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Nursing and Allied Health: Accessibility

Online Learning

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Access to Education


People with disabilities should have the ability to access both the physical and virtual library.  Additionally, it is important to be aware of U.S. legislation known as the Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973  which eliminates discrimination towards individuals with disabilities by entities receiving any Federal financial assistance  and mandates equal education for all students. (

It is important to remember that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1990 (amended in 2009), is a major piece of civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination toward persons with disabilities in regard to access to housing, employment, public entities,and education.The legislation was reauthorized as the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, and strengthened with the addition of Section 508,which has defined standards in regard to electronic access.

Section 508 was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology, to make available new opportunities for people with disabilities, and to encourage development of technologies that will help achieve these goals. The law applies to all federal agencies and agencies receiving federal money.  It requires that any information or communication technology they develop, procure, maintain, or use is accessible to people with disabilities. The Section 508 website,, is an excellent resource to learn about the standards as well as to connect with tools, resources, and accessibility vendors.


  • Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act
  • Office of Disability Employment Policy, Library’s Office of Disability Affairs. Locate the office through the  Directory of State Liaisons
  • The Library’s State Library and/or Archives
  • United States Access Board  Independent federal agency devoted to accessibility for people with disabilities.
  • ADA Technical Assistance Program  This website contains links to and information regarding training, and technical assistance to businesses and agencies with duties and responsibilities under the ADA.
  • Home Page  This web portal is a gateway to the federal government's disability-related information and resources relevant to people with disabilities, their families, employers, service providers, and other community members.
  • Library Access  Full text of the Library Access is presented by the Equality Authority and An Chomhairle Leabharlanna National Assistive Technology Research Institute andserves as a good example of how to plan and implement an “access for all”initiative.
  • Library of Congress: The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) NLS administers a free library program of Braille and recorded materials list circulated to eligible borrowers through a network of cooperating libraries.
  • World Wide Web Consortium's Website Accessibility Initiative (W3C)  International group of professionals who work to establish guidelines, standards and educational programs to ensure web accessibility for all persons.

This tipsheet, revised in 2010, is one in a series developed by the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies, a division of the American Library Association.  Source


ASCLA Library Accessibility

The ASCLA Library Accessibility "What You Need to Know" helps librarians, instructors and students understand and manage accessibility issues.  These issues include bu are not limited to:  patrons who have cognitive, mental, or emotional illnesses; patrons with learning and/or developmental disabilities; patrons with service animals; patrons needing assistive technologies; and patrons with physical disabilities. These were last updated in 2010.

Assistive (also called adaptive) technologies are electronic solutions that enable people with disabilities to live independently. Blind persons can hear computer - screen text, and people with visual impairments can enlarge text, enabling independent reading.  People who are unable to manipulate a mouse can enter data, and those who cannot physically hear a computer prompt can view prompts. There is also computer software that helps persons with learning differences see and hear the information displayed on the screen.



Assistive Technology (11)
Autism & Spectrum Disorders (6)
Children with Disabilities (5)

Deaf & Hard of Hearing (10)
Developmental Disabilities (1)
Learning Disabilities (2)
Management (3)
Mental Illness (7)
Multiple Disabilities (12)
Physical disabilities (4)
Service Animals (8)
Staff (13)
Vision (14)
Volunteers with Disabilities (9)
What Trustees Need to Know (15)


Assistive Technology and the Law: Section 508 and WCAG 2.0

Section 508, last updated in 1998, applies to agencies and requires that they make electronic technology accessible to people with disabilities.  There's six technical standards to Section 508 compliance. Additionally, Section 508 includes performance criteria and information, documentation and support.

  • 508.21 | software applications and operating systems
  • 508.22 | web based intranet and internet applications
  • 508.23 | telecommunications products
  • 508.24 | video and multimedia products
  • 508.25 | self-contained, closed products
  • 508.26 | desktop and portable computers

WCAG 2.0

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 is a more modern, international standard that defines how to make content on the web accessible with disabilities.  Updated in 2008, WCAG 2.0 has set three levels of compliance:

  • A | lowest
  • AA | recommended
  • AAA | highest


 w3.Org provides standards for "Evaluating Websites for Accessibility"  and outlines different approaches for evaluating websites for accessibility. It provides general procedures, from evaluation during website development to ongoing monitoring of existing sites. The approaches in these pages are intended to supplement other content management and quality assurance procedures. You can click here to access the "Evaluating Websites for Accessibility" resource suite documents. If you want design websites, or if you are a user of the world wide web, you will find information about creating highly usable resources here.


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