ADA Questions I Have

The following are questions I have related to ADA. Do you have answers for me?

  1. How are library databases considered accessible when they are virtually impossible to navigate in a meaningful way (conduct searches, evaluate search results, apply limits) using a screen reader? (I tested Academic Search Premier last year with the technician in the campus disability support services office.)
  2. I’ve heard that we must never ask someone if they have a disability. Students and other library patrons are supposed to self-disclose one if they need accommodations. Does that mean I shouldn’t offer someone assistive technology if I think they would benefit? Example: I see a person with very thick glasses reading a book inches from her face and I want to tell her we have a magnifying machine at the library.
  3. We hear a lot about the need for closed captioning, including being encouraged to include captions on all videos we make before someone has to request them. But what about blind people? Why don’t we hear about descriptive narration more? I only learned that such a thing existed in the past year.

(Yes, I know I can probably find answers to these myself but my class assignment is to ask our questions publicly!)

2 Replies to “ADA Questions I Have”

  1. D’Arcy, I always appreciate reading your thoughts from the perspective of Library services.
    Regarding the library databases, is the database built on old technology? . I wonder if Universities such as Missouri State have best practices that could be tapped as they are listed as one of the top Universities for visually impaired students?

    Descriptive narrative has been a required part of all content creation on my end for years and is extremely costly to create. There is a push to move descriptive narration to third party on request creation as opposed to making it part of the initial creation which makes sense when you think about not everyone needing descriptive narration. However, the downside is when it is needed it takes months to create.

    • No, I’m talking the EBSCO interface, Academic Search Premier as one example, not an old database. It’s nearly ubiquitous at libraries of any size.

      The challenge of doing all the work up front vs. waiting too long to get it when needed is a big one! There are no easy answers when that is the case. 🙁

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