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How can library databases be made more accessible?

This web page provides a short list of tips to make library databases more accessible. Some tips include speech output systems and electronic resources.

Washington University, DO-IT

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Posted by: knann on Sat Oct 15, 2011 at 5:04 p.m.

I think the title is misleading for the content given. It is really a discussion about the tools and services that libraries should provide to ensure accessibility. Organization of the list of questions could be improved. For instance, first on the list should refer to institutional purchasing policies:---"are materials evaluated for accessibility?" Unless the collection is developed with accessibility in mind, it is difficult to fathom how a librarian can respond to the question: " Do electronic resources with images and sound provide text alternatives or information to these formats". Although the list is actually quite comprehensive, it lacks cohesiveness for transitions between questions concerning policy, tools, and services.

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It took me several years of struggling with the heavy door to my building, sometimes having to wait until a person stronger came along, to realize that the door was an accessibility problem, not only for me, but for others as well. And I did not notice, until one of my students pointed it out, that the lack of signs that could be read from a distance at my university forced people with mobility impairments to expend a lot of energy unnecessarily, searching for rooms and offices. Although I have encountered this difficulty myself on days when walking was exhausting to me, I interpreted it, automatically, as a problem arising from my illness (as I did with the door), rather than as a problem arising from the built environment having been created for too narrow a range of people and situations.

Susan Wendell, author of
The Rejected Body: Feminist Philosophical Reflections on Disability