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WWW Servers


The WWW server is an information repository and is accessed by WWW clients. The ability of the client to ``display'' the retrieved information in a manner best suited to the user is a direct function of the format in which the information is archived.

The primary advantage of this architecture is that the client is free to display the information in a manner best attuned to the user's needs. Thus, the information can be displayed visually on a computer monitor, output in Braille, printed out on paper, or spoken by a speech synthesizer. By negotiating with the server, the client can request and retrieve the information in a format that it is best able to handle.

The above scenario is an excellent one for universal accessibility of electronic information; different users with disparate needs and abilities can access the same information. However, for this to come true, the information archived at the server should not assume any single final display format. Thus, if the information provider (server) assumes that users will only display their information visually, then the provider may choose to make available only a pure visual form of the information, e.g., a GIF file containing a snapshot of the information, a Postscript or PDF file capable of reproducing a high-quality visual rendering etc. However, this will close out a large number of users from accessing the information as we point out below.

TV Raman
Fri Mar 10 11:34:09 EST 1995