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Prof Kerry Falloon
Acquisitions Librarian, CUNY- College of Staten Island
Digital Resources Librarian, Wichita State University Libraries
Academic libraries are ethically and legally responsible to follow federal disability law. Specifically, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires electronic and information technology to be fully accessible to individuals with disabilities. It is also become readily understood that a resource born digitally is not necessarily accessible to individuals with disabilities. Hence, Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates (VPATs), provided by vendors based on their compliance to the recently revised Section 508, are being used by libraries. However, they can be difficult to understand and not always reliable so essentially verification or user testing is still recommended. There have also been two major revisions in 2018 leading from VPAT® 1.0 to 2.0. The purpose of this presentation is to document how two major public universities libraries are approaching VPATs in in a workable and time effective manner during e-resources acquisitions and remediation workflows.
Wichita State University Libraries is using VPATs to efficiently verify the accuracy of vendor claims and assess the usability of digital content by users with disabilities through the use of an Accessibility Remediation Guide. The guide is used to efficiently review library licensed content for accessibility and identify areas of concern, which are reported to the vendor for remediation. VPATs and other accessibility documentation is used by WSU libraries in user communication as well. By highlighting essential standards from the VPAT, WSU libraries has been able to prioritize accessibility in the e-resources workflow. At the College of Staten Island Library, through the assistance of a PSC-CUNY grant and after integrating accessibility into its general policy practices, the library further explored how to utilize VPAT’s in a practical method during its procurement practices. At the same time, CUNY and the CSI campus underwent widespread changes in its IT procurement practices and dissemination of accessibility information amongst the university libraries. The CSI library will discuss how it is using VPAT’s to help determine the appropriate acquisition or non-acquisition decision-making in regards to the procurement lifecycle of e-resources.