accessibility either by direct reference to WCAG 2.0 or by publication of national web accessibility guidelines. The nature and scope of these standards varies—all cover government web sites, but only Australia provides details of a required standard to be met by non-government web sites. In Brazil, eMAG 3.0 deviates from WCAG 2.0 Level AA by requiring an accessibility toolbar and specific skip navigation to be present on each page, and by omitting some Level AA Success Criteria [5].

Table 1: Web accessibility standards in selected territories
Territory Standard Scope Notes
Australia WCAG 2.0 Level AA Government and non-government web sites Specified in guidance provided by the Human Rights Commission on meeting DDA obligations.
Brazil eMAG 3.0 Government web sites eMAG 3.0 closely follows WCAG 2.0 Level AA, but with some differences.
China None n/a No evidence found of a national standard for web accessibility (but see Note at the end of the paper for an update).
India Guidelines for Indian Government Web sites Government web sites Guideline conformance ensures meeting WCAG 2.0 Level A, but also extend beyond accessibility requirements.
South Africa None n/a No evidence found of a national standard for web accessibility.

In addition to the Guidelines for Indian Government Web sites, the Indian Government approved the National Policy on Electronic Accessibility (PDF) in October 2013 [6]. The Policy sets out objectives for improving accessibility of public and private web sites, and proposes that accessibility standards will be “formulated or adapted from” existing standards, with specific reference is made to W3C accessibility guidelines, including WCAG 2.0, along with the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) and the User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG).

Treatment of non-HTML digital formats: Web accessibility standards and guidance of Australia, Brazil and India all make reference to a preference to providing web content in accessible HTML over other formats. Additionally, there are signs that choosing to rely on PDF as a digital content format will be problematic in some territories. Australia warns against relying on PDF as a document format, while Brazil requires downloadable documents to be available in ODF. This may be evidence of a trend to avoid recommending reliance on proprietary file formats in favor of open formats; there are also known accessibility limitations of PDF in terms of supporting people with some print disabilities in customizing the appearance of text [3].

Advocacy and outreach: Australia has a mature and active community, including private enterprises, academia and the non-profit sector. Elsewhere, the presence of a digital accessibility community is less visible, but there are examples of progress. W3C is active in promoting web accessibility and adoption of W3C standards though regional offices in Australia, Brazil, India and South Africa, and through a Community Group on Accessibility in China. The Techshare India conference, and Brazil’s All@Web, a web accessibility “recognition program” coordinated by the W3C and the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee, are examples of awareness-raising initiatives that may help to raise the profile of web accessibility.

Rights to Accessible Copyrighted Content

Marrakesh Treaty: Australia, Brazil and China have signed the Marrakesh Treaty.

Status and evolution of copyright legislation supporting access to alternative formats: All territories had some form of copyright law, but legal definition of the rights of people with disabilities to receive copyrighted content in accessible format varied across different territories. Australia’s Copyright Amendment Act 2006 updated prior legislation to include provisions for the rights of people with disabilities to receive copyrighted content in alternative formats; the Australian Government has indicated that only minor revisions would be necessary to enable Australia to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty. However, information was scarce on plans to revise existing legislation in Brazil, China, India and South Africa to enable ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty.

Brazil’s Copyright Law of 1998 provides some rights for people with visual impairments to reproduce copyrighted content in accessible format.  The Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China (amended 2010) grants no specific rights for people with disabilities to receive or produce copyrighted content in accessible format. China’s Law on Protection of Disabled People (2008) grants basic rights of people with disabilities to access books, but does not give more specific detail on rights to alternative formats. India’s Copyright Amendment Act (2012) amended the Copyright Act (1957) to give some basic provisions for people with disabilities to access copyrighted content in alternative formats. South Africa has a Copyright Act of 1978, but gives no specific rights for people with disabilities to access copyrighted content in alternative formats [7]. However, in representations made to the process of finalizing the Marrakesh Treaty, South Africa indicated that it is reviewing its copyright legislation in advance of signing the Marrakesh Treaty.

Implications for an Organizational Global Accessibility Policy

Based on the findings of this study, we present some implications on organizations wishing to define and implement a global digital accessibility policy.

Slow convergence: Disability equality legislation and policy, particularly with respect to digital content and services and access to copyrighted content, may evolve slowly in individual territories, but is likely to converge over time as territories recognize and formalize their obligations as adopters of the UN CRPD and the Marrakesh Treaty.

Focus on print disability: Legal definitions of disability may vary across different territories, but the definition of print disability defined in the Marrakesh Treaty may cause legal definitions of disability to be revised as part of the process of ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty, and this definition should be accommodated in global policy. Organizational policy should extend digital accessibility obligations beyond accommodating visual impairment through ensuring logical and comprehensible audio output of content to include reading difficulties relating to cognitive and motor impairment. This should include a focus on supporting flexibility of text customization, compatibility with different reading and input devices, and minimizing physical effort in interaction.

Prominence of WCAG 2.0: Whilst not ubiquitous in national legislation or standards, signs are that providing web content that meets WCAG 2.0 Level AA will ensure the content also meets standards for web accessibility across different territories. Therefore, organizational policy that references WCAG 2.0 as its measure of web content accessibility is likely to be more globally relevant.

Limitations of PDF accessibility: The review identified instances where reliance on the provision of content in proprietary data formats, particularly PDF, is likely to be problematic from a standards or legal compliance perspective. This is, of course, a small sample, but should be considered a sign of a relationship between global digital accessibility standards and access to open source formats, particularly in territories where economic conditions may encourage adoption of open source solutions. Organizations that use PDF should develop a policy for acquiring, generating and publishing accessible PDF content, and also ensuring accessible alternatives are available. Looking forward, it would be prudent to reduce reliance on PDF by establishing a policy that all new content in presented in an open source format, such as accessible HTML.

Capacity for monitoring global developments: Disability rights legislation and policy around the world is dynamic; and the connections between disability rights and the role technology can play in reducing (or exacerbating) inequality can sometimes be misunderstood or underestimated. Organizations should develop internal capacity through dedicated staff to scope, document and monitor the legislative and policy situation in other key territories, and share this knowledge strategically in order to anticipate and meet relevant obligations it is likely to be placed under; and take advantage of market opportunities in terms of the provision of accessible digital content, services and experiences that such a situation may offer.

Conclusion

In this study of the situation in key global markets we have presented a perspective from an accessibility consultancy rather than a forensic examination by a corporate legal team. Nevertheless we offer a viewpoint that we believe will help a multi-nationally active organization looking to understand and act on the global digital accessibility legal landscape. As expected, the situation in Australia is the most detailed in terms of publicly available requirements for delivering digital accessibility; though there is significant activity in Brazil and India.

Our findings indicate that, for organizations looking to define a global digital accessibility policy, there are some signs of convergence of legal and technical requirements, particularly in regard to definition of the rights of people with disabilities, and in terms of WCAG 2.0 conformance. However, progress towards a mature and consistent global definition and recognition of web accessibility—and, even, disability itself—still appears to be some way off; and further detail of progress in these and other territories is needed in order to provide a more detailed understanding of the situation. That said, restricting digital accessibility strategy to achieving technical compliance within a specific country is unlikely to lead to a sufficiently positive experience for people with disabilities, given the focus of legislation on equal access to information and basic services. Balancing designing for accessibility out-of-the-box with flexibility of customization is a key underpinning requirement of a forward looking organizational accessibility strategy.

Acknowledgement

We thank Pearson Global for their support in funding this research study.

Note

During the question and answer session following the presentation at W4A, we learned of work in China to develop a national web accessibility standard, which is based on WCAG 2.0; but material in English on this standard is at the time of writing seems to be scarce. If and when we find any, we’ll provide a link to it.

References

  1. Australian Human Rights Commission 2010. World Wide Web Access: DDA Guidance Notes Version 4.0.
  2. G3ict 2013. CRPD 2013 ICT Accessibility Progress Report.
  3. Henry, S. 2012. Developing Text Customisation Functionality Requirements of PDF Reader and Other User Agents. Proceedings of Computers Helping People with Special Needs. Vol. Part I. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, 602–609.
  4. Kelly, B., Lewthwaite, S. and Sloan, D. 2010. Developing Countries, Developing Experiences: Approaches to Accessibility for the Real World. Proceedings of 2010 International Cross Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility (Raleigh, USA, 26-27 April 2010). ACM, New York, NY.
  5. Modelo de Accessibilidade em Governo Eletrônico (e-MAG) version 3.0.
  6. National Policy on Digital Accessibility (India) (PDF).
  7. Nicholson, D. 2012. Accommodating persons with sensory disabilities in South African copyright law. Master of Laws. Johannesburg: University of the Witwatersrand.
  8. United Nations 2007. UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
  9. World Intellectual Property Organization 2013. Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled.

 

 

The post Global Considerations in Creating an Organizational Web Accessibility Policy appeared first on The Paciello Group Blog.

[syndicated profile] philipnel_feed

Posted by Philip Nel

Kansas Board of RegentsBased on Lawrence Journal-World reporter Scott Rothschild’s tweets (see below), the Kansas Board of Regents are rejecting the social media work group’s thoughtful revisions to the Board of Regents’ failed social media policy.  If I understand Mr. Rothschild correctly, they’re going to tack on some language affirming academic freedom to a policy that eviscerates academic freedom.  In sum, the Kansas Board of Regents appear to be treating the workgroup’s recommendations as a kind of garnish for the Board of Regents’ original turd sandwich.

So, here are 3 things you can do:

  1. If you teach at a Regents university, please join us for Five on the Hour (April 21 and 22), when — at the top of each hour, in our classes — we’ll talk about freedom of speech and how it’s integral to our work.
  2. You might also contact the Kansas Board of Regents, and let them know your views.  Contacting Governor Brownback is also a fine idea.
  3. Come to “Academic Freedom and Responsibility in the Age of Social Media,” at the University of Kanas, 27 April 2014. Free and open to the public.

I have to dash off to teach now, but wanted to get this info. out as soon as I could.

UPDATE #1 (16 April, 11:30am): Full report

UPDATE #2 (16 April, 2:30 pm): Regents now say they will adopt “nearly all” recommendations of social media workgroup.

[syndicated profile] alaskanlibrarian_feed

Posted by Daniel Cornwall

The benefits of the Juneau Public Libraries go beyond their collections both physical and virtual. It goes beyond providing internet access. All three of their branches provide meeting rooms for community groups to meet:

The library offers the use of its meeting rooms for public meetings and programs of a non-commercial nature. Meetings must be free of charge and open to the public. Meeting rooms are available at all three facilities. All meeting rooms except the Small Meeting Room Downtown have a 60″ wall mounted video monitor to use for in-room presentations and are also video conference enabled.  Call 586-0442 or see our Technology Services page for more information about video conferencing.

Please call to reserve and to discuss guidelines for use.

These rooms are offered free of charge to the community. Who meets here? A partial list from April:

  • Alaska Virtual Academy
  • Daughters of the American Revolution
  • Glacierview Condo Assoc.
  • Juneau Adult Hockey Association
  • Monday Night Writers Group

Want to see more, check out the library’s calendar. It includes community meetings and library events, the focus of my next post.

 

If you’ve liked this post or have a library story of your own, share it to your favorite social media site with #nlw14.


Filed under: alaska, libraries Tagged: nlw14

Be Bold: Make Access Happen

Apr. 15th, 2014 06:38 pm
[syndicated profile] aotus_feed

Posted by David Ferriero

Women Working at a Switchboard
Photograph of Women Working at a Bell System Telephone Switchboard. National Archives Identifier 1633445.

 

The first of our new strategic goals is to “Make Access Happen.”  Increasingly, access means digital, online access. Our first goal has one objective, to make our records available to the public in digital form to ensure that anyone can explore, discover and learn from our records.

Here are a few of the initiatives listed under this goal:

  • First, we want to complete the long journey of describing our holdings in our online catalog. We launched our first agency-wide online catalog in 2003, and now we are within just a few years of being able to say that over 95% of our records are described at the series level. Currently we are at 83% and going strong. Archivists across the agency continue to provide basic archival metadata to the catalog so that people around the world can know what we have.
  • We will also accelerate the processing of analog and digital records to quickly make our records available to the public. Foundational technology for that effort will be the development of a digital processing environment that will allow archival, digitization and description staff to work in an environment that supports and enhances accelerated processing of the records.
  • We want to digitize our records and to make them available online.
  • [ Read all ]
Page generated Apr. 23rd, 2014 02:42 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios