What is “equivalent” text alternatives for artistic and cultural visual content?

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WCAG requires visual content have text alternatives that serve the “equivalent purpose” of the visual content. As historic and cultural institutions provide increasing access to their collections online, we grapple with creating consistent, high-quality text alternatives. These alternatives must convey historic context and artistic expression as well as function. Additional questions include how to address changing language over time and work with varied interpretations or layers of meaning. In 2024, the Library of Congress will be conducting a series of studies using its collection to write supplemental guidance on text alternatives for cultural institutions. In this talk, we will review foundations and research questions as well as any results we have to date.