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Access/ibility: Access and Usability for Digital Publishing

Glossary of Concepts and Acronyms

Because the project participants were coming together from a wide range of disciplinary contexts and backgrounds, we started a glossary of acronyms and core concepts. As with the other components, this is certainly a work in progress that will be updated in future publications—and suggestions for terms or definitions that should be included in subsequent iterations are welcome: feel free to send suggestions to


processes of selection and methods for acquiring and indexing objects that may become parts of an archive. An initial stage of curation.
Application Programming Interface.
Article Processing Charge.
Accessible Rich Internet Applications.
plain text code, a subset of Unicode. See Plain Text/ASCII Text below.
American Sign Language.
Association of Writers and Writing Programs. See


a hosted repository and publishing platform. See


Computers and Composition Digital Press. See
Conference on College Composition and Communication, also called 4Cs.
Council of Literary Magazines and Presses. See
Computer Assisted Real-Time interpretation services.
Crip time
"Crip time is flex time not just expanded but exploded; it requires reimagining our notions of what can and should happen in time, or recognizing how expectations of 'how long things take' are based on very particular minds and bodies…Rather than bend disabled bodies and minds to meet the clock, crip time bends the clock to meet disabled bodies and minds" (Alison Kafer. Feminist, Queer, Crip. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013. 27).
Cascading Style Sheets.
an active process of gathering and adding value by building relationships between and among selected objects and adding context to the collection. Curation includes the choices to not collect or to discard objects from an archive.
Curb Cut
the ramps cut into sidewalk curbs to allow access for people who cannot step up or down from the sidewalk into the street (or those who have difficulty doing so).


Digital Accessible Information System.
Deaf Gain
Deaf Gain redirects attention from ideas about loss and lack to the potentialities of being Deaf. In their Deaf Gain collection, H-Dirksen Bauman and Joseph Murray claim that Gain has many meanings. They focus on three in particular: 1) the benefits of deafness, 2) the contributions of deaf people, and 3) deaf people being ahead, innovative, and inventive.
Digital Curation
“[…] is concerned with actively managing data for as long as it continues to be of scholarly, scientific, research, administrative, and/or personal interest, with the aims of supporting reproducibility, reuse of, and adding value to that data, managing it from its point of creation until it is determined not to be useful, and ensuring its long term accessibility, preservation, authenticity, and integrity. (Ross Harvey, Digital Curation: A How-to-do-it Manual, p. 8).
Digital humanities. See
Digital Object Identifier.
Digital Public Library of America. See
Digital Publishing Interest Group. "The mission of the Digital Publishing Interest Group is to provide a technical forum for experts in the digital publishing ecosystem to hold discussions and recommend solutions regarding a future vision of Digital Publishing." See
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The text classifies different disorders and describes the characteristics of each. See


Not an acronym, EPUB is the moniker given to electronic books by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IPDF) when they updated the Open eBook (OEBPS) specification.
As a preservation strategy, emulation seeks to imitate earlier, obsolete software and hardware environments in order to run software in its original environment. Emulation is useful not only because it can allow us to access digital artifacts we can’t access with current software, it allows us to experience software in the way it was designed. (Sometimes the problem is that current computes run programs at far greater speeds than for which they were designed making them run too quickly for us to use.) Emulators can be used to emulate emulators emulation emulators.
using other languages and vocabulariess to extend the base system using established rules (e.g. XHTML extends HTML).


File Transfer Protocol.


Graphical User Interface.


HTML Abstraction Markup Language. HAML is a lightweight markup language that is used to describe the HTML of a web document. Haml functions as a replacement for inline page templating systems such as PHP, eRuby, and ASP: by directly describing the layout of a document Haml avoids the need for explicitly coding HTML into the template.
Hypertext Markup Language.
Hi-Lo or High-Low
High interest, low reading level.
Hybrid OA
A subscription journal that offers an OA option for individual articles, available through an additional author fee.


Integrated Development Environment.
International Digital Publishing Forum.
International Internet Preservation Consortium. See
The process of adding an object to a collection; typically includes adding metadata.
Institutional Repository. A repository contains a wide range of material that reflects the intellectual wealth of an institution.


screen reading software for Windows.


Kairos (rhetorical term)
Of the opportune moment. Timely. “ might understand kairos to refer to a passing instant when an opening appears which must be driven through with force if success is to be achieved" (Eric Charles White, Kaironomia: On the Will-to-Invent, p. 13)
Kairotic space
A concept theorized extensively by Margaret Price (see Kairotic spaces are virtual or physical spaces that are spontaneous, real-time, high-stakes, and socially demanding. Often there are power differentials involved. Examples include but are not limited to interviews, teleconferences, and conference presentations.
Knowledge Mobilization
“The term Knowledge Mobilization (KMb) refers to moving available knowledge (often from formal research) into active use. More than just "bridging the gap", KMb seeks to make connections between research/expertise and policy/practice in order to improve outcomes in various organizations or sectors." See


Link Rot
The tendency of URLs to break over time, as sites go offline or server addresses change.
Lots of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe. “The LOCKSS Program, based at Stanford University Libraries, provides libraries and publishers with award-winning, low-cost, open source digital preservation tools to preserve and provide access to persistent and authoritative digital content.” See


Metadata, Administrative describes information such as how, when, and by whom a digital object was created; ownership; changes and revisions made to the object; and rights management (copyright, access, usage, licensing, reproduction, etc.).
Metadata, Preservation includes information related to the long-term preservation, sustainability, and usability of digital objects. The PREMIS Data Dictionary for Preservation Metadata is the international standard.
Metadata, Structural describes the physical and logical structural elements of complex digital objects. By describing the intellectual boundaries of complex objects and describing an object’s constituent parts, structural metadata can help facilitate navigation and presentation of digital resources. Structural metadata includes METS and SMIL.
Metadata, Technical includes information about the technical attributes of a digital object regarding its creation and production (file formats, software and hardware involved, color profiles, resolutions, etc.). Technical metadata is often categorized as administrative or preservation metadata and can be included in preservation and structural metadata such as PREMIS and METS.
Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard. A standard for encoding descriptive, administrative, and structural metadata regarding objects within a digital library.
As a preservation strategy is the act of converting files from one format to another. Generally conversion involves moving files to recognized international standards considered suitable for archival purposes (see the Library of Congress’s Sustainability of Digital Formats). Migration may also occur for purposes of use. For instance, an archive may maintain an archival versions of images as a TIFF files but might create PNG versions for public access in their online collections.
The use of a combination of multiple communication modes: spatial, linguistic, gestural, aural, and visual (see The New London Group. (1996). A pedagogy of multiliteracies: Designing social futures. Harvard Educational Review, 66(1), 60-93.)


A movement, an identity, and a community. Neurodiversity, or neurological diversity, represents the idea that people with mental, cognitive, attention, learning, psychiatric, and related disabilities are a vital, valued, and natural part of the human condition. So, on one level, neurodiversity is an acknowledgment that humans (and non-humans) are infinitely and biologically diverse, and that this is “natural.” On another level, neurodiversity is a profoundly activist movement that champions causes related to civil rights and social justice for disabled people. While neurodiversity, as a concept, originated in autistic communities, it is not limited to autism. In recent years, disability communities have referred to “big-tent neurodiversity” to suggest that neurodivergence is very expansive and inclusive of many disability identities.


Open Journal Systems. An open source, out-of-the-box journal publishing platform.
An organization that provides persistent, unique researcher IDs. See
Open Access. OA literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free from most copyright and licensing restrictions. The current OA descriptors include gold (publication in OA journals), green (self-archiving, e.g. in an IR), gratis (free of charge, but not free of copyright of licensing restrictions), and libre (free of charge and expressly permits uses beyond fair use).


In a clinical approach, perseveration references repetitive behaviors and interests (perseverance as pathology); it can also refer to being conversant with one’s environment via non-linguistic actions.
Perseverative Design
M. Remi Yergeau has defined perseverative design as "using techniques such as looping, layering (multiple versions), self-stimulation, figuring the literal, and orienting to the non-human."
Public Knowledge Project (, creator of Open Journal Systems.
Preservation Metadata Implementation Strategies. International standard for metadata for preservation of digital objects.
Digital preservation is the practices and methods involved in ensuring continuing access to a digital object. Four strategies are storage, migration, emulation, and reinterpretation.
Plain text/ASCII text
ASCII was the first widely accepted character set for driving printing devices. Limited to a maximum of 128 characters (minus a handful of positions for line feed, carriage return, “printer on fire” and other arcane print language commands), ASCII is an American-centric, accent-free collection of alphanumerical characters, common punctuation, and a few useful symbols. The original 127-bit character set was later extended to include “high ASCII” symbols and alternate glyphs.


As a preservation strategy, reinterpretation involves recreating/remediating/translating an artifact as a means for allowing continued access and (re)use. A modern English translation of the Old English Beowulf or the Sanskrit Mahabharata are examples of reinterpretation, as would using the interactivity of HTML 5 to recreate an interactive Flash text.
As an element of curation, representatoin is using metadata to describe and encode objects in an archive.
Responsive Design
Presentation of digital content in ways that allow text and graphics to reflow with changes in screen format and resolution. Typically based on HTML5 and CSS.
an act of adding a component or accessory to something that did not have it when originally created.


Scholarly Communication
The process of academics, scholars and researchers sharing and publishing their research findings so that they are available to the wider academic community (such as university academics) and beyond.
Section 508
“Section 508, an amendment to the United States Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973, is a federal law mandating that all electronic and information technology developed, procured, maintained, or used by the federal government be accessible to people with disabilities.” (
Section 508 (refresh)
A collaborative community organization with a mission to create, maintain, and promote schemas for structured data on the Internet, on web pages, in email messages, and beyond.
Screen Reader
a software application that allows blind and low vision people to use a computer. A screen reader voices the information on web pages and other computer applications. Examples include JAWS (Windows), NVDA ( and Voiceover (Mac,
Semantic Markup
Descriptive tag names that correspond to functionality, rather than appearance (format).
Standard Generalized Markup Language.
Self stimulating.
As a preservation strategy, storage maintains a digital artifact as-is. Storage is the least expensive and labor intensive method of preservation, but it is the method most vulnerable to obsolescence.


Universal Design. Universal design involves designing products and spaces so that they can be used by the widest range of people possible.See
Universal Design for Learning.
User Experience Design.


Variable Media Approach. VMA seeks to understand works of ephemeral art—their behaviors and preservation strategies—separate from their medium in order to preserve and reproduce a work even after it's gone.
Variable Media Questionnaire. See


Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.See
WAVE Toolbar
Tool for evaluating accessibility of webtexts. See
Web archiving
The process of collecting portions of the World Wide Web to ensure the information is preserved in an archive for future researchers, historians, and the public. Web archivists typically employ web crawlers for automated capture due to the massive size and amount of information on the Web. The best-known Web archive is the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine (
Web Accessibility Initiative. See
Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group. See


Extensible Markup Language.