[teknoids] Accessibility policies for Gov Docs and NGO Reports

Edward P Richards richards at lsu.edu
Fri May 3 14:33:06 EDT 2019

Interesting suggestion! Thanks!


From: Teknoids <teknoids-bounces at lists.teknoids.net> On Behalf Of Barney, Emily
Sent: Friday, May 03, 2019 10:46 AM
To: Teknoids <teknoids at lists.teknoids.net>
Subject: Re: [teknoids] Accessibility policies for Gov Docs and NGO Reports

Have you considered reaching out to the Internet Archive to work with them to archive your collection of documents? https://archive.org/about/<https://nam04.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Farchive.org%2Fabout%2F&data=02%7C01%7Crichards%40lsu.edu%7C84c9534793144e00312308d6cfde75ad%7C2d4dad3f50ae47d983a09ae2b1f466f8%7C0%7C1%7C636924951695690431&sdata=NT1iiKeuxViTaGEzMsZLi72WdavqHdlszM2ysryk2xY%3D&reserved=0>

Your project sounds like a more focused version of the "End of Term" they compiled with help from a number of government documents law librarians:

Emily Barney
Technology Training & Marketing Librarian
Chicago-Kent Law Library
email: ebarney at kentlaw.iit.edu<mailto:ebarney at kentlaw.iit.edu>
phone: 312-906-5630

On Fri, May 3, 2019 at 10:09 AM Edward P Richards <richards at lsu.edu<mailto:richards at lsu.edu>> wrote:
I have a university WWW site - https://biotech.law.lsu.edu/ - where, among other things, I have been collecting government documents and reports in selected research areas since 1995. My purpose has been to preserve documents and provide a stable URL for other researchers. For example, during the 2001-2002 smallpox vaccine campaign, the CDC rolled out a series of smallpox response plans. These changed over time due to political concerns, ultimately ending up at odds with the best science on smallpox control. I wrote on this at the time, and archived the relevant documents. As the CDC posted new plans, the old plans were taken down. Since these were not regs published in the FR, they are only available on my site. As we know, this is true with a lot of gov doc and other reports because the feds have little concern with persistent links. The gutting of federal WWW sites dealing with climate is the most recent and troublesome example.

I probably have around 5,000 of these documents, with plain text index pages pointing to them. Some are just text, which are no a problem. Many include charts and graphs and images, which are unlikely to be tagged with metatext for screen readers. (Anyone know if/when this became a standard for the feds, so I will at least know some are good?) Under a universal access policy that requires all documents to be compliant, I will need to take down the site or move it to a private server, stripping off the university affiliation.

I am curious how your universities are handling this problem. There is an argument that preserving the integrity of official gov docs and historical materials is important and that they should be treated differently from class materials. (This is separate from what you actually assign as class materials, where accessibility must meet the needs of your students.) Am I the only person trying to preserve old gov docs and related materials on a university site? If not, how do you fit these into your unversity's accessibility policy? (This maybe a different problem for state universities which are state agencies - such as LSU and the Florida schools - which believe they have to meet state agency standards, which are stricter than university standards.)

Thanks, Ed

Edward P. Richards, JD, MPH
Director: LSU Law Center Climate Change Law and Policy Project
Clarence W. Edwards Professor of Law
LSU Law School
Baton Rouge, LA 70803-1000
richards at lsu.edu<mailto:richards at lsu.edu>

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