Accessibility and Institutional Repositories « UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)
peter.suber's bookmarks 2019-02-22
"There has been some discussion on the JISC-Repositories JISCMail list (under the confusing subject line of “PLoS business models, global village”) on the issue of file formats for depositing scholarly papers. Some people (including myself) feel that open formats such as XHTML should be the preferred format; others feel that the effort required in creating XHTML can be a barrier to populating digital repositories, and that use of PDF can provide a simple low-effort solution, especially if authors are expected to take responsibility for uploading their papers to an institutional repository.
An issue I raised was the accessibility of resources in digital repositories. There are well established guidelines developed by WAI which can help to ensure that HTML content can be accessible to people with disabilities. Myself and others have argued that the guidelines and the WAI model is flawed, but many of the guidelines are helpful and institutions should seek to implement them (indeed there are legal requirements to ensure that services do not discriminate against people with disabilities).
WCAG 1 has the following requirements: 3.2 Create documents that validate to published formal grammars. [Priority 2] 11.1 Use W3C technologies when they are available and appropriate for a task and use the latest versions when supported. [Priority 2] 11.4 If, after best efforts, you cannot create an accessible page, provide a link to an alternative page that uses W3C technologies, is accessible, has equivalent information (or functionality), and is updated as often as the inaccessible (original) page. [Priority 1].
This seems to be pretty unfriendly towards PDFs, I would argue. WCAG 2.0 (which is in draft form) is, however, neutral regarding file formats – a development I welcome (although the guidelines still have their limitations). However the guidelines still require that content is accessible; and as well as the requirement in the guidelines, there are also legal and ethical requirements to address such issues...."