The Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media at WGBH
For over two decades, the National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) has been a national leader in making digital media accessible for people with disabilities.
The team in NCAM—with over 150 years of combined experience in accessibility—are pioneers, inventors, and problem-solvers, frequently anticipating and creating solutions for tomorrow's technology challenges.
Making any digital service or product accessible guarantees opportunities for organizations to broaden their reach, and to impact the largest possible audience of customers and users. NCAM has partnered with industries that have recognized the need for accessible content, interactivity, and functionality throughout all stages of the digital experience.
Accessibility means something different for each industry, organization, audience, and product. With that in mind, NCAM tailors its services to meet a broad range of trends, needs, and expectations. Simply match your goals with one or more of NCAM’s services to learn about the accessibility possibilities.
Strategic Planning and AdvisingThe WGBH National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) works closely with our strategic partners to help them build internal accessibility expertise and gain valuable knowledge in the areas of digital television, rich media, convergent media, internet, e-books and other forms of media. We marry NCAM's research and development projects with the specific needs of each partner. We asked our partners to tell us why the program works for them, and how it is making a difference to their customers and employees with disabilities.Learn More
TrainingNCAM can provide in-person or online training, offering a primer on how users with disabilities interact with technology and experience different media, and what it means to make that media accessible. NCAM will customize the training to your industry and your staff, vendors, clients, or user group by integrating your content and intellectual property into the training materials.Learn More
EvaluationsNCAM performs accessibility evaluations for websites, applications, hardware and all types of electronic documents for conformance with Section 508 regulations, state accessibility requirements and all levels of WCAG 2.0.Learn More
Standards and RegulationsNCAM participates in policy and standards-setting activities across a broad range of media-related areas, and has served as a technical resource to both industry and government.Learn More
CADETCADET is free, downloadable caption-authoring software that enables anyone to produce high-quality caption files that are compatible with any media player that supports the display of captions. CADET can also be used to generate audio-description scripts.Learn More
Custom SolutionsAccessibility means something different for each industry, organization, audience, and product. With that in mind, NCAM tailors its services to meet a broad range of trends, needs, and expectations. Where accessibility solutions exist, NCAM can support implementation; where they do not, NCAM creates them.Learn More
Accessibility means something different for each industry, organization, audience, and product. With that in mind, NCAM tailors its services to meet a broad range of trends, needs, and expectations.
Making any digital service or product accessible creates opportunities for your organization to broaden its reach, impacting the largest possible audience of customers and users. NCAM has partnered with industries that have recognized the need for accessible content, interactivity, and functionality throughout all stages of their customer’s unique digital experience.
NCAM's work has impacted dozens of industries, including the following:
- Academic publications
- Colleges and universities
- Electronics manufacturers
- Technology companies
- Online retailers
- Media producers, providers and broadcasters
- Local, state and government agencies
- Software, hardware and app developers
- Cultural institutions, amusement parks and stadiums
- Assessment, credentialing and certification organizations
- Law firms
Donna Danielewski, Ph.D.Senior Director of The Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media
Geoff FreedDirector of Technology Projects and Web Media Standards
Bryan GouldDirector of Accessible Learning and Assessment Technologies
Madeleine RothbergSenior Subject Matter Expert
Bradley BotkinSenior Developer
Peter VillaBusiness and Production Manager
Karen LallyAccessible Content Editor and Evaluation Specialist
Richard CaloggeroDeveloper and Access Technology Specialist
NCAM Wins FCC Chairman's Award for AccessibilityWhat’s free, easy to use, and just won the FCC Chairman’s Award for Accessibility? CADET! The Caption and Description Editing Tool (CADET) is free, downloadable caption-authoring software that enables anyone to produce high-quality caption files that are compatible with any media player that supports the display of captions.Learn More
For Those Who Can't See, The Eclipse Of The Century Was One For The SensesFor the first time in nearly 100 years, a total eclipse crossed the sky over the United States, unifying millions of spectators in one of the year’s most anticipated and now photographed events... For those with sight, it was, well, quite the sight. But what about for those who are blind or have low vision?Learn More
Publishing with accessibility standards from the inside outNCAM Senior Subject Matter Expert Madeleine Rothberg published an article about accessibility standards for EPUB (an e-book file format), “Publishing with Accessibility Standards from the Inside Out.” Madeleine’s work is featured in Learned Publishing’s special issue on accessibility.Learn More
Below are free resources available to the public. For more information about our consulting services and custom solutions, please contact us here.
Download CADETCADET is free, downloadable caption-authoring software that enables anyone to produce high-quality caption files that are compatible with any media player that supports the display of captions.Learn More
Download QA FaveletThe NCAM Accessibility QA Favelet is designed to help developers and quality assurance personnel identify accessibility issues on web pages.Learn More
Image DescriptionImages require text alternatives (descriptions) to provide a comprehensive experience to people who are blind or have low vision. NCAM has produced several research-based guidelines for describing images.Learn More
NCAM and the team of experts working in access at WGBH have been the proud recipients of numerous awards and achievements including but not limited to the following:
- 2018: FCC Chairman’s Award for Advancements in Accessibility: Caption and Description Editing Tool (CADET)
- 2018: Barry Levine Memorial Career Achievement Award in Audio Description (ACB/ADP): The Barry Levine Memorial Award for Career Achievement in Audio Description recognizes outstanding contributions to the field of audio description over an extended period of time, leading, inspiring or providing significant service to others.
- 2016: Technical Emmy® Award for NCAM participation authoring captioning and multimedia specification W3C’s TTML (Timed Text Markup Language).
- 2015: US patent #8,892,447 Quality assessment of text derived from an audio signal
- 2012: FCC Chairmans Award for Advancements in Accessiblity: Media Access Mobile (MAM)
- 1996: US Patent #5,570,944 Reflected display system for text of audiovisual performances
- 1989-1990 Emmy® Award for Outstanding Achievement in Engineering for the Pioneering Implementation and Development of Television for the Visually Impaired (DVS)
- 1980: Emmy® Award for Outstanding Achievement in Engineering for Closed Captioning for the Deaf System
The National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) was founded in 1993 with a major grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. NCAM acts as the research and development arm of Boston public broadcaster WGBH's Media Access Group and is involved in technology, policy and program development to assure that the nation's media and technologies are fully accessible to people with disabilities.
A major, five-year gift in 2006 from the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family Foundation complements NCAM's federal, corporate and foundation support and enables the Center to anticipate media access challenges and to begin addressing them quickly. In recognition of the family's generosity, NCAM was renamed the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media at WGBH.
NCAM is an extension of public broadcasting's ground-breaking work in media access that began in 1972 with the establishment of The Caption Center at WGBH and its development of captioning for television viewers who are deaf and hard-of-hearing. In 1990, WGBH's access mission resulted in the development of video description for television audiences who are blind and visually impaired. NCAM and its sister organizations, The Caption Center and Descriptive Video Service®(DVS®), make up the Media Access Group at WGBH.