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Archive for December, 2009

Global Accessibility Policy – Technology Changes, Civil Rights Do Not

By Cynthia Waddell

The UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities addresses the rights of 650 million persons with disabilities and impacts two billion persons worldwide, including family members of persons with disabilities.

Six years in the making, the treaty opened for signatures in March 2007, receiving the highest number of signatories for any UN treaty on its opening day; and entered into legal force in May 2008.

Automatic Captions Added To YouTube Videos

Google, the owner of video exchange website YouTube, has started providing automatic captions for some English language videos on the website, increasing accessibility for deaf users.

The ‘auto-caps’ system is made possible by Google’s own automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology, working alongside the current YouTube captioning system.

UK’s First Educational e-Book Library Launched Online

The UK’s first online library of educational textbooks in a range of digital formats accessible to visually impaired students has been launched.

‘Books for All’ is a joint project between The Seeing Ear ( ), a website which provides electronic books for visually disabled people, and the University of Edinburgh. It allows authorised and registered teachers and students with visual impairments to access an online catalogue of alternative format educational books for free.

Call For Compliance With UN Convention Covering ICT Rights

Disability rights groups, organisations working with people with disabilities and all other interested parties must carefully monitor their home nations’ compliance with the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities to ensure moves towards more accessible information and communications technologies (ICT) do not fall by the wayside, one of the world’s leading accessibility analysts writes in this month’s E-Access Bulletin.

Cynthia Waddell, Executive Director of The International Center for Disability Resources on the Internet (ICDRI – ), says the Convention entered into legal force in May 2008 and starting next year, 2010, all states that have ratified it will be required to report to the UN Committee on Rights of Persons with Disabilities on measures taken to meet its accessible ICT obligations.