An Integrated Information System for the Disabled

By Timothy Hiles and Cary Staples.

Published by The Diversity Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Most of us would agree with Francis Bacon’s oft-repeated sentiment: “knowledge is power.” But to the physically disabled, knowledge is more appropriately identified with empowerment. That is a fine distinction but one that has profound implications. The former implies control over others; the latter conveys control over ones own life. Ramps, curb cuts, accessible entrances and bathrooms, public transportation, Braille signs, and crosswalks for the hearing impaired are all significant strides toward inclusion mandated by those in power. They make mobility possible for those with diverse physical disabilities. They do not necessarily empower; for that to occur a person must have knowledge of the enabling adaptation. Will there be curb cuts along my path? Will the building’s entrance be accessible? Which bathrooms are accessible? Will the elevator be in service? Questions like these are addressed daily by those with disabilities who endeavor to go about their day unencumbered with the matter-of-fact attitude of the physically abled.
At the University of Tennessee we are proposing a suite of integrated information systems that would provide a variety of archival resources as well as real-time information for the disabled in need of navigation assistance. This system would leverage existing technology, such as Google maps, GPS navigation, Twitter and other internet resources to develop site-specific, real-time resources that address a variety of mobility issues.

Keywords: Accessibility, Disability, Inclusion, Mobility, Technology

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 10, Issue 6, pp.213-220. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.234MB).

Dr. Timothy Hiles

Associate Professor, School of Art, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

Timothy Hiles is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Tennessee where his area of expertise is 19th- and 20th-century Europe. He served as Associate Director of the School of Art from 2001-2005. He is the author of Thomas Theodor Heine: Fin-de-Siècle Munich and the Origins of Simplicissimus and focuses his research on the intersection of literature and visual arts in the microcosms of turn-of-the-century Vienna and Munich and on the history of photography. Dr. Hiles is actively involved with ongoing university efforts to diversify the student body and faculty. He is particularly concerned with accessibility for the disabled.

Cary Staples

Professor, School of Art, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

Cary Staples is an educator and a graphic designer. Her research interest is to make information accessible. She has been exploring methods of translating print media into an electronic, on line or collaborative learning experience. At the university, she has developed an academic program that blends professional rigor and studio experimentation with liberal arts values. Some of her clients include: The Oriental Society of Hong Kong. Prentice Hall. Simon & Schuster Publishing. Hayden McNeil Publishing. Kendall Hunt Publishing. Delta Records. Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

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