RLI 281 Executive Summary 5 DECEMBER 2012 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A QUARTERLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC Research libraries should institute a plan to make all future websites, pages, and documents accessible while tackling older web resources over time. Universal accessibility should be embedded in future licensed and acquired products and services so special conversion to a usable format will only be required for retrospective works. With born-digital texts, e-readers, and other mobile devices, research libraries should advocate for accessible solutions up front—born-accessible materials—obviating the need for resource- intensive reformatting and retrofitting. Accessibility should be a central decision factor in choosing information products and services. Such an approach will meet both mission and the law. Accessibility and universal design considerations should be integrated into the library’s technology planning and procurement processes. New technology-based library services should be evaluated for accessibility standards. Licensing must be done deliberately to protect the values and meet the legal requirements of accessibility, particularly in light of libraries’ increasing reliance on licensed content in the digital environment. Research libraries should negotiate for more favorable terms in order to permit broader latitude to adapt content to meet the needs of patrons. With copyrighted works, research libraries should aggressively assert fair use in support of accessible services for the print disabled. Research libraries should have user-focused policies and procedures for patrons with disabilities that are readily available and kept up to date accessibility service awareness needs to be a standard part of staff training. Research libraries should designate a liaison librarian who can provide or coordinate library assistance for users in partnership with the institution’s disability services office and central IT. Research libraries should also provide professional development for all staff to better understand disabilities, including learning disabilities. Research libraries should identify a point person to partner with institutional assistive technology experts and information technologists to monitor trends and developments in this area on an ongoing basis, such as conducting usability testing with disabled students, faculty, and staff as well as helping to guide the organization’s efforts to provide universal access for library collections and services. Similarly, this team should work with legal services and stay up to date on legal developments and best practices so that licensing and fair use determinations reflect current practice.
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