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Where can I find guidelines on the accessibility of media and culture?

Developing guidelines has been an important theme within the media and cultural accessibility sector for years. Guidelines are an essential tool for quality control and education. Yet there are few guidelines available that are scientifically based. The most important areas for which guidelines have been developed are audio description, subtitling and accessible museums. 


Audio description 

Several European countries have their own guidelines. The British user organisation Royal National Institute for Blind People (RNIB) has published a comparative study of national guidelines in which you can find more information and which also includes an English translation of the various guidelines. You can find them here. 


In addition, audio description guidelines were developed as part of the ADLAB project, a European project in which scientifically based, strategic guidelines were developed for writing an audio description for film and television, with shorter chapters on audio description for theatre and museums. The English guidelines are freely available as an e-book via the website 


Finally, the Transmedia Benelux Research Group developed some guidelines for live audio description in Flanders, with the title: “Vereisten voor de productie van kwaliteitsvolle live audiodescriptie” ("Requirements for the production of high-quality live audio description"). 


(live) subtitling 

There are no unambiguous European guidelines for subtitling either, and most organisations or companies develop their own style book. However, do you want to know what the most important pillars of quality subtitling are? Then we recommend the following sources: 


- "Code of Good Subtitling Practice", drawn up by Mary Carroll and Jan Ivarsson, pioneers in the field.  

- Audiovisual Translation: Subtitling", a handbook written by Jorge Díaz Cintas (University College London) and Aline Remael (University of Antwerp).  

- Audiovisual translation: Subtitling for the deaf and hard-of-hearing', doctorate from Josélia Neves (link). 

- "Subtitling through Speech Recognition: Respeaking", a handbook by Pablo Romero-Fresco. 


More information about these sources will soon be available in our list of sources. 


Museum accessibility 


A number of initiatives have already been taken to bring together the possibilities and requirements for making museums and exhibitions accessible.  

A first project is the European COME-IN project which aims to promote the accessibility of museums in Europe. This project has developed a handbook and guidelines on this subject, which can be found on their website. 

Atout Culture also developed a practical accessibility guide.