The ADA mandates that library programs and services be accessible to people with disabilities. With the advent of the WWW, the popularity of commercial Web‐based resources in academic libraries has soared, but are these resources accessible to people with visual disabilities? This study examines the accessibility of two popular Web‐based abstracting and indexing services, Periodical Abstracts, offered by OCLC FirstSearch, and Gale Group’s Expanded Academic ASAP, when accessed by blind users using screen‐reading programs. The study measured accessibility based on guidelines from the amended Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines issued by the WWW Consortium. The findings indicate that, while each database has a high degree of accessibility, there is a need for Web developers to conduct usability testing of commercial databases with people who rely on screen readers for access to the Web. Librarians must be cognizant of accessibility issues and demand assurance from database vendors that their products are accessible.
Library Hi Tech – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 1, 2002
Keywords: Blind people; Internet; Databases; Libraries
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