RE: Multi-Channel Section First Draft from Ken

I updated the contribution in favor of using availability and mentioned
interoperability and connectivity.  I think device issues though are not the
same as interoperability and I point this out..


-----Original Message-----
From: []
On Behalf Of Ken Fischer 
Sent: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 1:08 PM
To: 'Catherine Roy'; 'eGovIG'
Subject: RE: Multi-Channel Section First Draft from Ken

Thanks Catehrine.. So basically use digital divide to refer to
accessibility,interoperability, and connectivity..
Thanks..  I will make those changes..

-----Original Message-----
From: []
On Behalf Of Catherine Roy
Sent: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 7:28 PM
To: Ken Fischer; 'eGovIG'
Subject: Re: Multi-Channel Section First Draft from Ken


I have been following the work of this Working Group through its mailing 
list and related information sources since its creation last year, 
though this is my first posting to this list. I would like to comment 
the content submitted on the multi-channel section. My comments have to 
do with the question of how Accessibility is being proposed to be 
defined in this section.

Accessibility has already been well-documented and defined by W3C, 
through WAI, as well as by other related stake-holders (and I think that 
so far, the working draft has respected these precedents). I believe 
that what is being proposed in this section is therefore a problem when 
it lumps together device (interoperability), bandwidth (connectivity) 
and access by persons with disabilities (accessibility) within the 
general concept of Accessibility. Taken together, these concepts should 
be treated within the concept of universal access or universality (also 
traditionally defined by W3C).

I also think that it is erroneous to leave out accessibility (as defined 
by W3C, i.e. catering to the needs of disabled users) when talking about 
the digital divide. Although the sentence in question talks about how 
the digital divide is *typically* referred to ("Device and bandwidth 
issues are typically talked about as the ‘digital divide’") this could 
be misconstrued as accessibility being ouitside the scope of this issue 
while, in reality, it is generally widely accepted that accessibility, 
or lack thereof, is an important component of the digital divide.

Best regards,


Catherine Roy
Chargée de projets
514.948.6644, poste 222

Ken Fischer wrote:
> Hi Everyone
> I cleaned this up a little and Jose said was ok to post to my blog to 
> collect comments. I want to get reactions from those in social media 
> in government so that is the reason for the post to the blog.
> **
> * Thanks*
> * Ken*
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *From:* Ken Fischer []
> *Sent:* Tuesday, April 14, 2009 12:11 PM
> *To:* 'Owen Ambur'; 'Luigi Selmi'; ''; 
> ''
> *Cc:* 'eGovIG'; ''; ''; 
> ''; 'Ed Pastore'; 'Adam Schwartz'
> *Subject:* Multi-Channel Section First Draft from Ken
> Hi Everyone
> Sorry it seems I missed my deadline of last week. I didn’t see the 
> announcement of the deadline and assumed it was before the next call.
> This is my first attempt at contribution, so I would like to get 
> feedback before posting on the appropriateness of it.
> I don’t deal heavily with standards but focus on concepts so I know 
> that might need some work. It seems technology formats change so fast, 
> that it is more important to create the framework for why standards 
> are needed than to focus on the standard itself in the case of 
> something like eGov and social media which is still in an experimental 
> phase.
> I welcome your comments.
> Thanks
> Ken
> *Multi-Channel Distribution Standards.*
> In an age of connected data, standards are not just about the format 
> of information but are also about accessible and fair distribution. 
> That having been said, a balance must be achieved so that distribution 
> of information does not become a barrier limiting the amount of 
> information which is distributed.
> In the digital age, information is key to both economic and social 
> development of societies. Therefore, governments need to prioritize 
> making more as much information available through broadly distributed 
> channels over limiting information in order to make it most broadly 
> accessible and distributed. This is a classic 90/10 effort issue, 
> where the last 10% of effort to broaden distribution and accessibility 
> to near perfection would make 90% of the effort. Too often governments 
> have opted for an all or none method in information distribution and 
> it has resulted in less distribution and a lesser good for the public 
> as a whole. The amount of information is too vast given the current 
> state of information storage formats and technology to make all 
> information accessible through all conceivable methods and channels. 
> Accepting this fact and letting data go needs to be the priority.
> That having been said accessibility should be discarded but rather a 
> system should be in place to determine which information warrants the 
> broadest, most accessible distribution and which information should be 
> posted but does not warrant effort to increase accessibility except in 
> that the format chosen should be a non-proprietary one so that the 
> public may redistribute the information if it chooses. Concern for 
> accessibility may be handled by providing a government sponsored 
> service which can provide specific data in more accessible formats on 
> demand.
> This is not a radical departure from traditional accommodations but 
> rather a continuation of choices which have been traditionally made. 
> An excellent example to understand how this is an extension of 
> existing policies is to consider library books and the blind in the 
> US. Library books for the sighted are more widely available and more 
> easily accessible at libraries across the country, but Braille 
> versions of books can be accessed on demand through the Library of 
> Congress’ National Library Service for the Blind and Handicapped. A 
> similar program could be developed for on demand access of multimedia 
> material for the handicapped. That having been said, basic 
> accommodations which can easily be built into websites to promote 
> accessibility should be addresses with social media providers by 
> encouraging broad accessibility to their material and links should be 
> provide on multi media home pages on how to request versions such as 
> closed captioned videos.
> *Accessibility *
> Accessibility is determined by 3 factors: device, bandwidth, and user 
> disability in using the device (commonly known as 508 standards in the 
> US). Device and bandwidth issues are typically talked about as the 
> ‘digital divide’. Both wider broadband distribution and accessibility 
> of information on mobile devices can help to solve this issue. One of 
> the ways in which governments are broadening broad band access is 
> through free internet enabled computer availability at libraries and 
> kiosks. The type of access widely available to citizens for free at 
> public locations as well as those available at the lowest price points 
> should considering when choosing data standards, platforms, devices 
> and websites for the bulk of information through social media 
> channels. If broadly available access is not compatible with methods 
> which the majority of citizens of a country use the internet, then 
> clearly public internet access is not providing adequate access.
> In considering the choice of media outlets, determining whether a 
> website or platform makes text based information available on low cost 
> mobile platforms should be taken into account. The availability of 
> multimedia information should also be announced and searchable through 
> text based services so that users who have limited access to 
> multimedia enabled workstations, can find out about resources they 
> need and go to a kiosk or library which access is available. To 
> prevent those without full access even to discover what is available 
> would effectively block its use, since time and context when accessing 
> the public internet is limited.
> *Fair distribution.*
> Fair distribution refers to the issue if government distributed 
> content through selected websites, platforms or devices creates an 
> unfair advantage for a particular device, platform, distribution 
> network, or website. It seems appropriate for governments to not have 
> to expend resources on wide distribution if the bulk of the intended 
> audience is on one platform or website, but some consideration should 
> be taken so that governments do not become unintentional monopoly 
> makers through their social media distribution choices. Again this 
> consideration should not take priority over wide distribution of the 
> bulk of information.
> The nature of social media information is to be posted on locations 
> which are not on government servers or control and is distributed 
> though social connections not through formal organizations. Social 
> media information is distributed on websites which choose whom to 
> allow access to the website and which behaviors are acceptable. Also a 
> user’s activity and connections on a social media website determines 
> to some extent how much exposure they receive to information available 
> on that site. For instance, someone is who is a friend of a person who 
> participates in government discussion boards will be more likely to be 
> exposed to government distributed information and the fact of its 
> availability than someone who is not similarly friended. Likewise, 
> people who belong to groups who choose to participate in smaller 
> online communities will not be exposed to the government distributed 
> information. For instance, what about the parent who blocks Youtube on 
> the household computer because of objectional material? Some 
> consideration to the unevenness of social media distribution should be 
> nade..
> *Multi-media central feed.*
> Therefore a government using social media to distribute multi-media, 
> should create standard public locations which announces distribution 
> of documents and content with links to their openly accessible location.
> A central text feed of all distributed info will serve four purposes:
> 1. Provide the public with a completely open and highly accessible 
> index to content provided through social media channels.
> 2. Provide the government content in a form isolated from other 
> content to broaden distribution to those who prefer to avoid mixed 
> distribution sources.
> 3. Provide other smaller content providers and websites methods to 
> have the same content as larger providers.
> 4. Provide a central reference location for any on-demand 
> accessibility service requests for government sponsored or partnered 
> services such as closed captioning or braille.
> These media index locations could be in the form of a searchable text 
> feed which link to original documents. The text feed should be 
> searchable from text based mobile devices as well as web browsers. 
> Search should be provided through a tagging mechanism which at the 
> least allows those posting the information to create new search tags 
> and categories. It also may allow the public to tag items to create a 
> folksomy based search. Documents should be in a freely accessible 
> format such as PDF, so long as that format allows for the same 
> distribution both in context and content to other websites as was 
> carried by the government itself. For instance, if a document was 
> association on a social media website with certain search tags 
> attached, those tags should be indicated in this feed. If a document 
> had hyperlinks or embedded content placed in it by government 
> officials, those hyperlinks and content should be preserved in this 
> format.
> Video and audio should be in an instantly playable format such as a 
> progressive player linked to cloud based storage so high demand will 
> not slow distribution, as well as a downloadable format which can be 
> used to replicate the distribution on other websites.
> In the case of virtual world information distribution, some capture of 
> the virtual world experience should be attempted to replicate the 
> primary message in some way such as a video of the experience. If it 
> is possible to store in an open format 3-D objects or actions, that 
> content maybe also be considered for placement in this central data store.
> To the extent that an industry standard is developed to allow easily 
> subscription or importing of documents, audio and video content to 
> alternate media websites and platforms, governments should adopt these 
> methods to support their central feed.
> *Conclusion.*
> Governments should clearly prioritize distribution and accessibility 
> options which do not pose significant barriers which would decrease 
> the amount of information distribution. At the same time some 
> consideration to disabled users, users without high bandwidth and high 
> cost devices, as well as devices, platforms and websites with smaller 
> audiences should be taken. A low-barrier method to do would be to 
> create a central multi-media text multi-media index feed, which is 
> searchable from both text based mobile and internet browsers.

Received on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 18:12:06 UTC