Thursday Threads: Website Accessibility Reporting Service and Remixes in Film

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This week’s DLTJ Thursday Threads has just two pointers. First, a new volunteer web service to report problems with websites, which may be useful for not only our own sites but for the sites our patrons visit. Second, a nine-minute video that illustrates the reuse of themes and ideas in motion pictures across time.

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Thursday Threads: Kindle Singles and Kindle Accessibility, Sped-up Discourse, ISBN Troubles

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This week Amazon takes center stage of DLTJ Thursday Threads with a report of their new Kindle Singles program for medium-form digital content and a screen-reader-aware version of the Kindle reader application for PCs. After that is a look at how scholarly discourse is changing — radically! — with the availability and use of near-real-time feedback loops. And we close out with a peek at shaky ground in the world of ISBN identifiers.

Preserving Digital Video

My place of work is looking to acquire educational videos in a digital form with an eye towards long-term preservation. At this point we receive a physical form (preferably DVD, but sometimes VHS) and digitize it to a very lossy access format (RealMedia, in this case). With this change, we would get a preservation-worthy digital copy from the producer/distributor and forego the physical version.

There is quite a lot written on preserving video, but I wanted to distill the requirements down into statements that vendors could reasonably provide today. I think these are pretty sound requirements, but I’m looking for feedback. In particular, I’m not quite sure how to handle the transfer of closed caption text from the publisher/distributor; suggestions are welcome.

Resource for Improving Higher Education Instruction

A few months back I referred to a project that used video to present information about accessibility needs in the classroom. That article was about how difficult it is to create markup for embedded video that is universally accessible and valid HTML. Late last month the larger project that used that work was released. Called the Faculty & Administrator Modules in Higher Education, or FAME, it is a professional development tool for use in higher education with information on how college faculty, administrators, disability service providers, and students can work individually and collaboratively to improve the accommodations, teaching-learning process, and overall campus environment for students with disabilities. The content on the website is broken up into five modules:

Update to ‘Embedded Web Video in a Standards-Compliant, Accessible, and Successful Way’

With the release of Microsoft’s Windows Media Player version 11, the Microsoft Media Server (MMS) protocol is officially no longer supported. (Except, of course, for the confusing/amusing footnote on that page that says ‘mms://’ URIs are “highly recommended” as a protocol rollover URL — only Microsoft can at the same time make something deprecated and highly recommended.) As Ryan Eby noted earlier this year, those generating ASX files for Windows Media Player need to adjust their scripts.

Embedded Web Video in a Standards-Compliant, Accessible, and Successful Way

The word “Successful” in the title, when juxtaposed with “Standards-Compliant” and “Accessible,” should be big, bold and flashing (except that the flashing style would then go against web accessibility best practice). The goal is to embed a video clip into a web page that validates as “XHTML4.01 Transitional”, includes a Closed Captioning text track to be displayed in the web page, and could be viewed in one of three flavors: Windows Media, QuickTime, and Real. And the content being presented is about using accessible technologies in the classroom, so it had to be “right.” This task was much harder than I thought, and I’ll offer much harder than it should have been. Piecing together sources too numerous to mention, I managed to make it happen … with just a few caveats. Here, documented for all time, or at least until dltj.org goes away or the next major browser/streaming-client revision (which ever comes first) is how it can be done.