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Re: Updated draft of benefits of standards harmonization

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@sidar.org>
Date: Sat, 4 Oct 2003 01:39:28 -0700
Cc: EOWG <w3c-wai-eo@w3.org>, karl.hebenstreit@gsa.gov
To: "Karl Hebenstreit, Jr." <karlhjr@comcast.net>
Message-Id: <4448DF18-F646-11D7-8DAF-000A958826AA@sidar.org>
(note that I am not a member of the EO working group, but I do read the 
archive from time to time).

Some answers to Karl's questions - of course these are all just my 
personal opinion:

On Friday, Oct 3, 2003, at 13:14 US/Pacific, Karl Hebenstreit, Jr. 
wrote:

> 1.  What is the status of XML Accessibility Guidelines?  XAG1.0 -- W3C 
> Working Draft 3 October 2002

I'm the currently active editor of it, but the working group is out of 
charter so cannot publish new updates. I am assuming and hoping that 
the new charter will include working on XAG but it apparently hasn't 
been decided yet.

As far as I can tell there is not much likelihood of significant work 
on the guidelines until the group is rechartered - I am not working on 
them until the status is clarified, but the work that I am doing 
elsewhere does include stuff that will provide techniques if the work 
does re-start. There are also pieces being implemented "in the wild".

> 2.  Do the latest activities in XML, especially web services, impact 
> web accessibility?  Is there a concise overview of how XML and Web 
> Services help accessibility?

I don't know of one, but there are certainly areas in which 
semantically well-described Web Services could be very useful. (Relying 
on a well-known location or a plain text description of a service can 
be useful too, but only when people find a particular service and tell 
others about it).

Work done by groups like UBAccess and the (now abandoned) transcoding 
work at IBM provide some ideas of Web Services that could be useful. 
There is a specific area of work mostly within the Semantic Web 
development community on image annotation that could be suitable for 
further leveraging via Web Services.

XML and Web Services are more or less separate. XML provides some 
possibilities in the form of enabling new, richer document formats to 
be created with better accessibility support (although that isn't 
guaranteed, hence the XAG work). Web Services essentially standardises 
the things that used to be done through CGI-bin interfaces and other 
machine-to-machine interactions via the internet.

So they are both more powerful tools than what they replace - 
respectively SGML, which was complex, didn't include standardised 
support for hyperlinking, and had a very semantically poor way of 
defining languages through a DTD, and an unspecified collection of ways 
to interact via the Internet, including with websites.

> I'm glad to see a more comprehensive approach to learning enviornments 
> being taken -- learning styles, collaborative learning environments, 
> and experiential learning are all important aspects of truly 
> addressing needs in this area.   This comprehensiveness is meant to be 
> implied by the use of "adequately" in the third question:
>
> 3.  Regarding Knowledge Repositories, has anyone been evaluating 
> whether the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) standard 
> is adequately addressing accessibility requirements (at least it is 
> stated in their intentions)?  

This was discussed in the context of the Dublin Core Accessibility 
special interest group at the Dublin Core 2003 conference in Seattle 
last week. I don't know if the answer to your question is yes, but 
there are good signs that the issue is recognised and treated seriously.

--
Charles McCathieNevile                          Fundación Sidar
charles@sidar.org                                http://www.sidar.org
Received on Saturday, 4 October 2003 04:40:12 GMT

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