Who We Are
Established in 2010 (see Press Release here), the DIAGRAM Center is a research and development center whose goal is to dramatically change the way digital content for Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) is produced and accessed, so that students with disabilities are provided equal access to the general education curriculum, especially science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). DIAGRAM stands for “Digital Image And Graphic Resources for Accessible Materials,” a reference to its original mandate in 2010 to focus on making image content more accessible. At the end of 2015 the DIAGRAM Center was funded for another five years as DIAGRAM Center + to expand its work beyond images, looking broadly at creating new technologies and communities for accessible education. The DIAGRAM Center is a Benetech Global Literacy initiative.
What We Do
Four main areas drive our work, informed by our founding goals and objectives:
- Standards – In the fast-moving, ever-changing world of digital content standards, our goal is to make sure that accessibility is always part of the equation so that publishers and other content creators can easily figure out what they need to do to make their products accessible to all. Standards facilitate creation of accessible content when it’s needed: at the moment of publication.
- Tools & Software Development – Poet is DIAGRAM’s free open-source tool for crowd-sourced image description. In keeping with our goal of dramatically changing the way image and graphic content for accessible instructional materials (AIM) are produced and accessed, we also partner with other organizations to develop tools that achieve this goal.
- Research – DIAGRAM both conducts its own research and partners with other organizations to conduct research in exciting areas such as tactile graphics, 3D printing, haptic feedback, accessibility metadata, and interactive graphics.
- Training & Outreach – We conduct free quarterly webinars for content creators on image description, accessible math, and many other topics. In addition, we maintain a blog and Twitter feed to keep the community abreast of developments.
Our work would not be possible without the expert contributions of the DIAGRAM Center Working Groups. These groups are composed of experts across the country who are actively working with us to improve accessibility for a wide range of content, mediums and disability types.
The DIAGRAM Center is a Global Literacy initiative of Benetech in partnership with the U.S. Fund for DAISY (USFDAISY), who develops and promotes international standards and technologies which enable equal access to information and knowledge by all people with print disabilities and which also benefit the wider community. The DAISY Standard is the most widely adopted access technology for reading in the world.
Through 2016, WGBH National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM), who pioneered the use of audio description on broadcast television, launching the Descriptive Video Service (DVS) over the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in 1990, was also a lead partner, and continues to work closely with DIAGRAM.
The DIAGRAM Center is a Benetech Global Literacy initiative supported by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (Cooperative Agreement #H327B100001). Opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the position of the U.S. Department of Education.