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The 2nd Workshop on Speech Language Processing for Assistive Technology will be held in conjunction with the 2011 ACL Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (SIGDAT – EMNLP) which will take place on 30 July 2011 in Edinburgh, Scotland.
This 1-day workshop will bring together researchers from all areas of speech and language technology with a common interest in making everyday life more accessible for people with physical, cognitive, sensory, emotional or developmental disabilities. This workshop will build on the first such workshop (co-located with NAACL HLT 2010); it will provide an opportunity for individuals from both research communities, and the individuals with whom they are working, to assist to share research findings, and to discuss present and future challenges and the potential for collaboration and progress. In addition to academic papers, we are planning a short demo/exhibition session as part of this workshop. Commercial exhibitors should indicate in their proposal that their systems are commercial products rather than research systems.
More information at the workshop website.

Equal access to public information and services for all is an essential part of the United Nations (UN) Declaration of Human Rights. Today, the Web plays an important role in providing information and services to citizens. Unfortunately, many government Web sites are poorly designed and have accessibility barriers that prevent people with disabilities from using them.
The article Global Web Accessibility Analysis of National Government Portals and Ministry Web Sites (Morten Goodwin; Deniz Susar; Annika Nietzio; Mikael Snaprud; Christian S. Jensen) combines current Web accessibility benchmarking methodologies with a sound strategy for comparing Web accessibility among countries and continents. Furthermore, the article presents the first global analysis of the Web accessibility of 192 United Nation Member States made publicly available.
The article also identifies common properties of Member States that have accessible and inaccessible Web sites and shows that implementing antidisability discrimination laws is highly beneficial for the accessibility of Web sites, while signing the UN Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities has had no such effect yet. The article demonstrates that, despite the commonly held assumption to the contrary, mature, high-quality Web sites are more accessible than lower quality ones. Moreover, Web accessibility conformance claims by Web site owners are generally exaggerated.

Details:
Global Web Accessibility Analysis of National Government Portals and Ministry Web Sites
Morten Goodwin; Deniz Susar; Annika Nietzio; Mikael Snaprud; Christian S. Jensen
Journal of Information Technology & Politics, 1933-169X, Volume 8, Issue 1, 2011, Pages 41 – 67

The Center for International Rehabilitation Research Information and Exchange (CIRRIE) organises a conference on the World Report on Disability, which is being released by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank on 9 June, 2011. The two-day symposium on September 12 & 13, 2011 at the DoubleTree Hotel Crystal City, Arlington, VA (USA) will be conducted in cooperation with WHO, the Pan American Health Organization, the World Bank, the Interagency Committee on Disability Research, and the United States International Council on Disabilities. For more information, please see the conference’s website.

A call for papers for the “Engineering Technology & Applied Science Research” (ETASR) international journal has been launched. ETASR is a wide scope, peer-reviewed open access journal which aims to provide fast publication to scientists, researchers and engineers from both academia and industry, that wish to communicate recent developments, applications and parts of on-going research in their field.
Authors are invited to submit their work using the journal website, following the instructions and the live template provided.
A standard research article published in ETASR consists of six pages but no page limit is set. Colour figures and pictures are accepted providing that they are of good quality.
The ETASR journal is published bimonthly with the first issue of every year published in February. Final decision about each submitted paper will be reached within 4 weeks from submission.
ETASR is oriented towards publishing articles that communicate advances, interesting implementations and parts of on-going research in fields of interest. In addition, it offers a medium to authors for fast publishing individual parts of their work that are used as basis for diverse further research (e.g. a new software, a modification or an original measuring apparatus/technique), specific aspects of their research that are important but not closely linked with the rest of the work (e.g. a study for the economical aspect of a technical implementation) and individual parts of their work that can be later used as citations, allowing authors to comply with page limits set by other journals.
An added aim for ETASR is to offer a medium to authors for publishing and permanent referring papers that have been presented to international conferences that do not publish their proceedings, providing that the author still owns the copyrights of his paper.
Further, unlike most journals, ETASR accepts papers that describe negative findings and research failures, since it feels that publishing negative results is valuable and saves considerable time and effort for other scientists around the world. ETASR is fully committed to Open Access policy and will provide free access to all articles as soon as they are published. Open access provides a worldwide audience, increases the visibility of published work, enhances indexing, retrieval power and eliminates the need for permissions to reproduce and distribute content.

The European Conference “Technology with Disabled and Older People: Business development, Building alliances and Impact assessment” will take place on March 28-29, 2011 at the London School of Economics in collaboration with the BIS, AGE Platform Europe, KTN, TSB, and the EU.
Over 40% of the population are either older or disable the demand for personal care at home and in the community is growing. A pool of experience in early provision of services and technologies for both assisted and independent living and active ageing is being steadily gathered across Europe. Many ideas will be presented. Wider deployment rests upon identification of the business opportunities. Cost effective systems are identified to enable safer and less costly home care and presentations will describe these. The prize being a triple win for People, Governments and Business.
The immediate requirements then are improved communication, understanding and cooperation between the diverse parties.
A range of organisations are working with the London School of
Economics to encourage better working practices. Including the Department of Business, Initiative and Skills, AGE Platform Europe, The Technology Strategy Board, The Knowledge Transfer Network, The Knowledge Tree Group, MonAMi project, with industry, and the
Sasakawa Foundation to organise this event.
Abstract Instructions, registration and hotel details.

A new report recommends that an innovative organisational model be created to respond more effectively to the needs of senior citizens and other stakeholders focussed on such needs. The report, prepared by Trilateral Research and Consulting, finds that calls to overcome the fragmentation of effort among existing organisations across the European Union could best be addressed through the creation of a new umbrella organisation aimed at fostering greater co-ordination and collaboration and at linking existing organisations, policy-makers and senior citizens themselves.
The “Report on mechanisms for stakeholder co-ordination”, one of the deliverables of the EC-funded BRAID (Bridging Research in Ageing and ICT Development) project, notes various calls for improved co-ordination, including those made by EU Ministers responsible for e-inclusion. It examines the needs of the various stakeholders (policy-makers, industry, civil society organisations, academia, the media as well as senior citizens) and finds that existing organisations do not adequately address all these needs, nor are they meeting the calls for greater partnership in responding to these needs. The report examines 10 different organisational models (each of which is represented by three different examples) and finds that each has advantages and disadvantages, but none appears suitable to meet the calls for improved co-ordination, collaboration and co-operation among all stakeholders.
Some organisations do exist to link industry and potential users; however, these fragmented initiatives are often short-lived and geared towards one type of stakeholder. A new organisation is needed that links industry, users, policy-makers, the media and other relevant stakeholders in order to achieve the maximum benefit for European citizens as they age.
BRAID is currently drawing up recommendations as to how a new approach for an inclusive, open and democratic organisation could support research and development, act as a focal point for e-inclusion, address the market for assistive technologies, help efforts to harmonise legislation, reduce regulatory barriers, implement standards and encourage interoperability of assistive technologies. The recommendations aim at supporting efforts by the European Commission and Member States to improve the lives of older Europeans and optimise national social policies and programmes. The BRAID partners are hosting a series of expert workshops across Europe this year to address these issues and to develop a cohesive vision for senior citizens and ICT over the next decade as well as a roadmap to achieve that vision.
Source: BRAID project