Providing Virtual Services to All: A Mixed-Method Analysis of the Website Accessibility of Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries (PACSCL) Member Repositories

Lora Davis
2012 The American Archivist  
t h e o d o r e c A l v i n P e A s e A w A r d T h e A m e r i c a n A r c h i v i s t , V o l . 7 5 ( S p r i n g / S u m m e r 2 0 1 2 ) : 3 5 -5 5 t h e o d o r e c a l v I n P e a s e a w a r d A b s t r a c t The impact of the Internet on archival repositories has been nothing short of revolutionary. Many repositories mount finding aids, online exhibitions, digital collections, and outreach initiatives on the Web. This study contends that we have much to learn about how well these new
more » ... based archival products meet the needs of users with disabilities. A literature review provides the background for the discussion, and a mixed-method study quantitatively and qualitatively examines the accessibility of a number of repository websites. The study first employed automated accessibility checkers to provide an overview of site accessibility, then used in-depth and hands-on content analysis of these sites for more detailed analysis. The author demonstrates that gauging website accessibility requires more than software-generated compliance reports. Evaluating website accessibility necessitates the same commitment to context, nuance, and user needs as does archivists' professional imperative to establish and maintain physical and intellectual control over the archival record. The study concludes by highlighting the positive influence that the field's current increased appreciation for and use of user-based studies may have on Web accessibility initiatives. . The award recognizes writing achievement by a student enrolled in an archival administration program. The paper was written for a master's class at the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. t h e A m e r i c A n A r c h i v i s t T h e A m e r i c A n A r c h i v i s T 36
doi:10.17723/aarc.75.1.a716w067468262h5 fatcat:czzjapx6qzeelfn56ugzyz366u