The Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) at Boston public broadcaster WGBH is a research and development facility dedicated to addressing barriers to media and emerging technologies for people with disabilities in their homes, schools, workplaces, and communities. NCAM is part of the Media Access Group at WGBH which includes two production units, The Caption Center (est. 1972) and Descriptive Video Service® (DVS®) (est. 1990).
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.
NCAM's ongoing activities include:
• development of technologies that create access to public mass media
• development of public media policies
• research into how existing access technologies may benefit other populations
• outreach to various communities and industries to educate people about media access issues
• support of the public broadcasting community in extending access to new and emerging programming and information.
NCAM's mission is to ensure that the 40 million Americans with little or no access to media's sights and sounds will not be left out of the Information Age.
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