The Shifted Librarian - Shifting Libraries at the speed of byte
 Monday, October 21, 2002

Lotus Notes blogging

Mita was telling me about how she periodically posts to the Leddy Library's blog in spurts, and I noted I need an RSS feed to keep up. She wasn't sure all of this could be done in Lotus Notes, which is the software they use. I told her I would point out David Gurteen's Knowledge-Log because he's doing this, including an RSS feed.

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Dichotomy

Jennifer Howath & Shelagh Patterson just gave a presentation about making library web sites accessible. How sad then to read Judge: Disabilities Act doesn't cover Web.

"In the first case of its kind, U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz said the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies only to physical spaces such as restaurants and movie theaters and not to the Internet.

'To expand the ADA to cover 'virtual' spaces would be to create new rights without well-defined standards,' Seitz wrote in a 12-page opinion dismissing the case. 'The plain and unambiguous language of the statute and relevant regulations does not include Internet Web sites.'...

Gumson, who said he had a screen reader with a voice synthesizer on his computer, asked the judge to order Southwest to provide text that could serve as an alternative to the graphics on its site and to redesign the site's navigation bar to make it easier for him to understand. He and his lawyers also asked for attorneys fees and costs.

The ADA says that any "place of public accommodation" must be accessible to people with disabilities. The law, enacted in 1990, lists 12 categories, including hotels, restaurants, shopping centers, universities and bowling alleys.

Seitz said that because Congress was so careful to specify what kinds of physical spaces are covered by the ADA, it's clear the act does not apply to the Internet. She noted that the World Wide Web Consortium had drafted accessibility guidelines, but said the document was over three years old and there is no indication that the guidelines are 'a generally accepted authority.' "

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Conference notes

How great is wireless? We're on a break at the conference so I'm catching up on breaking news and helping fix a problem back at work using instant messaging! Not to mention the blogging....

Side note: wireless vendors really need to hop the cluetrain and start sponsoring access at library conferences. The guy next to me is going to try to buy a wireless card for his laptop today based on what he's seeing others do here. Build the access and they will come.

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A Report from the Ontario Digital Library

Mike Ridley is discussing the vision for the Ontario Digital Library. It's similar to some of the things we want to do in Illinois, so I sympathize with the challenges they are facing. He opened a buzzword bingo slide (great idea!) and then a great quote (that I don't think is his but I missed the attribution).

"When simple change becomes transformational change, the desire for continuity becomes a dysfunctional mirage."

My favorite part of his presentation is his analogy of the internet to an "electronic pinata."

  • the good material is in the piñata, but all you’ve got to locate it is a big stick to try and open it up
  • to make it worse, they blindfold you and spin you around
  • if you’re lucky, the good stuff does come out, but then it’s spread out all over the floor and everyone’s rushing for it
  • have to bring order to this with better tools (such as the ODL)

You can see the full proposal for the ODL at the Ontario Library Association's site. Mike put a heavy emphasis on different types of libraries coming together and acting as one voice. This has been difficult to do traditionally because things like funding and politics keeps us separate. Hopefully projects like the ODL will help unite us.

Amen.

Most of the questions for Mike are centering on fundraising and partnerships, which shows just how little most librarians know about and work on these types of issues. We really need to educate ourselves in these areas, including PR (myself included).

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Wireless Blog Heaven

This is fantastic! I'm in Windsor at the Access conference and the wireless access is working beautifully. We're about to get underway - full blogging ahead!  :-)

picture of attendees at the conference introduction
Taken with my new Archos Multimedia Jukebox!

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