A&DS News and Event Roundup – May 2021

Our monthly “Roundup” series features articles, upcoming events, and other items of interest to Section membership. If you have suggestions for items for next month’s A&DS Roundup, please email us at adsectionblogSAA at gmail dot com.

Call for Papers:

Cripping the Archive: Disability, Power, and History (edited by Jenifer Barclay and Stefanie Hunt-Kennedy)

This collection will explore the relationship between disability and the archive. We envision essays that collectively challenge “compulsory able-bodiedness”/able-mindedness (McRuer, 2006) – the ubiquitous beliefs and practices that center able-bodiedness in service of normativity. We invite contributors to ‘crip’ the archive, to adopt a critical orientation that illuminates and disrupts ableist power structures and dynamics and analyze how ableness informs the politics of the archive as a physical space, a sacred place, a discriminatory record, and a collection of silences. We seek work that uses a wide range of methods from authors who foreground the lived experiences and representations of disability in their work. We also strongly encourage submissions that use intersectional, interdisciplinary, and transnational approaches to the question of disability and the archive. We welcome submissions from scholars, writers, and artists and will accept 300-500-word abstracts for this collection through May 15, 2021.

Topics include, but are not limited to:
●    Objects, museums, curiosities; disability on display
●    The absence of disability in archival finding aids and indexes
●    The paradox of disability as both hypervisible and invisible in the historical record and archival imagination
●    Centering disability in the archives of medicine, science, and technology
●    The accessibility of archival spaces and materials
●    The impact of charged and negative disability terminology in changing historical contexts (i.e. monstrous, mad, deaf and dumb, crippled, superannuated, invalid, retardation)
●    Uncovering forgotten histories of disability in the archive and revisiting familiar archival sources through a disability lens
●    Identifying and confronting archival erasures rooted in intersectionality
●    Disability approaches to digital archives
●    The archive as a space of resistance (i.e. the reclamation of knowledge systems, ontologies, and identities structured by disability)
●    Decolonizing the archive of disability, Eurocentric understandings of the body and disability
●    Disability and the archive in transnational perspective
●    Myths of overcoming and inspirational narratives in the archives
●    The challenges of locating disability in already contested archives (e.g. slavery, colonialism, etc.)

For more information and submission details, see: https://networks.h-net.org/node/73374/announcements/7515044/call-abstracts-edited-volume-cripping-archive-disability-power.

Upcoming Talks and Learning Opportunities:

A&DS + AACS Discussion on Intersectionality

May 6th, 3pm CST

Hosted by the SAA Accessibility and Disability Section and the Archivist and Archives of Color Section, we invite you to an open discussion on cross-section participation, intersectionality, and building resilience as our profession demands more from BIPOCs and those with disabilities. Register here: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAkfuurpjgpHtfLUXJXCSLmFVfdYsOnq6dW.

Midwest Archives Conference presentation on Accessibility

May 13th, 3:30-4:30pm CST

During the Midwest Archives Conference, Lindy Smith, Veronica Denison, Lauren White, and Zachary Tumlin will presenting on “Improving Accessibility in Archival Spaces.” The full conference program is available on the MAC website. 

Web Archiving Coffee Chat

May 19th, 6pm EST

Join the Web Archiving Section for a coffee chat co-hosted by the Accessibility & Disability Section (ADS). ADS Immediate Past Chair Lydia Tang will share insights on using a screen reader when viewing the Internet Archive’s user interface and WARCs. We will also hear about her experience using different tools to check for accessibility compliance. Please stay tuned to the Web Archiving Section’s Twitter (https://twitter.com/WebArch_RT) for details.

Accessibility Fundamental Bootcamp Training

May 20th, 12-3pm EST

In honor of Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Deque is offering a free basic accessibility fundamentals bootcamp training session on Thursday, May 20th from 12:00-3:00PM ET.

Articles and Recordings:

Who’s Missing from EDI Advocacy?: Examining the Barriers for Librarians with Invisible Disabilities

A recording and presentation materials from this session, presented at ACRL 2021 by Samantha Huntington Peter, Katelyn Quirin Manwiller, Megan Toops, Debbie Krahmer, and Michele Santamaria, is available online at: https://uwyo.figshare.com/articles/presentation/Who_s_Missing_from_EDI_Advocacy_Examining_the_Barriers_for_Librarians_with_Invisible_Disabilities/14485086/1

College Language Association Journal, special issue on Blackness and Disability

Therí Alyce Pickens guest edited the March 2021 issue of the CLA Journal, which is available online here: https://muse.jhu.edu/issue/44225 . Articles include On Fits, Starts, and Entry Points: The Rise of Black Disability Studies (Anna Hinton), No Crips Allowed: Magical Negroes, Black Superheroes, And the Hyper-Abled Black Male Body In Steven Spielberg’s Amistad and Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther (Charles I. Nero), and Black Autism: A Conversation with Diana Paulin (Julia Miele Rodas and Diana Paulin).

Other Items of Interest:

The Accessibility and Disability Section is looking for candidates interested in running for a position on the A&DS steering committee! Terms are for two years, and you must be a member of both SAA and the A&D Section. Nominations must be received by May 28th, and can be submitted here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd1teS400nf-lv–RkUBnOMsYzFakRcess3yrIgeBJAObvwtQ/viewform

The SAA Mentoring Program is seeking volunteer mentees who may be interested in participating in the pilot Accessibility & Disability cohort program. Cohorts will be active from June – November 2021. Apply to be a Mentee by submitting this application by May 14. If you have any questions about this pilot program, contact the Mentoring Program Subcommittee at saamentoring@gmail.com.

Dr. Lydia Tang, on behalf of the Accessibility & Disability Section, has been awarded a $3,200 SAA Foundation grant to outsource captioning pre-2020 SAA Education webinars. More on this exciting news to come!!

A&DS News and Event Roundup – April 2021

Our monthly “Roundup” series features articles, upcoming events, and other items of interest to Section membership. If you have suggestions for items for next month’s A&DS Roundup, please email us at adsectionblogSAA at gmail dot com.

Upcoming Talks and Learning Opportunities:

Webinar: Core Concepts of Accessibility in Archives

Monday, April 26, 2021 from 10am-11am PST

Instructor: Dr. Lydia Tang

Accessibility must be designed into programs and workflows, and there are many ways that archivists can actively improve accessibility for everyone.

The Core Concepts of Accessibility in Archives webinar will include: 

  • An overview of the Society of American Archivists’ Guidelines for Accessible Archives for People with Disabilities
  • Guidance on how to survey physical and digital spaces for accessibility barriers
  • Brief demonstration of screen readers accessing digital archival materials and databases
  • Examples of how these Guidelines can be applied to repositories

The cost is $10 for SCA members; $5 for student members; $20 for non-members; and $5 for unemployed or precariously employed individuals. All registrants will receive a link to the webinar recording after the webinar is completed.

An Afternoon with Keah Brown: Perspectives on the Intersections of Black, Queer, and Disability Identity and Navigating Life as a College Student and Beyond

April 1, 2021 at 4pm PST

Keah Brown is an actress, journalist, author, and screenwriter. She is the creator of #DisabledAndCute. Her work has appeared in Teen Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire UK, And The New York Times, among other publications. Her Debut essay collection, The Pretty One is out now. Her debut picture book, Sam’s Super Seats will be out in 2022 via Koklia books.

Join the Disability Programs and Resource Center, the Black Unity Center, and DREAM SFSU for this exciting conversation. ASL/captioning provided.

3rd Annual Autism at Work Research Workshop

April 20-22, 2021, 11am-2pm PST (registration deadline: April 9, 2021)

The Autism at Work Research Workshop brings together leading scholars, employers, clinicians, service providers, entrepreneurs, caregivers, and autism advocates concerned with autism employment. Their work may relate to the preparation, recruitment, persistence, advancement, and management of autistic individuals in the workplace. Our objectives are to

  1. Build a community of people concerned with issues related to the preparation and employment of autistic individuals and convey these concerns to the others in the community
  2. Offer opportunities to connect practitioners with researchers to develop or evaluate supports for the employment of autistic individuals
  3. Provide a collaborative space for scholars to share their work and receive constructive feedback in order to advance autism employment research
  4. Further develop a research agenda to advance evidence-based practices to equitably include individuals with autism in the workplace

Microsoft Ability Summit

May 5-6, 2021, 9am-12:30pm PST

The Microsoft Ability Summit is a two-day, free digital event experience that brings together people with disabilities, allies, and accessibility professionals to Imagine, Build, Include, and Empower the future of disability inclusion and accessibility.

2021 Microsoft Ability Summit will feature:

  • Keynotes from Microsoft executives and notable members of the disability community
  • Expert panels featuring exciting projects and innovations
  • Demos of the latest accessibility features in Office, Windows, Xbox, and more
  • All sessions will be recorded and available post-event so no matter what time zone you are in, you can access the content at a time that works for you!

News and Articles:

“We Need to Talk About How We Talk About Disability: A Critical Quasi-Systematic Review” by Amelia Gibson, Kristen Bowen, and Dana Hanson

“This quasi-systematic review uses a critical disability framework to assess definitions of disability, use of critical disability approaches, and hierarchies of credibility in LIS research between 1978 and 2018. We present quantitative and qualitative findings about trends and gaps in the research, and discuss the importance of critical and justice-based frameworks for continued development of a liberatory LIS theory and practice.”

“Neurodiverse Applicants are Revolutionizing the Hiring Process”, Quartz at Work, Alexandra Ossola

Requires an account with Quartz (free trial is available)

Other Items of Interest:

Call for Fellowship Applications: Jaipreet Virdi 2021 Fellowship for Disability Studies – Medical Heritage Library

The Medical Heritage Library seeks a motivated fellow to assist in the continuing development of our education and outreach programs. Under the guidance of a member of our governance board, the fellow will develop curated collections or sets for the MHL website on the topic of disability and medical technologies. Examples of existing primary source sets can be found on the MHL website: http://www.medicalheritage.org/resource-sets/.  These collections will be drawn from the over 300,000 items in our Internet Archive library. The curated collections provide a means for our visitors to discover the richness of MHL materials on a variety of topics relevant to the history of health and the health sciences. As part of this work, the fellow will have an opportunity to enrich metadata in MHL records in Internet Archive to support scholarship and inquiry on this topic.

This paid ($20/hour not to exceed $3000) fellowship will be hosted virtually, with no in-person component. The fellowship will take place anytime between the end of May 2021-mid-August 2021. 150 hours, over 12 weeks with a maximum of 20 hours in any given week. For more details and application instructions, see: http://www.medicalheritage.org/2021/03/11/call-for-fellowship-applications-jaipreet-virdi-2021-fellowship-for-disability-studies/

Western History Disability Studies and Disabled Scholar Award

The purpose of the Western History Disability Studies and Disabled Scholar Award is to promote the place of disability and all of the ramifications that disability, diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion have had in the history of the North American West. It is important to promote and support scholars who study this history, whether these scholars have a disability or not. To read more on the significance and vibrancy of Disability Studies, see Disability Studies and History below.

Two $500 awards, funded by independent blind historian Alida Boorn, will support two graduate student who either are working in the fields of disability studies and western history OR identify as disabled and who wish to attend the WHA conference with financial assistance. Funding from the award will assist their ability to research and present academic papers and network with other scholars at the annual WHA conferences.

Deadline is July 15, 2021. See their website for additional details: https://www.westernhistory.org/awards/disability

“New inclusive feature in Microsoft Teams and More”

This blog post covers new accessibility features in Microsoft Teams, including Dynamic View: “With more important calls, meetings and events happening virtually, it’s important to make sure everyone can participate easily, including people with disabilities. We are happy to announce Dynamic view, which intelligently arranges the elements of your meeting for an optimal viewing experience, is coming soon to Commercial and GCC customers. As people join, turn on video, start to speak, or begin to present in a meeting, Teams auto-adjusts and personalizes your layout. For instance, with Dynamic view, meeting attendees who are deaf can pin a sign language interpreter, fit the interpreter’s video to frame, and see the interpreter alongside shared content throughout the meeting.”

Reminder! Accessibility and Disability Section Mentoring Program

A reminder that the Accessibility and Disability Section sponsors a mentoring program, open to any archival workers and students who share an interest or identity relating to disability and accessibility and an interest in the archival field. You do not need to be a member of SAA to sign up. For more details, including a link to the sign up sheet, please see this previous blog post: https://adsarchivists.home.blog/2020/12/16/introducing-the-accessibility-disability-sections-mentoring-sign-up-sheet/

Introducing the Accessibility & Disability Section’s Mentoring Sign-up Sheet!

The SAA Accessibility & Disability Section Steering Committee is pleased to share this test pilot mentoring sign up sheet. Inspired by the mentoring sign up sheets by DLF and DigiPres, this sign up sheet is a lightweight and flexible tool for facilitating mentoring connections.


Archival workers and students who share an interest or identity relating to disability and accessibility and an interest in the archival field. You do not need to be a member of SAA to sign up on this sheet.

How it works

Sign up!

Please sign up on this Google sheet. Anyone can volunteer to participate as a mentor or mentee.

Mentors, if you feel that you can work simultaneously with more than one mentee, please duplicate your line.

To support the confidentiality of Mentees, if you see a mentor who you would like to chat with, mark an “X” by your mentor’s line and contact your mentor.

If you have difficulty accessing, editing this form, or encounter other issues, please contact us at adsectionblogsaa@gmail.com

What is the time commitment?

Mentors indicate time commitment capacity on the form. Some may only be able to do a single informational interview while others may be able to meet regularly for an ongoing basis. When you make contact with your mentoring partner, you can establish expectations according to your mentoring needs and personal time commitment capacities.


While participants do not need to be members of SAA, we expect all participants to adhere to the SAA code of conduct to ensure that this is a welcoming, supporting, and safe experience. If anyone encounters behaviour that violates the SAA code of conduct, please contact us (adsectionblogsaa@gmail.com). Thank you for doing your part to support your colleagues and make this a fun and educational experience!

Accessible Digital Documentary Heritage (UNESCO)

Earlier this month, UNESCO published Accessible Digital Documentary Heritage: Guidelines for the Preparation of Documentary Heritage in Accessible Formats for Persons with Disabilities. This 21-page report focuses on “the right to access to documentary heritage by persons with disabilities.”

As noted in the report’s Forward, written by UNESCO Deputy Director-General Xing Qu, “The advent of digital cultural archives and collections has spurred significant advancement in global access to culture, including through digitization. This has profoundly enhanced our cultural experience, not only in terms of production, dissemination and new technology-based access, but also in terms of participation and creation, as well as learning and participating in knowledge societies. As the UN agency that fosters the creation of knowledge societies that are inclusive, pluralistic, equitable, open and participatory for all, UNESCO believes that the advantages of digitization should be enjoyed equally by persons with disabilities.”

In the report, UNESCO examines the accessibility of its own Memory of the World website. This examination looks at website navigation, colors and contrast, links, images, and forms. Ultimately, the report states “the Memory of the World Register website has some basic accessibility features, nevertheless, the website
itself needs to be re-designed to make it more useable and accessible for people of all abilities, while the website’s content (items in the register, images, documents, etc.) should be adapted with better awareness of digital accessibility issues.” The way in which these components are examined directly connects to the guidelines found in the third section of the report.

In the final section of the report, 14 guidelines are divided into two categories – basic guidelines and advanced guidelines. The basic guidelines include a number of critical overall considerations, such as:

  • Consider accessibility at every step of document digitization, rather than fixing accessibility issues post hoc.
  • Plan to allocate sufficient resources for accessibility.
  • Involve persons with disabilities and/or accessibility experts in the process.

The advanced guidelines focus more on how to make specific types of materials accessible. These include:

  • Digital images should be accompanied by a text description of their subject’s key features (content and form) and should be captured with the highest resolution possible.
  • PDF documents should be screen-readable.
  • Videos should be accompanied by captions or sign language interpretation, as well as audio description.

Overall, this report provides a summary of many issues that inhibit accessibility of digital content. The report – and specifically the case study of the Memory of the World website – provides a solid framework for others wishing to examine their digital collections and web presence to ensure materials are accessible.

A&D Section Roundup – December 2020

The “Roundup” series is published on the first of each month. It features articles, upcoming events, and other items of interest to Section membership. If you have suggestions for items for next month’s A&DS Roundup, please email us at adsectionblogSAA at gmail dot com.

Webinars and other learning opportunities:

In Our Own Words: Deaf Perspectives in Oral History and Public History

Tuesday, December 8, 2020, 6-7pm EST (free, but requires registration)

Sponsored by the National Council on Public History, the Drs. John S. & Betty J. Schuchman Deaf Documentary Center at Gallaudet University, the Public History Program at American University, and the Oral History Association.

This program – a 1 hour Zoom conversation – brings Deaf people into this conversation, both as individuals sharing their experiences and as collaborators throughout the curation/interpretation process. In particular, the panelists will address how oral history interviews should be handled when interviewing Deaf community members. What are some considerations when planning and conducting Deaf oral histories? How can Deaf perspectives, storytelling culture, and interviewing practices push oral history beyond the approaches that bias the hearing/aural? How can oral historians and public historians incorporate or center Deaf narratives in public engagement, particularly when documenting and creating programming about this current moment?

This program is free, but registration is required (click here to register). Please also note the program will be recorded and shared.

Archivists with Disabilities Follow Up

Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 3pm EST (free but requires registration)

The Education Subcommittee of the SAA Accessibility and Disability Section would like to invite you to a follow-up of the SAA Annual Meeting Session “Archivists with Disabilities” on December 10, 3 p.m. EST, 2 p.m. CST. The original panel would like to answer questions that they were unable to during the conference, then have a discussion with the wider audience. We will be using SAA’s Zoom account, which will include closed captioning, however you do not have to be a member of SAA to attend the event. Presenters include Veronica Denison, Michelle Ganz, Chris Tanguay, and Zachary Tumlin. Unfortunately, original panelist, Ann Abney, is unable to attend.

In case you are not a member of SAA, were unable to attend the session, or would like to re-watch the presentation, it is now available for everyone to view. During the presentation, speakers discussed invisible and visible disabilities, adult onset or diagnosis of a disability, disclosing a disability, accommodations, and how to be an ally for your coworkers.

Please note that the event will not be recorded as we want everyone to feel comfortable asking questions and sharing their experiences. You are also welcome to anonymously submit any questions or topics you would like discussed during the event.

If interested, you can register here for this one-hour event. If you have any questions, please email Veronica Denison at vldenison@ksu.edu.

Disclose This! Advancing Disability Awareness in Libraries and Archives (recording)

A recording is now available from the October 16th panel discussion “Disclose This!: Advancing Disability Awareness in Libraries and Archives.” The discussion was hosted by the Archival Workers Emergency Fund, and participants included Jasmine Clark, chair of the DLF Digital Accessibility Working Group; Michelle Ganz, chair of the SAA Accessibility & Disability Section; and Karina Hagelin, activist and organizer. Panelists discussed advancing disability awareness and representation in libraries and archives.

Other Items of Interest:

Call for Volunteers for Appointed Positions in SAA

The Society of American Archivists has issued its official call for volunteers for appointed positions within the organization. If you’re interested, please complete the self-nomination form before January 15, 2021. Additionally, a Q&A forum will be held with SAA VP Courtney Chartier, members of the Appointments Committee, and recent SAA appointed leaders on Wednesday, December 9th at 2pm EST. Register for that session here and learn more about how you can get involved in these types of roles within SAA.

Disability History Association Fall 2020 Conference Award

The Disability History Association invites applications for the Fall 2020 Conference Award. This award is intended to help cover costs for conferences attended between October 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. This award is open to graduate students and contingent faculty, as well as underemployed, unemployed, or community-based scholars and artists. The DHA is particularly interested in supporting those who will receive limited or no support from other sources, including their home institutions. Applicants must be presenting on a topic directly related to disability history at a conference occurring between October 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. Eligible conferences may be either in-person or virtual. The award may cover travel, registration, or the cost of academic memberships required to attend the conference. Depending on demand, demonstrated need, and the availability of funds, award amounts may range from $100 to $300.

Applicants must write a letter of between 1-2 pages describing what conference they will be attending, the nature of their participation in the conference, and the significance of conference attendance for their career and the advancement of the field. They should also include a brief budget indicating expected costs, and how the award will help them cover these costs. If they are applying for or have received other funds to help defray the cost of attendance, applicants should indicate this in either their letter or budget.

Please submit applications to Dr. Caroline Lieffers at clieffers@gmail.com by December 15, 2020.

Library Juice Certificate in Disability Access and Inclusion

Library Juice Academy is now offering a Certificate in Disability Access and Inclusion which will “develop your understanding of accessibility and disability, and provide you with practices to proactively include and equitably serve patrons and staff with a range of disabilities.” You can learn more about the classes offered and the certificate program on their website: https://libraryjuiceacademy.com/certificate/disability-access-and-inclusion/.

Call for Program Proposals for 2021 SAA Annual Meeting

The SAA Program Committee invites proposals for sessions to be presented at the 2021 Annual Meeting. As you develop your session proposal, they encourage you to consider the following questions: “How might we, as archivists, rethink our work environments, our practices, and our profession to strengthen the ways in which we work and stay in community? How can we foster a professional culture that is innovative and that continually reevaluates itself? Where can we do better? How do we initiate, and advocate for, positive change in our institutions and communities? How can we come together more effectively as an archival community to support our shared values?”

Proposals for the 2021 Annual Meeting are due on Wednesday, January 13, at 11:59 CT. Learn more here: https://www2.archivists.org/am2021/program/call-for-program-proposals.

Spotlight: Apple iOS and Accessibility

This is the first in our new blog series titled “Spotlight.” The “Spotlight” series will feature case studies, interviews, and other stories about accessibility and disability guidelines, resources, and tools that may be of interest to A&DS members as well as to the archival community as a whole. We will publish a “Spotlight” on the 15th of each month. If you have ideas or suggestions for future “Spotlight” posts, please email us at adsectionblogSAA at gmail dot com.

This month’s Spotlight is written by Michelle Ganz, archives director at McDonough Innovation and chair of the Accessibility and Disability Section. In this post, Michelle looks at accessibility features in Apple iOS.

Apple iOS and Accessibility by Michelle Ganz

Apple has touted its commitment to accessibility since 2012. I’ve been an Apple user since the iPhone 3 in 2007. I would like to briefly review the functions that I have used and give you an honest assessment. Please remember that this is my experience and may not be yours, I also use many of the features but not all of them. I have an iPhone XS running iOS14.2

I have an issue with how buried these settings are. You have to know where to go to find what you need. This extra layer of research required is strange considering how many of these accommodations are written about as ‘fun things you can do with your phone’ articles. 

Apple addresses four types of disability with their optional settings: Vision, Physical/Motor, Hearing. I have found all of the categories to have features I use. 


From the main accessibility menu you can make general adjustments under each heading or drill down to more options. 


The options for vision include audio description, motion control, and adjustments to the voice your phone uses. I always switch to Bold font to make it easier to read smaller fonts. 

Physical/ Motor: 

These options all relate to how you interact with your phone including different ways to control your keyboard, touch ID sensitivity, and how faceID works. In this section I have changed the side buttons to open my hearing aid app, and set backtap to open my control panel where I can adjust my hearing aids. 


For the deaf and hard of hearing there are options to use captioning phones, how the audio is adjusted, and visual alerts which give you a series of flashing lights to alert you. 

In addition to their previously standard feature, Apple introduced a new feature called Sound Recognition that’s a great idea but doesn’t work well for me in practice. The idea is that your phone can alert you to a variety of sounds like sirens, fire alarms, door knocks, and water running. In practice these features don’t work well. I get alerts when someone sets something down on a table, but not when they knock on the door. It alerts me to water running when I am standing at the sink, but not when I leave it running after I walk away.  I suspect that as it ‘learns’ it will get better. With any brand new feature there’s a period between initial release and software patches to make the future fully functional. 


Apple offers a lot of integrated functionality between the iPhone and the Apple Watch. Watch connectivity means I can feel my alerts, which works a lot better than audio alerts. There is a lot of customizability to really make your iPhone work for you. 


The hearing aids I use are specifically designed to work with Apple phones which means I am ‘tied’ to Apple; my hearing aids use a different bluetooth frequency to connect; as opposed to connecting as a bluetooth device. iOS13 ‘broke’ my hearing aids. They refused to acknowledge it and then claimed it would be fixed in the next software update. It was not. iOS14 fixed the worst of the problems like dropping calls and randomly burning through the batteries. But it’s still making all sorts of noises it’s not supposed to. 

For all the issues that I have with iOS accessibility it still really is pretty great. They could be doing a lot better, but the idea (and intention) is a good one. I’m not sure I would switch from another hearing aid manufacturer or move to a different type of phone because of the problems I have, but I’m not sure I would have made my choice solely on the iPhone compatibility if I knew how many issues there would be. I like finding new ways to use the features and seeing what new ideas they come up with.

New blog series! A&DS Roundup

Beginning today, we will be publishing our new “A&DS Roundup” series every month on the first of the month (sorry it’s a bit late this month!). The “Roundup” series will feature articles, upcoming events, and other items of interest to Section membership. If you have suggestions for items for next month’s A&DS Roundup, please email us at adsectionblogSAA at gmail dot com.

Calls for Papers/Presentations/Participation:

Reserve + Renew: The LIS Mental Health Zine is seeking submissions for the fourth issue, The Plague Year. Contributions are welcome from anyone involved in “big tent” librarianship, archives, or museums: if you work or volunteer in a library or archive or museum (currently or formerly), if you’re working towards a library degree, or are otherwise involved in library or GLAM-related work, we want to hear from you.

For additional details see http://lismentalhealth.org/reserve-and-renew-zine/. Deadline for submissions is December 31, 2020.

Upcoming Talks and Learning Opportunities:

November 12, 12:30pm EST: Breaking with Tradition: Creating Connections in the Archives with New Types of Access
Presented by Rachael Cristine Woody with Bridgett Kathryn Pride

Abstract: When the general public is introduced to the archives it’s often an intimidating experience. Our ceremony of white gloves, use of expensive boxes, and enforcement of heavily restricted collections access all serve to intimidate and dissuade new users. Whether we intend to or not, archivists are sending the message that they are the gatekeepers of the collection and only “serious business” can be conducted with the collections. So, how do we break that messaging down? How can we serve up the collections in a way that is not only inviting, but inspirational? Rachael Woody is teaming up with Bridgett Kathryn Pride to talk about breaking down archival barriers, empowering novice users, and creating points of access to collections through artful guidance.

Register: https://rachaelcristine.mykajabi.com/breaking-with-tradition-registration-page

November 18, 3pm EST/1pm MST: ADA Compliance Wins for Digital Library Spaces (InfoPeople)

In this webinar you will learn about web accessibility fundamentals for ADA compliance from a working specialist in the field. You will discover how to tie digital accessibility and ADA compliance in with other principles of design (UDL) to create the best and most seamless programming experience possible. Making your documents, presentations, and PDFs accessible online will set you up for further success, and it’s easier than you think.

For more information and to register, visit: https://infopeople.org/training/view/webinar

News and Articles:

COVID-19, Accessibility, and Libraries: A Call to Action,” by JJ Pionke in College and Research Libraries News, vol. 81, no. 8 (Sept 2020).

Other Items of Interest:

On October 12, the Digital Library Federation’s Digital Accessibility Working Group hosted a webinar led by Sina Bahram on “Inclusive Design and Accessible Exhibits: Some Guidance for Libraries, Galleries, and Museums.” The recording is available on the DLF YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pV-V3pttNDM.

“What We Don’t Have: Confronting the Absence of Diversity in University Archives” from Carnegie Mellon University. This online exhibit critically explores the silences in the university archives at CMU. As the exhibit notes, “With this exhibit, we aim to expose our work and explore the absences in the University Archives – the voices and experiences we know are missing. These are stories that people are looking for, and we are unable to tell. We recognize that these are not the only gaps in our collections, and we acknowledge that the gaps represent members of our community who have been silenced.”

The University of British Columbia’s Geography department is hosting a series of webinars titled “The Voices of Access and Disability in Higher Education.” The first two videos – Defining Access and Identifying Barriers and Opportunities for Change – are available to watch now on their YouTube channel.

If you have ideas for other blog series or posts, please let us know! Email us at adsectionblogSAA at gmail dot com. We hope to continue to learn and grow together.

October-November Resources!

Hello, everyone!

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month and several other disability awareness commemorations

Here is a brief list of upcoming free and low cost webinars:

DLF Accessibility Working Group’s free webinar “Inclusive Design and Accessible Exhibits: Some Guidance for Libraries, Galleries, and Museums” taught by Sina Bahram, October 12, 3-4:30 ET

Neurodiversity Rising: Eliminating Bias from Hiring” free virtual conference featuring speakers including Temple Grandin, Yuh-Line Niou, and Finn Gardiner, October 14, 1-3:30 ET

The Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) will be hosting two disability-focused webinars (scaled registration fees):

  • Disabilities Consciousness Raising
    Thursday, October 15th, 2020 from 12pm-1pm PST
  • Practical Applications for Disabilities Consciousness Raising (including Immediate Past Chair Lydia Tang as a panelist)
    Friday, October 16th, 2020 from 12pm-2pm PST

Stay tuned on their website for registration information!

The Library Accessibility Alliance has been putting on free webinars on accessibility:

The University of Maryland has created a host of webinars for this month. While the content is primarily oriented towards the UMD campus community, the webinars appear to be free and open to the public. Session topics include workforce recruitment, accessible courses and teaching, #BlackDisabledLivesMatter, Mental Health Awareness Week, IT accessibility, self-care, adaptive sports, disclosure and accommodations, disability rights, and disability stigma. Steering committee member Zachary Tumlin is a co-organizer and moderator for the October 5th event. 

The Starkloff Disability Institute is having a Workforce, Workplace Disability Summit series of free webinars every Wednesday this month:

Oct 7 – Accomodations and the Remote Workplace

Oct 14 – Creating a Culture of Inclusion

Oct 21 – Digital Accessibility: What HR Professionals Need to Know

Oct 28 – The Role Your D&I Team Plays During Crisis

We also want to acknowledge the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who was a champion of disability rights. May her memory be a revolution.

Do you know of other resources or news to share? Please feel free to share it or send it to us to amplify! adsectionblogSAA@gmail.com

Be well,

Lydia Tang

~ on behalf of the Accessibility & Disability Section Steering Committee

ADS Year One Retrospective

Comments from the outgoing chair, Lydia Tang, at the Accessibility & Disability Section’s first annual meeting, July 30th, 2020. See the notes from the annual meeting for more information.

Nearly a year ago at SAA, I heard that the Accessibility & Disability Section was approved by the Society of American Archivists’ Council, and today we are together here celebrating our first year!

This section has been the kernel of dreams for several years. When the first Archives Management and Records Management Joint Task Force on Accessibility submitted their initial Best Practices in 2008, they recognized that it wasn’t enough to assemble best practices and put it on a shelf. Accessibility is ever evolving and the concept of disability representation – that people with disabilities are not only your patrons but your peers – was still a “new” concept.

It took 10 years to assemble a Task Force to Revise these best practices, and when I joined in March 2018 as a last-minute scrappy walk-on, I wrote to the co-chairs and said that I wanted to create a section on accessibility. 

After the Best Practices were revised and submitted, I convened a Section Visioning committee to help build the SAA Council proposal which included the following individuals: Gracen Brilmyer, Steven Gentry, Eric Hung, Nicole Joniec, Helice Koffler, Anna Kresmer, Charity Park, Blake Relle, Amy San Antonio, Jamie Seemiller, Lindy Smith, London Stever, Phillip Stone, Chris Tanguay, Lauren White, and Carol Wilson.

The initial petition to establish this section received the minimum 100 signatures in less than 24-hours, by the time of submission at the end of the week to nearly 300 signatures. In this initial planning team, we grappled with the vision, scope, and name of the section:

  • Disability Rights
  • Accessibility of spaces, technologies and services
  • Disability in the historical record
  • Accessibility, inclusion, and empowerment for archivists with disabilities – I don’t think there is another professional LIS organization that actually has disability representation of peers, not only patrons. 
  • It’s all there… or can be.

“Accessibility & Disability” is two sides of a coin and hopefully leaves the door open to address everything. Disability must be represented and embraced and accessibility must be constantly present and continuously innovated. 

It took a some back and forth with Council to make this section happen – there are already a staggering number of existing sections for the organization to sustain. When the word came out that Council had finally approved the section at SAA last year, I was thrilled and… completely overcommitted. I knew that I needed someone with tremendous energy and drive to get this section off the group and the obvious choice to me was Michelle Ganz to be the founding co-chair. As a member of the original 2008 Joint Task Force and someone I knew from past experiences to be tirelessly passionate about disability representation, accessibility, and who knows how to get a job done, it has been my absolute pleasure to share the leadership with her this year. 

The initial steering committee was a 12-person dream team tasked with the daunting role of establishing a section from the ground up. Over the course of the first year the committee was able to: 

  • Establish bylaws
  • Establish and populate a blog
  • Create numerous resource guides including the widely distributed Archivists at Home document and inclusive interviewing and recruitment document
  • Advised Annual meeting planners on providing captioning for section meetings
  • Provided feedback and suggested changes to SAA Education re: webinars and workshops
  • This section has also been an incubator to other great projects spearheaded by members of ADS leadership, such as the Archival Workers Emergency Fund.
  • Laid the administrative foundation to sustain the Section in the future. 

Our efforts were recognized this year by a Council Resolution, which solidly affirms our integral role within the archival profession.

I’d like to thank the following ADS leaders who are rotating off who all contributed to this banner first year: Jade Finlinson, Cheryl Oestreicher, and Sara White.

I’d also like to congratulate and welcome the following new and rising members of the ADS leadership:

Vice Chair: Jessica Chapel

Steering Committee Members: Ingi House, Bridget Malley, Emily Mathay, Zachary Tumlin

 Early Career Member: Brad Ferrier

It has been a profound honor to work with you all to establish this section. In this coming year, I will be stepping back into the role of Immediate Past Chair and Michelle Ganz will continue on as the Chair. 

Congratulations on a great first year! Looking forward to everything ahead!

Lydia Tang

Immediate Past Chair, Accessibility & Disability Section

July Updates

Happy Disability Pride Month and happy 30th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act!

Register to join the Accessibility & Disability Section for our first SAA annual meeting on Thursday, July 30th, 1-2:15 CT! This meeting is open to everyone, not only SAA registered attendees, and will be recorded. We are pleased to feature the following presentations:

  • Nicole Joniec: Universally Designing for Accommodation: Accessibility at the Science History Institute
  • Tyler Stump: Collecting Intellectual Disability Records in a Time of Deinstitutionalization

Following the presentations, we will hold a brainstorming session to identify section goals for this coming year. We look forward to seeing you there!

For SAA attendees, be sure to check out Archivists with Disabilities, Friday, August 7, 2:30-3:15pm CT, which features presenters Veronica Denison, Ann Abney, Michelle Ganz, and Chris Tanguay!

Learn more about disability and accessibility in new and recently released resources:


Not a member of the Accessibility & Disability Section yet? Join us in SAA Connect!