Curating for Accessibility


Accessibility of research data to disabled users has received scant attention in literature and practice. In this paper we briefly survey the current state of accessibility for research data and suggest some first steps that repositories should take to make their holdings more accessible. We then describe in depth how those steps were implemented at the Qualitative Data Repository (QDR), a domain repository for qualitative social-science data. The paper discusses accessibility testing and improvements on the repository and its underlying software, changes to the curation process to improve accessibility, as well as efforts to retroactively improve the accessibility of existing collections. We conclude by describing key lessons learned during this process as well as next steps.

Author Biographies

Theresa Anderson, Syracuse University

Theresa Anderson is a master's student in the Public Administration and International Affairs program at the Maxwell School, Syracuse University, and was a graduate assistant at the Qualitative Data Repository from 2021-2022.

Randy D. Colón, University of Illinois Chicago

Randy D. Colón is a PhD student in Disability Studies at the University of Illinois Chicago. He is also a research assistant at ADA PARC and a disability advocate.

Abigail Goben, University of Illinois Chicago

Abigail Goben is an Data Management Librarian, Data Policy Advisor, and an associate professor at the University of Illinois Chicago.

Sebastian Karcher, Syracuse University

Sebastian Karcher is the Associate Director of the Qualitative Data Repository and a research assistant professor of political science at Syracuse University. 

Conference Papers

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