Not Open For All: Accessibility of Open Textbooks

In order for open educational resources (OERs) to be truly open to all, they must be accessible to learners with disabilities, including those with visual, auditory, physical and cognitive disabilities. This study sought to determine the accessibility of a randomly selected sample of 355 open textbooks using a custom rubric based upon the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C’s) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), version 2.1, primarily at the Levels A and AA. Included books fell into one of four format types: HTML files/websites, PDFs, Microsoft Word documents and EPUBs. The average number of ‘fails’ – instances in which they ran afoul of a rubric category – across the whole sample was 5.93 and the median was 6, out of a total of 14 or 15 categories, depending on the format type. Overall, most of the books did not meet basic accessibility requirements, such as including alternative text for any images, properly coding/tagging any tables and following a logical heading order structure.

Celebrating 25 Years of Preserving the Web – The Scholarly Kitchen

This week, the Internet Archive is celebrating its 25th anniversary of its first crawl of the world-wide-web and its first snapshot of our collective digital lives. Since the first crawl, the scale of the Internet Archive’s collection was grown astoundingly. Its regular snapshots of the internet have grown to comprise some 588 billion web pages in total. So much flourishes on the internet; both the amazing and the frightening, the mundane and the radical. The Internet Archive preserves it all. While most know of its work capturing and preserving snapshots of the internet, the Internet Archive also preserves an amazing amount of our digital heritage. The Archive has digitized and archived more than 28 million books and texts, 14 million audio recordings, 6 million video recordings, 3.5 million images and more than a half million software programs.

Workshop “Universell utforming i OJS-tidsskrift” | 22–23 November 2021 | Munin Conference on Scholarly Publishing

Google translate: “Workshop “Universal design in OJS magazine” This workshop is offered as an in-person event in Tromsø and the language of the event is Norwegian Date: 22. – 23. November Venue: UiT Norwegian Arctic University, campus Tromsø Open journals should be available to as many people as possible also when it comes to universal design, and should not exclude users based on functional ability. In addition, the Norwegian publishing services must comply with the requirements of the Regulations on universal design of ICT solutions, which apply from 1 January 2021. The University Library in Tromsø is organizing a workshop on universal design in journals using the Open Journal Systems (OJS) software. The workshop is aimed at support staff for OJS-based publishing services / publishers who publish open journals. The workshop is mainly intended for national participants, for the sake of ev. coronary restrictions – the language of the event thus becomes Norwegian. The number of participants is limited to 25 people. The event is free, but participants will have to buy lunch themselves….”

A Socio-Legal Framework for Improving the Accessibility of Research Articles for People With Disabilities

“Even if this economic barrier is removed, however, there is a key point that is generally left out of discussions of open access: is there really open and immediate access for everyone, if scholars and students with disabilities cannot access and use research articles? This article addresses the often-overlooked question of whether research publications are accessible for people with disabilities.”

Special Collection Learning from Lockdown: challenges and benefits | Journal of Interactive Media in Education

Collection launched: 11 Aug 2021

The articles in this collection reflect different perspectives; of students, teaching staff and administrators; and of managers and leaders across very different institutions worldwide as decisions were made about how to respond to the pandemic and provide ‘emergency remote education’.

Authors reflect on how educational technology supported higher education provision during this time, yet although the perspectives are different, common themes emerged such as the importance to promote care and community – a principle which can inform future practice. Another theme is that of professional development for academics and teaching staff, and how best to support this during challenging times in a sustainable way. Similarly particular challenges for accessibility during the pandemic were reported and here too, suggested approaches to supporting accessibility follow sustainability principles to make them relevant for the future. Tackling inequity is another related theme found in more than one contribution including an approach taken by a USA liberal arts college to make all supporting materials for their courses free materials (such as open educational resources, OER).

The papers also represent different research methods and approaches, including a longitudinal study, surveys, interviews, student artefacts, meeting notes, workshop and course evaluations and recordings of managers’ meetings and decision making.

Guest Editors: Ann Jones and Katy Jordan

CfP: 16th Munin Conference on Scholarly Publishing (15–18 November 2021). Submission deadline Sept 05, 2021.

Submissions are invited for the 16th Munin Conference on Scholarly Publishing, 15–18 November 2021! The Munin Conference is an annual event on scholarly communication, primarily revolving around open access, open data and other aspects of open science. Usually held at UiT The Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø, for the second year in a row the conference will be digital.

We hereby welcome abstract submissions on topics including, but not limited to:

Research and researcher assessment
Innovations in scholarly communication

Accessibility (web accessibility) in scholarly publishing
Open access books

We accept submissions for the following formats:

Presentation (max 10 minutes)

Poster for a Twitter poster session

Abstracts must be submitted via Septentrio Conference Series. Please read the Submission Guidelines below. The program committee will select contributions on the basis of the quality of the individual abstract, as well as relevance for the overall conference program.

Important dates:

Deadline for abstract submission: 5 September 2021

Notification of acceptance: 17 September 2021

Conference to be held: 15–18 November 2021

Digital GLAM Spaces Conference

“Web accessibility and user experience are important for centering those who want to learn, research, and teach with digital and digitized cultural heritage. In 2018, the University of Oregon was awarded an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant to experiment and build collaboration capacity for how GLAM assets could be used in innovation ways for research.

Digital GLAM Spaces is a conference about building community around web accessibility and user experience. It’s a place for GLAM practitioners to share definitions and best practices for what is UX and accessibility; communicate digital strategies for incorporating user research into digital projects; and talk about the people, skillsets, and support needed to be better and make web accessibility and user experience part of our work instead of bolted on….”

Advocating for Open Education – BCcampus OpenEd Resources

“Affordability is often the main driver for the use of OER, but it’s not the only reason. Using OER gives faculty the ability to customize their learning materials to support their curriculum and the learning outcomes for their course. The course materials can be dynamic, with a wide selection of OER available to create engagement, improve understanding, and break down barriers to accessibility….”

Announcing the Recipients of the 2021 Publishing Practice Awards

“The Library Publishing Coalition (LPC) is excited to announce the recipients of the 2021 Publishing Practice Awards! Congratulations to the University of Texas at Arlington Libraries – Mavs Open Press for exemplary work in the category of Accessibility, and to the University of Cape Town Libraries for exemplary work in the category of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion….”

A Coalition for Social Learning Across Content | Hypothesis

Today we’re announcing a coalition, Social Learning Across Content, of educational content creators, technology platforms, service providers, and stakeholder groups that are coming together in support of cross-platform social learning. Moving forward, this coalition will work together to establish user-friendly, interoperable best practices and solutions to bring social learning to all content.

“Federated Repositories of Accessible Materials for Higher Education II” awarded a $1,175,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation | UVA Library News and Announcements

“By law, any material required for the education of a disabled student must be made accessible for them in a timely manner. In the United States, the legal obligation to provide accessible learning materials falls on individual educational institutions, and universities and colleges across the country are scrambling to meet their responsibilities to students with special information-access needs. The staff of disability services offices (DSOs) spend a great deal of time and effort remediating printed texts, transforming them into a variety of electronic formats to improve access for students with print disabilities. Because many of the same texts are commonly assigned at multiple institutions, the result is a wasteful duplication of effort as the DSO staff at each independent university must start the remediation work over again.

For the last two years, the University of Virginia Library has led a multi-institutional project to address this problem. With a two-year grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, University Librarian John Unsworth initiated an effort to create a web-based infrastructure allowing DSOs to share remediated texts, in order to reduce their nationwide duplication of effort, and thereby make it possible for the staff in these offices to achieve better outcomes for students in higher education….”

Ascending into an Open Future | American Libraries Magazine

“The modern academic library helps users to not just access and store information but to think through the implications of that information, Cottom observed in her keynote. “Access in and of itself is not a solution to unequal returns and experiences,” she said. She recommends The Promise of Access: Technology, Inequality, and the Political Economy of Hope (MIT Press, April) and “Information Has Value: The Political Economy of Information Capitalism” as two texts that underscore this view.

“Within the university, we rarely talk about the rights of our stakeholders to information, not just access,” Cottom said. “What would it look like for an academic community to develop a code of data rights?” She proposed that this code should be people-centered and would guide not just data privacy but also areas such as data autonomy….”

Accessibility of ETDs: Raising the Bar

“Accessibility of online content is of a focus of effort for many higher ed institutions. Electronic theses and dissertations are no exception to this, and graduate school and library staff have been working to improve the accessibility of content submitted by their graduate students. As part of the 2021 TxETDA webinar series, staff from Montana State University, Texas State University, and the University of Texas at Austin will describe the current status of accessibility in institutional repositories (based on a 2020 survey), talk about gaps in accessibility for ETDs, and share templates and workflow ideas for improving ETD accessibility.”

Postdoctoral Associate–Advancing Equity and Accessibility in Archives and Special Collections – Cambridge MA 02139

“POSTDOCTORAL ASSOCIATE–ADVANCING EQUITY AND ACCESSIBILITY IN ARCHIVES AND SPECIAL COLLECTIONS, MIT Libraries-Center for Research on Equitable and Open Scholarship (CREOS), to conduct research in the areas of open and equitable scholarship under the guidance of the principal investigator Stephanie Frampton and in collaboration with library and faculty mentors, research scientists, and fellow postdocs. The research outcomes will inform future research, implementations, or adoptable resources for MIT Libraries and the broader library community.  Will focus on research related to identifying, assessing, developing, and promulgating best practices for advancing equity and accessibility in archives and special collections, with a particular focus on accessibility of digital collections for persons with disabilities. The first year will focus on identifying, describing, and analyzing existing accessibility practices and interventions to digital archives and special collections access; while the second will focus on designing prototypes and evaluating interventions within MIT Libraries’ Distinctive Collections….”