deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
I dislike using ad-blockers, in general. I know investigative journalism and online fiction are both expensive to produce, and I want to support all of those content creators. To that end, I wish there were an ad broker that worked closely with the maintainers of Ad Block Plus and Ghostery, and committed to only providing ads which were guaranteed to (within reason):
  • Contain no malware
  • Contain no trackers
  • Contain no data scrapers or other hostile code
  • Not require risky tech (eg. Flash) to run
  • Not move

I know, that last one is unusual. That's an accessibility thing more than anything else; animated ads tend to use scripting rather than animated gifs for their movement (thus ignoring browser animation settings), frequently ignore WCAG, and -- my reason for loathing them -- are often a migraine trigger for me.

I used to browse with NoScript everywhere, but these days that breaks more of the web than not. Instead, I browse with Ghostery to make myself safe; I had to whitelist a few websites which break with Google Analytics off, and had to whitelist some of the A/B testing platforms and video CDNs, but otherwise that leaves the web fully functional. But I still have to use ABP to block two things: obtrusive animations, and links to clickbait sites which are disguised to look like links from the host site, and which frequently redirect to dangerous, malware-infested pages. (Actually, Ghostery catches most of those, too.)

I would be fine with ads plastered all over websites as long as they weren't highly likely to be malicious or dangerous to me! If ABP makes enough of a dent, I suppose, perhaps there'll be demand for it.

I'd kind of like to put some non-JS tracking code in my company's site to see how many hits we get with Ghostery on or JS off (though we're non-functional without JS, sigh.)
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
Phil Nel has written about the sad parade of deaths in children's literature he last couple of months. I will add to his list of books about death that the best book I know about grieving, for children or adults, is Michael Rosen's Sad Book. It... will not cheer you up, though.

On an entirely more petty note, one thing I've noticed most librarians agree about is the magic by which every time the ALA websites are redesigned, they get worse. I am amazed at how much the blog post in which YALSA president Sarah Flowers defends putting the YALSA award and best-of lists behind member login misses every possible point about why this is a terrible idea.

No wonder people think librarians are irrelevant.

More to the point, no wonder most librarians think the ALA is irrelevant.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
I've got another litcrit post bubbling along on the back burner, but in the meantime, if I don't clear out some of these tabs my browser will explode. So here, have some web accessibility linkspam:
many links about web accessibility )
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
Two links today which were both partially inspired by the 20 year anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

First, the depressing one: Via Jennison Mark Asuncion, Dennis Lembree identifies several accessibility gaps on the home page of the new web site. The site was launched partially in celebration of the 20 year anniversary of the ADA, and some of the accessibility gaps Lembree finds are whoppers: overly styled text instead of heading tags, for example. As Jennison said, what does it say when the chief US gov agency promoting IT
accessibility is not where it needs to be with their own site?

But let's follow with a much more inspiring post: [personal profile] jesse_the_k: "20 Years and a Day for the Americans with Disabilities Act". This essay inspires me to see all the good we've done in two decades. From [personal profile] jesse_the_k:

So, thanks for my life, ADA: many mundane things, and a few great big ones.

The law is not enough; as Cal Montgomery taught me:
Discrimination is always illegal; only activism makes it unwise.

And something I don't say very often, because I'm still pissed off about certain comments about atheism, But thanks, George H. W. Bush, for signing the ADA into law. Because of that law, I have a job.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
Kill Accessibility, a blog post by Gary Barber, made me put me head down on my desk and take several deep breaths.

Barber makes some excellent points about some of the limitations of the accessibility movement. He talks about how accessibility shouldn't be an afterthought, but incorporated into good web design and universal design. He talks about how for many, "accessible" has come to mean "for people with visual impairments". He talks about the weakness of the way checklists are used, and about the low social value of improving your website's checklist.

So why does Barber lose me at the very beginning of his blog post? His first content heading: "We are not Assistive Technology users." I repeat that: "We are not Assistive Technology users." He goes on to say The old UX catch call is never truer here – we are not the users. The disparity between us and the people we are really working for, with accessibility, is sometimes just too great for us to even get a idea of what it is like, no matter how many videos of people using assitive technology we see.

Who is this "we" about whom you are speaking, Able-Bodied Man?

Last weekend I was in a room full of accessibility professionals, about half of whom had visible disabilities. The director of the WAI has a disability. There are people with disabilities on all of the web accessibility mailing lists I'm on. That's not even counting the other parts of the web development community I interact with, the parts that don't have any particular concern with accessibility and yet still have a multitude of developers with disabilities.

We are here. You just aren't talking to us. You just aren't listening.

Maybe the first step in the accessibility community is to recognize that some members of your own community are also the users, and to listen to us when we speak. I don't speak for all computer users with disabilities. I speak for exactly one: myself. But if you don't even know that we are here, each of us speaking for ourselves, you sure as hell are not going to be able to serve anyone in the community.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
Recently, I was talking to a non-librarian, non-techie friend about the "single search box" debate in librarianship, the idea that librarian's need to emulate the popular search engines.

She immediately responded "but Google doesn't have a single search box! Neither does Amazon!"

As she characterized it, she is well aware, as a naive user, of the difference between the various tabs on the Google front page: Web, Images, News, Usenet, Shopping -- and she uses them as she needs to. She is well aware of the difference between book and DVD searching in Amazon -- and uses them.

It would be good for librarians to remember that single search boxes do actually characterize information in different ways and don't just do keyword searching across a single massive collection. Perhaps the user interface preference should be leaning towards a Google-style text box on a tabbed screen as opposed to the exquisitely bad Wilson SilverPlatter interface, but we need to remember that Google isn't as simple as we think it is.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
When I did my first master's degree, I learned a basic principle: all postbaccalaureate work should be publication quality. I've tried to stick to that, at least in papers with some creativity involved (as opposed to just writing to a set assignment; the student can't be expected to do graduate-level work with an undergraduate-level assignment).

When I began this independent study project, I was extremely excited about the idea of publication. My original goal was to make a publishable academic paper as well as a public product: a website which informed news consumers of the archival policies of giving news agencies. Unfortunately, I don't think I made a publishable paper. I made a number of mistakes:
  • To start with, this is my first social science research paper. I have neither the format or the style down pat, and I think I alternate between too casual and too aggressively academic, without ever finding a comfortable medium.
  • I failed to get all of the release forms I would need to get this information published.
  • I presented my survey badly, both in the e-mail and newsliblog requests, and in the lack of a click-through explanation and release form. As a result, I got scarcely any replies.
  • I'm sure I screwed up something else. Or many somethings else.
Nonetheless, I think my findings were important, and I'd like to share them. In a nutshell, I found that online news agencies don't make permanent archives or even limited snapshots of their layout and design, and in extreme cases, don't even make permanent archives of online-only content. The first part of this is a difficult problem. It still unsolved how best to make snapshots of something as deep, multi-layered, and dynamic as a news website. But the second problem is merely a matter of culture (print newspapers have librarians while webmasters live in the present), and needs to be fixed before an important part of the historical record is lost for good. An important part of the historical record is already lost for good; can we reverse the trend?

Abstract )

Survey of the Archival Methods for Print and Web Newspapers [RTF]
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