[Blindmath] Math Textbook Accesibility Questions: HELP!

Andrew Cioffi acioffi at suffolk.edu
Thu Jun 30 08:05:52 CDT 2011


Thank you all for the great feedback.  I have some new directions to take!  I am thinking of going a little low key by printing chapters and physically cutting the columns.  We have the luxury of a few bored work-study students at the moment.  My thought is to have them take the cut columns and then collate and scan so it can be processed through inftyreader.  With any luck, there will only be a few pages per chapter that will require a lot of hand editing.  I will update folks know how this works, and how time consuming it actually is. 

-----Original Message-----
From: blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of John Gardner
Sent: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 8:13 PM
To: 'Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics'
Subject: Re: [Blindmath] Math Textbook Accesibility Questions: HELP!

Hi Dick, InftyReader does a pretty good job translating PDF equations to
Latex or MathML if the thing is formatted as single column text.  It is
really the colum text formatting and the fancy graphics that cause it to go
into decline.  Basically it is designed to translate high level scientific
journals - eg Physical Review - into Latex or XML.  Displaying the XML is
what MathPlayer does, and it does it reasonably well.  Improvements will be
made as part of a new grant ot Design Science and ETS.

So we need to use all the tools in our quiver!  Including InftyReader.  But
reformatting is really important.

John


-----Original Message-----
From: blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
Behalf Of Richard Baldwin
Sent: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 10:40 AM
To: john.gardner at orst.edu; Blind Math list for those interested in
mathematics
Subject: Re: [Blindmath] Math Textbook Accesibility Questions: HELP!

With enough effort, I could probably write a program that would clean up the
text and discard the images in a pdf file. However, I see the equations as
the bigger problem, particularly those equations that involve fractions or
fractions within fractions. Just a couple of days ago, we encountered an
equation that had a large complex fraction with another complex fraction in
the denominator of the first fraction. They sometimes consume two or three
lines and I don't know how they are formatted. I do know that when you
simply copy them to the clipboard and paste them into a text file, you get
garbage.

That would certainly be a worthwhile project. I imagine that the general pdf
format is available somewhere on the web. If someone can provide
specifications as to how the equations are formatted, I might take it on as
a project.

Dick Baldwin

On Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 12:14 PM, John Gardner <john.gardner at orst.edu>wrote:

> Dick and Andrew, you two computer-literate sighted people can probably
find
> a solution to this problem.  What is needed is a way to edit those PDF
> files
> to put them into single column form and get rid of the images.  If you can
> do that Infty
> Reader should do a great job, especially if it is used with
> FineReader to back up translation of the text portions.  Some older
> versions
> of Infty Reader allowed FineReader, and the new versions should soon come
> with FineReader as an extra-cost option.  But getting things into single
> columns and getting rid of the crappy graphics is necessary to get high
> quality output.
>
> If there is no way to edit the PDF directly (This is something I just
don't
> know about), then you can use something like Able2Extract to convert the
> PDF
> to MS Word and then edit in Word.  Then save as PDF and go.  You want to
> use
> a converter that does not go through a conversion step to bit map, because
> the character information in good PDF's assures high quality translation
> from PDF to Latex or whatever else.
>
> If you can find a really good wway to do this, I invite you to write a
> tutorial for Access2Science.com.  And become famous in this community.
>
> John
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org]
> On
> Behalf Of Richard Baldwin
> Sent: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 9:51 AM
> To: Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics
> Subject: Re: [Blindmath] Math Textbook Accesibility Questions: HELP!
>
> Hi Andrew,
>
> I am facing a similar situation with one of my programming students who is
> taking a physics course. The PDF and Word versions of the physics book are
> inaccessible with regard to everything other than the raw text. Sometimes
> the Word version, which was apparently created from the PDF version, is
> scrambled due to the fancy multi-column layout of the PDF version.
>
> Physics books contain thousands of equations, vector diagrams, photos,
etc.
>
> We haven't found a good solution. She can read the text in the Word
version
> (when it isn't scrambled). She knows how to program, so she has hired some
> students to go through and transcribe the equations into single-line
> programming format, which she can read on her USB Braille display. That
> works for most equations in an intro pre-calculus physics course but the
> manual transcription process isn't very reliable. I spend time with her
> describing the pictures, etc. Sometimes I sketch out a diagram by drawing
> on
> paper on top of window screen, which is a very crude method of embossing.
> Also sometimes I print the diagrams and emboss them using a serrated
> tracing
> wheel.
>
> Every day we encounter new problems and are forced to find new solutions.
>
> I will be very interested in hearing about the solutions that you come up
> with, even they involve chewing gum and bailing wire.
>
> Learn more at "Accessible Physics Concepts for Blind Students" at
> http://cnx.org/content/col11294/latest/
>
> Dick Baldwin
>
> On Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 8:39 AM, Stephen L Noble <
> steve.noble at louisville.edu
> > wrote:
>
> > Hi Andrew,
> >
> > If you are working with typical textbook content, using InftyReader
> > will not be a very smooth process. It works great for black text on
> > white background with no images, borders, marginal text, inset text,
> > etc., but probably much less than 1% of textbooks are made like that.
> > Schools generally won't buy textbooks with only words and math on the
> > page, and the more "fancy looking" the page layout gets, the poorer the
> > results you will get with Infty.
> >
> > For all the math textbook conversion that I do, I scan the text with
> > Abbyy FineReader and pull it into Word, I then rekey all the math with
> > MathType. It is a very time consuming process, but it works. Once you
> > have all the math in place, if you want LaTeX, then all you have to do
> > is use MathType's "Toggle TeX" command and all of the equations will
> > instantly be converted without you having to know LaTeX.
> >
> > If you want to use a screen reader and hear the math read (rather than
> > the raw LaTeX code), you can use the same Word+MathType doc and run
> > MathType's "MathPage" command. Select the XHTML+MathML export option and
> > then you can use JAWS, WindowEyes, or a number of other math-savvy
> > screen readers to hear both the text and the math read. Just be sure
> > that the student is using Internet Explorer and has the MathPlayer
> > add-on installed.
> >
> > If you have a student who prefers hard-copy braille with math braille
> > code such as Nemeth, it is also possible to take the same Word+MathType
> > doc and emboss the braille suing either Duxbury Braille Translator or
> > the Tiger Software Suite.
> >
> > MathType: http://www.dessci.com/en/products/mathtype/
> > MathPlayer: http://www.dessci.com/en/products/mathplayer/
> >
> > Hope this helps,
> >
> > --Steve Noble
> >
> > >>> Andrew Cioffi <acioffi at suffolk.edu> 6/28/2011 5:44 PM >>>
> > Hi folks,
> >
> > I am new to the field of making materials accessible for blind or low
> > vision students.
> >
> > My current challenge: students has requested that his math text be made
> > available in LaTeX code.  The publisher has provided that full text in
> > PDF files by chapter.  I have tried numerous things, and am not getting
> > any clear results.
> >
> > I would like to preface this all by the fact that I have very limited
> > background of LaTeX, and cannot use it author any source code
> >
> > I have downloaded the free trial version of ifntyreader, and have used
> > it with mixed results.  For any of the chapters provided by the
> > publisher, ifnty won't recognize them until I open them and save them as
> > a copy.  Each chapter is about 150 pages, so it takes quite a while for
> > ifnty to trudge through (roughly one hour per chapter).  The output
> > LOOKS like LaTeX, but sometimes the ifntyreader only outputs a TIFF of
> > each page.  Other times, it provides some jumbled LaTeX output.
> >
> > I have figured out that the problem with the output is that information
> > exists in multiple columns in the publisher provided PDFs and it appears
> > that the output is created linearly (forgive me if I am using incorrect
> > terminology here), hence the jumbled LaTeX.  Is there a way to get
> > around this?  Is there a program that can be used to modify the layout
> > of the PDF to make it all exist in one column?
> >
> > My ifnty demo runs out in about 12 days, so I am trying to figure some
> > of these issues out before deciding on whether to buy the program or
> > not.
> >
> > I also tried printing pages and scanning them in, and THEN running them
> > through inftyreader.  This produced the same jumbled output, now with
> > lots of typos to be corrected.  Not sure that this is the route to go.
> >
> > How have folks dealt with scanning text book pages into ifnty that
> > happen to have some complex layouts???
> >
> > The student is ultimately looking to receive his materials for this
> > course in a format that can accurately be read by a screen reader.  Any
> > thoughts on what is the most effective and reliable way to convert these
> > publisher provided PDFs?
> >
> > Did I mention that he is an engineering major that will be starting in
> > September???
> >
> > There is MUCH helpful information in the Blindmath archives, and I am
> > thankful for any help that you all may be able to provide.
> >
> > Andrew Cioffi
> > Assistant Director
> > Office Location: 73 Tremont Street, 7th Floor
> > Mailing Address: 8 Ashburton Place, Boston, MA 02108
> > Phone: (617) 994-6820
> > Email: acioffi at suffolk.edu<mailto:kbehling at suffolk.edu>
> > [Email signature]
> >
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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> dwin.com
> >
>
>
>
> --
> Richard G. Baldwin (Dick Baldwin)
> Home of Baldwin's on-line Java Tutorials
> http://www.DickBaldwin.com
>
> Professor of Computer Information Technology
> Austin Community College
> (512) 223-4758
> mailto:Baldwin at DickBaldwin.com
> http://www.austincc.edu/baldwin/
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-- 
Richard G. Baldwin (Dick Baldwin)
Home of Baldwin's on-line Java Tutorials
http://www.DickBaldwin.com

Professor of Computer Information Technology
Austin Community College
(512) 223-4758
mailto:Baldwin at DickBaldwin.com
http://www.austincc.edu/baldwin/
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