This special theme issue of Library Hi Tech includes eight articles on technology and its impact on persons with disabilities. These articles represent a cross‐section of current research and practice in the field of adaptive technology and librarianship. Susan Beck begins by identifying the architectural barriers facing the disabled library user. Next, Marilyn Graubart tackles a less obvious but equally insidious access challenge: the attitudinal barriers facing the patron or staff member with a disability. Staff sensitivity issues are addressed and concrete solutions to staff training are presented. Other articles deal with various aspects of adaptive technologies. Case studies point out potential pitfalls facing librarians who must decide what to buy and how to best use it. Many in the disabled community have feared that the graphical user interface would reverse progress made with the earlier, primarily text‐based (DOS) systems. Alistair D.N. Edwards' history of the GUI provides the necessary background information for the articles that deal with pragmatic solutions to the graphics problems, including the trend toward graphics‐based OPACs and World Wide Web sites. What role will Braille, large print, and audio books and magazines play in the future of libraries and disabilities? Most libraries still collect books, and the nation's two largest suppliers of alternative format texts, the National Library Service and Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D), are sure to maintain a central role. This special issue winds up with Steve Noble's overview of the new RFB&D Internet‐based online catalog, which enables patrons to gain direct access to this agency's many recorded and electronic text offerings.
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