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May 7, 2002

Press Release

MAGpie 2.0 - Free, Do-It-Yourself Access Authoring Tool for Digital Multimedia Released by WGBH

Boston, MA. A public beta version of the Media Access Generator (MAGpie), NCAM's free captioning and audio-description software for digital multimedia, is now ready for downloading and testing.

MAGpie is the ideal authoring environment for multimedia specialists, publishing companies or service providers who want to add captions, subtitles and audio descriptions to their work. However, others will also benefit from its use. Research performed by WGBH has demonstrated that caption authoring is a valuable classroom activity. Children who produce caption files for short video clips tend to write more, and their writing skills improve rapidly. MAGpie is friendly to those who are new to multimedia, educators and even to young users.

MAGpie 2.0 is Java-based. It will run on Windows 95, 98, NT4, 2000 and XP, and on Macintosh OS X. There is currently no support for earlier versions of the Mac OS.

To download MAGpie 2.0, please go to:

You will be asked to fill out a brief form, after which you will taken to the MAGpie 2.0 public beta Web site. Here you will find downloading and installation instructions, a complete MAGpie demonstration project containing captions and audio descriptions, documentation about using MAGpie 2.0, plus a list of new features, a list of known bugs and problems, and instructions for subscribing or unsubscribing to the MAGpie listserv. Please note: Screen reader support currently is incomplete. NCAM is working on this problem and will announce an update when a new version of the software is ready.

Funding for MAGpie development

Funding for MAGpie 1.0 was provided by the Trace Research and Development Center at the University of Wisconsin, as part of its Information Technology Access Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center which itself is funded by the U.S. Department of Education's National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.

Funding for the development of MAGpie 2.01 comes from the U.S. Department of Education's National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research and the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation.

About WGBH

WGBH Boston is America's preeminent public broadcasting producer. More than one-third of PBS's prime-time lineup and companion Web content as well as many public radio favorites are produced by WGBH. Its best-known productions include NOVA, Frontline, American Experience, Antiques Roadshow, ExxonMobil Masterpiece Theatre, This Old House, Arthur, and Zoom on PBS and The World and Sound & Spirit on public radio. WGBH also is a pioneer in educational multimedia and in technologies and services that make media accessible to people with disabilities. Since its establishment in 1951, WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors, including Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards-- even two Oscars. For more information visit


Mary Watkins, Media Access Group at WGBH
617.300.3700 voice/fax
617.300.2489 TTY