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metadata and WCAG 2.0

From: Liddy Nevile <liddy@sunriseresearch.org>
Date: Sun, 20 May 2007 09:45:13 +1000
Message-Id: <1B652AAD-37CE-46BD-87EB-D4C4A353F13E@sunriseresearch.org>
To: public-comments-WCAG20@w3.org

This is a response to the comments made about my issue with WCAG 2.0  
wrt metadata.

Source: http://www.w3.org/mid/20060614003228.646BD33205@kearny.w3.org
(Issue ID: LC-799)

Unfortunately, I did not provide a detailed issue report and I  
suspect my comments have been misunderstood by the WG.

A new ISO standard for accessibility metadata, known as the  
AccessforAll metadata and also worked on by IMS GLC, the European  
community, the Dublin Core community, and others, makes it possible  
to significantly improve the accessibility of the Web by adding  
appropriate, standardised metadata to resources. This metadata is  
carefully designed to completely avoid any ideas of 'conformance' and  
simply advise on the characteristics of the resource that may be of  
relevance to the INDIVIDUAL user. This means that an individual can  
determine if the resource is suitable for them, regardless of its  
conformance to any standards. It also makes it possible for systems  
that take account of individual user's needs and preferences and  
makes it possible for such systems to discover versions of resources  
that will suit the individual user.

The metadata being proposed is necessary for individual selection of  
appropriate resources, does not have any impact on conformance and  
therefore is not likely to cause many of the problems that  
conformance metadata might, and has been designed to work as part of  
the general accessibility approach taken by WCAG, in full recognition  
of WCAG. It should be noted that there is nothing technology-specific  
about the metadata schemas being recommended and such metadata is  
fully extensible and works for both generic and proprietary  

It is fairly clear that if metadata of the type suggested is included  
in the WCAG requirements, many more people with accessibility needs  
and preferences will be able to use many more resources of use to  
them, making the Web in general, far more accessible.

I urge the WG to consider this work in more detail and at least to  
discuss it with one of the editors of the AccessforAll metadata  
standards. I personally consider that to not include metadata of this  
type in WCAG would be a retrograde step and continue the problem with  
WCAG that the new metadata approach was designed to overcome: while  
conformance with WCAG is a good practice and helps deal with the bulk  
of problems for many people, WCAG does not and cannot cater for the  
specific needs and preferences of an individual user who needs to  
know if the resource has what they need and prefer, whatever else it  
does or does not have for other people.

I note that although the new metadata approach was developed for  
education, it is generally applicable, and is so considered by the  
Dublin Core metadata community.

For further details, please see:

http://www.imsglobal.org/accessibility (a number of documents available)
http://jtc1sc36.org/doc/36N1141.pdf (a nearly final version of the  
standard to be released very soon by ISO)
http://dublincore.org/groups/access (a generalised approach to  
AccessforAll metadata)

Received on Sunday, 20 May 2007 02:57:14 UTC

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