(In)accessibility and the technocratic library: Addressing institutional failures in library adoption of emerging technologies
Since 2015, there has been a rapid increase in academic libraries focusing their services on artificial intelligence (AI), immersive technologies (XR), big data, and other technologies that align their interests with corporations in the tech industry. However, there are broad ethical failures within this industry that libraries are not equipped to manage and instead risk importing those failures and discriminatory thinking into library services and technologies. This paper draws on the authors’ research on XR accessibility in academic libraries to illustrate how broader trends in technocratic thinking in academia are producing socio-technical configurations that often exclude disabled library users. It argues that critical failures in designing and implementing accessibility programs for emerging technologies in academic libraries point to the broader technocratic imperatives of contemporary universities operating under the logics of neoliberalism. Accessibility is an afterthought in this context, forcing users to adjust their bodies and senses to conform to the master plans of technology designers and evangelists.
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