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Section 508 Compliance: Quick Start Guide: 508 Compliance For NOAA IR Submissions

A selection of resources and information on Section 508 Compliance.


NOAA's Institutional Repository (IR) is curated by the NOAA Libraries to collect and disseminate materials published by NOAA authors. 

All NOAA authors and grantees are required to submit their publications no later than one year after publication to the IR according to the NOAA Public Access Policy for Scholarly Publications (Public Access Policy). Grantees include those who receive funding via NOAA Cooperative Institutes or Science Centers or those who have received direct funding (grant or contract) from any NOAA Office.

For more information about the NOAA IR and submissions, please visit the IR Submission FAQs

Does My Submission need to be Section 508 Compliant?

  • All NOAA publications must be Section 508 Compliant upon submission to the NOAA IR. Non-compliant documents will be returned for corrections. NOAA publications include: Technical Memorandum, Technical Reports, NOAA Atlases, and other NOAA series publications. 
  • Open Access journal articles will be accepted in their final published form. No Section 508 remediation work needs to be performed on these documents.
  • Articles from journals that allow archiving of the publisher’s version will be accepted in their final published form. No Section 508 remediation work needs to be performed on these documents.
  • Journal articles not meeting the previous criteria should be submitted as Section 508 compliant manuscripts (meaning they are the final version with edits, but before the publishers’ formatting (e.g., pagination, logos, etc.) has been added). However,  the NOAA Central Library does offer Section 508 remediation services for manuscripts. To request these services please use the IR Submission Form.

The Big 5: Section 508 Compliance Requirements for NOAA Institutional Repository Submissions

The NOAA Central Library checks all NOAA publications and Journal article manuscripts submitted to the NOAA IR for the following accessibility elements:

  1. Tagged content: The PDF is a tagged PDF.  Auto-tagging is acceptable.  If this step is not done, no other elements will pass since they rely on tagging elements. (List of Standard PDF tags from Adobe)
  2. Bookmarks: Bookmarks are present on documents over 20 pages and illustrate the structure of the document.  If a Table of Contents is present, bookmarks should reflect this.  
  3. Alternative Text: Alt text is present for all figures, charts, maps, etc.
  4. Logical reading order: The reading order of the elements is logical and follows the flow of the document.
  5. Document properties: Title and Language are present.  (Adobe resources about creating and editing document metadata)

These are the minimum requirements NOAA publications and journal articles must pass to be archived in the NOAA IR. If your item does not meet these, it will be returned for corrections. Our team will provide feedback as to what needs to be altered in the document. 

Tools and Resources to Get Started

  • Basic PDF Editing; A How-To Manual: This tutorial provides an introduction to basic PDF editing for accessibility including how to fix common errors such as:
    • adding bookmarks,
    • fixing element tags,
    • document properties,
    • alternative text, and
    • fixing tab and reading order.
  • Section 508 Accessibility Check: see how the NCL staff checks IR submissions for Section 508 compliance.
  • Library AMA: Section 508: starting at 13:59 thru 26:00 there is a review of Section 508 requirements and quick fixes for common problems.


Still Having Issues?

Have questions? Need some additional guidance? Contact our Section 508 Specialists via email at

Or your can visit us during our weekly (Tuesdays from 2-3:30pm ET) Office Hours via Google Meet. To access the Google Meet you must have a email address.