Portland State University was several years into a successful OER publishing program when the library became aware of the need for an accessibility audit. Concerns had been bubbling to the surface for some time when the Digital Initiatives team made the move to hire Katy Anastasi on a temporary, six-month contract to review the accessibility of PDXOpen textbooks, move texts into Pressbooks, and chart a path forward for incorporating accessibility into the team’s regular workflow.
Anastasi describes the subsequent process in her post, “Improving the Digital Accessibility of OER: A Reflective Guide.” As she notes, improving accessibility of open texts ended up being an “iterative, messy, non-linear process” where definitive answers were not always clear. Although they acknowledged the limitations of prescriptive checklists in their accessibility work, the PSU team opted to develop an Accessibility Statement Template, which was designed to guide the process of adding accessibility statements to OER. The template is modeled after accessibility statements by BCcampus and it includes an explanation of file formats available for use as well as consideration of accessibility concerns related to images, tables, links, multimedia, content organization, and font size and formatting. The template also includes examples of known accessibility issues that may be included in an accessibility statement.
The PDXOpen example shows how accessibility statements can be usefully tailored to individual items and shared programmatically across open initiatives. Thanks to Katy Anastasi and Karen Bjork for sharing their work.