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    Location: Aberystwyth, Wales, United Kingdom

    I am the owner and managing director of Information Automation Limited (IAL), a company that specialises in research, consultancy and training for the information profession. We are particularly interested in all forms of electronic information resources (e-journals, e-books, etc) and I teach a course in electronic publishing at the Department of Information Studies in Aberystwyth. Drilling down still further(!), my interests centre on the quality and evaluation of electronic information, and in the thinking that underpins activities in library and information science.


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    Tuesday, February 19, 2008

    British Standard For Accessible Websites.

    Headstar's E-GOVERNMENT BULLETIN, Issue 257, 18 February 2008, reports that work has begun on a British Standard For Accessible Websites. The news item begins:

    Work has begun on the development of a full British Standard for developing accessible websites, E-Government Bulletin's sister publication E-Access Bulletin has learned.

    The move follows the publication by the British Standards Institution (BSi) in March 2006 of initial guidance known as a 'PAS' or 'Publicly Available Specification'. This was 'PAS 78: a guide to good practice in commissioning accessible websites'.

    A new technical committee IST/45 is now being assembled to oversee the development of a full standard, of which the chair elect is PAS78 lead author Julie Howell, former RNIB digital access campaigner and currently head of accessibility at the digital agency Fortune Cookie. Other members of the committee are likely to be drawn from organisations represented on the PAS78 steering group such as the British Computer Society; Cabinet Office; and the former Disability Rights Commission (DRC), now part of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

    When finished, the British Standard will be available for purchase from the BSi at a price comparable with other standards, usually between £30 and £100. PAS78 was made available for free download by DRC, which sponsored its development and bought a distribution licence, though this type of arrangement is not possible for full standards. The PAS has been downloaded more than 54,000 times to date.

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