Draft of EARL abstract intended for DIWG


At last week's meeting, William said he would like us to write an EARL 
abstract to send to the DIWG.  I have been going through the DIWG archives 
to determine what they would be using EARL for (the immediate 
need).  However, I am still not clear how you envision them using EARL, 

It seems that it has been suggested to use EARL instead of CC/PP or to 
enhance CC/PP for device independent authoring with EARL. EARL is intended 
to describe how content meets (or fails) conformance criteria.  Are you 
thinking that it would be used in conjunction with CC/PP to describe 
conformance preferences?  e.g., in CC/PP state that I only want content 
that meets WCAG Level A?  Help?

Here's the trail of interesting bits that I found:

DIWG short thread where Shlomit expresses concern that EARL/RDF not general 
enough for them, that they should use XML.

Appears to me that they are wanting to use XML to create a single source, 
not to annotate existing content in any way. Therefore, is EARL really a 
solution?  i.e. they are talking about a combo of XForms and XHTML-Basic.

William states:
Codification of what the "system requirements" for Web content are can 
probably be handled by "provider assertions" through something like EARL.

Sean chimes in with "CC/PP => EARL"

Back in March, there was a discussion about XMLGL.  Some feel that the work 
of DIWG is to define how to write for a UA while XMLGL/WCAG is to define 
how to write for the user.  At this point, Roger Gimson says that CC/PP was 
built to look at both the user and the device.  He lists all of the 
capabilities that the DIWG should consider.  Seems to be that yes, this 
should be built on CC/PP.  My understanding of the purpose of EARL is to 
record a gauge to accessibility not helping to make something more 
accessible.  However, since EARL will be attached to a piece of Web content 
to annotate which accessibility criteria it meets, I suppose that in 
describing how it meets it, it could associate accessible alternatives with 
primary content...but I don't think it is appropriate for authors to rely 
on EARL to do such things. That sounds like a kludge for a language that 
does not express semantics well...but I guess that's the whole point of RDF...

Shlomit and Stephane Maes argue against the overlap between Device 
independence and accessibility.  Stephane says the idea of graceful 
transformation is a key concept, but he does "not believe that to have the 
document understood by different devices is equivalent to having the 
document appropriately presented or optimized for interaction through the 

Sean responds about the aims of XMLGL. 

A while back, I wrote this to describe what EARL does. Perhaps this could 
be the basis for an abstract:
EARL allows someone to describe how well Web content or a tool follows 
guidelines or specifications. For example, using EARL you can describe if a 
particular image is used in an accessible way on a Web page. Or if a user 
agent displays SVG images properly. "Properly" is defined by the SVG 
specification. "Accessible" is defined in WCAG.

wendy a chisholm
world wide web consortium
web accessibility initiative
seattle, wa usa
tel: +1 206.706.5263

Received on Friday, 29 June 2001 16:24:55 UTC