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Guidelines: Accessibility Features for Digital Audiovisual  Collections Content  

The FADGI AV Accessibility Subgroup, started after a full working group meeting in December 2021, is focusing on developing and documenting guidelines and processes for federal cultural heritage institutions to address accessibility needs such as captions, subtitles, audio description and transcriptions, for archival audiovisual collections content acquired through collections development scope and policies.  

Definitions for Key Accessibility Features for Digital Audiovisual Collections Content

Definitions for Key Accessibility Features for Digital Audiovisual Collections Content provides technical information, definitions and resources for accessibility features for born digital or digitized audiovisual collections content and their online delivery in US federal agencies which follow rules and guidelines set out by the US Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and US Access Board Section 508. Where possible, links to these resources are provided.

These accessibility features enable screen readers and provide support for users who are blind, have low vision or cannot see the video adequately, who are deaf or hard of hearing, who prefer to read transcripts and subtitles, who prefer to communicate in sign language.

Digital audiovisual collections content, in this context, is defined as acquired through collection development scope and policies and specifically EXCLUDES purpose-built audiovisual content created by the agency such as public events programming, recorded concerts, author talks, and the like.

This document is organized into two main informative sections.

  • Summary of chart of accessibility features for audiovisual content: highlights (where applicable) a brief definition of the accessibility term, if the data is embedded into the file or held in an external sidecar file, a list a common file formats for sidecar files, the accessibility rule/law/mandate/guideline (i.e., CFR, WCAG, Section 508, etc.), and the standard or specification that supports the file format or accessibility demand. Each of these is further explained in the second section, Definitions.
  • Definitions: details (as appropriate) the accessibility term including background information, associations with related accessibility features, pros and cons of implementation strategies and more.

These informative sections are followed by additional sections with brief explanations of common subtitle and caption file formats, caption and subtitle support in common media players and finally, resources and references. The media player support section is especially flexible as application support frequently changes so always refer to the application itself for the most up-to-date information.

The document was compiled by the members of the FADGI AV Accessibility Subgroup (members listed below) and approved by the Working Group after a public comment period from July 12, 2022 - August 15, 2022.

Current version

Definitions for Key Accessibility Features for Digital Audiovisual Collections Content, v1.0 September 2, 2022

Comments are always via the FADGI Comment Form or by email to Kate Murray, [email protected].

Survey Results: The Current State of Accessibility Features for Audiovisual Collections Content in Five FADGI Institutions

The FADGI AV Accessibility Subgroup created and distributed a survey to FADGI members to gather information about accessibility compliance in federal cultural heritage institutions for archival audiovisual collections content acquired through collections development scope and policies. Five member organizations from two branches of the United States Federal Government, Legislative and Executive, responded with detailed responses to twenty questions. These organizations include the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Archives and Records Administration, the Architect of the Capital and the National Library of Medicine. The survey results represents a very much a ‘point-in-time’ benchmark to record how five large US federal institutions are implementing accessibility features for their audiovisual collections content.

The survey was open from late spring - midsummer 2022 and a full list of the questions is available in the Annex. Some institutions requested that their responses to specific questions be anonymized for the results.

Current version

Survey Results: The Current State of Accessibility Features for Audiovisual Collections Content in Five FADGI Institutions, October 4, 2022

Members of the FADGI AV Accessibility Subgroup include:

  • Claralyn Burt, Architect of the Capitol
  • Danielle Calle, National Library of Medicine
  • Sarah Eilers, National Library of Medicine
  • Heidi Holmstrom, National Archives and Records Administration
  • Charles Hosale, Library of Congress/American Folklife Center
  • Blake McDowell, National Museum of African American History and Culture/Smithsonian
  • Kate Murray, Library of Congress/FADGI
  • Crystal Sanchez, Smithsonian OCIO
  • James Snyder, Library of Congress/National Audio Visual Conservation Center
  • Kira Sobers, Smithsonian Libraries and Archives

 

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Working Groups

Still Image Working Group
This group is involved in a cooperative effort to develop common digitization guidelines for still image materials.

Audio-Visual Working Group
This group works collaboratively on common and sustainable technical guidelines, methods, and practices for digitized and born digital sound recordings and moving images.

Last Updated: 10/20/2022