Calling Citizen Archivists to Crowdsource Video Captions!

One of the chief goals of the National Archives is making our records- regardless of format- more accessible.  Sometimes this means digitizing records and adding them to our catalog, but it also means creating ways for all US citizens to experience our collections.  Accessibility of videos for the hearing impaired is very important to us, which is why we are pleased to tell you that the National Archives can now be found on Amara!

The US National Archives on Amara

Amara is an online resource that gives individuals, communities, and larger organizations the power to overcome accessibility and language barriers for online videos.  This unique tool is simple to use, collaborative, and fun to use! Join the National Archives team on Amara and help us caption our videos. It’s easy to join; just find a video that interests you, and start captioning!

3 thoughts on “Calling Citizen Archivists to Crowdsource Video Captions!

  1. I am pleased you are doing this but there is much more you can do that would make the records even more accessible to the public. I recently made a visit to view Selective Service records in St. Louis. They wanted the request for records submitted to them in advance and I was able to complete the pull request by completing the form on my computer and then mail the completed form to them. I was requesting Selective Service records on over 100 individuals. After they received my forms and did an initial search, they were able to identify several of the individuals for whom they were unable to locate the records. I was given an opportunity to provide additional information to assist them with their search. When I arrived in St. Louis, the records I requested were waiting for me to review and photograph. If the Washington office had been handling the job, I would have had to wait until I arrived in DC to submit the requests that had to be written and there would have been some type of pull limitation of perhaps 20 pull request per day. This means that it would have taken a week just to submit the pull request. I see genealogical societies from Virginia, Maryland and Delaware making bus trips to DC to review records. Their visits would be far more successful if there was a process by which they could request the records in advance so that the records are waiting for them when they arrive. St. Louis can do it, why not DC?

  2. The only problem is that the Federal gov. has been legally obligated for decades to caption its videos, as well as audio-describe them for blind persons since 2001, so this ‘use’ of public volunteers is a bit disingenuous, at best. It’s all in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.

    1. Hi Gary,

      Thank you for your comment. To clarify, crowdsourcing is just one of the tools we use to achieve compliance with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. We take Section 508 compliance very seriously, and we want to do all we can to ensure that our videos are accessible to all citizens, using the most efficient and cost-effective means available. There are billions of records in the holdings of National Archives. Our collaboration with Amara is a targeted effort to caption items that were created in analog format and came into the holdings of the National Archives long before the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 or the 2001 requirements. We work to ensure that newly created content is captioned and accessible before it is posted. Our hope is that once we have captions for our archival holdings, we will one day be able to add these captions into our online catalog, making the video content full-text searchable as well.

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