Recommended Resources


Welcome to the Accessibility & Disability Section’s list of resources! Links below have been organized to match up — more or less — with the overall categories listed in the SAA Guidelines for Accessible Archives for People with Disabilities

In addition, you may notice that the links have been embedded within text descriptions rather than copy/pasted separately. This is in accordance with web accessibility best practices - you can read more about these in the Web Accessibility section below.

If you’d like to contribute resources you’ve created or have found useful, please contact Bridget Malley at to have it added. We hope you find this list helpful!

Last updated: April 2021

Terminology, Language, & Disability Etiquette

Resources related to disability terminology and other general information. Refer here for glossaries, style guides, etc.

Disability History Museum Glossary

San Francisco State University Journalism Department - The Diversity Style Guide Disability Glossary

American Psychological Association - Disability [style guide]

Arizona State University National Center on Disability and Journalism - Disability Language Style Guide

Research and Training Center on Independent Living, University of Kansas - Guidelines: How to Write about People with Disabilities

Explore Access, Southwest ADA Center Regional Affiliate—Arkansas - The Language of Disability

Diversity & Inclusion

Resources related to broader conversations around disability and accessibility and how you can develop inclusive practices. Includes non-scholarly articles and personal perspectives.


American Historical Association, Task Force on Disability Final Report (2011)

American Alliance of Museums - Facing Change: Insights from the American Alliance of Museums Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion Working Group

Northeastern University Library - The Design for Diversity Learning Toolkit

The Inclusive Historian’s Handbook


Archives and the Road to Accessibility” by Angela Gallagher, July 2019.

Why Disability Studies for Archives?” by Gracen Brilmyer, July 2018.

Physical Environment

Resources related to buildings and grounds, reading rooms, and emergency planning.

2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design 

Applying the ADA : Designing for the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design in Multiple Building Types by Marcela A. Rhoads, 2013. 

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), Access to Libraries for Persons with Disabilities Checklist, 2005.

Public Services

Resources related to assisting archival users with disabilities and ensuring equitable public services.

Library of Congress - The National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled

Library of Congress - Accessibility [landing page]

U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) - Accessibility [landing page]

National Archives Museum - Accessibility [landing page]

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) - “Making Archives Accessible for People with Disabilities” by Frank H. Serene

Museum Access Consortium - Working Document of Best Practices: Tips for Making All Visitors Feel Welcome

U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) - Accessibility

American Library Association (ALA) Accessibility Defined

Exhibitions & Public Programming

Resources related to creating accessible exhibits and programming. Refer here for information on how you can make conference panels and presentations accessible.

Access Smithsonian - Smithsonian Guidelines for Accessible Exhibition Design

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum - Design Access

New England Archivists - Event Planning Accessibility Checklist

National Council on Public History - Guidelines for Building an Accessible Annual Meeting

ADA Hospitality - Guide to Accessible Meetings, Events, and Conferences

Web Accessibility

Resources related to creating accessible web content and implementing accessible digital technology in the archives. Refer here for information about assistive technology and ways you can perform accessibility checks on your website and content.

General Information

WebsiteSetup - Website Accessibility (Best Practices)

W3C Web Accessibility Initiative - Diverse Abilities and Barriers: How People with Disabilities Use the Web

OCLC - Accessibility Statement

WebAIM - WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool

Website Coding

Most content management systems and website platforms have accessibility statements. We recommend a quick search for these prior to implementing or updating your web content.

W3C - Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1

WebAIM - Introduction to Web Accessibility

Ng, Cynthia and Michael Schofield. “A Practical Starter Guide on Developing Accessible Websites.” Code4Lib Journal 37 (June 18, 2017).

National Archives Catalog - Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities

Digital Content

Transkribus - a transcription platform; includes cloud services. - convert images and PDFs to searchable text.

Assistive Technology


Association of Specialized, Government, and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASGCLA) - Index of Toolkits and Resources

Operating Systems

Apple - Accessibility

Microsoft - Accessibility for Windows 10

Screen Readers and Magnification




Captioning Tools

C-Print (paid)

Typewell (paid)

Michigan State University - Creating Your Own Captions (free - YouTube, Camtasia)

CaptionSync (paid) (paid)

3PlayMedia (paid)

Disability In The Workplace

Resources related to employment of archivists with disabilities and workplace accommodations. Refer here for policies and procedures.

US Department of Labor - Americans with Disabilities Act

US Department of Labor - Office of Disability Employment Policy

Office of Disability Employment Policy - Job Accommodation Network.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission - Procedures for Providing Personal Assistance Services for Individuals with Disabilities

National Organization on Disability - Disability Employment Tracker

Archival Literature

A library (in brief) of literature on accessibility and disability in archives, to date. Refer here for journals that may be open to submissions on this and similar topics. We strongly encourage contributions to the literature!


Britton, Diane F., Barbara Floyd, and Patricia A. Murphy. “Overcoming Another Obstacle: Archiving a Community’s Disabled History.” Radical History Review 94 (Winter 2006): 213-227.

Block, Laurie. “An Invented Archive: The Disability History Museum.” RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage 8, no. 2 (Fall 2007): 141-154.

Brilmyer, Gracen. “Archival assemblages: applying disability studies’ political/relational model to archival description.” Archival Science (2018): 95-118.

Brilmyer, Gracen Mikus. “Proximity Matters: Disability, Erasure, & the Archival Bond of Natural History.” PhD diss., University of California, Los Angeles, 2020. [restricted access for two years].

Davis, Lora J. “Providing Virtual Services to All: A Mixed-Method Analysis of the Website Accessibility of Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries (PACSCL) Member Repositories.” The American Archivist 75 (Spring/Summer 2012): 35-55.

Ganz, Michelle. “Survey Conducted on ‘Accessibility in Archives.” Archival Outlook (Nov/Dec 2008): 8, 24.

Gilardi, Ronald L. “The Archival Setting and People with Disabilities: A Legal Analysis.” The American Archivist (Fall 1993): 704-713.

Greene, Mark A. “Archival Accessibility for All: An Awareness Forum.” Presentation at Society of American Archivists Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, August 2010.

Griffith, Debra. “Ergonomics in the Archives.” Archival Outlook (January/February 2011): 10-11.

Kepley, Brenda Beasley. “Archives: Accessibility for the Disabled.” The American Archivist 46, no. 1 (Fall 1983): 42-51.

McCrea, Donna E. “Creating a More Accessible Environment for Our Users with Disabilities: Responding to an Office for Civil Rights Complaint.” Archival Issues 38, no. 1 (2017): 7-18.

Rinn, Meghan R. “Nineteenth-Century Depictions of Disabilities and Modern Metadata: A Consideration of Material in the P. T. Barnum Digital Collection.” Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies 5 (1).

Sabharwal, Arjun. “Digital Representation of Disability History: Developing a Virtual Exhibition.” Archival Issues 34, no. 1 (2012): 7-26

Southwell, Kristina and Jacquelyn Slater “Accessibility of Digital Special Collections Using Screen Readers.” Library Hi Tech 30, no. 3 (2012): 457-471.

Tang, Lydia. “Engaging Users with Disabilities for Accessible Spaces.” Archival Outlook (July/August 2019): 12-13.

Tang, Lydia, Blake Relle, Erin Wolfe, and Fernanda Perrone. “Making Archives and Special Collections Accessible.” Archival Outlook (November/December 2016): 4-5, 28.

Waddington, Nicola. “The Employment of People with Disabilities as Archivists, Records Managers, Conservators and Assistants.” Journal of the Society of Archivists 25, no. 2 (2004): 173-188.

White, Sara. “Crippling the Archives: Negotiating Notions of Disability in Appraisal and Arrangement and Description.” The American Archivist 75 (Spring/Summer 2012): 109-124.

Journals & Publications

All of Us (Disability History Association)

The American Archivist

Archival Outlook

Archival Science

Archives and Records: The Journal of the Archives and Records Association

Code4Lib Journal

Disability Studies Quarterly.

Journal of Accessibility and Design for All

Social Media

Unlearning Ableism (Facebook)