Category Archives: Accessibility & Usability

We need YOU! Why Artists Should Make SOME of their Art Free (especially for #GraphicMedicine) #GM2019

Updated July 16, 2019, with livestream info, in-page section links, added a couple content links, corrected a couple typos.


Your Wikimania Needs You
File:Your Wikimania needs you!.jpg by John Cummings https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Your_Wikimania_needs_you!.jpg

Trust me, your Wikimania really DOES need you! And that’s what this post is about. I’m here to persuade you that it is worth it to YOU (and to the whole Graphic Medicine community) for artists and creators working in this space to share just one or two representative images of their work. Given that this is not happening right now, I’m sure the immediate reaction is something along the lines of, “Gee, I’d really like to, but, I just can’t.”, “I don’t get how this works, and I’m afraid if I start, people will take advantage of all of my work!” or, “OMG, NO WAY! If I do that, how will I EVER make any money?!? You don’t expect me to work for free, do you?!” Of course, not! This is actually about marketing and helping to draw increased attention to the entire field, which is something that will pay off for everyone. Here’s what I’m thinking. I’m drafting this out as a kind of an FAQ, based on questions that have come up in conversations I’ve been having about this.

QUESTIONS

ANSWERS

Why do I actually need Wikipedia to mention my work?

You’ve noticed when you do a search on just about anything, how in the top five results there is almost always a Wikipedia link? Yeah, that’s why. Also, this.

“Wikipedia averages more than 18 billion page views per month, making it one of the most visited websites in the world, according to Alexa.com, a Web tracking company owned by Amazon.” (Pew Internet, 2015)

If you want people to see your work, to find your work, to buy your work, it really helps if you show up in search results. The top fifteen most visited and most popular websites in 2019, according to SimilarWeb, are Google, YouTube, Facebook, Amazon, Yahoo, [three porn sites], Twitter, Instagram, eBay, Reddit, Wikipedia, Bing, and Craigslist. You are probably already putting some of your content in some of these places, but that doesn’t mean it’s easily found. For comics (and by extension, graphic medicine content), YouTube isn’t the easiest way to show off what you’ve done. YouTube is the #2 search engine on the planet, and a great tool for reaching an audience, but making a video of a comic can be tricky. It’s not easy to search and find content in social media, and Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram seems sometimes to make it difficult on purpose. I could go on at length, but the short version is that Wikipedia is heavily used, and it feeds directly into Google, which is the #1 search engine on the planet. It’s a great way to be found.


So can’t I just make my own Wikipedia page, and put what I want on it?

No. No, you can’t. If you try, they will take it down. Why? Because YOU ARE BIASED about yourself. Go figure. Wikipedia has this policy about neutral content, and they take this extremely seriously.

That’s for you, but it matters also to Graphic Medicine as a field. If you are a big name in the Graphic Medicine field, you probably shouldn’t be editing content about graphic medicine for that same reason. You know all the answers, but you may insert bias into what is supposed to be neutral content.

Here are some tips from marketers (with DOs and DON’Ts) on how to not mess up using Wikipedia for promoting your content.

5 Things to Know Before Using Wikipedia as a Marketing Tool

How to Use Your Wikipedia Page as a Marketing Tool


Surely there’s plenty of graphic medicine stuff in Wikipedia already, right?

If you look in Wikipedia for content around graphic medicine, there’s some. Not a lot. What there is tends to be a little light on content. It’s kind of embarrassing, actually. I mean, how many international conferences have we had? If you look at Wikipedia, you really are going to have trouble telling that Graphic Medicine is a “thing,” that it’s important. We know it is, but how do we show the world that it is?

There’s a few of us who’ve been working hard to try to improve the Wikipedia content around the field of graphic medicine. This involves collaborations, finding partners, learning new skills, and spending time actually doing Wikipedia work. It means helping other people with their projects, and asking them to help with ours. It means proving that you understand Wikipedia’s editing rules and will follow them. It’s work. It’s not easy work. It’s not fast. We can’t do it without your help.

If you look at what graphic medicine content is in Wikipedia, you’ll find very VERY few pictures. Now, explain to me how we show people what our comics are about WITHOUT USING PICTURES? Aren’t pictures kind of the point in graphic medicine?


Why can’t Wikipedia just use my book covers from Amazon?

I wish. That would sure make life easier in some ways. I could just say that Wikipedia has rules saying we can’t do this (which is true), but it isn’t that simple. You see, they have the rules for very good reasons. Wikipedia is truly global resource, and intellectual property laws vary around the world. Even if the law here in the United States (where I am) said it would be fair use to use a picture of the book cover, that doesn’t mean the same is true in other countries.

Wikipedia has very good reasons why they make it a policy to try as hard as possible to only use images with public domain or Creative Commons licensing. Those images are legally safe to use in any country, anywhere around the world. So, your book covers on the publisher’s website? Those might be fair use, maybe, but in general, the idea is let’s not test that if we can avoid it. What they want most for images used in Wikipedia articles are those public domain and Creative Commons images.

“Because we want free content, ideally all images uploaded would be free for everyone, and therefore would be acceptable on our sister project, Wikimedia Commons. Images submitted to Commons are used the same way as images uploaded locally to Wikipedia and are automatically available on Wikipedia—as well as on hundreds of other Wikis run by the Wikimedia Foundation. If you have an image that meets our copyright requirements, please upload it to Commons.” Ten things you may not know about images on Wikipedia


Wikimedia Commons? What’s that? Are their rules different from Wikipedia’s?

What is this Wikimedia Commons? Just the most awesome databank of public domain and Creative Commons images in my experience, with full provenance for each image, sources, detailed information on how to cite that specific image, what kind of credit and attribution you need to provide, what limits are placed on what you can do with that image, and all that good stuff. They also provide images in multiple resolutions, sizes, and sometimes formats. Not just images either, but other kinds of media as well. But images you can find and use in your own art work isn’t why we’re here. Back on topic.

Yes, Wikimedia Commons has their own rules about what images are allowed, just like Wikipedia does. Here are Wikipedia’s rules and their style guide.

For the Commons, the short short version is that it’s okay to add either images you created or photographed yourself or images that are over 75-100 years old, with the extra guidelines that if the image is a photograph of a person, they expect you to get the permission of that person. More on that in a minute. Those are the rules for the images that are straightforward and likely to be legal for anywhere in the world, preferred images. There are grey areas in the rules for things that are sometimes okay (eg. low resolution versions of book covers), and there are types of images they really don’t want (eg. fair use). For the full details on what’s allowed and what isn’t, check the link to their rules. The most important bit to remember is you can upload your own images and decide the permissions for use.


Aren’t there other pictures you can use? You don’t really need mine, do you?

Nope, we really, really, REALLY need your help! Only YOU can share your images, and without examples of your images, how can Wikipedia editors say wonderful things about your work? I have personally searched through THOUSANDS of images in Wikimedia Commons looking for examples that we could use in some of the Graphic Medicine articles on Wikipedia. I found nine. Nine that might qualify. All of them are public domain, and all of them except four were created roughly 70 or more years before the phrase “graphic medicine” became a gleam in Ian‘s eye. Three of those are military, and one is only very superficially related.

Here, I’ll show you. All nine. Whoohoo!

First, here’s the first one that we could use. Wikimedia Commons includes the cover of “The Docs (2010),” publicized as Graphic Novel Helps Corpsmen Cope with Combat-related Stress.

The Docs, a graphic novel by the Naval Health Research Center.

Here’s the second relatively contemporary graphic medicine type of image, also from the US military (this time the Army), highlighting the adventures of “Captain Condom and Lady Latex” in a 1991 era educational comic to help prevent the spread of AIDS.

Shows two streetwise African-American superheroes protecting young men and women from militaristic villains.

Less contemporary (1966), we have a full page from the comic, “A Medal For Bowser,” illustrating the value of animals for research.

Full page from A MEDAL FOR BOWZER.

I’m going to go fast with the others, and just give you small versions of them, but I think you’ll get the idea. These pieces are more of a stretch, as far as being useful for communicating what’s going on in the world of graphic medicine now.

Woman in lab coat recommends self-amputation to a paitent. Cectic (2008)

Comic pokes fun at patent medicinesJudge Rummy (1926)

Jack Benny portrays a doctor selling patent medicines to the unwary.
Medicine Man (1930)

Alien jots notes about the experience of a bedridden human man. Mr Skygack (1907)

Two ladies feel better after soaking their feet in a purchased remedy for corns.Orator Woodward (1900)

A four frame illustration showing the delights and inappropriate humors of laughing gas. Laughing Gas (1800s)

There you go! That’s the visual world of graphic medicine according to Wikimedia Commons! (Unless we help change it.)


We’re only talking about pictures of my art, right? Not pictures of me?

That depends. Are you someone who might someday appear in a Wikipedia article? Yes? Then you might want to consider how you’d like to appear there. Here are the images used for two very influential graphic medicine artists and storytellers, Ellen Forney and Lucy Knisley.

Ellen ForneyLucy Knisley


You keep taking about “Public Domain” images and “Creative Commons” images. What’s the difference?

I’m over simplifying again, but public domain means anyone anywhere can do anything they want with an image. They can cut it, crop it, redraw it, recolor it, convert it into 3d, blend it with other images, make a collage, make a statue, snip out a tiny part and zoom into the details, ANYTHING. Creative Commons does NOT give people full rights to do anything. Creative Commons image licenses have several different types of license, and you get to make these choices. Here are some links to help describe better than I can what some of the issues are, and how making some images Creative Commons can be a brilliant idea, how it can help you as an artist, and how it makes it possible for you to help others.

What you didn’t know about Creative Commons: Creative Commons provides artists with access and raw materials. Big companies benefit too.

“No tool is better than the people”: CC artists in conversation on Collaboration, Community, and the Commons

Jomo Thompson: Is Creative Commons Good for Artists?

Why should I use a Creative Commons License?

How can artists who license their work under Creative Commons make money from their work?


If I make some images available for Wikipedia, what does that mean? Do I have any control over them?

This depends on what license you choose. Creative Commons, the organization, has helpful tools to support you choosing the right license for you, making a decision you are comfortable with. I’m guessing most published graphic medicine artists would want a license that tells people you have to use their name and give them credit for using their images. If you are making an image free, you might want to say that other people can’t use it for anything they sell, or that they can’t modify it at all. There are good reasons to say they can change, and good reasons to say they can’t. That’s a whole other blogpost (or a dozen).


What if someone decides to use the images for something else? Who else can use them, and how?

The short version is that once you make an image Creative Commons, ANYONE can use it. What you control is HOW they use it.

There are some licenses people choose that do say other people can not only use the image, but can change it. Of course, you want people to be able to talk about you and your work in Wikipedia. Having images there also means academics, teachers, scholars, researchers can write and teach about your work and publish about your work without having to get image rights for those images. Teachers can use the images in class, as examples for students, or integrate them in assignments. Other artists might include them in a collage or montage, or might do Andy Warhol-style mashups and manipulations. You can set limits on how far this goes. The most restrictive licenses say the image has to be used exactly as it was provided with no changes, and giving you all the credit each time it is used. They aren’t giving you money, but that’s the only thing they aren’t giving you. The most liberal licenses give people permission to mix and match and mash and generally use your image as a stepping stone to inspire new creativity. And there’s a lot of subtle steps in-between these two extremes.


Are there strategies for sharing images that can protect my copyrighted works and still get something in Wikipedia?

You betcha, but it might mean getting permission from your publisher (or employer, if it was a work for hire). This will depend on any contracts you might have with them, and what rights you’ve given to them. FYI, giving a publisher the rights to a work often means you no longer have those rights. It seems obvious when you say it like that, but it isn’t always obvious to creators that the pictures they drew no longer belong to them.

So, Wikipedia will only take small thumbnails of your book covers. If your publisher wants to have anything higher resolution show up there, you need their help. Another idea is to put in Wikimedia not the final version of an important image but an earlier sketch. You can redraw a scene more simply, or take a small excerpt from a large sketch. The idea is to make the picture different in some significant way from what was copyrighted, and to make this distinction. Of course, you can always use images that didn’t end up being included in the final work, or drawing something new.

If you are considering using an image that’s well known, be sure to check with a lawyer or your publisher/employer to make sure they are okay with your plans and the images you chose. Using a new image means you don’t need anyone else’s permission.

More Questions?

Do you have questions or concerns that I missed? That’s awesome! Add them in the comments or come next Saturday, July 20th, 2019, to an online AMA (Ask Me Anything) at noon Eastern Time. I’ll add the link here once I get the stream set up. Here’s the connection info!

To join the meeting on a computer or mobile phone: https://bluejeans.com/553249603

Connecting directly from a room system?

1.) Dial:
– 1-734-763-1841
– 199.48.152.152 or bjn.vc
2.) Enter the Meeting ID: 553249603

Just want to dial in?

1.) Dial:
+1 734 763 1841 (Last 5 digits from campus)
(US or Canada only)
+1.888.240.2560
International Callers (http://bluejeans.com/numbers)
2.) Enter the Meeting ID: 553249603

Want to test your video connection?
https://bluejeans.com/111

Roundup: On Accessible & Inclusive Conferences & Meetings

Accessible? Twist handle, then pull

I just returned from the annual meeting for the Medical Library Association, where multiple discussions arose around what would it look like to expand what is done to make the conference both accessible and inclusive. [Yes, the image at the head of this post is an actual photo from the actual meeting.] Just a couple weeks before that I was privileged to attend “Cripping” the Comic Con 2019 which was, by FAR, a truly exemplary model for how to create an inclusive event. (I’m hoping to write a second post about what blew my mind so much about CripCon!) Pretty much the same topic also arose in one of my Facebook groups, Teaching Disability Studies, where several of the resources mentioned here where shared.

Since my organization (UofM) has done some work in creating resources around this, and since I was on the original committee that created our resource, I volunteered to share that resource with MLA and put together a collection of selected resources related to this topic. The resources collected here are organized alphabetically within section (resources, readings) by either the author or providing organization. Organizations represented in the post include:
– ABA (American Bar Association)
– ACM SIGACCESS
– ADA National Network
– ASAN (Autism Self Advocacy Network)
– New York State
– Ohio State University
– Syracuse University
– University of Arizona
– University of British Columbia
– University of Michigan
– Vera Institute of Justice

RESOURCES

ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice. Planning Accessible Meetings and Events, a Toolkit https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/mental_physical_disability/Accessible_Meetings_Toolkit.authcheckdam.pdf

You want to know what the lawyers think about what you should do? Well, start here. This 22 page PDF provides a number of thoughtful strategies to promote accessibility and inclusion in events, from working with attendees and presenters in an interactive way to plan the best possible event to post-event surveys designed to elicit information on accessibility improvements needed for future events. I’ve been working in disability spaces and communities most of my life, and they had suggestions that were new to me. I have some more work to do. This one is a must read.

ACM SIGACCESS. Accessible Conference Guide. https://www.sigaccess.org/welcome-to-sigaccess/resources/accessible-conference-guide/

It’s a bit amazing to me how each of these guides has something wonderful and necessary that I missed seeing or which wasn’t included in the other guides. This one includes discussions around making events safe for people with migraines, having drinking straws available, and where can a service dog relieve themselves with causing problems for the event. They point out that simply asking for a sign language translator doesn’t tell you which version of sign language the viewer needs, since there are regional and country variations which can be quite significant. They include example draft language for eliciting accommodation requests from attendees, registration, formatting your promotion material PDFs accessibly, and having a triage plan in case problems arise. This document is updated regularly, and this newest version was just updated a few weeks ago (April 2019). Note that they also have an Accessible Writing Guide and an Accessible Presentation Guide. Must read.

ADA National Network. A Planning Guide for Making Temporary Events Accessible to People With Disabilities. https://adata.org/publication/temporary-events-guide

Okay, this thing has chapters. I mean, CHAPTERS. That tells you something. In some ways, it’s almost too detailed. However, it also focuses almost exclusively on physical factors (venue, parking, toilets) and has very little on the interaction or experience. While this is highly detailed, the intended audience seems to be focused on government or community event planners, and not for professional events or conferences. This is more of a basic introduction to what is involved, and is intended for broad audiences. Also available as a 61 page PDF and a 119 page large print PDF.

ASAN: Planning Accessible and Inclusive Organizing Trainings: Strategies for Decreasing Barriers to Participation for People with I/DD https://autisticadvocacy.org/resources/accessibility/ PDF: https://autisticadvocacy.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/White-Paper-Planning-Accessible-and-Inclusive-Organizing-Trainings.pdf

While several of the other resources listed here focus primarily on physical barriers to inclusion, this document is absolutely essential for those with sensory integration concerns or learning disabilities. It explains and describes the impacts of such factors as loud or unpredictable noise, motion, and other stimuli; unpredictable events; abstract or overly-complex language; speaking spontaneously (or putting people in situations where they are expected to improvise their reactions); body language; touch; and much more. It includes information on scheduling that describes the need for breaks, use of plain language content, color communication badges, and the risks to the audience of some popular presentation engagement strategies. This is the only of the resources listed here to richly describe the role of support persons in events. I doubt it would be possible to plan an inclusive event sensitive to any of these issues without, at a minimum, reading a document like this one, or being close to someone who shares these issues and concerns. A must read.

New York State, Department of Health: People First: How To Plan Events Everyone Can Attend https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/0956/

This is a lovely document which includes both high level thinking around accessible events as well as fairly detailed specifics. This is one of few of these types of resources that spends time on the importance of developing a formal policy with specifications for events, and has suggestions for approaching the development of a policy if your organization lacks one. It includes nitty-gritty suggestions, such as “Plan for 30% more meeting space when 10% or more of the participants will use mobility aids,” having ramps to the stages, and how to look for tripping hazards. Absolutely a must read. Also available as a 13-page PDF.

Ohio State University: Composing Access, An invitation to creating accessible events https://u.osu.edu/composingaccess/

Includes information on making accessible presentations, including live-streaming and handouts (when, why, and how), as well as the expected accessibility thoughts and practices for conference organizers. Includes resources; ways to encourage attendees to act as advocates for accessibility and inclusion; descriptions and videos for creative practices like interaction badges, quiet rooms, “crip time,” and more.

Syracuse University: A Guide to Planning Inclusive Events, Seminars, and Activities at Syracuse University http://sudcc.syr.edu/resources/event-guide.html

Available only as a 27 page accessible PDF. This exceptionally detailed resource is far too rich a resource to do justice to in a brief description. Syracuse is the home of Cripping the Comic Con, and it is clear that they have really put considerable time and thought into not only conceptualizing accessible events, but putting this into practice, seeking feedback, and learning from experience. It has four appendices, of which the most essential, to my mind, is Diane Wiener’s example introduction in Appendix B. In addition to the usual content (planning, venue, promotion, and presentation) this guide includes prudent practices for inclusive use of language, use of images and media, the role of environment (fragrance, sound/noise, lights, color), and much more. This is my own preferred go-to guide for starting with this. I guess that means I should mark it a must read, too.

University of Arizona: A Guide to Planning Accessible and Inclusive Events https://drc.arizona.edu/planning-events/guide-planning-accessible-and-inclusive-events

A short example of how to write a resource like this for a campus community. Includes a brief but helpful section on how to train event support staff.

University of British Columbia: Checklist for Accessible Event Planning https://equity.ok.ubc.ca/resources/checklist-for-accessible-event-planning/

Exactly what it says — a collection of terse reminders of what should be remembered. Includes roughly 60 entries in 7 categories (planning, marketing, transportation, space, programming, catering, final). Available as a 9 page PDF download.

University of Michigan: Ten Tips for Inclusive Meetings https://hr.umich.edu/working-u-m/workplace-improvement/office-institutional-equity/americans-disabilities-act-information/ten-tips-inclusive-meetings

This information in this resource is presented in a layered fashion for ease of access, action, and remembering, similar to the UBC checklist. The ten tips are very short, focusing on major areas to consider, but include links to richer information for those willing to explore more deeply. The design stresses retention and adoption of the concepts by making them easy to access and simple to remember. Main areas included are scheduling, accessible presentations, promotion, restrooms, food and drink, personal assistance, offsite participation, representation, transportation and navigation, and options for help for event planning and management.

Vera Institute for Justice: Designing Accessible Events for People with Disabilities and Deaf Individuals https://www.vera.org/publications/designing-accessible-events-for-people-with-disabilities-and-deaf-individuals

This isn’t a guide or a checklist. This is a toolkit, and boy, does it have a lot of different tools. They have several different tip sheets focusing on special aspects of meetings and events, from registration to budgeting, and including venues and how the meeting itself is handled. They even have a tip sheet for working with Sign Language Interpreters, and how to develop successful contracts with hotel management (which sounds worth its weight in gold). These aren’t one page tip sheets, though. The tip sheet for designing accessible registration is 7 page long. That’s a lot of tips. These are so well done that countless other disability organizations host copies on their own websites and recommend them for their own audiences and clients. These are another must read.

Additional resources & examples

ACS-ALA, Accessibility and Libraries, October 4, 2017. Rough edited CART copy (Webinar transcript). https://docs.google.com/document/d/1JIVc5-QcvBb74AitQXrnFfHReYk6nnKez3gR33llHvU/edit

ALA Annual: Accessibility https://2019.alaannual.org/general-information/accessibility

Inclusion BC: How-to Make Your Event More Inclusive https://inclusionbc.org/our-resources/how-to-make-your-event-more-inclusive-2/ PDF: https://inclusionbc.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Makeyoureventinclusive.pdf

NCCSD Clearinghouse and Resource Library: Inclusive Event Planning https://www.nccsdclearinghouse.org/inclusive-event-planning.html

WorldCon 76: https://www.worldcon76.org/member-services/accessibility

TO READ

This is a twitter thread from a few weeks back that “won Twitter,” as in it went viral, with 144 replies, 294 Retweets, and 1,562 Likes. It began with Alex Haagaard’s mention of their own accommodation requests at conferences, and resulted in a highly educational thread of accommodations people need or wish they could request at conferences. I recommend reading this thread for any conference planners or organizers.

MORE

“If part of what we train our students to do is enter into scholarly conversations, how we go about that conversation in our own professional settings matters.”
Accessibility at ASECS and Beyond: A Guest Post by Dr. Jason Farr and Dr. Travis Chi Wing Lau https://asecsgradcaucus.wordpress.com/2019/02/21/accessibility-at-asecs-and-beyond-a-guest-post-by-dr-jason-farr-and-dr-travis-chi-wing-lau/
Includes: “Toward a More Accessible Conference Presentation” https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xzGyfVlMRUwZMjuZ6mef87OXCIfN3uiW/view

“Use the microphone: this gets repeated dozens of times on Twitter every conference for at least the last five years. I guess I’ll just say: yes, abled people, using a microphone indicates that you are considerate of D/deaf and hard-of-hearing folks, and suggesting that others do is beneficial to the audience.”
S. Bryce Kozla. Accessibility and Conference Presentations https://brycekozlablog.blogspot.com/2018/01/accessibility-and-conference.html

“But I believe that losing my hearing was one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received. You see, I get to experience the world in a unique way. And I believe that these unique experiences that people with disabilities have is what’s going to help us make and design a better world for everyone — both for people with and without disabilities. … I stumbled upon a solution that I believe may be an even more powerful tool to solve some of the world’s greatest problems, disability or not. And that tool is called design thinking.”
When we design for disability, we all benefit | Elise Roy https://www.ted.com/talks/elise_roy_when_we_design_for_disability_we_all_benefit?language=en

On Plastic, Straws, Food, Climate, and Culture — Impacts of Technology Change on Individuals and Communities

Seeking a Middle Ground Between #WarOnWaste and Accessibility (#a11y / #SpoonieLife)

This is not a new topic. We know plastic is bad. Bad for us, bad for animals. Bad for the environment. And then there is the whole deal with the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, comprised primarily of plastic waste. So, bad. However, we’ve spent a couple generations now creating a culture that revolves around bad things like plastic and gasoline, and more. You can’t turn it over in a heartbeat. Because we know it’s bad, we want to fix it RIGHT NOW, but if we try to do that we really need to ask who is going to be impacted and how. This is part of how we need to be thinking about bringing in new technologies, and about replacing old technologies, and the whole spectrum of what are we doing with tech.

If we get rid of plastic straws (as some cities and even countries are doing, along with other single use plastics), who does it help, how does it help them, does anyone get hurt, again how, what are the alternatives, … we need to ask all these questions. We also need to ask what arrangements or substitutions are being put in place BEFORE the change is made, and what are the low hanging fruit with the biggest impact that we should be targeting first. I’m not sure these questions are being asked. It turns out that getting rid of plastic straws has a really big impact on the quality of life and the safety of people with a variety of disabilities. Here’s a wonderful infographic that is getting a lot praise on Twitter.

There are a lot of people who tweet about plastic waste, and the hot new hashtag for this is #WarOnWaste. Several people I know, including several with disabilities, have been responding to these. One in particular has been getting attention lately, a tweet by Elysse Morgan, an Australian news anchor.

I did not read through all the replies to her tweet, which has kind of gone viral in a bad way, but I read a lot of them. They bring up so many issues about how pre-cut foods help to prevent food waste and empower people with disabilities broadly, people in food deserts, amputees, single parents, the elderly, those with fine motor control, reduced upper limb strength, and on and on. A great many issues were brought up, a great many personal stories were told. I collected several of these in a Wakelet collection (Wakelet is the best replacement I’ve found for Storify, but that’s a different blogpost). Here they are if you’d like to scan through them.

Endorsement/Response

Seeking a Middle Ground Between #WarOnWaste and Accessibility (#a11y / #SpoonieLife)

Keeping Busy, the June Edition

I’ve been a tad overwhelmed for months now — major events, presentations, travel, etc. Lots of stuff to share, but as a quick overview, here are just a few of the Storify collections from recent events I livetweeted or attended or collected online. (I will be doing more blogposts on specific LARGE events for which I did several Storify, like the MLA Annual Meeting, or the Comics & Medicine Conference, or … and then also others from earlier this year). WordPress doesn’t like people to embed Storify links directly into the blogpost, so for each entry, I’ve embedded a tweet that has an embedded link to the Storify. This means, the easiest way to get to the good stuff is to click through.

June 7, 2017

The “Strategies to Empower Women” Symposium aims to close the historic gap that leaves females consistently behind their male counterparts in salaries, grant awards and opportunities for advancement. It was a really powerful event, and I was sad to miss the beginning of it. Making a Storify helped me find and read some of the early comments, even if I didn’t actually get to see the presenters.

“Strategies to Empower Women to Achieve Academic Success”

June 21, 2017

You need to look backwards to look forwards. You need that context of what happened and what worked and what failed to help inspire you to do something truly innovative. I was really delighted to hear Barbara MacAdam describe some of the evolution of library innovation on our campus through the lens of her own personal experiences.

“Barbara MacAdam on Library & Intellectual History at #UofM #UMich200”

June 24, 2017

Great Twitter conversation sponsored by the Journal of the American College of Radiologists on the topic of what is burnout among physicians and other healthcare workers, what does it look like, what do you do?

“Physician Burnout – #JACR June 2017 Chat”

June 26, 2017, AM

The Emergent Research series rarely has presenters from within the library, and rarely presenters who are not actually presenting research or data. In this case, the time slot was used to present really mission critical skills for researchers, faculty, and staff who work with data or concepts that should maybe not be completely public all the time to the whole world. They cast the conceptual net broadly, because, well, frankly speaking, these skills apply to everyone at the University, sooner or later.

“Digital Self-Defense (#MLibRes)”

June 26, 2017, PM

“The Evolving Bargain Between Research Universities and Society”

Accessibility through Social Media for Libraries 101

Just a quick collection of resources I find helpful in using social media to create better and broader access (and accessibility) for library events and more.

ACCESSIBILITY

There are many ways of interpreting the word “access.” The ones I encounter most often are 1) access (as in this thing exists somewhere I can find it or get hands on it, which I think of as ‘discoverability’) and accessibility (as in I can use this, even if I’m a person with a disability, whether my functional difference is visible or invisible).

Golden rules of social media accessibility: http://www.danya.com/files/sma_poster.pdf

Accessibility Hub: Social Media Accessibility – Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube: http://www.queensu.ca/accessibility/how-info/social-media-accessibility

Social Media for People with a Disability: https://mediaaccess.org.au/web/social-media-for-people-with-a-disability

SSB Bart Group: Accessibility in Social Media: http://www.ssbbartgroup.com/blog/accessible-social-media/

ePolicyWorks: 5 Things: https://www.epolicyworks.org/epw/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/ePolicyWorks_SocialMediaAccessibilityTips.pdf

District of Columbia: Office of Disability Rights: Technical Assistance Manual: Section 508: Website and Social Media Accessibility: https://odr.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/odr/publication/attachments/Web%20and%20Social%20Media%20AccessibilityTechnical%20Assistance%20Manual.docx

Accessibility U: Accessible Social Media: http://accessibility.umn.edu/tutorials/accessible-social-media

Global Disability Rights Now: Creating Accessible Social Media Campaigns: http://www.globaldisabilityrightsnow.org/sites/default/files/related-files/243/Social%20media%20and%20accessibility.pdf
[comment: I find it super ironic that a site on disability rights is providing accessibility content as a PDF.]

LIBRARY EXAMPLES & ARTICLES

Use of social media by the library, current practices and future opportunities: A white paper from Taylor & Francis: http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/access/white-paper-social-media.pdf

University of Virginia: Library: Legal Information about Media Accessibility: http://www.library.virginia.edu/services/accessibility-services/media-accessibility-resources/legal-information-about-media-accessibility/

Social Media and the Science Library: How It Really Works: http://www.rsc.org/globalassets/14-campaigns/m/lc/lc16026/royal-society-of-chemistry-social-media-ebook.pdf

#FridayReads: Library and campus engagement through social media: https://link.highedweb.org/2017/02/fridayreads-library-and-campus-engagement-through-social-media/

TOOLS

One of the benefits of social media is that it makes content more readily discoverable by a broader audience in time and space. One of the drawbacks is that many social media platforms aren’t easy to use by people with various disabilities. This is just a tiny sampling of some of the information or tools that might help with some parts of that, although not others.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/
– Facebook Accessibility: https://www.facebook.com/accessibility/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/
– Easy Chirp: http://www.easychirp.com/

Lanyrd: http://lanyrd.com/

Storify: https://storify.com/

SOCIAL MEDIA POLICIES

If you don’t have a social media policy, you will probably live to regret it. Here are some examples.

Why Have a Social Media Policy for Your University Library? http://www.proquest.com/blog/2013/why-have-a-social-media-policy-for-your-university-library.html

Creating a Social Media Policy: What We Did, What We Learned: http://www.infotoday.com/mls/mar13/Breed–Creating-a-Social-Media-Policy.shtml

Example social media policies from libraries

Cleveland Public Library: https://cpl.org/thelibrary/usingthelibrary/policy-on-the-use-of-cpls-social-media-sites/
Monroe County Public Library: https://mcpl.info/geninfo/social-media-policy
Plum Creek Library: http://www.plumcreeklibrary.org/jackson/Docs/social%20media%20policy.pdf
TAZEWELL COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY: https://tcplweb.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2015/03/TCPL-Social-Media-Policy.pdf
Thomas Crane Library: http://thomascranelibrary.org/sites/default/files/Social%20Media%20Policy.pdf
UNC University Library: http://blogs.lib.unc.edu/news/index.php/social-media-policy-for-library-employees/
Washington State University Libraries: http://www.wsulibs.wsu.edu/policies/social-media

GUIDELINES ETC.

Where to start first

Federal Social Media Accessibility Toolkit https://hackpad.com/Federal-Social-Media-Accessibility-Toolkit-xWKKBxzGubh

Federal Social Media Accessibility Toolkit Hackpad: Improving the Accessibility of Social Media for Public Service https://www.digitalgov.gov/resources/federal-social-media-accessibility-toolkit-hackpad/

More resources

Section 508: Create Accessible Video and Social Media https://www.section508.gov/content/build/create-accessible-video-social

Media Access Australia: Social Media for People with a Disability: https://mediaaccess.org.au/web/social-media-for-people-with-a-disability

Improving the Accessibility of Social Media in Government: https://www.digitalgov.gov/resources/improving-the-accessibility-of-social-media-in-government/

Social Media and Accessibility: Resources to Know:
https://www.digitalgov.gov/2015/01/02/social-media-and-accessibility-resources-to-know/

Visual Abstracts — Thoughts from a Medical Librarian

Visual Abstracts (Screenshot)

You might be interested in this initiative arising out of surgery, and primarily developed by Andrew M. Ibrahim MD, MSc of the University of Michigan. Dr. Ibrahim is a Clinical Lecturer in Surgery here and a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at the Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation. His idea of a visual abstract is kind of a blend of visual literacies, infographics, posters, and science abstracts.

In surgery, this is being adopted as a new strategy for creating journal article abstracts. It is being mentioned by the Annals of Surgery, Cochrane Collaboration, Journal of the American College of Surgeons (JACS), and the World Journal of Surgery, among others.

It lends itself to plain language explanations of concepts, clarity for funding agencies and policy makers, and as a tool for public outreach and education. The visual abstract may be more accessible to folk with cognitive or learning disabilities, while being less accessible to those with visual disabilities. There are powerful benefits, especially in this era of publicly contested science findings, as well as some significant drawbacks if we were to depend on the visual abstract to replace written abstracts. Another challenge is that it isn’t actually searchable in databases, and the issue of how to include and discover visual abstracts in MEDLINE remains to be addressed by the National Library of Medicine. Personally, I’m not sure that it replaces the full functionality of the traditional abstract, but rather supplements it, which I suspect is the intent. Offering both strongly empowers science communicators and educators, especially if the images are licensed to promote use and dissemination. It would be ideal if the standard of practice for visual abstracts would be to make them Creative Commons licensed.

Medical librarians must be aware of this, and should develop the competencies and skills necessary to make them so that they can help support their institutions as well as creating these for their own articles and research. One of the most common questions about this is how to locate or create icons to use. Just a few quick suggestions. If you have a significant budget, hire a graphic designer. If you have a smaller budget, consider licensing icons from the Noun Project. If you have more time than money, consider using Open Clip Art, where the images are free, but it may take more digging or editing for images you can use.

Cool Toys Pic of the day - Noun Project

So, how do you make these? Dr. Ibrahim has examples, videos, and guidelines available at his site.

Here is the direct link to the primer, including guidelines and best practices for the creation of visual abstracts, but I have not been able to get the direct link to work consistently.

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5854aaa044024321a353bb0d/t/58b8f5b437c5816223531822/1488516555585/VisualAbstract_Primerv2.pdf

Increasing numbers of journals are requesting visual abstracts as part of article submissions or are creating them as part of promotional content for highlighted articles. You can find many examples on the website, and more in the Twitter stream for the hashtag #VisualAbstract. Here are some examples from the past couple weeks.

Social Media For Exclusion

First posted (with a few small editorial changes) at the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media Blog: http://socialmedia.mayoclinic.org/discussion/social-media-for-exclusion/


Pic of the day - Sweetness

We praise the power of social media to bring people together, to engage people around topics and events of shared interest, to include. Too often we don’t stop to think that every new tool with new ways to include people is probably excluding someone else in a new way.

The accessibility of social media is rarely discussed outside of communities of persons with disabilities. When it is discussed, the people who most need to hear it (us?) may not be in the audience. When we aren’t, the work we do to try to include and engage may actually serve to accomplish the opposite.

VIDEO

The obvious example, one you probably already know about, is when you share video or use streaming tools, but lack captions. It isn’t always possible to pay for live captioning, as much as we might want to, but there are tips and tricks to get around that with low-cost options. In Second Life, the Virtual Ability community has, as a standard of practice, a roster of volunteers who offer to type into live chat a synopsis of what the speaker is saying, and who describe images on the slides for the blind. Because some conversations there are held in typed chat, they also have someone sighted volunteer to read aloud the typed chat, identifying the speakers. Why couldn’t we working in healthcare media implement something like this for streamed events?

TWITTER

Did you know about Easy Chirp? It’s a Twitter browser designed for people who are blind or visually impaired, but it can be useful for others as well. Just as with curb cuts, tools to make social media more accessible for marginalized and excluded audiences can make life easier for people who are nominally able-bodied. Accessible browsers can require less bandwidth and be more robust when you are in that crowded meeting room with a hundred people sharing wireless, just as an example.

Do you tweet using one of those marvelous fancy tools for the pros that allow you to track multiple channels at the same time? Often those will place the relevant hashtag for the channel at the beginning of each tweet. I wager you weren’t aware that this makes life harder for those with visual or cognitive challenges, because it makes it harder for them to sort out the important part of the message. Recommended practice is to place hashtags at the END of your tweets.

Also, for those hashtags which smoosh together parts of different words? Screenreaders struggle to figure out how to read those when they are all lower case or all upper case. I have a bad habit of not mixing the capitalization because it is faster when I am typing, but for screenreader, there is a world of difference between #mayoclinic and #MayoClinic. Now that I know, I am trying to be better about it, because I was excluding people when I meant to include them.

MORE

These are just a few examples, low-hanging fruit. There is a lot more to know. Luckily, there is an upcoming free webinar on social media accessibility from the ADA National Network, if you are interested in learning more. If you are here on campus, we are meeting in the Hatcher Gallery Lab to watch this together.

October 20, 2015
2:00-3:30 p.m.
Social Media and Accessibility