Alan J. Flavell has a particularly useful page: Use of ALT texts in IMGs. I first read this a couple of years ago and it clarified many points. He set out general principles and has a wonderful set of “howlers” which are actually very helpful in showing what to avoid.
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Folks, I'm sorry, but the comment spammers send about a million more comments than real readers do and I can't stand the spam. I've disabled comments again. Feel free to respond to @miraz on Twitter or to email me through the contact form on the site.