Access pathway

Navigation features that indicate the ways an item can be accessed

Active element

An operable component of the Web interface (e.g., link, button, and checkbox) that responds to a user action (e.g., keyboard command, and mouse click)

Alt attribute

An HTML attribute that provides information in an alternative format for an image on a webpage using a text display. It is used when a user cannot view an image and wants to read the text alternative instead.

Alternative Text (Alt Text)

A word or phrase (typically less than 100 characters long) used in the Alt Attribute of an image item or graphical interface element that describes its content or function in the context


The acronym for Accessible Rich Internet Applications, it is a set of attributes that define ways to make web content and web applications more accessible to people with disabilities.

Audio description

Narration describing visual details portrayed in a video


It is a feature that application or search algorism predicts the rest of a word which a user is typing now and then fills the rest of a word automatically.


It is a search feature that a search engine predicts what a user would query and then provide a list of suggestions as a user types.



It is a text path of the current page or content that usually located at the top of a page for providing where a user is on the digital library.

Browsing/Browse category

A function or feature that organizes the digital collections in a digital library for easier skimming and indicates how to interact with its structural elements


The acronym for Blind and Visually Impaired, it refers to BVI users who rely on screen readers to understand DL content.



A text transcription for the audio track of a movie or video that synchronizes with the audio of a video. Captions are designed to ensure the viewer can understand all of the essential audio in the video, including not only the spoken audio but also the non-speech sounds that are essential to the understanding of the video and are normally shown in brackets.

Color contrast

The difference in luminance between two colors (adjacent or overlaid)

Content change indicator

A cue, such as a sound alert and notification that informs or provides awareness to BVI users when dynamic content is changing within a page without a user’s input

Context-sensitive help

A help function that delivers immediate assistance to the user without the user having to leave the current context they are working in


The acronym for Cascading Style Sheets. It is used to format webpage layouts by defining styles for text, tables, and other elements in a webpage’s HTML.



The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative. It is a set of fifteen core elements for describing resources for metadata design across the metadata ecology.


It is one of the metadata elements which offer text summary for a digital object.


The acronym for Digital Library or Digital Libraries

Dynamic Features

Features of a digital library, such as a Play button, a Flash player, or a banner, that change their content with or without a user’s input



Faceted(-based) search/Faceted-based browsing

A search feature that allows users to refine their search results by applying one or more filters, such as subjects and creators, of their choice


A cause(s) leading to a help-seeking situation

Functional description

A description that explains a function and its role (what it is, how it works) in a digital library


Guideline or Design Recommendations

A general design suggestion to ensure the accessibility and usability of a DL and its components


Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR)

Technology that transcribes handwritten text contained in scanned images into digital text

High-quality recognition

A high resolution setting for image scanning and text recognition. For digital images, the recommended scan level is at least 400 dpi for high quality.


The acronym for Hyper Text Markup Language – the language in which many web pages are written


Image description

A text statement that provides detailed description of an image, and it is one element of the metadata

Interactive audio

A sound technology that creates audio in real-time in reaction to a user’s action or changes in the digital environment

Intuitive label

A label of the feature, based on common knowledge or a given title name, which is as close to the targeted user’s expectation as possible


An information object such as an article, video, or image within a digital collection



The acronym for Job Access with Speech (Screen Reader program). One of the screen readers for blind and visually impaired users.


Keyboard accessible elements

All the elements and functions in a digital library, such as clickable icons and buttons, which are navigable and operable by keyboard without any interruption



A classifying phrase or name applied to elements and functions; a tag in HTML that denotes a specific portion of code

Location Indicators

Indicators that provide the exact location or position within a digital library that a user is currently interacting with



Commonly called ‘data about data,’ it includes structured data to describe and organize resources in the digital environment and enables users to discover and use the content of digital libraries.


Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension is an internet standard of the format of files for transmitting with standard protocols such as Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP).


Navigation indicators

An indicator that shows where a user is currently located in a digital library and which sections they have browsed through



The acronym for Optical Character Recognition. It is a method to convert physical text, such as printed text or handwritten text, to digital text by scanning physical documents.

Online item filter

A filter that shows whether an item can be available online or only offline, or both. It can also provide file formats, such as HTML, Word, or PDF.



Portable Document Format that is used to display documents in an electronic form

Placeholder text 

A character, word or sentence that temporarily fills the space in a box until it is ready to be used

Pre-existing text

Text, such as a placeholder text or a previous search term input by the user, which is already listed in a digital library’s input box or search box

Previous experience

Knowledge and skills that a user gained from performing the activities of a prior task or work in DLs or other types of IR systems



Rationale or Objective

A set of reasons or logics behind the creation of guideline in order to address a specific type of help-seeking situation

Recommended Features

Suggested DL features to implement a specific technique or method

Retrieval Knowledge

Knowledge related to how to search for information


Screen reader

A software program that reads textual information through synthesized speech and offers specialized keyboard commands to operate a computer interface

Scanned image

A digitized version of an image created using a scanning device or a digital camera

Search Instruction/search tips

An explanation of how to use search tools or functions in a digital library

Search jargon explanation

Explanation for specialized language, vocabulary, or terms that are used for search functions or search methods

Search term display

A populated list of suggested search terms that automatically appear in a search box after a user enters a query in a digital library

Semantic markup

It is a way of coding or structuring HTML elements in a website for clearly describing HTML elements’ meaning or purpose in a human-readable and machine-readable.


It is a webpage where a digital library provides information about the list of websites in the digital library.

Skeleton screen

A version of the UI that does not contain actual content but it is a method of displaying what content is to come and reduce cognitive load

Skip-link for visual items

A feature that allows a user to jump to visual items, such as images


A brief description that summarizes a list of items, search results, or collections

Sorting options

Arranging or ordering information or data by certain criteria, such as time or publication year

Speech recognition technique

A technique that converts an analog speech signal to a digital sequence of words using computer programs

Static content

Content that can be delivered to an end user without having to be generated, modified, or processed

Structure description

A statement for providing information on a current interface framework and layout of a digital library


A text description displays at the bottom of a video screen that translates or transcribes the audio dialogue, and it synchronizes with the audio of a video. It does not include non-speech elements.


Techniques and Methods

Ways to comply with a specific DL design guideline


A text script that is derived from audio tracks or scanned documents





The acronym for Web Accessibility Initiative. The organization is under World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and it is for improving the accessibility of the Web for people with disabilities.


A Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool from WebAIM


The acronym for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. These are guidelines created by W3C to increase accessibility in the web environment for users who have difficulty accessing information resources on the web.



Extensible Markup Language is a markup language like HTML, but it was designed for storing data using a defined set of rules for encoding documents in a format that is both human-readable and machine-readable.




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