CODI: Cornucopia of Disability Information



GSA's Information Resources Management (IRM) Service is working with other
agencies to provide information environments that are accessible by people
with disabilities.  Some people with limited hearing, vision, or mobility
require enhancements to existing information technology in order to
effectively use work-related information or public information services.  The
Federal government in its role as a major employer and information technology
consumer is using its "buying power" in the marketplace to communicate to
industry its policy to acquire information technology products and services
that are usable by people with disabilities.  This policy is based on two
recent laws, Pub.L. 99-506 and Pub.L. 100-542.  These laws address the
requirement that the acquisition and management of Federal Information
Processing (FIP) resources be conducted in a manner that ensures access to
computer and telecommunications products and services by employees with
disabilities and citizens with disabilities accessing public information
services.  The implementing regulations for these laws are contained in the
Federal Information Resources Management Regulation (FIRMR), 41 CFR Chapter

This handbook discusses how to integrate information accessibility into the
overall IRM process.  By making the evolving information systems and services
of the Federal government readily usable by people with disabilities, both
the individual and the Federal government benefit significantly.  Individuals
with disabilities are afforded equivalent rights and opportunities.  Agencies
benefit significantly from the ability to recruit and retain quality
employees and the ability to effectively interact with all clients, including
those with disabilities.

The statutory requirements of the Federal government to accommodate people
with disabilities are now complemented by similar responsibilities nationwide
due to the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990.
Although several industry trends, such as the graphical user interface, have
inadvertently threatened continued use of computers by blind individuals, the
growing national commitment to accessibility is likely to ensure that the
initial speech output limitations of these designs are overcome and
accessibility will prevail.

Continued commitment is required to overcome remaining obstacles to access.
The availability of cost-effective enhancements to support most individual
access requirements currently exceeds effective utilization.  GSA's
Clearinghouse on Computer Accommodation together with agencies' own technical
support programs are assisting managers to become familiar with accessibility
management procedures, products, and services that accommodate the
information resource needs of people with disabilities.

Targeted Audience

The primary audience for this publication is IRM managers and program
managers in the Federal government who want to understand how to respond to
accessibility needs of Federal personnel and the public.  The handbook
consists of four parts: 
	1) introduction to information accessibility 
	2) how to incorporate accessibility into agency practice 
	3) the types of accommodation products available to achieve access and 
	4) appendices.  
The appendices add a level of detail that will be needed primarily by personnel
responsible for integrating access practices into technical support services.

There are a number of other individuals who may find this handbook useful.
After reading the main body of the document, specific appendices may have
more applicability to certain groups of readers:

     - People with disabilities - Federal employees with disabilities
     need to be aware of the requirements for accessible information
     resources in the Federal government.  Appendix J may be useful when
     identifying potential accommodation solutions or sources.
     Individuals with newly acquired disabilities may find the
     accommodation resources and information section (Appendices C, D,
     and E) helpful in identifying resources for assistance.

     - Procurement officials - The text of the statutes and applicable
     Federal Information Resources Management Regulation (FIRMR) excerpts
     are provided in appendices F, G, H, and I.  Procurement officials
     involved in drafting requests for proposals for information
     processing equipment and services may be particularly interested in
     Appendix B which contains possible proposal elements that may be
     adapted to meet the agency's need.

     - Personnel and Equal Employment Opportunity professionals - It is
     critical for personnel and EEO specialists to be acquainted with the
     range of information technology accommodations possible so they can
     help managers understand how qualified people with disabilities can
     do the job when provided with the appropriate tools.  After reading
     the body of the document, the appendices focusing on accommodation
     resources and information (Appendices C, D, and E) may also be

     - Information processing industry professionals - Industry
     professionals who are informed on the needs and considerations for
     accessible information environments within the Federal government
     are in a position to become catalysts for better accessibility in
     the future.  As the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) places
     similar accommodation requirements upon the private sector, those
     industry professionals capable of meeting accessibility requirements
     in the Federal government will be able to respond to the needs from
     within their own companies and the expanding market created by ADA.


There are no copyrights on this document.  Agencies, organizations,
companies, individuals, and others are welcome to copy this document in whole
or in part.  COCA does ask that we are credited appropriately.  This document
is offered free of charge and may not be sold.  This handbook is also
available in flat ASCII format on a 5 1/4" or 3 1/2" disk.