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FW: JSTOR and accessibility

From: Audrey J. Gorman <agorman@megsinet.net>
Date: Tue, 28 May 2002 16:18:30 -0500
Message-ID: <01C20663.B263A940.agorman@megsinet.net>
To: W3c-Wai-Ig <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
This is from AXS-LIB, a libraries and accessibility discussion list. Two 
questions for the WAI-IG:
1. How does OCR work on a TIFF document?
2. Is Ron's assessment of the complexity of the process accurate?

I think that accessibility fixes should be straightforward so that the 
"playing field" is at least a little more "level."  Answers? Comments? I'd 
like to help my colleagues in libraries get the right message to the folks 
at JSTOR. We're working on taking the accessibility message to all vendors 
who sell to libraries.

Audrey J. Gorman
Access for All
Naperville, IL, USA

Mobile: 630-661-9062
Office: 630-717-7336
www.accessall.net (under construction - temporary site)
"The power of the Web is in its universality.
Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect"
Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the WWW

-----Original Message-----
From:	Ron Stewart [SMTP:Ron.Stewart@ORST.EDU]
Sent:	Tuesday, May 28, 2002 3:54 PM
Subject:	Re: JSTOR and accessibility


I guess my question is why bother. I appreciate the effort, but feel that 
is misdirected. While it does provide a better situation for the program
doing a the document conversion it does nothing to improve access for the
end user.

Working with a TIFF file conversion can be more difficult that a straight
OCR from print for the typical user, or using a reading machine which is 
our novice uses typically interact with non-accessible documents. This
effort still will require that an intuitional process be established to
convert the docs and does not provide the user with direct access to the
content and as such does not meet the criteria of the law.

Ron Stewart

-----Original Message-----
From: Schmetzke, Axel [mailto:aschmetz@UWSP.EDU]
Sent: Saturday, May 25, 2002 9:02 AM
Subject: Re: JSTOR and accessibility

Ron, I would not say that the situation would not be better with at
least TIFF files being made available. If it is the case that these can
be OCRed (without having to go through the process of printing them
first), then they can be converted into text files (which are, of
course, of somewhat lesser quality because of the errors that occur in
connection with the OCRing). It thus seems to me that having access to
TIFF files is better than mere access to absolutely inaccessible GIF
For me, the question is the following: How shall we respond to JSTOR's
efforts? Shall we take the attitude that some access is better than no
access and praise JSTOR for their attempts to make available a more
accessible product--adding that they should strive to go still further
by findings ways to make available top-quality text files? Or shall we
simply snuff at their current efforts and insist that anything but
text-based files is unacceptable?


-----Original Message-----
From: Ron Stewart [mailto:Ron.Stewart@ORST.EDU]
Sent: Friday, May 24, 2002 3:02 PM
Subject: Re: JSTOR and accessibility

This is not any better than what we are dealing with now. TIFF files are
graphics, not text, when JStor is willing to produce true text documents
then they will not have to worry about compliance.

Ron Stewart

-----Original Message-----
From: Schmetzke, Axel [mailto:aschmetz@UWSP.EDU]
Sent: Friday, May 24, 2002 12:57 PM
Subject: Re: JSTOR and accessibility

I'm very hesitant to consider JSTOR's approach towards providing
accessibility an acceptable solution, but the very fact that a
database/e-journal provider publicly addresses accessibility issues
pertaining to its graphics-based product is promising.

I'm curious: How do you folks feel about JSTOR's approach towards
providing some measure of accessibility? Should we, as librarians,
consider graphics TIFF files, which can be OCRed and can thus be
converted into a screen-readable text-file, to be sufficiently
accessible? Or are we bothered by the fact that it takes an additional
piece of technology (OCR software), and thus an additional step, to get
to text-based information, and that the converted text is substandard
because of the errors produced by current OCR technology?


Axel Schmetzke
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

-----Original Message-----
From: Coonin, Bryna R [mailto:COONINB@MAIL.ECU.EDU]
Sent: Friday, May 24, 2002 1:23 PM
Subject: JSTOR and accessibility

Friends --
Full-text e-journal provider, JSTOR, has a team actively working on some
the accessibility issues in JSTOR that have concerned many of us over
To keep users informed about developments in this area they have now
included updates on this effort on the JSTOR web page at:


Bryna Coonin
Joyner Library
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC 27858
E-mail: cooninb@mail.ecu.edu
Received on Tuesday, 28 May 2002 17:21:19 UTC

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