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Description Key - About the Key

  1. About the Description Key
  2. About the DCMP
  3. About the NAD

About the Description Key

Originally developed through a partnership between the Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) and the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), the Description Key began as recommendations, suggestions, and best practices culled from an extensive literature search and meta-analysis [PDF] in 2006.

An expert panel in media description and education for children with visual impairments was assembled to help evaluate media description strategies for educational material. Panel members included: DCMP staff, Annemarie Cooke (DeWitt and Associates), David Dawson (Audio Information Network of Colorado), Joy R. Efron, Kay Alicyn Ferrell (University of Northern Colorado), Megan Finnerty (University of Northern Colorado), Jeremy M. Fisher (CaptionMax), Bryan Gould (WGBH), Laurel J. Hudson (Teacher/Professor), Terry Maggiore (Teacher/Parent), Betsy L. McGinnity (Perkins School for the Blind), Cyral Miller (Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired), Martin Monson (University of Northern Colorado), Mary Ann Siller (American Foundation for the Blind), Joel Snyder (Audio Description Associates), and Dean O. Stenehjem (Washington State School for the Blind).

The list of recommended practices was then subjected to a consensus review process by these leading experts, resulting in a reduction from 204 to 63 critical indicators. This work was opened to an extensive public review in the spring of 2008 that invited comments and rankings of each indicator's importance. The expert panel met a final time in July 2008 to review these public comments, the rankings, and to discuss each indicator before adopting the final document presented here. (For a more detailed look at how (and why) the Key was developed, please read "Background of the Description Key.")

Since 2008 some fine tuning and revision of guidelines has taken place based on: (a) DCMP experiences in working with a large number of vendors that provide description service; (b) input from a large number of professionals and consumers who have served on the DCMP board and acted as DCMP advisors; (c) recent (2011) partnerships with the American Council of the Blind (ACB) and with the Video Description Research and Development Center (VDRDC) as a member of the VDRDC Description Leadership Network.

About the Described and Captioned Media Program

The DCMP is a unique accessible media resource serving the United States and its territories. DCMP services include: (a) a library of free-loan described and captioned educational media for K-12, (b) a learning center of information on media access, and (c) guidelines for the creation of description and captioning.

About the National Association of the Deaf

The NAD is the nation's premiere civil rights organization of, by, and for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States of America. Established in 1880, the NAD was shaped by deaf leaders who believed in the right of the American deaf community to use sign language, to congregate on issues important to them, and to have its interests represented at the national level. These beliefs remain true to this day, with American Sign Language as a core value.

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