Library of Congress uses Closed Captioning to Help Make Videos Accessible to All
“Dedicating the time and resources to make our online videos accessible to persons who are hard of hearing was our first priority, but we also knew from inquiries that there was value in captioning for a wider audience.”
Multimedia Coordinator Information Technology Services Library of Congress
Established by the US congress in 1800, the Library of Congress is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. With millions of maps, books, recordings and manuscripts in its collection, it is the largest library holding in the world. While materials are only on loan to members of Congress and Supreme Court Judicial personnel, the Library is open to the public for academic research and tourism.
In the era of the Internet, the Library of Congress has created a public website, where visitors can view a wide range of interesting resources, research features, and numerous Webcasts. The Library began working toward making its web materials available and accessible to all viewers, and made the decision to engage AST for the project, using its CaptionSync services to convert its video collection into fully captioned digital content.
The Library is adding captions to both archival web videos, as well as new Webcasts. Glenn Ricci, Multimedia Coordinator for the Information Technology Services Multimedia Group at the Library of Congress notes, “It’s important that we make our Webcasts as accessible as possible, not just to meet Section 508 requirements, but to fulfill our mission to make our resources available to everyone.”
Initially, AST captioned volumes of media clips in just days, not the many months Ricci and his team were anticipating. AST’s automatic process is able to generate accurate time-synchronized captioning for the video content extremely rapidly.
“It’s important that we make our Webcasts as accessible as possible, not just to meet Section 508 requirements, but to fulfill our mission to make our resources available to everyone.”
The Result & Future
As video content was produced for the website, the Library began transcribing and captioning all new material so that the Webcasts would meet the 508 regulatory requirements. The project expanded to include captioning for older video so the larger collection would be accessible to all onsite users, and also would be made web-ready for public viewing.
As the project goes into its second year, more of the Library’s online videos will be made accessible. Ricci notes: “Having added captioning to a significant portion of our Webcasts, we hope the public finds our offerings easier to use and more useful overall.