Over the past year or so, representatives from the accessibility specifications community have been working toward combining their efforts on accessibility preferences (learner information) and resource characteristics (metadata) in one standard – the ISO/IEC (International Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Commission) JTC1 (Joint Technical Committee 1) SC36 (SubCommittee 36) Individualized Adaptability and Accessibility in E-learning, Education and Training – likely to be released over the next 12 months.
The DC (Dublin Core) Accessibility Working Group are now looking at adapting the ISO standard so that it can be expressed in a compatible way with other DC metadata – see AccessForAll Application Profile for a draft model.
The next Dublin Core Conference takes place in Manzanillo, Mexico from 3rd to 6th October 2006. One of the sessions, which is also likely to be available for remote participants, will discuss the AccessForAll Application Profile (Thursday, 5th October, 22:30 UK, 16:30 Mexico). If you are interested in taking part, further details are available from the DC Accessibility JISCMail List.
The next phase of the ISO work will be to determine how non-digital resources can be described in a digital way. For example, a student studying art history could have the option of viewing an image digitally (on-line), or as a non-digital resource, such as a tactile image or sculpture, etc. Therefore, location and type of a non-digital resource, etc may be described as part of a digital resource’s metadata.
This work is likely to be challenging but digital resources are not suitable for everyone nor for every subject. If non-digital resources can be described, then this could open up a greater number of resources more suited to different learning styles and needs.