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Accessibility records and metadata elements

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@sidar.org>
Date: Thu, 13 Feb 2003 00:29:31 +1100
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
To: wendy@w3.org
Message-Id: <04AAA9E5-3E8E-11D7-9F07-000A95678F24@sidar.org>

Nick makes a couple of important points, and Dave Woolley touched on 
one when he mentioned the desire to know who is saying what.

EARL is an RDF vocabulary being developed at W3C to record conformance 
evaluation results - one of the use cases driving the work is 
accessibility evaluation results. There is a draft of the EARL 
specification at http://www.w3.org/TR/EARL10 - although development 
seems to happen in fits and starts there are tools that can support it.

Accessibility evaluations in particular can vary. Different tools get 
different results, and pages get changed (for example to improve their 
accessibility). EARL's design is meant to support the ability to 
maintain an 'audit trail' - see some of the shameless plugs of 
HiSoftware about quality management for some idea of why this is 
important. It also uses RDF to allow for gathering different results, 
and deciding which results you trust more at the time you make a query, 
rather than forcing a decision the first time you gather the 
information.

The Dublin Core Accessibility group is looking at providing this kind 
of functionality in Dublin Core. A promising approach (in my personal 
opinion) is to use existing Dublin Core properties that describe 
conformance, along with work being done on "signing" a Dublin Core 
record - not in the sense of digital signature, which can be applied to 
anything anyway, but in actually knowing who produced a particular 
dublin core record. (For example, I might only trust Somebody's claim 
that their page meets some WCAG checkpoints if I can't find a 
contradictory claim by Someone Else).

Given a way for different people to make assessments, how do we find 
them. It isn't practical to let people write extra information into 
your HTML, and the HTML meta element isn't really powerful enough to 
handle it anyway.

A simple way is to link to a document. A more powerful way would be to 
link to a service that let people make annotations, and returned 
results (a bit like you can link to  a search result from google, 
without needing to know what exactly google has). The ongoing W3C work 
on an EARL server based on Annotea provides a way to do this, too...

cheers

Chaals

On Wednesday, Feb 12, 2003, at 06:05 Australia/Melbourne, Nick Kew 
wrote:

>> LOL - oops <sheepish look />
>> Of course there is no document that defines the accessibility element.
>
> There is EARL, that defines a vocabulary for accessibility reporting.
>
>> There is a DC working group looking at the potential use of metadata 
>> in
>> accessibility and it's an element in the e-Govt Metadata
>> Standard(e-GMS) but I'm so used to putting "DC." in front of my 
>> element
>> names that somehow that one inexplicably slipped through the usual 
>> rigid
>> control I have over my keyboard ;P
>
> Wouldn't <link rel="accessibility" href="accessibility-report.rdf">
> be altogether more suitable?  <meta name="accessibility"
> content="http://www.example.org/accessibility-report.rdf"> lacks
> semantics.
[shameless plug for AccessValet's EARL output feature snipped]
--
Charles McCathieNevile           charles@sidar.org
Fundación SIDAR                       http://www.sidar.org
Received on Wednesday, 12 February 2003 08:30:11 GMT

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