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Re: Reading level and metadata

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 1999 18:12:31 -0400 (EDT)
To: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>, Marja-Riitta Koivunen <marja@w3.org>, "Daniel W. Connolly" <connolly@w3.org>, "Eric Prud'hommeaux" <eric@w3.org>
cc: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.10.9906221806210.30073-100000@tux.w3.org>
Drawing a line in the sand is a foolish way to go, but not the only way to
use the metadata. One of the smarter uses of PICS was in ordering serach
engine results. This could be done similarly.

An interesting project for the ER group might be to take the Robot, attach a
program which makes some basic guesses at readability (I don't believe the
scales used are incredibly reliable, but if they can be automated for MS Word
I assume they can just as easily be automated on their own), and build a
labelling bureau. It could use PICS, or use RDF to build a "what's related"
service, and it could be used as a filter over a set of search results.

(I'm including Dan and Eric because they have built pieces that would make
this easy)

Charles McCN

On Tue, 22 Jun 1999, Al Gilman wrote:

  Brian Kelly briefed the WAI meetings in Toronto about some work in the area
  of metadata.  UKOLN and the University of Wisconsin, Madison (but not
  Trace) have a joint project which is just starting up, to foster the
  find-ability of content-appropriate material on the Internet/Web.  A rough
  translation of the area that they are working on (as far as I know) is
  "What would you say about this page in a subject catalog of the Web?"  And
  then they are developing a toolkit to help people who want to implement
  such subject-oriented gateways.  Brian, in effect, asked the question "What
  can we put in the metadata that will aid accessibility?"
  Meanwhile, back on the Interest Group list, we have been having a vigorous
  discussion relating to non-readers, learning disabilities, and cognitive
  disabilities, and what would make the Web more accessible to them or usable
  by them.
  One of the things that I took away from this line of discussion (on IG and
  on ER-IG before) is that pages usable by non-readers are scarce.  Finding
  them is a serious burden.  There are a few such pages out there, but the
  hassle of finding them means that they might as well not be there.  If
  there were some indication of the reading ability demands of web pages that
  made it into indices used in resource discovery, the job of finding pages
  usable with low or no reading capability would be radically eased.
  Note that this does not assume setting a single reading level that all web
  pages should not exceed.  The reading level demands of pages will continue
  to vary.  But people can better utilize resource discovery aids to find
  material that will be appropriate to them, if there is a general
  understanding of how reading levels are graded and if metadata about web
  pages contain this kind of information.
  Drawing a line in the sand to divide what is OK from what is not OK may not
  be the most appropriate response to all needs.  Perhaps publishing
  reading-level information in page metadata is a way we can offer relief to
  the non-reader without banning reading from the Web.

--Charles McCathieNevile            mailto:charles@w3.org
phone: +1 617 258 0992   http://www.w3.org/People/Charles
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative    http://www.w3.org/WAI
MIT/LCS  -  545 Technology sq., Cambridge MA, 02139,  USA
Received on Tuesday, 22 June 1999 18:12:34 UTC

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