In an effort to overcome technology and production barriers, the leading providers of web-based video have joined with media access pioneer WGBH/Boston to develop solutions that will increase the amount of online video accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
AOL, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! have asked WGBH and its Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) to establish and manage the Internet Captioning Forum (ICF). The ICF will initially address the technical challenges presented by online video repurposed from broadcast or other previously captioned sources, as well as video created specifically for the web.
The collaboration is expected to yield a range of solutions and tools, among them:
â€“ A database for online media distributors, populated by major captioning providers, of previously captioned programs. This tool will facilitate the location and reuse of existing caption files.
â€“ Technical and standards documents, case studies and best practices for accomplishing pervasive online video captioning.
â€“ Demonstrations of innovative practices to preserve captions while editing and digitizing captioned videos.
In addition to the global audience of people who are deaf or hard of hearing, beneficiaries of the ICF’s initiative also include people who rely on translation engines to convert caption text into other languages, people using online video in noisy situations or at work, and search engines that use caption text to search and retrieve online videos.