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Re: reasonable accomodation? (was Re: single browser intranets)

From: Gregory J. Rosmaita <unagi69@concentric.net>
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 1999 17:36:52 -0400
Message-Id: <4.1.19991026172744.00ae4800@pop3.concentric.net>
To: David Poehlman <poehlman@clark.net>
Cc: WAI Interest Group Emailing List <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
aloha, david!

you are quite correct in pointing out that -- after performing OCR on hard copy
on materials that one is attempting to use in a responsible, professional,
and/or educational manner -- one usually not only needs to run the scanned
output through heuristic repair slash recovery software such as ScanTune, but
often needs to have a sighted assistant compare the scanned output to the
original material, in order to ensure that the material which has been
converted into electronic text is identical in every particular to the hard
copy...  this, of course, includes the type of comparison that it (currently,
at least) is impossible to automate when performing OCR -- such as the use of
font colors, font types, font sizing, and the like to indicate the relative
importance of a concept, word or phrase, or as a means of adding content or as
a substitute for structural methods of expression...

gregory.

At 04:19 PM 10/26/99 Dave Poehlman wrote:
>just to add to this.  if you think for a second that scanning hard
>copy and performing ocr on it is an ideal, think again.  Even with the
>best ocr available today, there is still much editing to be done and
>scanning the documents takes time that could be better used doing
>something more productive especially when that document is already
>available in if not accessible at least convertable electronic form. 
>I too faced these challenges with agencies that services those with
>disabilities.
>"Gregory J. Rosmaita" wrote:
>> 
>> aloha, y'all!
>> 
>> the real issue behind this extended thread (as i have been reminded by other
>> posters to this list) is what actually happens in the real world, and i can
>> assure you that, even when i drew salaries from agencies whose mission it
was
>> to serve the blind, my pay stubs (and pay history, as well as most of the 
>other
>> employee information distributed by those agencies) were invariably
delivered
>> to me in hard (printed) copy, despite my continued pleas for receipt of
>> electronic versions, which i could use myself in order to (a) review for
>> accuracy, and (b) use to set up a (much needed) personal budget...
>> 
>> the most revelatory experience i had setting up one agency for the blind's
>> intranet was discovering all of the policies that governed employees at that
>> particular agency -- when i began working there, i was given a hard copy 
>of the
>> employee handbook, and during my tenure at that agency, i continued to get
>> printed memos delivered to my desk containing copy that was destined for the
>> intranet, which i then either needed to re-request in electronic format, or
>> scan using OCR software in order to get the information up in a timely
>> manner...  and, just to complicate the matter further, the limited amount of
>> information which was available in an electronic format on the agency's LAN
>> (and which was used to generate braille copy) was hopelessly outdated
>> 
>> prior to my experience working at agencies for the blind, i worked as 
>webmaster
>> for a college --  designing, implementing, and maintaining its web site
slash
>> campus information system...  despite my pleas, i never received any of the
>> copy that formed the basis of the web site (such as the college's catalog,
>> course listings, new releases, updates from the athletic department, etc.)
in
>> an electronic format, although much of what i did receive was printed out 
>on a
>> desktop printer from (surprise! surprise!) an electronic version of the
>> document or documents in question...  so, again, i was forced to perform
>> massive amounts of OCR in order to return the copy that i had received in 
>print
>> back into an electronic form that i could then use (along with the
structural
>> information that i could then glean from the layout of the converted 
>material)
>> in order to design and then encode that information as a web page or
>> sub-section of the site....
>> 
>> why didn't i slap (or threaten to slap) an ADA complaint on any of the 
>entities
>> obliquely cited above, despite the fact that they consistently failed to
make
>> quote reasonable accommodations unquote?  because, after a protracted 
>period of
>> unemployment slash unemployability, i was far too busy (a) trying to earn a
>> living, (b) trying to earn enough to pay for the adaptive equipment i 
>needed to
>> purchase out-of-pocket in order to become employable, and (c) too busy
making
>> my own unreasonable accommodations in order to fulfill the terms of my
>> contracts, to have time for investigating the feasibility of an ADA
complain,
>> much less following through with one...
>> 
>> that's the real world -- people working under pressure, forced to make do 
>with
>> imperfect accessibility solutions, and forced to make their own
>> accommodations...
>> 
>> no, there isn't a panacea, but there are definitely accessibility issues
that
>> involve intranets and which should be considered by intranet implementors --
>> just because the information contained in an intranet lies behind a
firewall,
>> doesn't mean that it isn't fair fodder for discussion on this list -- in 
>fact,
>> the fact that it does lie behind a firewall makes discussion of corporate
and
>> governmental intranets a pressing issue for us to address...  why?  well,
i'm
>> hard pressed to express the attitude of most employers better than by
>> paraphrasing the quote human resources person unquote at the last agency for
>> the blind that i worked at...   when i asked where the electronic
equivalents
>> of a lot of the material i was attempting to add to the intranet could be
>> located, i was informed that everyone will have access to an accessible and
>> updated electronic copy of the handbook and all of the other paper-based 
>forms
>> and policies we use once you get them up on the intranet...
>> 
>> gregory


BAROMETER, n.  An ingenious instrument which indicates what 
kind of weather we are having.
                  -- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
-----
Gregory J. Rosmaita <unagi69@concentric.net>
Camera Obscura: http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/
VICUG NYC: http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/vicug/
Read 'Em & Speak: http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/books/
Received on Tuesday, 26 October 1999 17:30:48 GMT

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