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Re: RE Checkpoint 3.4 again

From: gregory j. rosmaita <oedipus@hicom.net>
Date: Tue, 31 Jul 2001 02:46:33 -0400
To: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>, <kynn@reef.com>
KB: Are a book-on-tape and a printed book "equivalent"?  It's hard to
say; it's problematic.  If a book and an audio book are "equivalent",
does that mean that an audio book read by Patrick Stewart and an
audio book read by me are "equivalent"?  (Most people would likely
say not.)

GJR: take it from someone for whom the issue isn't theoretical: a
book-on-tape produced from a print edition with requisite quality control
(as performed by NLS or RFB&D, in the states, where the reading of the text
is monitored for accuracy during the recording process, then double-checked
through a read-along) is an equivalent...

first, in case anyone on the list doesn't know or has forgotten, the "D" in
"RFB&D" stands for "dyslexic" (the "R" "F" and "B" stand for "Recording"
"for" the "Blind");

second, you are implying that only an "absolute equivalent" is acceptable;
that may be the case for someone to whom the question of equivalencies is
theoretical, or, phrased less combatively, less than a P1 issue; granted,
i've oft complained that it isn't as easy to precisely transcribe a
quotation from an audio book and preserve vagaries of punctuation,
capitalization, and/or spelling, as it may be from a printed edition of a
book, but that's why digital talking books are being developed -- to provide
absolute equivalency between the print and digitalized edition...  for some
people, that will open up new channels of learning that printed books, no
matter how heavily illustrated, might never have otherwise been able to
open -- rather than _only_ having the content of a book read to them, and/or
illustrated for them, individuals (who can and who desire to) will _also_ be
able to visually track the progress of the synchronized audio track, while
those such as myself will be able to use the synchronized tracking to cut
and paste quotations with confidence...

moreover, even in purely audio form, the "absolute equivalency" of books
that are prepared for use in academic or professional settings, usually
include such information as page numbers, and other orientational slash
supplemental information [such as "end footnote, return to text"], which is
typically left out when a book is recorded for "pleasure reading" as it
would annoy anyone attempting to "pleasure read" the recording to (or,
perhaps, beyond) the point of distraction...

yes, there are cases where i might want patrick stewart to read to me, such
as if i were reading an english novel, but there are others where it would
be a positive annoyance...  i'd probably choose you over orson welles if i
had to choose between the 2 of you to read me the entire XSL 1.0
specification or all of the documents that, together, comprise DOM Level 2,
for example...  you may not have orson's golden throat, but you are
conversant enough with the related and underlying technologies, that you
would be able to more accurately convert the printed content of the document
into an aural form...

let's stop couching the conversation in terms of absolutes -- WCAG is not,
nor could it ever be "absolute" -- no individual or group could ever
definitively permute all of the potential use scenarios...  as the
introduction to the current draft of WCAG2 states:

Attempt to cater to the maximum number of people in the maximum number of

ABSURDITY, n.  A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one's
own opinion.                -- Ambrose Bierce, _The Devils' Dictionary_
               Gregory J. Rosmaita, oedipus@hicom.net
     Camera Obscura: http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/index.html
    VICUG NYC: http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/vicug/index.html
   Read 'Em & Speak: http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/books/index.html
Received on Tuesday, 31 July 2001 02:45:39 UTC

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