The most recent special issue of First Monday, the online open-access journal devoted to studies of the Internet, is entitled “This feature has been disabled: Critical intersections of disability and information studies.”
One contribution to this special issue, “(In)accessibility and the technocratic library: Addressing institutional failures in library adoption of emerging technologies,” focuses on the rapid increase in academic libraries of services involving artificial intelligence (AI), immersive technologies (XR), big data, and other corporate technologies. Authors Jasmine L. Clark (Temple University) and Zack Lischer-Katz (University of Arizona’s School of Information) explore how library administrators and staff can take steps to address the needs of their disabled students, faculty, and other users.
From the paper’s abstract:
This paper draws on the authors’ research on XR accessibility in academic libraries to illustrate how broader trends in technocratic thinking in academia are producing socio-technical configurations that often exclude disabled library users. It argues that critical failures in designing and implementing accessibility programs for emerging technologies in academic libraries point to the broader technocratic imperatives of contemporary universities operating under the logics of neoliberalism. Accessibility is an afterthought in this context, forcing users to adjust their bodies and senses to conform to the master plans of technology designers and evangelists.