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Section 508 and Accessibility on the NBII

Thank you for visiting the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII). The NBII is committed, and is making every possible effort, to ensure that all electronic information and technologies developed, procured, maintained, or used by the NBII are accessible to all users, including those with disabilities.

Section 508 Compliance | Recommended Browsers

Section 508 Compliance

Section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. Inaccessible technology interferes with an individual's ability to obtain and use information quickly and easily. Section 508 was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology, to make available new opportunities for people with disabilities, and to encourage development of technologies that will help achieve these goals. The NBII is a network of federal, state, local, international, academic, non-profit, and private-sector partners. As a federally managed partnership, the NBII is committed to working with all of our non-federal partners to ensure that information resources they contribute to the NBII comply with Section 508 guidelines.

While most resources developed by the NBII are Section 508-compliant, certain dynamically generated resources are exempt from the requirement under the "Undue Burden Determination" (36 CFR 1194.2).

  • These dynamically generated products typically involve retrieval of data in various formats dependent on user requirements, resulting in a map or other graphic display. These visual representations contain large quantities of information not accessible to people visually impaired. This information may be presented on the Internet or Intranet Web pages, or in Web-based publications issued on compact disc or similar media.
  • Images produced by these products are dynamically generated, resulting in an output image that will vary depending on the selection criteria determined by the user. This makes it impossible to prepare in advance a long description or other text alternative for those images which would provide "substantially equivalent or greater access to and use of" information contained in these pages and products. There are no products yet available that could dynamically generate a text alternative containing information comparable to that found in the image. A text alternative for even a static map image cannot adequately convey the information that is visually perceived.
  • The nature of these types of products is visual - either a representation of geospatial data or database information plotted on a digital spatial coverage, such as a map. Currently there exists no alternate technology for generation of geospatial information in a format that allows access via assistive technology. Modification of these pages and products to comply with these standards would require a fundamental alteration to the nature of the product.
  • The standards applicable to Web pages and electronic publications are found in 1194.22, Web-based intranet and internet information and applications. Web pages and Web-based products and publications using dynamically generated geospatial database and digital information and web-based mapping applications are unable to meet standards in 1194.22(a), (c), (e), (f), (k), (l), (m).
  • As there exists no technology capable of producing dynamically generated geospatial images in an alternative manner accessible to individuals who are visually impaired, compliance with those standards is not possible at this time.

Unless covered by a separate determination, the Web pages and Web-based products can and will meet the remaining individual standards in 1194.22, as applicable.

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Recommended Browsers

The NBII Web site uses both JavaScript and DHTML, in addition to HTML, to facilitate site navigation. Some older browsers do not support JavaScript or DHTML. If you are using an older browser, or are having problems loading page content through your browser, you can still access page content by clicking on the text-only hyperlink at the bottom of each NBII page. The NBII uses the freeware PerlScript "Betsie" to render these text-only pages.

Use of Internet Explorer 4.0 or higher, or Netscape 4.78 or higher, is strongly recommended in order to best experience the NBII Web site.

Upgrades to newer versions of Internet Explorer and Netscape are available for free.

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If you cannot fully access the information on a particular page, please use the "Contact Us" button on the main NBII menu (or the Contact Us link in the text-only version) to get in touch with us. We will do everything possible to provide you with access to the information you need. Please note that this may include providing the information to you in an alternate format.

Thank you for your interest in the NBII.


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