Breaking Down the Barriers to Information Access

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Breaking Down the Barriers to Information Access

Welcome to the Diversity Action Committee’s spring meeting We have a panel discussion here today called Breaking Barriers and we’ve asked some folks here at the libraries and in other organizations to talk about challenges to providing open access to our community. A couple of matters of housekeeping. We have a sign-up sheet in the back so we’d like to ask you sign in and also you will notice this on your chair. It’s a small survey to give us some feedback about this presentation and other presentations you’d like to see so if you could fill one of these out, we will be very grateful. Alright so I should introduce myself first. My name is PG Moreno I am the coordinator for Services for Students with Disabilities here UT, so I am the public face of providing accommodation to students and users. We serve the entire community We want to provide equal access to everybody. So they’ve asked me to moderate today’s discussion with some great folks here that you will see to my right. I want to introduce them Megan Kareithi is the Coordinator of Assistive Technology and Testing for Services for Students with Disabilities at UT Austin and Colleen Lyon is the Scholarly Communications librarian at UT Libraries. And Theresa Polk is the Post-custodial archivist at the Benson Latin American Collection and Daniel Jacobs is our captioning coordinator here in the libraries So we are gonna let them speak for about 10 minutes each and talk about the work they do and we are gonna open it up for questions So if you have any questions at the end, we will ask everyone to ask and we can have a conversation So first of all, Colleen is gonna lead off the discussion >> Hey, everybody I just wanted to give you a sense of what it is I do with the library since, scholarly communications librarian is a little bit like library jargon that might not really be meaningful to people outside the library So a lot of what I do kind of revolves around this idea of trying to take the scholarly work that’s being created at the university and make it easier to find and use And there’s a lot of different ways that we try to do that One of the, or two of the kind of big ones are through out repositories, and so we have a publications repository called Texas Scholar Works, and that was created to provide open, online access to the scholarship and research that’s being created here at the university We purposefully have a rather vague kind of definition of what that is for and it’s kind of obvious when you look at the content that’s in there, there’s electronic theses and dissertations, there’s journal articles, there’s a think a couple of book chapters, there’s some conference papers and posters, there are images, there’s video, there’s all different kinds of content, and all of it has something to do with the work that’s being created here at the university, and our goal is to try to make sure that anybody who is researching those topics can access that I also work along with our data management coordinator, with our new data repository the Texas data repository, and that one is a little bit more self explanatory It’s a repository for data And the idea here is, again, kind of the same thing that we’re doing with publications, we want to provide a platform that makes it easy for people who are either creating, or using research data here at the university to take that data, share it with our colleagues, share it with the whole world, and not make that too difficult for them And those two repositories together, Texas Scholar Works, and Texas Data Repository, we think of them as very complimentary And together they can provide access to a big chunk of what’s done here at the university We have to get the word out more and make sure everybody knows about them, but they have the capability of taking a huge chunk of what’s being done, and throwing that out to the world to say, “hey, look at what UT Austin is doing and how can you use it “and improve your world.” Some other things that I end up working with quite a lot, one of the big ones is copyright So if we want to take all of this work and we want to share it with the world, copyright becomes both a driver and a barrier for us So I’m just going to a very little, basic copyright I promise I won’t go too far So copyright is created from the moment that you make something in a tangible form, so I wrote some notes down on this piece of paper, this is copyrighted And it’s copyrighted until 70 years

after I die. It’s kind of crazy So it happens automatically, a lot of people don’t know it happens automatically. You’re not thinking about it necessarily when you’re creating things, and you go and share it and then somebody finds it five years later and they want to use it, and what if your name’s not on it. Who owns it? How do we figure out whether or not we can use this? And so one of the things that I really try to do is provide copyright education and talk to people about what are your rights, what do you own, what can you use, how can you take the work that you’re creating and make it easier for other people to use it And so a big way of doing that is through creative commons licenses which basically say okay yeah I wrote these notes, but I don’t care if you use it, I don’t if you change it and re-package it and re-publish it, just make sure that you credit me and tell everybody that I was the one who originally created it And for the most part a lot of the things that we’re creating here at the university, that’s all people really want is credit They don’t necessarily want money for what they’re creating, they want credit And so some of the copyright education revolves around, how can you assign these kinds of licenses that will make it easier for other people to use the work but also allow you to maintain that credit that’s really important for careers and just because you’ve done hard work and you want to make sure that other people know about that One of the things that we’re starting to get more involved in is open educational resources, and it’s kind of the same as some of the open access stuff only what we’re talking about here is educational resources, so we’re talking about lesson plans, whole entire courses sometimes, homework assignments, tests, all these kinds of things, and the difference is that they have a license on them that allows other people to reuse them Open textbooks are a big one, and one that I’m sure a lot of students would welcome, having the ability to have a free or very low cost textbook as opposed to maybe one that costs $200, yet the content is kind of the same And it kinds of comes back to that same thing that we talk about when we talk about journal articles that a lot of the faculty who are creating these resources for their class, they don’t necessarily want money for that, they just want credit And so how can we, again, provide a platform maybe to share these but at the very least provide some education around the fact that these things exits, that you can use them, that you can take the work that you’re creating and stick licenses on them that allow other people to use them So a lot of what I end up doing is just talking to people about what their options are, about what the pros and cons might be of choosing these licenses that maybe they’ve never heard of And I firmly believe that if more people know about these things, even if they don’t end up using an open license on everything that they create, it plants a seed in their mind, and then more and more things start to get these licenses attached to them that makes it easier for other people to interpret what they can and can’t use, and should hopefully make it easier for all of us to share in the work that’s being done here at this university and at other universities So you know my rosy future is everybody clearly knowing what copyright is on materials and sharing them as widely as they possibly can, and not by default holding all that stuff just to their own even if that’s not necessarily what they meant to do I’ll look at my notes real quick and make sure I’m not forgetting something Oh, another thing that we’re really starting to get into is supporting different open memberships, so There’s a lot of different publishing options that are out there for journal articles, for books Some of them are problematic in terms of the costs that go up year after year after year Some of them are very interesting, open ideas where maybe you pay upfront to produce a book and then everybody else can access that for free. And so what we’re trying to do here at the library is look at some of those new and interesting publishing ideas figure out which ones strategically make sense for us to support and that are being requested by people at the university, participate in them, see what comes out of it, see if there’s a way that we can kind of change the… move the needle a little bit more towards open as far as the way that people are publishing their content So that’s kind of the very quick overview of the different things that I think about a lot while I’m here >> Hi Oh yeah, sorry, I tend to be a little soft spoken so hopefully you can all hear me alright For those of you who don’t know me I know many of you, but for those who don’t, my name is Theresa Polk, I’m the archivist for post-custodial and digital initiatives at

Llilas Benson Latin American Studies and Collections, and before I dive in, a huge thanks to the Diversity Action Committee for organizing this panel, I’m really excited about this conversation So to give you a little bit of background about our post-custodial work, yes again it’s another one of those terms that’s not immediately apparent on the surface Yeah just to give you some background, our post-custodial work has really grown out of the deep connections that Llilas Benson faculty, staff and students have developed over a long time with organizations and communities in the Latin American region, as well as a shared commitment to socially engaged research and human rights in the region Perhaps it goes without saying to this library community that the work of both our partners and the research of our scholars here in this community rely on access to good information, and particularly when we’re talking about human rights, good information about the recent past and particularly primary source documentation about how repressive structures developed and operated as well as how civil society responded, so including records of resistance and counter-narratives to official stories or official versions of events But at the same time, this very documentation is precisely the most vulnerable, most at risk Sometimes this is for environmental reasons, sometimes for lack of resources, both human and financial But particularly because of its nature it is most at risk for political reasons because these records are critical to efforts to end impunity, to establish change and responsibility for human rights violations, and to support victims claims for justice As a small personal anecdote, I worked for a long time in Guatemala in the human rights sector for human rights organizations and social movements Office break ins are regular regular occurrence and what is taken are hard drives, paper files, back up discs, so information is highly at risk There’s a real chance of loss of some of these critical critical records and histories So, as we started to be more interested in looking at how we could work to preserve it, we looked at what traditional archival models do, which traditionally archival acquisitions based on taking physical custody of materials, we bring the materials here, we organize them, we describe them, we undertake whatever preservation actions are necessary, and then we place them in our repository for safe keeping However, for most of our partners for human rights organizations, for community based groups, it became really apparent to us that this model doesn’t work Communities and our partners use and identify with these records, they use them on a daily basis For organizations, they need them for their programming needs or programming and operational needs, and for broader societies these records serve purposes for transition to rule of law, recuperation of historic memory, reconciliation processes So while preservation and broader access to these collections are fundamental concerns not just to us but to our partners, it is highly unlikely that any of them would even seriously consider the possibility of physically transferring them here to us So instead we’ve been working on developing another way of doing archives and I say working on because this is very much a work in progress We’ve drawn on the post-custodial theory of archives which posits a scenario which archivists shift from being custodians to being in a more consultative role, and where records are no longer physically acquired but remain in the places where they are created and used That was our starting point but we’ve also brought in threads of post colonial theory, feminist critiques community archival practices and ultimately incorporated technology in new ways into this mix In the process of talking what was kind of this theory or concept, and making it actually a practice or a methodology for how we do archives What this has looked like in practice is that we provide archival training and equipment necessary to adequately preserve, arranged, described and digitize collections locally on site Our partner institutions prioritize the materials to be preserved, they conduct the digitization work and they create meta data to describe their own materials allowing them to retain not just physical but intellectual control

of their materials For this as I’ve been saying we’ve explicitly adopted an emphasis on human rights, but with race, ethnicity and social exclusion as the particular lens for our work This has refocused our attention on communities marginalized not only in social, political and economic processes, but also in the historical record Indigenous and African diasporic communities and organizations are among the most underrepresented at the local, national, and international levels in cultural heritage institutions And when they are portrayed, it is even more rarely with their input or their consent So we feel that this module offers these communities and organizations greater control over selection, description, and access to their own documentation while helping to build local capacity to preserve these collections and diversifying the broader archival record So not to put too fine a point on this but really for me when we talk about what post-custodial archival practice brings to the conversation around access to information, this is really the crux of the matter As archivists, and more broadly information professionals, we don’t work in a vacuum, and apologies to decades of archival theory and practice, or maybe not apologies We aren’t unbiased and we aren’t objective There are really good reasons for these communities not to trust us with their documentation and it’s not an easy thing to hear but I think it’s something we need to recognize On the very large scale, geopolitical level Historical relations between the US and Latin America are super complicated and there’s a long history of US intervention in the region When we talk about our role as information professionals, on the one hand there’s a long history of appropriation of cultural heritage materials, and on the other, and I’m going to borrow from archival theorist Michelle Caswell here There’s a long history of the symbolic annihilation – that’s her terminology, borrowed from feminist critiques – of marginalized communities through their absence and misrepresentation in an archival record I really can’t over emphasize how important creating a more representative, most just and more participatory archival record is It’s important to our students to see their lives and histories represented in the historical record It’s important to our scholars whose analytical work is really hamstrung if we’re only providing them one side of these histories and events And hopefully it goes without saying that it’s critically important to us as a society But I think that this points to a need not simply to collect more diverse materials but to think critically about how we collect them and how traditional archival practice can replicate structures of marginalization Or marginalization and misrepresentation Post-custodial practices – also post-colonial – are certainly not the only answer to that challenge and even as practiced here we have a lot of room for growth, but I think they do open a way forward that is more collaborative and more participatory, and maybe moves to a more liberative version for archival practice Okay [laughs] Yeah I had a couple of examples, but I’m just going to give you one snapshot because I’m running overtime so, apologies So in 2010 Llilas Benson entered into a partnership with the historical archive of the National Palace in Guatemala known as [indistinct] to create an online digital repository for their collection This archive which was long denied by the Guatemalan government was uncovered in 2005 and contains nearly 80 million pages of archival material relating to Guatemala’s Civil War It was never an option to remove these records from Guatemala, they are absolutely critical to on going transition on justice and reconciliation efforts, as well as serving the need to families of the disappeared to discover what happened to their loved ones Indeed records from the collection have provided critical evidence in the prosecution of human rights crimes However the time we entered into the agreement with HPN, there was a real risk that the archive could be shut down and the collection destroyed Having an online repository, an online copy of the collection here provides a dissuasive counter-balance that helped safeguard the original material while making those records more discoverable to a global audience Yeah um… okay Wrapping up, just wanna say that these materials are not just about sometimes horrific events that happened in the past but are very much

living archives that are actively contributing to national and international conversations around transitional justice reconciliations and historical memory Yeah I’m going to pass it on and we can get into the questions >> Thank you Hi everyone, my name is Daniel Jacobs And hope you can hear me alright I’m the Captioning and Transcriptions Service Manager here at UT and specifically housed in the UT Libraries, and more specifically here in PCL So I.. first of all these are just my notes, I’m not on Facebook [laughter] So what do we do with the service? Before I get into that maybe I should just back up a little bit and sort of define what we mean by captioning and transcriptions. So So captions, I’m sure most of you are familiar with what they are but basically they’re visual text, they’re audio information that’s transcribed or translated into visual text, so these are the text that you see on a screen, a TV, computer monitor, mobile device, that basically translates the audio information, mostly dialogue, but also any relevant audio information that might be present in a video or audio And actually I think we’re recording this right now, so this video will eventually be captioned by our team so, hello to future captioner [laughter] So there’s also live captioning that’s done, so that takes place while the event is taking place So UT offers this service but our service focuses only on pre-recorded material so it’s digital video and audio that’s usually online And so the types of material that we work with are primarily online classes YouTube videos that might be used in a course or videos that are embedded on websites and, also archival collections so many of the collections that are used in the libraries, one example of a project we worked on recently was the Briscoe Center has a bunch of Dan Rather videos so there’s an archive that they were granted and so we went through I think maybe hundreds of videos spanning the course of Dan Rathers’ career, and we captioned those and those will be used — I think they’re generating a really cool website that’s going to feature those videos We do a bunch of different stuff but that’s one example So I really like the topic of this panel So I think our service, we’re really fortunate in that I think the main goal of our service is to provide access, provide more access and our primary audience is the deaf and hard of hearing communities, but we’ve found that quite a few people use captions or transcripts even if they don’t have any hearing loss at all So there’s one of the — we’ve just been really pleasantly surprised by how much usage we’ve seen from just the entire UT community So in addition to providing the benefit of an accommodation, we see a lot of other benefits to having captioned text or transcript for video or audio One of the big things is that with text, a video becomes discoverable meaning if your video is online, the actual video itself can’t be crawled by search engines, but if you have an accompanied text, transcript or captions then all the terms in that video become searchable And not only for SEO, search engine optimization concerns but you know, if you have a video and its a long video and you need to get to a specific point in the video you can search on a term and if the platform supports it, you can often just click right into where that term or terms take place in the video So obviously for students or folks that are taking online classes, they can search through a video

or a collection of videos, say like a whole course, semesters worth of a course material and then go back and search out particular terms that you might be looking for Super helpful, really speeds up going back and reviewing material Another benefit of captions is that, we find that ESL considerations, so people that might be learning the language as a second language It’s really helpful to have the text, it sort of helps improve vocabulary You kind of understand… it’s easier to discern what’s being said and sort of pick out weird phrases or slang And actually on that point we’ve recently started offering not only same language captions but we also do some translations so, English to Spanish, or vice versa and we do that in house but we also have the ability to do 40 different languages if needed but we work with a vendor to do that So one of the barriers, the first thing I thought of when thinking about the barriers to access I think for us just the sheer volume of content that is being created and exists in the UT sphere is pretty overwhelming There’s just a lot of video that’s being used more and more and so I think a big challenge for us is identifying content and then determining how we’re going to prioritize that content That’s probably the biggest challenge It takes time to caption a video, so there’s just a lot that needs to be done So you know we’re very fortunate that UT leadership had the foresight to see the value in creating this service, this is a centrally funded service But I think part of the challenge is just increasing our availability, and one of the things that we did is we kind of tempered our outreach, so sort of driving up awareness of this service to make sure that we could accommodate requests And I think we’ve been we’re coming up on three years and so awareness is growing, sort of word of mouth and just having a bigger footprint on campus and we’re finding that we’re running up against challenges in keeping up with volume So one thing I didn’t mention, I forgot to mention is that how we actually do the captioning work is — okay two minutes We have internal staff that is actually student workers, undergraduate student workers and a couple of graduate research assistants So they’re actually the ones sitting down there and listening to the video or audio and typing out everything that is said so it’s a labor intensive process But we take great pride in what we do and.. yeah So one of the things that I just wanted to bring is what can you do in terms of helping generate more access to video and audio content? One of the things is just to get in touch with us, if you are a content creator or if you know of content that needs to be captioned, it’s very easy you can just go on our website which is lib.utexas\captions or just talk to me I have business cards here And yeah if there’s something that you’re creating just talk to us, we can coordinate work flows and how to get that done If you are aware of content that is not captioned and should be then definitely let us know And also there’s options for doing it yourself if you — there’s free tools online that make it pretty simple to create your own transcripts and captions It just takes some effort but it’s simple So yeah, all in there and looking forward to the discussion >> Hi I’m Meg Kareithi and I work in Services for Students with Disabilities here at UT We’re over in the Student Services Building on Dean Keaton The main goal of our organization is to provide classroom accommodations for students with disabilities at UT Austin It is a little different in college versus say in a public school The students have to choose to register with us They provide us with medical documentation

And then our coordinators look at that and then talk to them about what accommodations would be appropriate And then students accept those services or they also have the option to say you know what, I don’t think I really need that And then once students are registered with our office, they provide their professors with a letter It doesn’t disclose the disability or any of the details, it just says I have a disability and these are the appropriate accommodations So it’s not completely anonymous for a student, they do have to put themselves out there a little bit in terms of talking to their professors and that’s one thing our office is really big on, is trying to empower students so they are able to talk to their professors about their accommodations The main — most of our office is disability service coordinators who really do that process that I was just talking about, and they can also help then if students are having issues with their professors, say I don’t think I need to provide these accommodations which luckily doesn’t too often, but it does, and basically when that happens, our office is there to help the student advocate for themselves and often times explain to the professor legally why we have to do this And that’s one of the things that – and I think this has gotten a lot better recently but the main stigmas a lot of students that are registered with the office deal with is professors not really understanding invisible disabilities So learning disabilities, psychological or ADHD That’s kind of the biggest place where we see push back, I feel like most people nowadays if they have a student who’s blind or maybe uses a wheelchair, they get that, okay I understand But where there is still work to be done is people feeling like invisible disabilities aren’t real if you can’t see it So that’s one thing we do try and do as well is provide education so we have disabilities advocate program where it’s kind of a little seminar you can go to It’s available to staff, students, faculty, and occasionally sometimes we do it for outside groups as well where you just go and you learn about disabilities And you learn about how to be an advocate So that’s a great program and if anyone’s interested we have information on our website And we can also, if you have an organization you specifically want us to come out and speak specifically, then we can kind of tailor it too So like I said, most of our office are the disabilities service coordinators and then my colleague Vanessa and I, our focus is making sure that students have the access to assistive technology, alternative text, and then testing accommodations So primarily we’re working with students who have visual disabilities or learning disabilities and they need the text in alternate format We used to do some braille, but that is — if you’ve ever seen just an average book and then its version in braille, it’s not practical really so It’s very nice now, we mostly are doing just digital text And even we’ve been able to work out with some of the publishers, where we just kind of say yes we’re verifying that this student has purchased this book, they have a disability and we can get that digital text from the publisher sometimes. If not then we scan it and convert it ourselves So that’s a lot of what I do, and then testing accommodations A lot of students have the accommodation of extended time, reduced distraction and so we don’t technically have a testing center in SSD or really anywhere of campus McCombs, of course, they have one But most departments don’t really have a place to provide the accommodations and we just have one small room so that’s one thing hopefully we’ve been — I know that Diversity Action Plan that just came out it actually does say, yeah we’re going to get a testing center So hopefully that’ll be changing soon We’ll have more ability to provide access to that accommodation because right now, we just kind of have to make it work So that’s kind of just a basic overview of our office I’m trying to think Do you want to go onto questions or… yeah >> Do you have anything else to say? >> I’m sure I’m forgetting something but that’s just kind of the overview

of who we are and what we do >> Yeah I’d like to open it up to questions, if there’s anything you want to ask the panelists, please go ahead Any questions? >> I’ve got some >> Yeah Oh yeah, we can use this microphone >> In case anyone has a question and doesn’t wanna yell >> Well we’ve got some questions So you guys, some of you outlined some of the challenges but I’m wondering if you can sort of expand on what are the challenges to providing equal access to everybody >> What I was saying before, that main challenge we have is attitudinal, with professors kind of push back from invisible disabilities But then also students themselves who really worry, ‘if I register as a student with a disability, or I have to talk to my professor about this, are they going to judge me?’ So that, both students themselves and even maybe questioning ‘do I really have a disability?’ The attitudinal barriers are huge and then also in terms of just — whether it’s courses, buildings, websites, the kind of where people don’t think about all users So people forget oh hey, someone who uses a wheelchair might need to access this building when they’re designing some kind of beautiful new building here on campus Or creating a website and having a video that starts automatically Someone not thinking like, oh well that’s annoying to everyone actually. [laughter] But you know if someones using a screen reader, someone who’s blind and they’re using a screen reader, that’s going to make your website inaccessible, so just kind of people not thinking about universal design and including all users when they are creating a product So those are some of the big barriers we face >> I would say one of the big ones that we have is the lack of an incentive structure that makes sharing a priority for people So when we go around and talk to faculty and students on campus I actually can’t recall a single occasion when somebody was like, ‘sharing is terrible, we should not share.’ But when it comes down to, okay well then can you give us copies of the articles you’ve written or can you send us the PDF of that poster presentation that you did, that ends up getting in the bottom of the to do list of have to get tenure, have to get the grant, have to teach my class We don’t have much of a stick And I don’t think we want a stick So all we’re left with is the carrot And right now there’s not a huge incentive for them to take the time to actually make the stuff available Because unfortunately there is time that’s involved If you want the thing to be online and also be found, you need metadata You need to describe it, who’s the author, what’s the title, what are the subjects? And that doesn’t necessarily need to be a full on catalog record but it needs to be descriptive and accurate enough so that if somebody’s doing a Google search they’re going to be able to find it, and that’s a lot of times where the conversation breaks down, especially when we talk about images Do you guys know of images that just have a bunch of metadata associated with them already? No, usually — and especially if they’re like 20 or 30 years old, you gotta go find somebody who worked here 20 or 30 years ago, like do you know what building this is and who these people are? So it can be really labor intensive So I would say just working against that incentive structure that doesn’t necessarily make people want to spend their time sharing their work more broadly, even though they think it’s a good idea And I would also add on the universal design aspect, our system automatically goes through and tries to create text files for the PDFs that we upload But then it puts those text files in a bundle that only administrators can see So not super useful for folks who might need that text file And that’s just a function of the system and we would have to re-write the code in order for that to change So bumping up against systems that weren’t necessarily designed with all users in mind >> Which is a good lead up, I’ll pick up on two of your points there Both the platforms that we use as well as the metadata standards

and schemas have a really strong anglophone bias, and so when working in multi-lingual contexts with — the description we have is provided by our partners, they’re their materials, they understand them in a way that I never will, that we never will And we really wanna highlight that information, interpretation, and understanding of the materials but the systems we have in place aren’t always friendly to that desire And so figuring out how to work in a English based system with non-English language material can be a real challenge But yeah I guess the other thing I wanted to say We really do try and prioritize our partners’ understanding of their own materials and their intellectual control over their materials, and we think this is really important because there is a profound link between archives and social memory and our understanding of who we are And if we accept that, then the way we describe and make these materials accessible also has really profound implications for inclusion and for social justice more broadly, particularly with human rights materials when we default to neutral values — neutral language as defined by the dominant culture, this can really serve to reinforce the status quo embedding bias and suppressing and marginalizing difference In the case of human rights abuses which in many cases involved deliberate attacks against or negation of the self identity or experience, for me it is really critically important to get it right We don’t want to replicate violence and harm to people who’ve already — through our documentation systems to people who’ve already experienced violations of their human rights So yeah.. it’s It’s a fine line to walk between creating an unfair or undue burden on our partners who don’t have the resources and either staffing or professional development that we have, but also really wanting to highlight and raise up their voices and experiences So, yeah >> Good points I think for us cost can be a barrier I think that we’re lucky that the university, there’s central funding for a lot of the work we do but it’s sort of prohibitive to fund all of the work that needs to be done So just I think part of it is sometimes if a video is being produced, there may not be the funding built into the budget to cover accessibility concerns, so that’s one challenge And then like I said before I think just awareness of the fact that there are benefits beyond just sort of complying is a challenge that we try to overcome And just to reemphasize there’s a big value add if you have the text version of the video >> Are there any questions from anyone? So picking up from what we just talked about, awareness, attitudes, technology, costs, are there any sort of collaborative relationships around campus that can help solve these problems? You guys think? I mean I think having SSD here is a big one I think we’re very well supported here at UT There was a story in the news a few years ago where Berkeley, there was a class action lawsuit against Berkeley, they didn’t provide alternative text to their required textbooks And so they had to develop an entire infrastructure to support that, and we already had that here with SSD And I’ve been working with students from SSD for years and, very well supported, they have access to technology, training, which is very important, a lot of folks don’t always know how to use the technology so they assess the students and train them So I think we’re very well supported and I think that’s really central to making this community very accessible and adding captioning has been great and I hadn’t really thought about the benefit to the overall community

I often work with students who use documentary films, to be able to take interviews directly from the documentaries, that’s fantastic So do you guys think of any other kind of collaborations or potential collaborations that could really assist in breaking down barriers? >> Well this one partnership that has become a really good partnership is we work with the College of Liberal Arts quite a bit They produce I think almost 13 online classes a semester At least this semester I think that’s the number And they’re very supportive of working with us and and we work with them and so just the sheer number of hours that that represents of video that are being used by the sheer number of students that use those courses or taken those courses has born out to be a pretty good partnership >> Well there’s no way anything I work on gets done without the tremendous amount of support from colleagues here in UT Libraries, particularly in digital stewardship, libraries, IT and cataloging and metadata services But also financial services and HR None of this gets done on my own or in isolation And I guess I really want to emphasize also — our post-custodial work is really about deep horizontal collaborative relationships with our partners But also with our faculty, with our students, and with other archivists and librarians We’re not developing or building these projects or collections for our partners or for our faculty but with them So bringing all those voices and perspectives to the table, I think really not only makes the projects or these endeavors more feasible but makes them so much richer as collections and as resources >> I will say ditto to all of the UT Libraries staff who help make these things possible. With the Texas ScholarWorks and Texas Data Repository, those two repositories have basically three staff on them, and there’s no way that we could go around to the entire university and talk to everybody and then also help them get their stuff archived And so we depend on our network of subject librarians and if any of you do not know this, if you are in a department or a center on the university there is a subject librarian who is assigned to help your department and your center, and they help us get the word out about some of the services that we have here The rest of the staff in the library, we try to keep them all informed so that they can get the word out And then we also talk a lot with folks from the Office of Graduate Studies, the Office of the Vice President for research, the Office of Sponsored Projects, TACK the Texas Advanced Computing Center, to make sure that all of those groups also know about the services that we have so that when they’re working with post-docs or when they’re working with graduate students, they can capture the message that, you know did you know the library has a data repository Or did you know that the library has somebody who can help you with that weird copyright question you have about your dissertation So I mean I think collaborations on a university of this size are just critical because there’s no way that you can get that message out if you’re not working with a ton of different people And I’m not sure I could pin point any specific collaborative relationship but rather just, it’s important to have so many of them >> Did you have question or — >> I was just going to ask about TDL >> Oh thank you yeah >> The Texas Digital Libraries who host those two services are basically helping us make that happen, as well as all of their other member universities throughout the consortium >> I was wondering if you’re familiar with the work that the HathiTrust is also doing for issues of accessibility for text? If everyone’s not familiar with HathiTrust it’s a repository of scanned items from a collaboration of about 30 university libraries and a lot of the items that are out of copyright are open to everyone but there are a lot of things that are scanned and digitized with metadata but they’re still in copyright so they’re not available

However for users with visual impairments they’re able to get on and access these documents that other people are not and there’s just a couple of steps that libraries have to go through to get the patron’s access for these things but it’s really great that we’re a member of this an opening that up to the UT community >> Yeah HathiTrust provides alternative text for folks with print disabilities And basically there’s a link on our Services for Students with Disabilities site that comes to me if you want to request something in alternative format and I just have to do a couple of steps to verify that we can provide it and then provide a PDF that can actually be read by screen reader so that’s a great new really enhances accessibility All of our databases and our collections, before we can buy a database it has to undergo testing to make sure that it’s compatible with screen readers There’s varying degrees of quality of course but for the most part decisions are made with accessibility in mind when we purchase materials And also we provide the technology here on campus in the library where students can scan their own material and then use a screen reading software, so we want to make sure that our collection is accessible to everyone at point of need. So we do that But with campus partnerships with SSD, really extends the reach and it really serves our users >> Yeah I was gonna say, we definitely work with y’all and captioning, and then we also have a lot of partnerships with the Counseling and Mental Health Center, they’re just upstairs from us so that’s great And then also kind of organizations on campus like Voices Against Violence will partner with them, and always have a presence at the Take Back the Night event, that kind of thing Another campaign we’re involved with it the BeVocal, to really change those attitudes, and that’s a great campaign We also work with Student Emergency Services, because you know not always but sometimes students will have a disability related issue that is basically an emergency So we partner with them a lot to make sure that students they are working with have access to our services And then also we have a student sponsored organization, the Disability Advocacy Student Coalition Any student, undergrad or grad can join and you don’t have to have a disability So we have that connection with student org There’s other partnerships we have and I can’t even think but we definitely try and work with all departments across campus because really students across the whole campus — there’s students from across the whole campus registered with our office >> So yeah, Melanie >> I just wanted to also mention Megan that our Diversity Action Committee here in UT Libraries has been corresponding with one of your interns recently about a potential collaboration for hosting a barrier free campus exhibit So we may have an opportunity to — as our organizational collaboration already exists, sort of expand what we already do through PG I did have a couple of questions for the panelists unless you have another sort of question for them I wanted to pick up on the point that I think Daniel made in illustrating some of the additional benefits of meeting the compliance requirements to provide accessibility for our target audience and you had some really great concrete examples of how it’s beneficial to a broader audience for a lot of different really important reasons and I was wondering if the rest of you had any kind of similar illustrations or points that happen in in your area of providing access to information, things that might not have been directly your intention but that have come up as being corollary benefits to your efforts >> Well I think a lot of professors do find that benefit of universal design when you think about all users, especially when they’re creating course content, and if you think about okay well someone’s not going to be able to see the information up here how can I get this information,

getting it across in multiple formats and I think students, whether they have a disability or not, appreciate that And… yeah [laughter] >> I’m not sure if this really gets at what you’re asking Melanie but I shouldn’t be surprised anymore but I am surprised at how much the content that we have in our online systems is used, even when to me the subject seems like.. there could only be 10 people on the whole planet who are interested in that And you go look at the usage stats and it’s been downloaded 178 times So I just think that there’s audiences for these things that we don’t even realize, and we might be putting it online because we think it’s going to help this small group and it ends up like there’s all these other people who were probably delighted to be able to find this thing about opera in the Weimar Republic, you know >> Yeah so, besides HPN we launched another digital initiative in November of 2015 called the Latin American Digital Initiatives Repository There are four digital collections in that documenting human rights material in Latin America, and when we originally conceived it and going through the process, it was great and super exciting to preserve these four isolated collections. But as we brought them together into a single digital repository framework, and started to see the connections between them, it really provided a whole new insight in how actors moved and communicated between the Central American countries during the height of the conflicts there And then when we started to look at that in conjunction with the HPN we were able to find press clippings that were documenting the same events that we had police dossiers for in the HPN which provides really important corroborating evidence both in terms of legal cases as well as in terms of scholarship and being able to understand these materials, not just as in isolation but as a collection and I think — yeah >> One thing for me that’s been eye-opening is, we tend to think of users with disabilities as a distinct group, and then we have people who are abled and people who are differently abled, but really all through life we change, a few years ago I didn’t need these, I need them now I can’t read So any changes we make to enhance accessibility will benefit us in the long run, I think >> That’s a good point. PG I’m glad you brought up that we think about ourselves in our efforts too The one other thing I wanted to say, and I don’t mean to bogart this mic so if anybody wants it just holler but I wanted while my thoughts were fresh in my head I just want to get them out I wanted to just acknowledge that you four panelists coming together for this particular session, I feel like is brave and I want to commend you for that because I realized that we’re kind of putting you together to try to piece together, connect the dots across some domains and some units that aren’t normally put together, to talk about a topic all together and I think that that’s really it’s nice to kind of get into a new space and explore the different facets of the common topic of information access in a new way And so I wanted to ask you if in preparing for this panel, and then meeting each other maybe and learning more about each other and what you do in your various roles here at UT, are there new things that you learned that you think will be helpful in your own role about each other? Or services that each of you provide that you were like oh I might be able to use that information or do something with that that I didn’t know about before >> So one of the things that we’re thinking about right now with Texas ScholarWorks is, you know it’s a mature service now but one thing that we have struggled with over the years are the videos that are in there, or the text files for Hebrew materials and Are they really accessible to people who need them And you know I was talking earlier about incentives, there’s always this fire that needs to get put out and so its easy to say okay well we’ll deal with that a little bit later And this panel has kind of pushed

that idea to the forefront and we’re going to be talking to Daniel next week about workflows for captioning and what we might be able to do with some of the videos that we have and I had plans for asking for best practices and that kind of thing for things that might not necessarily go through his unit but what are things that we can do to help make some of these materials more accessible And I think that this panel just kind of pushed that a little bit more than it might have otherwise been pushed >> Yeah well, on a more personal related note, your office, I’m really excited because I was joking the other day that I’m a recovering academic I was working on my PhD at Tulane in Latin American history, so I’m excited to tell my colleagues about the work you’re doing Former colleagues there But no, it was one of those things when I saw people’s titles and then the theme of the panel, I was like huh this will be interesting and then talking to everyone, it has been interesting to see this connection, how everyone’s working really in very different ways but to provide that access to information >> Yeah ditto, probably echoing a lot of what Colleen was saying I wish we had taken accessibility issues into consideration to a greater depth than we did when we were developing LADI and there’s definitely room to grow there and I’m excited to explore those opportunities particularly as we look to further develop that collection to make it accessible to new audiences in different ways and I was thrilled to hear about your work doing English to Spanish translation, just super exciting, and we will be following up on that >> Yeah I think for me, it was helpful to sort of step back and think about accessibility and accessing materials on a more general and broad level and I mean I kind of get tunnel vision with captions, it’s just video captions and gotta caption your videos but you know connecting to the larger goal of just universal design and seeing the opportunities for increasing accessibility in general has been really helpful And it’s also been nice to see that on a university level that we’re there’s a lot of cool stuff going on One more thing, so one unique thing about our service I think is that we’re like I said an embedded service in the libraries and so we’re like a shared service so we’re centrally funded from the University but we definitely collaborate very, very intimately with the libraries Downstairs we have office space, we definitely rely on a lot of IT support and general support and a lot of collaborations to make this possible so we’re just really — didn’t think of that when the initial question was asked but it’s a really important part of what we do >> Alright well thanks everyone for attending and your questions, please be sure to give us feedback with the supplied form And looks like there’s plenty of cookies back there too so looking forward to that I wanna thank DAAC for hosting this event and for raising awareness about access >> Thank you to the panel and the moderator [applause]