xxi Introduction Clayton A. Copeland Well before the information age, people who experienced disabilities were excluded from much of life because they had limited, if any, access to the information they needed. The limitations were largely societal barriers in the form of physical barriers, social barriers, legal barriers, and attitudinal barriers. For over a hundred years, individu- als with disabilities and their advocates (including librarians) worked to eliminate barriers to information access. The early focus was on access for people who were blind and on service to them directly in their homes or in institutional settings. The movement for wider access to information for people with other disabilities gained momentum in the 1970s. Legislation, advances in technology, and increased societal awareness have successfully broadened the scope to include the whole array of disabilities and access to infor- mation through universal design of facilities, technologies, materials, and learning strategies. Sadly, accessibility is not always synony- mous with usability. Continuing to strengthen accessibility and usability—and thereby access to information—is an ongoing jour- ney. It is one that requires steadfast determination and commitment to inclusion—a commitment which also requires breaking through persisting barriers, including attitudinal barriers. Many of the authors in this book identify as having disabilities or being differently able. They write from their own lived experiences as users of information who have faced barriers because accessibility needs are not met. Other writers speak from long experience in
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