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ACCessible Library Services: Select Databases and eAccessibility Checklists

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Technology is rapidly changing the nature of research.  Fortunately, we have federal legislation and goodwill to  help make sure that all computer technology is available to all.   Of course, I am referring to Section 508 standards.  Section 508 is the civil rights directive to diminishing any level of digital divide to access to electronic, computer, Internet technology for people with disabilities. Therefore, Section 508 is obviously the federal initiative of which I speak.

Universal Design is the goodwill that exists to ensure that all of society keeps pace with Section 508 standards and to educate everyone about how technological changes and accommodations for some benefits all.  IBM has surprised many  with their hiring of a Chief Accessibility Officer, innovative products and services that embrace the principles of universal design.  The next time you purchase information technology please assess that product for elements of Section 508 and Universal Design.

Below is a table of the some databases available in libraries worldwide.  I have reviewed them all for elements of Section 508 and Universal Design.  The caveat is this is all subjective material.  However, I am not trying to convince anyone.  I am only encouraging an approach to consumerism of information technology that I am certain is not readily practiced. The links in the table are to vendor accessibility statements.  This is important information to understanding how the vendor integrates accessibility features into their product.  And, PLEASE demand that elements of universal design are included in modern technologies!! Our society's sense of discovery should not hinge on exclusivity!

Title/Vendor

Audible Speech/
Guided Reading

SimpleSite Layout
and Structure

Screen-Reader Friendly

Simple Basic
Search Function

Simple Advanced Search Function

Academic Search Complete
(Ebsco Products) 

Yes
(Speech-to-Text Option)
(Read aloud feature for HTML articles) 

Yes

Yes
(JAWS Tested)

 

Yes

Yes

CQ Researcher [Also]

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Films on Demand 

Transcript Auto Rolling

Yes

Not Obvious for Transcripts

Yes

Yes

Gale Virtual Reference Library 

Yes  
(Note:Gale Databases provide a Listen
function for full-text articles)

No
(Overwhelming Graphics)

Yes

Yes

No

JSTOR

Not Applicable

Yes

Yes

(Adds PDF Tags)

Yes

Yes

Salem Press

No

Yes

Not Obvious

No (Overwhelming Graphics)

No

 

Title/

Vendor

Search Mode Is Clearly Indicated

Simple Navigation of Search Results

Full-text Content Available in Non-PDF formats

Images Have Alt Tags or Description

Audio With Text/ Scripts

Video with  
Captions /Text/
Scripts

Academic Search Complete
(Ebsco Products) 

No 

Yes 

PDF Dominant

No/Yes 

Yes 

Yes (Associated Press   Videos)

CQ Researcher [Also]

Yes

No

 PDF Dominant (Compatible with Most Screen Readers)

No/Yes

No

 No

Films on Demand 

No

Yes

Yes (Transcripts)

Yes/Yes

Yes

Yes

Gale Virtual Reference Library 

Only in Advanced Search Mode

Yes

Text/PDF (Note: PDF or DOC files on demand, at no charge)

Yes/Yes

Yes

Not Applicable (Videos Are Publisher Produced)

JSTOR

Only in Advanced Search Mode

Yes

(1) Image-based PDF files are accessible and can be read with screen readers

 

(2) JSTOR's Process to Accept Terms and Conditions, proceed to PDF Are Problematic

Not Applicable

Not Applicable

Not
Applicable

Salem Press

No

Yes

Text Dominated

No/Yes

No

No

 

Title/Vendor

Section 508 Standards

Principles of Universal Design

Academic Search Complete
(Ebsco Products) 

Yes

  • (1) Language Interface        
  • (2) Social Network Sharing
  • (3) Lexile Reading Levels
  • (4) Notetaking
  • (5) Quick View  
  • (6) Highlighted Keywords in Results 

CQ Researcher

Yes

  • Not Obvious
  • (Note: Offers alternative text formats upon request.)

Films on Demand 

Yes

  • (1) Closed Captioning
  • (2) Interactive Transcripts        
  • (3) Theater Mode
  • (4) Language Selection

Gale Virtual Reference Library 

 Yes

  • (1) Downloadable MP3 Files
  • (2) Well-structured HTML
  • (3) Language Selection
  • (4) Searchable Image Captions

JSTOR

 Yes

  • (1) Content I Can Access Option
  • (2) Will Perform Manual tagging Of Limited Number of Articles 

Salem Press

Yes

Not Obvious

 

As of 03.10.2016

 

 

 

 


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