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National Forum on Principles of Accessibility and Inclusion for the Design of Library Systems

The forum event took place at MIT on April 11-12, 2019. The draft white paper is due out for public comment in the fall of 2019.

The workshop was originally conceived under the auspices of the Program on Information Science at MIT Libraries. The Center for Research on Equitable and Open Scholarship (CREOS) hosted the Workshop on Diversity, Accessibility, and Inclusion in Library Systems focusing on the role of library information systems and information architecture in supporting diverse communities to discover, access, create, and learn from library collections in support of library services in the United States.

This one-and-a-half-day event, funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services brought together approximately 25 librarians, scholars, and technologists to identify high-impact design principles and potential next steps for libraries that adopt and deploy these systems, and for the software architects that design them.

The event was not open to the public but was by invitation or application only.

We sought to learn and build on current ideas from those working and thinking in and around the topics of information systems design, accessibility, and inclusion – especially in the areas of:

  • principles of design for difference/universal design,
  • adaptations for users physical and cognitive disabilities and need,
  • adaptation for neurodiverse user communities,
  • accessibility by users in the global south,
  • and application of new technologies to enrich individual and social access to library collections both digital and tangible.

The workshop was a small, active working event focused on identifying principles, practices, standards, and research to inform a draft report that will be open for public comment in the fall of 2019. The white paper informed by this workshop will:

  • characterize major barriers in design and systems implementation that inhibit inclusion and adaptation,
  • identify high-impact design principles for universal/adaptive information systems that are accepted or emerging in the broader community,
  • describe existing approaches and methods for applying these principles to library information systems for the architects and developers that create these systems, and for libraries that adopt, adapt, and deploy these systems.

We are working to create a culture of diversity, inclusivity, and accessibility throughout the duration of the project and especially during the forum event.

We look forward to input on the draft report from the public and especially from those who identify with traditionally underrepresented or marginalized populations.

Program Committee