Building an Accessible Future for the Humanities

The Building an Accessible Future for the Humanities Project facilitated four two-day long workshops where humanists, librarians, information scientists, and cultural heritage professionals learned about technologies, design standards, and accessibility issues associated with the use of digital technologies. This important project was a partnership with the project, the Northeastern University Center for Digital Humanities, the Emory University Libraries Digital Commons (DiSC), the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities (CDRH) at the University of Nebraska (UNL), and the College of Information at the University of Texas at Austin (UT). While scholars who offer courses have been able to turn to their University-level instructional technologies staff for accessibility, scholars who are designing, building, and implementing digital products outside of the classroom (as most humanities-research projects do) have been unable to get the help or guidance that they need. These types of research and the issues of accessibility that they raise with are not the same accessibility issues usually addressed by disability support services offices on university campuses. These campus resources generally concentrate on students and their engagement with course materials (exams and textbooks) or the physical environment (assistive devices). As a result, humanists, librarians, and others looking for assistance in building, designing, and implementing digital projects for assisted users have been largely ignored. Accessible Future will engage those working in digital humanities, information studies, librarianship, and cultural heritage work with resources, training, and a community of people that can assist them with accessibility issues in their own research, training, and teaching.