Empowering GLAM Institutions: The Launch of Digital Library Accessibility Policy and Practice Guidelines

This post was written by members of the DLF Digital Accessibility Working Group. The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are solely those of the contributors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Digital Library Federation or CLIR. 

The DLF Digital Accessibility Working Group is excited to announce the publication of the Digital Library Accessibility Policy and Practice Guidelines. This collaborative document provides guidance for GLAM institutions (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums) to implement accessibility best practices through policies and workflows.

Some topics discussed and key takeaways include:

  • Policies should commit to accessibility, name standards like WCAG for each type of content, provide contact info, and define monitoring processes.
  • Procedures should cover ingestion, content types, software and tools used, who will perform accessibility tasks, and uphold applicable standards included in policies.
  • Get institutional buy-in by emphasizing the user benefits, increased usage, and legal requirements. Budget for staff time, tools, or vendor services.
  • Accessibility cannot be achieved in a silo, and is a shared responsibility. Distribute responsibility vertically and horizontally. Accessibility specialists should guide work, administrators supply resources, and all project participants have duties.
  • Integrate accessibility into all phases like planning, design, testing, and maintenance. Spread the cost throughout the lifecycle.
  • Follow standards like WCAG for web content, PDF/UA for documents, and include transcripts, captions, and descriptions with Audio/Visual content. Use inclusive language in metadata.

Huge thank you to everyone who made this possible: the co-authors, the Policies and Workflows subgroup, the Digital Accessibility Working Group, and the extended community of accessibility enthusiasts who provided feedback and informed our work.

With the guide complete, the Policies & Workflows subgroup welcomes new members and projects in 2024!

  • Want to join our group, learn more about our work, or guide the group’s future direction?
  • Please attend our next meeting on Fri 3/29/2024 1:00-2:00pm ET if you’d like to get involved. Email the group’s co-chairs (Wendy Guerra- wguerra@unomaha.edu ; Gabe Galson- galson@temple.edu) to receive the zoom link.
  • During our March meeting, we’ll continue our in-progress collaborative group exercise to identify future projects and direction.

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