Metadata and universal access in digital library environments

  • Wondwossen Mulualem Beyene
  • Library Hi Tech, June 2017, Emerald
  • DOI: 10.1108/lht-06-2016-0074

Accessibility and Metadata

What is it about?

Accessibility metadata has been a recurring theme in recent efforts aimed at promoting accessibility of educational and information resources to all regardless of their disabilities, cultural differences, language, etc. The purpose of this paper is to discuss developments related to creating accessibility terms for resource description, and to explore their potential in improving accessibility of library resources for people with disabilities.

Why is it important?

Research on library accessibility has been highly focused on whether library websites and databases are compliant to established accessibility guidelines. However in reality, not every resource in library is accessible for people with disabilities. Therefore, one way of helping users could be to properly annotate resources (such as eBooks, videos, audio books, etc.) by their accessibility attributes so that they can be discoverable by their right users. This paper thus encourages more works on the usage of metadata for improving accessibility in digital library environments


Wondwossen Beyene
Norsk institutt for by- og regionforskning

Literature shows two approaches for achieving the intents of universal /inclusive design in interactive systems: the guidelines-based approach and the adaptability approach. The first relies on established guidelines such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) whereas the later seeks to make person-resource matchup. the adaptability approach relies on user profiles and resource metadata. I believe that the adaptability approach is worth exploring in environments, such as libraries, which involve seeking and retrieval of information resources by diverse group of users. The article shows an area to look at.

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