Texas Digital Library Conference System, 2017 Texas Conference on Digital Libraries

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Digitizing for Accessibility: Building a Multimedia Disability History Archive That’s ADA Compliant
Krystal Schenk, Andrew Leverenz

Last modified: 2017-03-22


In the late 1960s, disabled students convinced UT Arlington administrators to make the campus accessible to students with a wide array of disabilities, striving to make the school into a model campus for Texas and the greater Southwest. This pioneering spirit continues today with establishment of the Minor in Disability Studies in 2013, the first such program in the southern U.S.

In order to support this new program and to preserve a rich campus history, the UTA Libraries assembled hundreds of items from its Special Collections relating to people with disabilities, including photographs, videos, reports, letters, and objects. Added to these were oral histories from a wide variety of disability rights activists, athletes and coaches in adapted sports, advocates for higher education accessibility, and alumni of UTA, among others.

The resulting Texas Disability History Collection website was built using the Drupal content management system. The size and scope of the project posed several challenges, including how to merge metadata from 27 separate collections, how to prepare the materials to be accessible by people with disabilities, and how to design and test the website to ensure the broadest accessibility.


disability; accessibility; website