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Image Description Guidelines


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  • 1. Bookshare Image Description Guidelines Technical Content (Data)First, register as a volunteer to use Bookshare’s online Image Description applicationknown at Poet: following is a set of guidelines to help you in describing images. These guidelinesare specific for technical content such as textbooks. There are four main sections to thisdocument: General Tips Data Representation How to Start Context in Selecting Images to Describe General Tips v Brevity o Don’t make the description unnecessarily long. v Data o The description should focus on data and not the appearance. v Clarity o If the reader needs to read a description several times because it is poorly written or is presented in a confusing manner, it is not accessible. v Organization o Lists and tables provide speedy and independent access to data that is unavailable through traditional linear, narrative descriptions.Remember you’re not describing what the image looks like. You’re providing theinformation presented in the image in the most efficient and accessible way. Data RepresentationFirst determine if the data in the graph is supplementary to the text or if the author isdisplaying some sort of trend. If the data is deemed important, make sure to list anddescribe the key points. If the author’s intent is to display a trend, describe the trendinstead of the data.Below are a list of different ways in which data can be represented and things toremember when describing each figure.
  • 2. BAR GRAPH (Horizontal or Vertical) Title: Figure __ is a bar graph titled _____. Caption: The caption is _____. Source: Source is ___. Axes: The horizontal axis is ___ and runs from __ to __ in increments of ___. The vertical axis is ___ and runs from __ to __ in increments of ___. Bars: Read values for bars. Reading from left to right, the bars are ______. Explain graph’s main purpose. Example:CARTOONS/COMIC STRIPS. For a book containing cartoons or comic strips,describe the drawing and include the caption if it is part of the image. Don’t describe thestrip if it is merely a drawing, which does not contribute to the text.
  • 3. COMPUTER SCREEN ILLUSTRATIONS. The screen shot illustrations do not needto be read in detail unless the book is a computer science text or manual. For computerscreen layouts, it is sufficient to give a brief summary.DIAGRAMS/FLOW CHARTS. Be sure to include the caption (if it is part of theimage) and source info. Only describe the diagram if it is not described in thesurrounding text. Keep in mind the intent and level of the text.Example. (Note in this description, the major points are presented in bullets. Thesentences are short and just enough details are given without being too verbose.)Diagram of the breathing process.
  • 4. Inhalation • A muscle at the base the lungs, called the diaphragm, moves downward. • Inside the lungs, pressure decreases and air rushes in. • Ribs move upward and outward. • Volume of the chest cavity increases. • Air flows into the nose and mouth.Exhalation • Diaphragm moves upward. • Inside the lungs, pressure increases and air moves out. • Ribs move downward and inward. • Volume of chest cavity decreases. • Air flows out through the nose and mouth.LINE GRAPH. Give the title, caption (if part of the image), source and axes informationas shown in the Bar Graph section above. Be sure to give an adequate description thatsummarizes the author’s purpose.MAPS. Most maps will require only a title, the type of map, the compass rose, the key orlegend, and a brief description of the geography. Describe what is shown and whatborders the area specified in the map. Sometimes, it is enough to say “There is moredetail than is described here. Return to text.”PHOTOS/PORTRAITS/DRAWINGS Include the illustration title, caption (if part of the image), and source. If moreinformation is needed, then describe the illustration as a whole first and then the details insequence. There is no need to describe details such as type of clothing, hair style, etc. inportraits.PIE GRAPH • Be sure to include the graph title, caption and source. • Describe the data in the pie chart in a logical order. i.e.,“reading in descending order, the wedges are ____”. Include the value of each wedge if available.TABLES. No description is necessary for tables that are part of the text. If the table is animage, the description should be “Table needs to be transcribed”.
  • 5. How to Start 1. Ask yourself, "How does this figure supplement the text? Stress these points and avoid unimportant details. 2. Consider the grade level of the text in choosing the words you will use in the description. 3. Describe the illustration as a whole first and then go into details. 4. Describe the details in a logical sequence based on the information they convey and not their appearance.Formatting Your DescriptionsUse Word or a similar application to write your descriptions. At the top of the file includethe title of the book and chapter you are describing. Create separate Word documents foreach chapter.Label each description with as much information as possible: − figure number − page number with images numbered − section number − chapter number and section headingDescribe images in the order they appear on the page, top to bottom. Do not skip images.If an image is repeated, repeat the description if brief or write “same as previous image”.If for any reason an image is not described, include an entry for the image with thedescription content being [image not described]. Leave blank lines between descriptionsand multiple blank lines between sections and/or chapters.If the image is adequately described in the surrounding text, the image description shouldbe “image described in text”. Do not skip images.If the image has a caption (that is not part of the image) that describes the image, theimage description should be “image dscribed in caption”.If you have questions or comments for the transcriber (you arent sure if the description isaccurate or it includes symbols that may not render correctly, etc.), either make thecomment/question text a different color or prepend To Suzy: before the question.
  • 6. Examples:figure numberFigure 1.3: Graph showing the supply and demand curves of guns and butter.--page number with images numberedPage 123, figure 1: A white cat with blue eyes.Page 123, figure 2: A black cat with yellow eyes.--chapter number with section number and images numberedChapter 6Section 6.4Figure 1: A cupcake with a single candle on top.Figure 2: A half-eaten cupcake.--chapter number with section title and images numberedChapter 3Section: Types of Triathlon EquipmentFigure 1: A bicycle helmet, sunglasses and a waterbottle.Figure 2: A wetsuit and swimming goggles.Figure 3: Running shoes and a sunvisor.--
  • 7. Sample image described in the textFigure 1-4 Albino rabbitsAs you can see in the picture above, albino rabbits have white fur and red eyes.The image needs no description because the image was described in the text.Context in  Describing  an  Image  We offer the following advice as a general approach to describing an image: 1. The first step is to identify the learning objective behind the graphic you are working on. We had a fascinating illustration of the relevance of this on Wednesday when a volunteer presented the dilemma of exactly the same photo being used two times in the same chapter to make different points: 2. After getting an initial visual grasp of the graphic find the caption or label. (It may be in the body text.) 3. Determine if the caption will be read by AT before or after your image description is read. 4. If before you may skip this step. If after consider inserting the caption, or a paraphrase of it, at the start of your description.
  • 8. 5. Determine how much of the graphic is already described in the text and need not be repeated. 6. Remind yourself of the specific topic of the text at the point where the graphic appears and scan ahead to the next point in the argument. (Section headings can give helpful hints for this step) 7. Identify the purpose of the graphic in the context of the argument being made. 8. Isolate, for description, any data that is essential to the argument and that is available to the reader only through the graphic. 9. Note regarding visual representations of process flows or cycles: Review your description to be certain that what flows logically in a visual context also does so in its purely verbal rendition. Maintain awareness of the memory burden created by the linear presentation of data in a text format where the visual clues of context, accessible with a scan of the eyes, may not be available to refresh the readers memory. 10. Edit your description for brevity while retaining clarity.For more detail on describing specific types of images in STEM books see: the link below to sign up for the Bookshare Image Describer Volunteers’Discussion List: