Harvard & M.I.T. sued over lack of captions

The importance of educational media accessibility is in the spotlight, as lawsuits against both Harvard and M.I.T. were filed by the National Deaf Association last week. The lawsuits are over the failure of the two schools to adequately caption their online learning content. This content includes various video and audio material, including online lectures and podcasts.

New York Times article link

This should be an informative legal proceeding and one to keep an eye on. It may impact interpretation and enforcement of already existing laws that relate to electronic media access like ADA and the Rehabilitation Act, especially as online learning increases in higher education.

Here at UT, we’re very concerned with accessibility and are proud of the efforts made to caption campus media. However, even with significant progress made thus far, there’s more to be done. These lawsuits emphasize the importance of our university’s efforts to level the playing field and provide access to the benefits of online learning to everyone.

Students captioning
Two student-workers captioning video content at the University of Texas at Austin Libraries.

If you are a content owner and have questions or need captions please contact me or visit our site for more info.

Daniel Jacobs – daniel.jacobs@austin.utexas.edu







Digital Humanities/Scholarship Updates

Survey overview

Last fall we conducted an internal survey of staff to find out what kinds of digital scholarship activities are happening around the Libraries and what kinds of requests folks are getting from faculty, students & staff. The survey has been analyzed and it indicated that a wide range of activities are already happening in the Libraries, but that many scholarly needs are still not being met. This is primarily due to a lack of resources and established workflows.

Jean Fusoris planispheric astrolabe in Putnam Gallery
Jean Fusoris planispheric astrolabe in Putnam Gallery By Sage Ross (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Medievalist metadata workshop

On May 11-12, 2015, UT Libraries will host a CLIR-Mellon-sponsored workshop, “Linking the Middle Ages,” which will pull together an expert group of medieval scholars and librarians. The goals of the workshop are:

  • A clear definition of medievalists’ scholarly and technological needs.
  • A clear definition of the scholarly and technological limits and parameters of what is possible to achieve.
  • Come to an agreement about a set of vocabularies that define basic/essential medieval data fields.
  • Come to an agreement about Linked Data formats and common reference points (e.g. what gazetteers to use), and get feedback on ways to represent those data sets online so that they can be connected to each other via reused APIs.


TxDHC’s “Introduction to OpenRefine” webinar

Jennifer Hecker recently collaborated with Liz Grumbach of Texas A&M University’s Initiative for Digital Humanities, Media and Culture to present the first training webinar in what we hope will become a series coordinated by the newly-formed Texas Digital Humanities Consortium. The session offered an overview of the “tool for working with messy data” and a live demo. If you missed it, check out this blog post, where you can access the slides, sample data set, and a recording of the webcast.


Next DH/DS meetup

If you’re interested in this digital humanities/scholarship stuff, this month’s campus-wide meetup will be from 4-6pm on March 3rd at the Cactus Cafe in the Student Union Building here on campus. Join us!