Fwd: JSTOR Request for Reviewers

From: David Andrews (dandrews@visi.com)
Date: Tue Oct 08 2002 - 10:01:10 PDT

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>Date: Tue, 8 Oct 2002 11:47:42 -0400
>Reply-To: bmanor@umich.edu
>Sender: "* EASI: Equal Access to Software & Information"
>From: Beth LaPensee <bmanor@UMICH.EDU>
>Subject: JSTOR Request for Reviewers
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>Dear Members of the EASI Community:
>Some of you may be familiar with JSTOR, a not-for-profit online archive
>of academic journals available in many libraries and universities. As
>is explained in greater detail below, we are looking for a group of
>volunteers to review accessibility modifications to our website before
>they are released to the public. We would greatly appreciate
>participation and feedback from members of this listserv.
>Because JSTOR's not-for-profit mission is to preserve, in digital
>format, the original print journals, we use an image-based format in
>order to provide a faithful replication of the print version. This
>format, however, poses challenges in terms of accessibility. We
>recognize that, in the absence of the very latest accessibility
>technology, users in the community cannot at present directly read
>journal articles in JSTOR because of the image-based format, and for
>various reasons, releasing our OCR, which sits behind our images and
>enables searchability, would not be a viable means of facilitating
>accessibility. Thus, articles must currently be printed out and scanned
>into a document reader, like Kurzweil, to be read aloud.
>Recognizing these challenges, we are now engaged in a project to
>streamline access for visually impaired and learning disabled users who
>require screen readers. The images of our journal content are stored on
>our servers in TIFF format, which are converted to GIF for onscreen
>display. We are in the process of developing an option to enable users
>to download the TIFF images for desired content. The TIFF format is
>compatible with OCR software. Thus, users will be able to access
>content with screen reading software, like Kurzweil, that performs OCR
>and reads the material aloud. Alternatively, users will be able to run
>their preferred OCR software to create a text file and then use a screen
>reader. It is also worth noting that with recent releases of Kurzweil
>3000 and OpenBook, JSTOR's image-based PDF files can be accessed using
>the virtual printers packaged with the software.
>We have also been making modifications to the html on our website in
>order to bring us more in line with W3C-WAI standards and facilitate
>access to the TIFF files. We are hoping to go live with the html
>modifications and TIFF availability later this fall. In preparation for
>this release, we are interested in gathering feedback on the
>modifications we have made. This will help us to ensure the quality of
>the modifications and inform us of those areas that could use further
>improvement, either now or in the future.
>We have already arranged for several people who are interested in
>accessibility to review our modifications on a preview server. In
>addition, we are looking for 10 volunteers, on a first come, first
>served basis, from this listserv. Please note that we are operating
>within a fairly tight timeframe. Once we hear directly from volunteers,
>we will provide those individuals with access to the preview server and
>would want feedback by October 17th, so that we have sufficient time to
>implement recommendations, where appropriate, before the public release.
>Please contact me (bmanor@umich.edu) if you are interested in reviewing
>these changes to the JSTOR site. When you contact us, please state if
>you are from a JSTOR participating institution or not, so that we can
>set up a password account for you if necessary.
>We would greatly appreciate your feedback in order to ensure that the
>modifications make for greater accessibility.
>Many thanks,
>Beth LaPensee
>Manager of Interface Development, JSTOR
>301 E. Liberty St. Suite 310
>Ann Arbor, MI 48104
>(734)998-9101 or (888)388-3574
>JSTOR - http://www.jstor.org

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