EASI and ATHEN are collaborating to breathe a second life into their longstanding e-journals
The original Information Technology and Disabilities (ITD) Journal began in 1994, was sponsored by EASI (Equal Access to Software and Information), and produced until 2008. EASI is primarily a dissemination organization, and it used its Web page, its online courses and its Webinars to be a resource for people needing to keep in touch with IT accessibility trends. ITD articles reflect the advances in both information technology and in the work to improve accessibility for people with various disabilities. Skimming past issues provides an overview of how much IT and accessibility have improved over those years. The changes to accessibility include advances in assistive software as well as a growing awareness of vendors’ increasing concern for their responsibility to design products that include users with disabilities. The articles also reveal the fact that vendors, in their eagerness to innovate, frequently only consider accessibility as an afterthought. Users with disabilities are continuously playing catch up. When significant accessibility enhancements occur, the goal posts are moved leaving new hurdles to overcome. The hope is that, as the boomer generation ages, this enlarged and educated group of consumers will be taken more seriously.
ATHEN (Access Technology Higher Education Network) has sponsored the ATHEN E-Journal for several years, gaining national and international recognition for the work the organization is doing. ATHEN is a professional association that was founded in 2003 at the CSUN Technologies and Disabilities conference in recognition of a need for an organization that focused primarily on issues related to Technology Accessibility in the Post-Secondary space. The ATHEN E-Journal’s focus has traditionally been on issues and trends in IT accessibility to support students, faculty and staff with disabilities at Institutions of Higher Education. ATHEN regularly engages in targeted research projects that over the years have allowed it to interface with other related organizations in moving the access agenda forward. As a result of this work significant impacts have been made in working with major IT organizations such as EDUCAUSE.
In recent years due to issues of maintaining article quality and quantity in a volunteer-led space, both organizations have struggled with producing quality E-Journals that met member expectations. EASI approached ATHEN with the goal of combining resources to produce a single journal that was much needed and that effort has now reached fruition with this initial release of the Information Technology and Disabilities Journal. With an established Editorial Board consisting of recognized leaders it is our hope that we can bring back to life two very valuable resources for those working in Access and Accessibility.