I think a lot about the accessibility of our library’s licensed e-resources. Sure, if there’s not already a clause in a license agreement about compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, we request that it be added. But what does that actually mean for our patrons? There are levels of accessibility, and simply having a clause in the license agreement doesn’t guarantee that our patrons will be able to satisfactorily view/hear/navigate the content.
I worked with our library’s e-resources licensing consortium to ask them to start collecting Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates (VPATs) when initiating conversations with a new vendor. I appreciate our consortium’s willingness to do this, as it gives its member libraries information up front about the expected use of the e-resource for patrons with disabilities. I’m just one person concerned about this, I don’t have much power to affect change. But groups of people concerned about this, banded together, could.
And then I bumped into a particularly large group of people concerned about this, the Big Ten Academic Alliance. Here’s what they’ve accomplished so far (this is grabbed right from their site):
Because of the group:
- The Big Ten libraries have funded a pilot to provide selected vendors with third-party accessibility evaluations. Evaluations, along with any responses provided by vendors, are posted on the E-Resources Testing page. This program provides vendors with the information and opportunity to improve the accessibility of their products and gives members of the library community information about the accessibility of these works.
- The Big Ten Academic Alliance has also adopted model accessibility license language that can be found on the Standardized Accessibility License Language page. Library e-resource vendors may be approached about inserting this (or similar) text into BTAA Library consortial licenses or institutions’ individual licenses to ensure these contracts address accessibility concerns.
The stuff on their site is freely available, go check it out! I especially like that they note standardized language to use when negotiating accessibility in a license agreement. And that tab on the site about the accessibility testing they’ve done on vendor e-resources, posting the results publicly? Awesome!