Accessibility and Computing

- the newsletter of SIGACCESS

( of which Alan was once the editor )

From February 2003 to October 2004, I edited what is now the SIGACCESS Newsletter. Now I don't.

If you're looking for the Editor of the Newsletter, you'll find the details in the SIGACCESS web site. ( I used to give links here, but I don't keep up with changes; the official site must be more reliable. )

Everything that follows is now historic, but preserved for a while in case anyone's interested. For the real information, get in touch with the nice people at ACM.


  SIGACCESS is neither an acronym nor not an acronym. "SIG" stands for Special Interest Group; "ACCESS" stands for "Accessible Computing", which does not just mean accessible computing, but a highly qualified sort of accessible computing restricted to "research and development of computing and information technology to help persons with disabilities" ( quoted from the SIG web page ). You'll gather that I'm not fond of the new name, however well intentioned it might be. Perhaps fortunately, my preferences do not determine how the universe runs, so you can ignore them.

The group used to be SIGCAPH, which stood for "Special Interest Group on Computers And the Physically Handicapped". At least it says what it means - except I'd want to generalise the "physical" bit. End of spleen.

The group is part of the ACM ( Association for Computing Machinery ).

Please send stuff !

  I am always happy to receive material for the Newsletter.
  If you have something that fits the criteria, please send it along to me ! - or, if you're not quite sure about it and would like to discuss possibilities, let's discuss it. Do not worry about the document format, at least to begin with, as we can work that out later if we have to. I can ( I think ) read most common formats; if I can't read yours, I'll let you know and we can try again.

PLEASE if you send me any electronic mail, make sure that the SUBJECT line contains "SIGACCESS". No doubt you will understand why I make this request; unless it has a significant subject which I can recognise, most mail I receive - about 95% of it - is immediately deleted. My software should detect SIGACCESS ( or SIGCAPH, for obvious historical reasons ) anywhere in the message, but if it's in the subject line I might catch it even if the software doesn't.
  Obviously, I can't undertake to print everything that happens to come along, and I might want to suggest changes which I think would make an article fit our criteria better. Then you might want to argue against my suggestions, and we shall have a civilised exchange of views. That said, I would wish to meddle as little as possible; I do want to get a broad range of views and experience, so I'm not going to create difficulties for the fun of it.

What ARE the criteria ?

  Our editorial policy is, roughly, that we're interested in anything which will fit the title. There's a notice inside the Newsletter cover which ( at this moment, but obviously likely to change soon ) reads thus :
SIGCAPH is a special interest group of ACM. The SIGCAPH Newsletter is published regularly in January, June, and September. We encourage a wide variety of contributions, such as : letters to the editor, technical papers, short reports, reviews of papers of products, abstracts, book reviews, conference reports and/or announcements, interesting web page URLs, local activity reports, etc. Actually, we solicit almost anything of interest to our readers.

Material may be reproduced from the Newsletter for non-commercial use with credit to the author and SIGCAPH. Deadlines are one month before publication dates. Submissions may be sent as hard copy ( paper ), but machine-readable files are preferred. Postscript or PDF files may be used if layout is important, but word-processor files, text files, or e-mail are also acceptable. Ask the editor if in doubt.

Finally, you may publish your work here before submitting it elsewhere. We are a very informal forum for sharing ideas with others who have common interests.

Anyone interested in editing a special issue on an appropriate topic should contact the editor, who will be delighted.

 ( The confident reference to "January, June, and September" is the ideal; in practice, we've had a rather shaky record over the last two years or so, but we're trying to get back into the thrice-yearly rhythm. )
 It's supposed to be news, but that is to be interpreted as any sort of novelty - new ideas, new events, new facilities, new interpretations, etc. We've printed shortish papers, reports of work in progress, speculation, conference reports, notices of meetings, etc. If what you want to submit doesn't fit into those categories, we can always make a new one; the idea is to get the information out, not to worry about how it's classified. My primary concern is that the Newsletter should be interesting and informative. If you're not sure whether your work would fit in, please don't hesitate to ask me about it.
  We interpret the criteria broadly. Quite possibly something else you've already done would fit, perhaps with minor modifications. That's another publication with minimal work ! - but please put in some work, unless you're sure that copyright on the original won't be an issue. Perhaps you are ( or have ) a research student with a bright idea, or a comment, or a guess; write it down and send it along. I shall be a bit fussy about stuff like grammar, spelling, and punctuation - if you want to use the Newsletter as a training ground for your students, that's all right with me. ( If the load gets overwhelming, I might have to revise that statement, but too much is better than nothing at all. )
  I shall also be a bit fussy about content. I don't want to bridle your opinions, but I do want it to make sense. This includes things like sound arguments, providing context ( previous work, other opinions, ... ), comprehensible pictures, etc. - in other words, good technical writing. I'll tell you if I'm unhappy about it, and might even suggest changes which I believe to be improvements if I can think of any.
 Acceptance is by editorial review; I'll obtain a second opinion if I think it necessary. Publication is therefore fairly quick, subject to our schedule, but you don't get much academic credit for it. That's fair enough, as we aim to be interesting and informative for a fairly general readership rather than up with the forefront of research. ( Of course, if you want to send us your top-grade research, we won't say no. )
 How big ? Our issues are always 4N US Letter pages - typically 16 - in size. Unless you have something very good, we would be unenthusiastic about giving you a whole Newsletter. Use your judgment.

More than you need to know ...

  Here's an extra bit, which I originally did for my own interest just before I took over the editorship. It's a list of topics on which articles looking more or less like formal papers have appeared in the Newsletter. They're my interpretations of the topics, not necessarily the titles of the articles; I offer it here because the topics give some idea of the scope of acceptable material. The restriction to "papers" comes from my original purpose in making the table, and has nothing to do with their acceptability; in fact, we've published more short notes, announcements, etc.

722003June ?Computer assistance for telephone use
702001JuneAccessibility ( Interact 99 workshop )
692001JanuaryAccessibility ( Interact 99 workshop )
682000SeptemberBrain-computer interface
Web "mobility" for visually impaired people
672000JuneFacial expression recognition
Mathematics teaching to visually impaired students
662000JanuaryNon-visual access to music notation
Mathematical formulae - LATEX to Braille
651999SeptemberTraining in technology use
Earcons ( audible "icons" )
641999JuneLow-vision computer users
EEG/EMG computer interface
631999JanuaryComputers for people with disabilities at work
Rehabilitation robotics
621998SeptemberWorkshop report : "Towards an information society for all"
611998JuneLearning tools for profoundly deaf children
Improved visual interface for partially sighted people
601998JanuaryDatabase of information about rehabilitation resources
Making 2.5-dimensional solid models of graphic images
591997SeptemberComputers used to fit prosthetic devices
581997JuneSystem design and specification
571997JanuaryAudio assistance for conveying 3D information
561996SeptemberPresenting graphics as tactile images
551996JuneWWW access for visually impaired people
Presenting graphics as tactile images
541996JanuaryResearch and development in rehabilitation technology
User interfaces for all
52, 531995NovemberAccessibility for all
Computers in social integration of people with disabilities.
511995JanuaryPrinting tactile images
Adjustable user interface for wider access to software
501994September( ASSETS conference announcement )
491994MarchAccess to windows environments by visually-impaired people
481993SeptemberModular computer interface system for wide range of abilities
SGML used for different access modes
471993JuneImproving accessibility of software
461992NovemberMusings on interface possibilities
451992AprilImpact of "Americans with disabilities" Act
441992JanuarySound spaces as interfaces for visually impaired people
431990October( Conference proceedings )
421990JuneEthics in interface design
411989JanuaryCommunication methods of vocally disabled people
Support for visually impaired programmers
401988Summer( announcements, business )
391988SpringManual sign to speech conversion
Magnified screen output

Alan Creak,
2005 March.

Go to me ( Alan Creak, in case you've forgotten ).