Foreword

Universal Access: Electronic Resources in Libraries


Computers, adaptive technology, and the Internet form a powerful combination for people with disabilities, opening opportunities for communication, learning and employment. The development of sophisticated multimedia resources, however, prevents some people from accessing critical information. These people include those who do not have the latest computer systems, those with slow network connections, and people with disabilities.

These materials provide the tools for developing a training program for library staff and volunteers to help them become more aware of the issues, needs and concerns of people with disabilities in accessing electronic resources. A presentation planning section and comprehensive script guide you through the presentation. Overhead transparency and handout templates and videotape presentations are included in the binder. An electronic presentation is available at DO- IT's World Wide Web site (http://www.washington.edu/doit/UA/) to aid the speaker.

Funded by the Telecommunications Funding Partnership and the National Science Foundation, these materials were developed as part of a cooperative effort between Computing & Communications, DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking & Technology) and the University Libraries at the University of Washington. Much of the content is duplicated in other publications, training materials, and web pages published by DO-IT at the University of Washington; most can be found within the comprehensive website at http://www.washington.edu/doit/.

We would like to thank the project coordinator, Beth Fraser, and adaptive technology specialist, Dan Comden, for their contributions to the project and for co-editing these materials along with Sheryl Burgstahler. Advisory board members for this project include: Jan Ames, Washington Talking Book & Braille Library; Dagmar Amtmann, Assistive Technology Resource Center, Washington Assistive Technology Alliance; Sarah Beasley, Seattle Central Community College; Steve Goodwin, Edmonds School District; Cleo Kelly, Library Equal Access Program, Seattle Public Library; Dean Martineau, Tacoma Community College; Paula L. Palmer, Lake Washington Technical College; and Steve Nourse, Experimental Education Unit, University of Washington.

The materials have been tested and refined with educators and librarians. We would appreciate your input as well. Once you've reviewed the packet, please complete and return the evaluation form enclosed in the front pocket of the binder. Designing library services and resources that are accessible to the broad constituencies libraries serve is an important endeavor. We hope these materials will stimulate discussion and cooperation at your library to ensure that people with a wide range of abilities have equal access to the electronic information you provide.

Betty G. Bengtson
Director of University Libraries
University of Washington

Sheryl Burgstahler, Ph. D.
Director, DO- IT
Assistant Director, Information Systems Computing & Communications
University of Washington