Federation of Unified Listing

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key working pages

Survey of accessibility solution

this section contains the preliminary results of the survey of accessibility solution, i.e of solution that enables usability of ICT products and services by addressing the barriers that people with disabilities, and many others, may experience. This is an activity of the Cloud4All project

The excel file below contains the list of product included in the survey. Each product is characterized by basic info (commercial information, typology of device, description, …). Detailed product information (e.g. input devices, adjustments options, OS, languages, …) can be found on the EASTIN website following the “Link to product detailed description”. File:Accessibility solutions survey.xlsx

A report of the survey can be found in the following document: File:Report of A 201.1 Survey of accessibility solution.docx

Remark: Please, note that the material hosted in this page is subject to frequent updates.


We need to remember to keep a link back to the source of all of our information..  We want to be sure to credit our sources -- or they won't be sources anymore. 


An extensive list of databases that have been searched for the Survey of Accessibility Solutions is available at the wiki page ATDatabases

The ones we will FEDERATE WITH

Ones yet to process

  • GARI
  • FCC database
  • JAN,
  • assistivetech.net,
  • disability.gov,
  • some of the sites of the DBTAC (now ‘National ADA Network)
  • and Tech Act projects (I think Indiana does the most).
  • Informal blogs and listservs that contain so much useful info on quality and tips & tricks:
    • AppleVis,
    • VICUG,
    • QIAT,
    • BetterHearing,
    • OT’s with Apps,
    • BlindCoolTech, ….

Federating the EASTIN network with Cloud4All/GPII

This activity is aimed at developing, and maintaining over time, a Federated Listing of Assistive Products that will represent the information basis for the implementation of the appropriate assistive solution. In the overall GPII vision this fits in the first of the three “pillar” - A way for users to find all of the solutions that exist and to figure out which ones meet their needs – and in particular in the Unified Listing and Marketplace components. The approach described in this deliverable is based upon a Federation of resources, meaning that information included in the listing will be drawn from many different sources each credited on a per entry basis.

The experience of the EASTIN network (http://www.eastin.eu), that aggregates the contents of six databases on AT products and includes a search engine able to perform searches across all these databases, will represent the basis for the definition of a methodology to create, and to maintain over time, a Federated Database of Assistive Technology solutions.
A bidirectional federation between EASTIN network and GPII Unified Listing will be established in such a way that the users of the GPII Unified Listing web portal will be able to access information coming from the EASTIN databases, and users of the EASTIN Web Portal will be able to access assistive technology information coming from the GPII Unified Listing

The scope of EASTIN is narrower and broader than the one of GPII Unified Listing. The EASTIN is broader in that it includes Assistive Devices for people with disability in general (e.g. assistive devices for personal mobility, assistive devices for personal care, …) whereas the GPII Unified Listing only includes products for ICT access. It is narrower in that EASTIN only includes assistive technologies, while the GPII Unified Listing includes assistive services and accessibility features in mainstream products. Therefore EASTIN will send to GPII only the information that is relevant for the GPII Webportal (i.e. the ICT Assistive Products).On the other hand only the products included in GPII Unified Listing that can find a place in the ISO 9999 classification ([1]) will be sent to EASTIN.

The EASTIN search engine provides a specific set of APIs to receive input data from the EASTIN information providers (online databases) and make them visible in the EASTIN portal. The EASTIN search engine calls a set of Web Services that must be implemented by any information provider that aims to send data to the engine. Both the Web Service functions and the exchanged data format have been standardized by the EASTIN consortium and these standards must be followed by the external information providers. In the following the set of Web Services described above will be called Input Web Services

To provide data retrieved by the EASTIN search engine from the EASTIN databases to the GPII Unified Listing, a specific set of Output Web Services will be implemented within the Cloud4all project that contains functions to extract data using the EASTIN search engine. These Web Services will be exposed by the EASTIN search engine and will be accessed by a specific application aimed at collecting the data retrieved from EASTIN into the GPII Unified Listing database (see more details below).

The pictures below give a visual representation of the methodologies to federate the EASTIN network with the GPII Unified listing/marketplace.

1. Retrieving information from EASTIN

The process of getting the information from the EASTIN databases, in order to store it in the GPII Unified Listing, is the following (see Figure below):

  1. The GPII Unified Listing database sends a query to the EASTIN search engine (using the Output Web Service).
  2. The EASTIN search engine in turn sends the request to all the information providers (using the Input Web Service Client)
  3. The information providers answer the request with the list of products (using the Input Web Service Servers)
  4. The search engine sends the list back to a temporary database (using the Output Web Service)
  5. Retrieved information is validated (e.g. check duplicated products, complete the information) and stored in the Unified Listing Database (See Unified_(Federated)_Listing_validation_procedure for more details)
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For more details see the power point presentation:File:Eastin-Cloud4All WebServices integration.pptx

Output Web Services

The detailed specifications for the Output Web Services are available at the page: Specifications_for_the_Output_Web_Services.Those Web Services are be based on the JSON REST protocol. The Output Web Service server implements two methods:

  • FindProductsSortBySimilarity: This method is used to search for products in the databases of the EASTIN network according to the specified parameters (e.g. ISO code, Commercial Name, Manufacturer Name,…). The method returns an array of “BasicProductInfoDto”, a custom data type including the basic product information (see the specifications for details)
  • GetProduct: this method returns the detailed information of a specific product. The methods requires as input parameters the ProductCode and RepositoryCode (i.e the name of the database where the product comes from).

Output web service client

On the GPII Unified Listing side a Output Web Service Client will be implemented that will call the two methods above. In particular, to populate the Unified Listing database, the Output Web Service Client will implement a routine that calls the FindProductsSortBySimilarity method passing as input parameters a specific set of ISO codes (see validation procedure). For each of the product returned by the FindProductsSortBySimilarity method, the web service client will then call the method GetProduct to get the product detailed description. Data retrieved are then stored as .json file to a Temporary Storage for later Validation. The Output Web Service Client will periodically repeat the query, in order to keep the Unified Listing updated. Of course in the following queries only new and updated records will be retrieved.

2. Making the information included in the GPII Unified Listing available to the EASTIN website

For the inverse process, i.e. for making the information included in the GPII Unified Listing available to the EASTIN website, GPII will become one of the Information provider of the EASTIN network. In order to plug the GPII Unified Listing to EASTIN search engine, a specific Input Web Service (Server) will be implemented following the technical specification already in place for the other databases participating into the network (see Figure below). This requires that the GPII Unified Listing provides data in a form that is compliant with the EASTIN standard.

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For more details see the power point presentation:File:Eastin-Cloud4All WebServices integration.pptx

3.The overall connection scheme

The overall scheme of the connection between EASTIN and the GPII Unified Listing is depicted in the Figure below

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4.Critical issues to be addressed

Three important issues in the process of federating different databases of AT are related with:

  1. preserving the provenance of the information by giving appropriate credit to each source
  2. establishing appropriate IPR agreements with the information providers in order to avoid possible infringements of data ownership,
  3. avoiding a decrease in the “visibility” of each information source.

For the latter issue, it must be noticed that the GPII Unified Listing will include information coming from different sources whose funding often relies on the “visibility” on the web (in practical terms this is often measured in terms of number of visits on the web portal). It is therefore important that the federation does not result in a decreased number of visitors on each source of information. This requires a detailed strategy that will be studied and implemented within the timeframe of the cloud4all project. One method to be explored will be to measure the number of times that a given data base’s information is visited even one day is visited in different locations or from different entry points.

Those issues are discussed in the wiki page:Unified_(Federated)_Listing:Crediting_information_sources