Target Audience: Law library directors/managers, IT librarians, other librarians concerned about accessibility, disability, and the digital divide
1. Participants will be able to list three specific examples of assistive technology products, and discuss the basic benefits and limitations of each product.
2. Participants will be able to discuss four general issues impacting the ability of assistive technology to bridge the digital divide.
Assistive technology holds the promise of bridging the digital divide for disabled law library patrons, but it cannot do so unless it performs well. How usable are specialized assistive technology products such as text-to-speech software, speech-to-text software, and eye tracking hardware? What technological obstacles impede increased assistive technology usability? Is it expensive to make non-specialized consumer goods and services (e.g., e-book readers) more usable? Does lack of knowledge explain why so few websites voluntarily follow accessibility guidelines? What changes to the law might make assistive technology more usable? Presenters will combine human interest stories with technological expertise and technology demonstrations to identify challenges and discuss possible solutions to bridging the digital divide for disabled law library patrons in academia or law firms.