Making audio accessible to everyone

Accessing spoken word across the web


Stories about deafness from NYPL’s Visible Lives oral history project

Accessible audio is transcribed audio. When audio creators don’t provide transcripts of their stories, they lose out on a sizable audience that is deaf or hard of hearing. According to the World Health Organization, more than five percent of the world’s population has disabling hearing loss. While evolving FCC standards for online video result in more captions now than ever for video content, captions for audio remain rare.

Until recently, few technological solutions existed to sync text with audio. And audio creators and collectors don’t always have resources to transcribe their own audio. At Pop Up Archive, we leverage automatic, machine-generated transcripts to help many organizations — like CUNY TV, CBC’s Spark, and the New York Public Library — generate and share captioned media, expanding the reach of their content to hearing-disabled audiences.

CUNY TV uses Pop Up Archive to caption videos

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Day at Night: Ray Bradbury (1974), re-broadcast on CUNY TV

CUNY TV uses Pop Up Archive’s transcripts for audio and video alike. The CUNY team uploads a subset of their audio to Pop Up Archive, cleans up the transcripts, and adds them as timestamped caption text to their YouTube videos. Pop Up Archive also offers an array of transcript download options including SRT, a standard subtitle format that provides line-by-line timestamped text that can be easily uploaded to video platforms like YouTube and Vimeo.

CBC Radio’s Spark addresses the accessibility of audio on the web

Spark: How to make websites more accessible for people who are deaf

Spark is a show on CBC’s Radio One that covers trends in technology. In a recent episode, they addressed the challenges of digital audio accessibility on the web, using Pop Up Archive to make their own web presence more accessible. The team uploaded Spark recordings to Pop Up Archive, cleaned up their automatic transcripts, and grabbed the HTML embed codes for their audio — a workflow available to anyone who uses the Pop Up Archive’s service.

See our three-step instructions for using the Pop Up Archive embeddable player.

The New York Public Library transcribes an oral history project

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Annmarie Antenucci’s story in NYPL’s Visible Lives

Last year, we profiled the innovative way NYPL is combining automatic transcripts from Pop Up Archive and crowd-correction tools for over 100 oral history recordings about disability. NYPL made the content of these recordings instantly searchable through automatic transcripts, and are now galvanizing NYPL community members to make the transcripts more accurate and readable for hearing-disabled audiences. If you’ve been following our newsletters, you might have already read about how Pop Up Archive is partnering with The New York Public Library and The Moth to build a new model for accessible audio.