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Where does the EARL go?

From: Wendy A Chisholm <wendy@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2001 19:13:41 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-wai-er-ig@w3.org
In today's WCAG WG telecon [1] I took the following action item:
Action WC: take discussion to ERT WG. How make statement for whole site vs. 
particular page vs. specific element - how do search engines discover. WCAG 
wants a scenario to show that it is possible.

Good discussion today about how EARL could be used to make conformance 
claims, including several scenarios for how it would be used by users 
(surfers), developers of both content and authoring tools (including 
evaluation), procurement folks, etc.

It seems to me the answer is either something like RSS or something like 
style sheets or something like metadata in HTML or a file extension/mime 
type or perhaps all of the above.

Here are some scenarios and questions:
1. There is one bit of EARL that is associated with an entire Web site.  If 
it is only stored in one place, what is the most likely thing to happen.  a 
search engine finds a page in that site that matches a user's query.  to 
prioritize it, it:
a. also looks throughout the site for a .earl file to give the conformance 
claim to wcag 2.0.
b. each page on the site has a link to the .earl file. it acts like an 
external css or script file that all pages on a site can point to.  then, 
the claim is only has to be updated once to effect the whole site.

2. There is a bit of EARL that applies to the entire site, but then one 
subtree of the site was able to read a higher level of accessibility so 
needs a cascade of claims.

3. Search engines search and index earl files (.earl) like other files 
(.htm, .html, .img, .jpg, etc etc).    Perhaps they do the appropriate 
joins to find the right set of files based on what is available at a site 
and what the earl found on that site applies to.  It's all in the EARL so 
this is possible.

I guess, I see this working more like CSS than anything else.  Thoughts?

In HTML, it seems the best method is the link element [2] to be used much 
like stylesheets are used.  None of the attributes are required, yet it is 
common to use rel and type.  there is no "type/earl" - should there be?  I 
remember Sean asked this question a while ago.  Current linktypes are: 
alternate, stylesheet, start, next, prev, contents, index, glossary, 
copyright, chapter, section, subsection, appendix, help, and bookmark. [3]

HTML 4.01 says that new types may be created using the profile attribute on 
the head element. [4]
Further, meta info could be identified using the scheme attribute on the 
meta element (also described at [4]).

(Note that I'm pointing to descriptive text in HTML 4.01, although these 
comments also apply to XHTML 1.0 [5])


[1] http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/2001/10/18-minutes.html
[2] http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/struct/links.html#edef-LINK
[3] http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/types.html#type-links
[4] http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/struct/global.html#profiles
[5] http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/
wendy a chisholm
world wide web consortium
web accessibility initiative
seattle, wa usa
Received on Thursday, 18 October 2001 19:09:15 UTC

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