CCL-EAR Shines a Spotlight on Two Vendors

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By the CCL-EAR Committee

Closed Captioning on Demand: FOD Needs to Remember Their Promise of ADA Compliance to California Community Colleges and Strive Better Towards It

Since the 2002 ADA compliance mandates for California community colleges, all videos in a library collection need to be closed captioned or have subtitles. Streaming vendors have been urged to make their titles be 100% closed captioned and in 2011, Films on Demand posted in their section 508 statement for the CCL consortium that they would be captioning their older titles while all new titles added would be closed captioned.

CCL-EAR has since reviewed Films on Demand twice through comparison reviews and a separate brief review, and as of April, 2017, the vendor was found to have 85% of its videos closed captioned. Last summer, a community college librarian contacted the chair and consortium director and reported that practically all of her world languages videos were not closed captioned or subtitled. Follow-up with the vendor revealed that since Films on Demand made their 2011 claim they have added foreign-language videos that they have not, and do not intend to, caption.

Given the differences from the vendor’s previous claims, CCL-EAR decided to investigate if all newly added videos were in fact closed captioned, and if not, was any of the non-captioned content English-language. At the end of December, one committee member took careful look of a twelve-month period, checking the captioning status of titles listed in the vendor’s announcements of newly added films. Based on this careful review, 245 titles were found to not be closed captioned, 186 of them in English. We have put together a spreadsheet listing non-captioned content added within the last year. At the bottom, we have compared the number of each company’s non-captioned videos to the total number of their titles in the Master Academic collection.

The committee believes that not only should Films on Demand redefine their Section 508 statement, but since many community college libraries likely selected Films on Demand because they promised that all new titles added would be closed captioned, that the vendor step up in getting titles closed captioned at a better rate. For now, Films on Demand promises a one to three weeks turn around time if an individual title is asked. Well, with the publication of this article, we are telling Films on Demand we want all 186 of these titles to be closed captioned.

In the meantime, Films on Demand does provide a closed captioned limiter in their admin settings. Unfortunately, there is currently no limiter to subtitles for foreign films, so with that limiter, World Language videos will be reduced by around 70%. As World Languages titles are more sparse with this result, we would also ask that there be a better effort to add more titles that have at least subtitles and that there be a subtitle limiter. As the review team also found that the complete collection had 15% of titles not closed captioned, CCL-EAR strongly recommends that pricing reflect this fact since theoretically we are supposed to hide those titles by statewide mandate.

Gale Needs to Understand that the Journal Label Implies Peer-Review

For customers who use Gale products, especially Academic OneFILE-- you may have noticed when students select the Academic Journals link (or if search results land there) that there are titles that appear there that are NOT peer-reviewed. A Gale representative has explained that articles that appear there are based on an advisory board of teaching faculty from many types of colleges that titles that are deemed to be written at the academic level (and thus suitable for “academic research”) are what appear there. This means titles that are opinion-based and have obvious political viewpoints such as American Prospect and National Review appear under the Academic Journals category. Gale says if an assignment requires students find peer-reviewed journals, students need to learn how to select the peer-reviewed limiter after landing in the Academic Journals option. CCL-EAR believes Gale should use better labeling and perhaps find a way to distinguish periodicals that are at “college level” reading and separate those titles from “Academic Journals.” For students and faculty alike, one of the key parts of the definition of an academic journal is that it is peer-reviewed.


Editor's Note: Prior to publication, Films on Demand submitted the following response. [Updated 2/21/2018 with response from Gale, below.]

Films On Demand will revise its 508 compliance statement to reflect the fact that only English language content will be captioned 100% of the time. In light of the recent deficiencies in holding to this 100% caption rate, we have taken steps to start auditing the entire process to prevent non-captioned content from making its way onto the platform until such a time that it is captioned. Upon receiving the report from Chabot, Films On Demand took immediate action to rectify the situation and submitted any missing English language title for captions. A vast majority of the missing titles will be updated over this coming weekend (2/11) and be available on the platform come the following Monday. The remaining titles will be captioned and available the following Monday (2/19). The turnaround time is based on the vendors capacity and ability to meet our increased demand for captions. We do not have any control over this.

In addition, Films On Demand will look at implementing a secondary limiter for only showing foreign language titles that contain English subtitles. Once this is made available, [the CCL-EAR Committee] will be informed.

Attached is a copy of their original spreadsheet with the status of every title. We are still going through the old archival film and newsreel titles.

Response from Academic OneFile's Product Manager:

The majority of academic publications in Academic OneFile are peer-reviewed; currently, only 6% of active, full-text, academic journals are not peer-reviewed. However, the information in this review prompted an analysis of our holdings, and we’ve determined that there are academic journals among our holdings that should have a peer-reviewed status and don’t, and other titles that are mis-categorized as academic journals. So, we’re taking steps to resolve this by adding peer-reviewed status to journals that are erroneously missing it and moving journals that are mis-categorized as academic out of that bucket.