Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, November 26, 2007

OA and access for the print disabled

Heather Morrison, Open Access and Accessibility for the Print Disabled, Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, November 25, 2007. 

Abstract:   Open Access and Accessibility for the Print Disabled are two goals that fit together like hand and glove. In the online environment, it just makes sense to think about accessibility as we create information, rather than creating inaccessible information and building expensive services to overcome barriers that we have built later on. A document in XML or HTML is more accessible than one in PDF. A PDF that is not locked down with permissions, and not image-based, is more accessible than a PDF that is either locked down or image-based. The Budapest Open Access Initiative was not designed specifically to meet the needs of the print disabled; but a document that meets the BOAI definition of open access will be accessible for the print disabled, too. Similarly, when advocates for the print disabled convinced Adobe to build accessibility into their product (1), they were not thinking about accessibility for the rest of us, but their efforts have already (inadvertently) meant that many a PDF - whether published by a traditional or open access publisher - is much closer to meeting the BOAI definition of open access. This post includes a listserv message and comments, some from experts, and concludes with some final thoughts, including whether this might be considered a peer-reviewed listserv / blogpost, whether the publisher's PDF is, as often referred to, a value-add - or a value-subtract.