What is accessibility metadata?

The Accessibility Metadata project was initiated to define a set of accessibility metadata for inclusion in schema.org, with the goal of enabling the search and discovery of Web resources particularly suited to users’ needs and preferences.

Although search engines are adept at indexing the content of a page, deriving meaning from the text and understanding the nature of the resources included in the page has held back the advancement of more sophisticated search interfaces. In particular, the need to find resources suitable to a user’s preferred modality has been hampered, as information such as the access mode particular to a page, and what adaptations are available, cannot be discovered short of the user checking each and every result.

Schema.org was founded by four of the major search providers—Google, Bing, Yahoo! And Yandex—to improve the quality of search results by providing a standardized semantic markup vocabulary that all could recognize. The site defines a shared vocabulary for use augmenting HTML pages, the properties being includable in HTML5 pages through the new microdata technology, and in HTML5, XHTML 1.1 and XHTML5 through RDFa. (See Getting started with schema.org for more information.)

But although there are now many different schemas available—to handle the identification of all kinds of persons, places and things—metadata properties to identify the accessible nature of resources is still absent.

The mandate of the a11ymetadata project is to fill this gap by defining semantics to describe resources in ways that will facilitate their discovery by suitability, and a proposal to include a new set of properties for use in schema.org’s CreativeWork class, and its derivatives, has now been submitted for consideration.

The work of the group has been heavily influenced by the IMS Global Learning Consortium's Access For All specification, and a majority of properties and terms for the proposal are derived from this work.

IMS has been developing various accessibility specifications for over a decade. Drawing on IMS Members, who are leaders in accessibility, IMS has produced specifications including IMS AccessFor All and IMS Accessibile Portable Item Protocol.

IMS and its members and partners are now working to move this proposal forward. We value your feedback. Join the discussion in our GoogleGroup and find more details on the project wiki.




About ims AccessForAll

Access For All accessibility promotes an inclusive user experience by enabling the matching of the characteristics of resources to the needs and preferences of individual users. In circumstances where resources might not be suitable for all users, it enables the discovery of other appropriate resources. Access For All is an approach to accessibility that emphasizes personalization by providing support for systems of transformable, flexible resources that each meet different needs. Access For All accessibility is often just-in-time accessibility and, significantly, supports cumulative accessibility of resources as third parties create and associate alternatives to original resources. Together, the many resources in a system contain the features or educational materials that every student needs, but no single resource has to be 100% accessible to all learners. Most resources will likely be accessible to most students, but by creating Access For All metadata about each resource, it is easier to determine which resources might need to be adapted to meet particular students' needs.

Access For All includes a standard way to describe a user's needs and preferences. These preferences are not meant to convey information such as medical history. Instead, they include information about how the user can interact best with a computer. The user's need for specific kinds of content, display features, or control mechanisms are recorded. This information can then be used to select or request appropriate adapted content, configure a visual display for easy reading, or locate resources that match the user's control requirements. Find out more


about IMS Accessible Portable Item Protocol

The Accessible Portable Item Protocol (APIP) Standard provides assessment programs and question item developers with a data model for standardizing the interchange file format for digital test items. When applied properly, the APIP standard accomplishes two important goals. First, the standard allows digital Tests and Items to be ported across APIP compliant test item banks. Second, it provides a test delivery interface with all the information and resources required to make a Test and an Item accessible for students with a variety of disabilities and special needs. Find out more


What's going on here?

IMS Global created this website for ongoing coordination of accessibility metadata for schema.org

ims accessibility specifications

IMS AccessForAll v3 Public Draft

IMS Access For All v2.0 Final Specification

IMS Accessible Portable Item Protocol

IMS Global Certification

IMS Global CertificationThe IMS Global Certification Directory is the only official listing of products that have received IMS conformance marks. Many more suppliers around the world use IMS standards, but achieving the conformance mark indicates that a product has gone through and passed testing prescribed by the IMS members in an ongoing community process.

IMS stands behind the conformance marks. If you are a user of an IMS conformant product listed below and experience an issue with respect to plug and play interoperability, please contact us at info imsglobal.org. IMS will follow-up with the supplier to resolve the issue.

You can receive support in achieving and maintaining APIP conformance certification for your system or tool by joining the IMS QTI2/APIP Alliance.

While conformance certification provides a "seal" for passing prescribed tests it is much more than that. It is a commitment by a supplier to the IMS community for ongoing support for achieving "plug and play" integration. Therefore, certification implies ongoing community commitment to resolve problems, revise implementations and retest as need.  Therefore, only IMS Contributing Members, Affiliate Members and Alliance participants are eligible to apply for conformance certification.