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NYU Funds Closed-Captioning of Special Collections Media Content; Four Collections Now Streaming

by NYU Libraries Communications on 2022-01-14T12:36:47-05:00 | Comments

In order to meet accessibility standards, all NYU Libraries’ digitized video and audio materials must be closed-captioned before they are published to stream from the finding aids. In a new program funded by the University, the Libraries’ Digital Library Technology Services (DLTS) is creating closed captions for important media collections held in NYU Special Collections. 

According to the World Wide Web Consortium Web Accessibility Initiative, captions are a “text version of the speech and non-speech audio information needed to understand the content and are synchronized with the audio.” 

Four media collections have now been closed-captioned and published. Carol Kassel, Senior Manager, Digital Library Infrastructure, explained the complex steps involved: “We set up an API [application programming interface]-based system to send out batches of files for captioning and editing, ingest the resulting captions and transcripts, and incorporate them into our existing publication infrastructure.”

Some of the newly-captioned collections had particular challenges. Carol credits the vendor, Konch, with expertly captioning the Robert Steck Audio Recordings, including their Spanish-language content; the Immigrant Labor Oral Histories despite sections with less than optimal audio quality; and “the New Yawk accents” in the Paper Tiger TV Archives. 

DLTS staff on the project included Joseph Pawletko, who worked with Konch to set up the batch-processing workflow; Alberto Ortiz Flores, who incorporated the captions and transcripts into the publication process; and Laura Henze, who designed the user interface. The NYU Libraries’ Media Preservation Unit was also key to the project. “Their digitization work is the reason we had the files in the first place,” Carol said. 

 The newly captioned collections include: 

 Robert Steck Audio Recordings 

Oral histories of former Spanish Civil War POWs

 John Gerassi Oral History Collection

Oral histories of Spanish Civil War Veterans

 New York City Immigrant Labor History Project Oral History Collection

Oral histories of Eastern European, Irish, Italian, Russian, Scandinavian, and West Indian immigrants and Black and Puerto Rican migrants who arrived between 1900 and 1930

 Paper Tiger TV Archives

Public access television programming from a nonprofit, volunteer-based collective that critiques media, culture, and politics

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