DVDs with audio description at Toronto Public Library

If you’re blind or visually impaired, or if you’re just keen or these sorts of things, you can watch DVDs with audio description – additional narration that talks you through the movie, telling you whatever’s happening that you can’t figure out from the the main soundtrack.

I could go on a big diversion here about what a total nightmare it has been over the last decade just to make sure the description track from the first-run theatrical release actually makes it to home video. I could also describe how I actually maintained the master list of DVDs with audio description for years until I realized that threatened to become a lifelong unpaid (and unappreciated) task.

Anyway. TPL has a couple of hundred DVDs with audio description. The problem is they are really hard to look up in the catalogue. You have to use exactly this subject heading:

Video recordings for people with visual disabilities

You must also know to search by subject. A seemingly simple step like that is actually way beyond the capacity of most users, nor should it be their problem, nor does the new catalogue make subject searches easy.

Yes, there’s a link to that search on an accessibility page. But had you ever heard of that page? Did you know TPL had DVDs with description? Did you know how to find them?

That’s a lot of problems. But one of them has been solved.

Easy ways to tell people how to find described DVDs

At my suggestion, the crack TPL Web team (that is not an ironic statement) added a bunch of shortcuts. They’ve been set up so you can tell people how to search for DVDs when you’re just talking to them, or are running a radio show, or are using something other than an online medium where somebody can click a link.

It’s real simple. Just tell your friends to go to any of these:

  • TPL.ca/describeddvds

  • TPL.ca/audiodescription

  • TPL.ca/descriptivevideo

  • TPL.ca/moviesfortheblind

Nice easy-to-remember phrases. Tell all your friends.

(If you want to write out TorontoPublicLibrary.CA instead, you can.)

A week later, TPL says the same thing

…on the little-known TPL accessibility blog.