NCAM and Apple Publish "Creating Accessible iTunes U Content"

From Media Access Group at WGBH
The Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media at WGBH (NCAM) has written guidelines for content providers who would like to create accessible iTunes U media via captions, subtitles and audio descriptions. This guidelines document provides step-by-step documentation on creating fully accessible media, including:
– Closed captions and audio descriptions that the user can turn on or off as needed.
– Open subtitles and descriptions that are available to everyone watching or listening.
– Closed subtitles for adding multiple language tracks to video files.
– Accessible PDFs.
Also included with the guidelines are links to eight video and audio clips that illustrate the various forms of accessible media discussed in the document. Using these guidelines, iTunes U content providers can create content that all people can learn from including people with vision and hearing loss.
To access the Creating Accessible iTunes U Content guidelines document and related media, [see Creating Accessible iTunes U Content on Apple’s iTunes site](
About NCAM and WGBH
The Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media at WGBH is a research, development and advocacy entity that works to make existing and emerging technologies accessible to all audiences. NCAM is part of the Media Access Group at WGBH, which also includes The Caption Center (est. 1972), and Descriptive Video Service® (est. 1990). For more information, visit [](
WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcasting producer, the source of fully one-third of PBS’s prime-time lineup, along with some of public television’s best-known lifestyle shows and children’s programs and many public radio favorites. For more information, visit [](

United Nations Enable Factsheet on Persons with Disabilities

“Around 10 per cent of the world’s population, or 650 million people, live with a disability. They are the world’s largest minority.” – [UN Enable Facesheet]( [Link: [Laura Carlson](]
Isn’t that reason enough to make accommodations? Caption videos? Do voice overs? Design accessible web sites? What more do you need? 10 percent of the WORLD. Imagine how many customers and visitors that could mean for a business, organization or web site.
I heard a story from a colleague. A friend of his has been out of work for a long time and he’s struggling to find a new job (I understand that considering my husband just got laid off for the second time in five years). However, the friend has a speech disability that is getting the way of opportunities.
I’m lucky I have a successful freelance writing business in spite of my hearing loss and deaf accent. I had a strong corporate career before switching to self-employment. Would it be harder for me to find a corporate job today in a time when many people are applying for the same job? Would people turn me away thinking they don’t want to do anything extra to help me adapt to the work environment (it would not be that much, if any).
I mentioned a long time ago that deaf people tend to be better drivers than the average driver because they focus more and use their eyes. Maybe the same can apply to people with disabilities in a job. We work harder because we want to prove we have every right to be in the jobs we have. We want to be independent.
I’ve said this many times — if I had been born hearing, I may not lead as good a life as I have today. Being deaf motivated me to succeed, prove myself and go the extra mile.
So if you meet someone with an unusual accent, can’t see you or wheels in to meet you — give them a chance. Let them answer questions in a different way. Write up your questions before the interview. Whatever. They might just surprise you.

The Miracle Worker Revival Comes to Broadway

We know *The Miracle Worker* is a wonderful play about Helen Keller. We’ve come a long way since the 1962 movie starring Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke. Deaf actors have landed more roles even several were the stars of their own shows. (Marlee Matlin starred [Reasonable Doubts]( in and Deanna Bray in [Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye](
So, Broadway is welcoming a revival of [The Miracle Worker]( Who did the producers tap to play Helen Keller? Don’t bother trying to recall every teen actor who is deaf, blind or both. Instead, they went with Abigail Breslin of [Little Miss Sunshine](
Can you guess what happened? You betcha. Advocacy groups like the Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts share their disgust for the casting with the show’s producers. Oh, but they’re open to casting a deaf or blind actor as an understudy. You can see the scores of [news articles on Google](;_ylt=A9j8eu4ZLexKroUAzAfQtDMD;_ylu=X3oDMTBhNjRqazhxBHNlYwNzZWFyY2g-?p=abigail+breslin+deaf&c=&ei=UTF-8&fr=&x=wrt).
Disappointing indeed.

Index of Captioned Videos

22frames logoIf you’re like me, you search for captioned video on a per site basis. For example, you use [Hulu](’s cc only caption feature, [Google Video](’s show captioned videos only feature and [YouTube](’s “closed captioned” type feature.
Even these search tools are not perfect. For example, I added subtitles to all of [my YouTube videos](, but they don’t show up on YouTube’s caption search. Why? Because I didn’t upload a separate file with captions. They were already in there when I uploaded it. I have no way (that I know of) to identify the video as captioned. []( did.
22frames aims to index every single captioned and subtitled video. Not only that. 22frames also includes videos that you can enjoy without hearing audio. Instead of going to the Hulus and YouTubes and searching for captions or watchable videos, you can go to [22frames]( rest assured you’ll enjoy every video (well, unless its content is lousy).
Love and appreciate this site! Learn more [about 22frames](

Signs for Countries around the World

From [](
Do you get tired of fingerspelling country names? Have you ever searched online for country name-signs but can’t find what you’re looking for? Problem solved! Check out [](
This website serves as a resource for those seeking to learn the signs for various countries around the world. A list of references is included to give credibility to the signs shown on the website and to acknowledge regional differences. When possible, both the American Sign Language sign and the indigenous sign are posted as well as the sign for some of the larger cities located within the country.

HLAA Testifies Before Congress on Emergency Alerting Issues

From [Deafnetwork](
By Lise Hamlin
Director of Public Policy and State Development
October 2, 2009
“This is NOT a test: Will the Nation’s Emergency Alert System Deliver the President’s Message to the Public?” That was the topic of a 3 ½ hour hearing before the US House of Representative’s Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management. In addition to the testimony provided by Hearing Loss Association of America, the Subcommittee heard testimony from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), the Government Accountability Office, Maryland State Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), a Florida County Commissioner, National Council of La Raza, and Las Vegas PBS.
If an emergency happened tomorrow, do you know how you would get the information you need? Would it be accessible to you? If you live in a rural community that does not regularly caption the news, are you sure the emergency news that has been provided has captions or uses some other visual method (scrolling or crawling text, for example) to get the information to you? These are the kinds of questions we need to answer before an emergency.
Chairwoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and Ranking Member Mario Diaz-Balart had some hard hitting questions for FEMA. Others on the panel provided information to help the Committee ensure that information on emergencies gets out to everyone.
Still, in an emergency, we need to be sure that every one of us is prepared. It’s up to us to provide information to Congress and FEMA about what we need in an emergency. It’s also up to us to talk to local emergency responders, to join in CERT teams and to be actively involved with emergency planning to ensure that you are safe in an emergency.
[View HLAA’s testimony]( (PDF format)
You can read the testimony of all invited to testify or view the video of the hearing on []( (go to Hearings section) – but will not be available for long. Or click here for a temporary direct link (look on the right column for the list of testimonies). The Committee has a number of hearing s coming up, so plant to keep the video only for a few days; the written testimony should be available longer.
For those or you who are curious about House proceedings: open captioning is not provided all the time: HLAA requested the captions. Captioning was provided remotely, even though there is a court reporter in the room who is responsible for the official record. In fact, there are two official court reporters – each one working no more than an hour at a time. We were also told that if the court reporters go on the House floor, they need only work for 15 minutes at a time. Each reporter cleans up the text during their breaks so that it can be ready for the official record as soon as possible.
We also learned from staff that several people in the room told staff said the captioning was great and they would love to see that all the time. Isn’t’ that always the case?
Source: [](

NAD Calls out Netflix on Captions

From DeafNetwork.

On September 9, 2009, the National Association of the Deaf requested that Netflix provide a captioned version of “The Wizard of Oz” movie that Netflix made available online, for free, for everyone on October 3, 2009. Netflix disregarded the NAD request along with thousands of letters, emails, comments, and tweets urging Netflix to caption the movie. Today, the NAD expressed its dismay at the lack of any response from Netflix and its failure to make this 70th anniversary celebration of “The Wizard of Oz” accessible to 36 million deaf and hard of hearing viewers.

Here is what the NAD said:
Monday, October 5, 2009
Catherine Fisher
Director, Communications
Netflix, Inc.

Ms. Fisher —

On September 9, 2009, the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) wrote to you in response to Netflix’s announcement that “The Wizard of Oz” would be freely available to everyone on October 3rd, the 70th anniversary of this classic film. We requested that Netflix enable people to choose to view a captioned version of this classic film by placing a “CC” icon on your webpage linked to the captioned version. We urged Netflix to take advantage of this unique opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to providing accessible entertainment to 36 million deaf and hard of hearing Americans. See In addition to the NAD, Academy Award winning actress Marlee Matlin and many other people appealed to Netflix to caption “The Wizard of Oz.”
The process of captioning *The Wizard of Oz* is technically possible and relatively simple to achieve. The television version and the DVD version of the film have already been captioned. Captions can be programmed into the Microsoft Silverlight application that Netflix uses for its Watch Instantly feature. Captions have been included in videos, programming, and movies made available for viewing online. See, for example,
We received no response from Netflix. Our request for a captioned version of “The Wizard of Oz” on October 3rd was not honored. Unlike the characters in “The Wizard of Oz,” Netflix looks like it is still searching for its brain, heart, and courage. We view Netflix’s lack of response and lack of captioning for “The Wizard of Oz” as a blatant statement by Netflix that 36 million deaf and hard of hearing people are second class citizens. This is the message that our community received from Netflix.
Netflix must commit to a policy and timetable to provide captions for its online movie service to ensure equal access to this service by Netflix account holders who are deaf or hard of hearing. Such a policy is a not only a good business practice, it’s the right thing to do.

In addition, we ask Netflix to meet with NAD representatives, and the courtesy of a response to this invitation.

Rosaline Crawford

Director, Law and Advocacy Center
National Association of the Deaf
8630 Fenton Street, Suite 820
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Advocates need to continue to request captioning on Netflix Watch Instantly movies by sending messages to Netflix by Twitter via the Netflix twitter account @netflix or @netflixhelps, via the Netflix Facebook page by posting comments on the Netflix blog, and contacting:
Catherine Fisher
Director, Communications
Netflix, Inc.
Netflix Customer Service: 1-866-716-0414



Netflix: Wizard of Oz – 70th Anniversary:
Yahoo Tech

Update October 11, 2012

It only took three years … but there’s finally a settlement.

Netflix and the National Association of the Deaf Reach Historic Agreement to Provide 100% Closed Captions in On-Demand

New York Mets Deaf and Hard of Hearing Awareness Day

Date: Saturday, October 3, 2009 at 1:10pm
New York Mets vs. Houston Astros
– A pre-game ceremony at home plate will honor key community supporters.
– Each person will receive a Citi Field Inaugural Season Scroll Pen (with advance purchase through this flyer or group ticket window).
– All deaf and hard of hearing supporters will sit together in Promenade Reserved and Promenade Box seating.
– Interpreters will be placed throughout the ballpark for assistance.
You can [order tickets on the site]( by using the login HEAR and password METS to purchase tickets. The flyer has all the information.
Contact for more information: Matt Gulotta at or Citi Field Phone: 718-559-3044.

Captioning Videos Does Matter

[Jen Rohrig]( and I have something in common. We just avoid videos online because we know the chances of them having captions are slim.
The captions on a recent TV show were muddled (cut off sentences, combined words for non-sensical phrases), so I went online to see if I could view the episode online as a couple of networks have captioned their online episodes. Nope. I wasn’t disappointed because I already had low expectations. Then I saw Veronica Mars was trending on Twitter. Turned out the network released all of Season 1 episodes online. No captions. No surprise.
I agree with her following thoughts, “I’m not convinced that videos on YouTube should include compulsory captions. Usually these are made by fans or other individuals who probably don’t have the knowledge or money to caption their home-made videos. Captioning online videos is neither cheap nor easy and I’m not convinced it’s appropriate to make captioning mandatory for personal, home-made videos. On the other hand, making the tools available and suggesting the addition of captions is a different story…”
It’s getting easier. I’ve [captioned all of my own videos]( Of course, the videos don’t last more than a couple of minutes.
This [blog entry with a video]( from a graduation at Galluadet University shows how captions make a difference. I felt exactly like those kids did when I finally finished college at American University.

HR 3101: Internet Captioning

Congress is working on HR 3101 known as the “21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2009”, which would require making the internet more accessible using closed-captioning, real-time texting and video description.
[NY Daily News]( reports, “The new bill would make closed captioning mandatory for large Internet television and movie distributors, excluding user-based sites such as YouTube. The bill would also lift an outdated standard enforcing closed captioning only on TV sets of 13 inches or greater, opening up captioning to smart phones and other portable devices that display video.
“The H.R. 3101 bill also aims to bring back a revoked standard on video description for the blind, a technology where a narrator depicts a televised scene in-between character dialogue.”
The trick thing about internet videos is that many of us individuals who know how to operate a video camera, don’t necessarily know how to do much more than upload the video. So how do you create a reasonable law? Of course, I’d like to see more online captions, but I also know we need to be realistic.
The real-time texting targets cell phones to speed response for 911 emergencies.
The baby boomers’ aging compels Congress to come up with more laws and smart businesses to ensure they provide accessible content. This [Many Tribes video discusses the impact of HR 3101]( (captioned and ASL).
Links: [Laura Carlson](