HTML 3.2: SGML Document Access (SDA)

I note that the HTML 3.2 DTD (Draft: Tuesday 15-May-96) does not include the
SGML Document Access (SDA) Parameter Entities [1] which were provided in the
HTML 2.0 DTD [RFC 1866]. Was this because:

  (1) it is a draft document, and they have not been completed; or
  (2) SDA proved to be the proverbial "good idea whose time never
      came" with a deliberate decision (quietly) made to drop it.
Most certainly the reason is not the remaining possibility, that
  (3) the needs of disabled/handicapped folks were not of concern.

I think that most authors of HTML documents would prefer that their
documents be available to a broad audience. Notwithstanding the few large
corporate sites which have gone to considerable extents to present barriers
to visually challenged individuals (such as large blocks of text presented
only within GIF files), most information providers would benefit from a
low-effort way to make "reasonable accommodations" toward being barrier-free
to as many folks as practical.

I can't claim much personal knowledge of the effectiveness of SDA, but I
know that the needs it set out to address are very real to many people.

If in fact SDA is not the solution, then I'd suggest that its omission
should be noted in the summary description of HTML 3.2, with the
technological challenge to find a workable solution.

On the other hand, if SDA is effective (or does show promise) than I'd
suggest its retention should be an important aspect of HTML 3.2.


[1] Excerpt from HTML 2.0 DTD in RFC 1866:

<!--========= SGML Document Access (SDA) Parameter Entities =====-->

<!-- HTML 2.0 contains SGML Document Access (SDA) fixed attributes
in support of easy transformation to the International Committee
for Accessible Document Design (ICADD) DTD
         "-//EC-USA-CDA/ICADD//DTD ICADD22//EN".
ICADD applications are designed to support usable access to
structured information by print-impaired individuals through
Braille, large print and voice synthesis.  For more information on
        - ISO 12083:1993, Annex A.8, Facilities for Braille,
          large print and computer voice
        - ICADD ListServ
        - Usenet news group bit.listserv.easi
        - Recording for the Blind, +1 800 221 4792

Harold A. Driscoll             
#include <std/disclaimer>

Received on Tuesday, 21 May 1996 13:08:06 UTC