A mismatched group of PDFs I would not find particularly accessible

A Mismatched Group of Items That I Would Not Find Particularly Interesting: Challenges and Opportunities with Digital Exhibits and Collections Labels

This week's first article comes from Evidence based library and information practice and I admit I mostly chose to read this based on the amusing title. It turns out this is a great practical study of a problem that comes up a lot in my work – what to name menu items in a way that is neither too vague nor too specific and jargony. I'll be reading this one again to remind myself of the interesting combination of card sorts and surveys they used, and the simplicity of their study design (send out a link in regular newsletters that are already sent to the target audience).

Hidden Inequities of Access: Document Accessibility in an Aggregated Database

Next up, a horrifying article with an unfortunately vague title. By “horrifying” I mean the results, rather than the paper itself. The study is limited and uses random sampling, but it seems very likely that it would be simple to replicate the findings in other corpora.

This is a study of the accessibility (in the disability sense) of a selection of highly-cited journals from EBSCO’s Library & Information Source database. It's absolutely damning of a profession that claims to champion equitable access to information.

Fewer than half (48%) of the articles overall included an HTML format option.

Which is a pretty big problem since well-marked-up HTML is about the most accessible format you can use when it comes to screen readers. But it somehow gets worse:

Findings from the audit of PDF accessibility showed that 100% of the PDF articles (N= 120) from this study’s original sample failed the minimum standard of PDF/UA accessibility of containing a tagged structure.

That is, the entire sample of article PDFs was inaccessible without running them through third party software to attempt remediation. As the authors state, this is not the fault of EBSCO but rather of the journal publishers. The irony of this article is that it is only available in PDF format – ITAL doesn't publish articles in HTML.

Taking Control of Our Data: A Discussion Paper on Indigenous Data Governance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People and Communities

Finally, an interesting paper from the Lowitja Institute. This helped clarify for me what is actually meant by “Indigenous Data Sovereignty”, “Indigenous Data Governance”, and how they are different. I really like the way this discussion paper is framed in part as a practical guide for local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations. The case studies and planning guides make the theory more tangible.

Libraries and Learning Links of the Week is published every week by Hugh Rundle.

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