[Blindmath] Used Braille College Text Books

George Bell george at techno-vision.co.uk
Thu Jun 21 09:28:23 CDT 2012


May I just add that in a remarkable exercise of co-operation between
math braille experts and commercial companies, I've spent a major part
of the last two years working to improve braille math production using
MathType in Word and Duxbury here in the U.K.  From the Head of Math
at a major college through to Duxbury, literally everyone has been
unbelievably co-operative.  There do of course remain some problem
areas, but these are under serious review.

It almost goes without saying that this exercise has highlighted the
fact that the math braille codes were clearly developed
pre-computerisation days.

It also highlights that fact that many transcribers, especially in
schools, do not have the math expertise to use programs such as
MathType and Scientific Notebook.  Greek letters are a classic.
Unless you are a mathematician, it's tricky knowing what is supposed
to be a Greek Capital letter such as "X" as in X-ray or "Χ" as in Chi,
when visually they appear absolutely identical.  Hence issues such as
this need to be addressed at the basic grass roots level.  Sadly, at
least here in the UK, many math departments seem hell bent on not
wishing to assist here.

Suffice to say that a great deal of work is going on behind the
scenes, but it may take a while for this to filter through to the
general user.

George Bell.

-----Original Message-----
From: blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org
[mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of John Gardner
Sent: 20 June 2012 19:20
To: 'Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics'
Subject: Re: [Blindmath] Used Braille College Text Books

Neil, I apologize for my comment about Duxbury math.  A wise man never
repeats unverified information, and I just proved I am not wise.  I am
very happy to hear that Duxbury now does higher math correctly.  

John

John



-----Original Message-----
From: blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org
[mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Neal
Sent: Wednesday, June 20, 2012 6:48 AM
To: 'Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics'
Subject: Re: [Blindmath] Used Braille College Text Books

I must correct, what I believe, is a misstatement of fact.

Duxbury Systems invests a lot in  continuing development on the math
braille front as Duxbury Systems works very closely with user and
groups of users in multiple countries to constantly improve and refine
our math braille quality.
We have made great strides in the last two years in the continuation
of over twenty years supporting math braille translation.
I cannot comment on the quality of braille translation in products
other than DBT WIN and Mega Dots.
Those two products produce excellent braille math.
Those two products support virtually every braille printer around as
well as embedded tactile graphics in your braille document, If your
embosser supports tactile graphics on the fly..

DBT WIN version 11.1 sr4 does a very good job of translating math to
braille in Nemeth, UEB, BAUK, and unified French braille math codes.
You can also combine your selected braille math code with your
language of choice.  That is how it is being used in India to create
Hindi braille with Nemeth.
It is used successfully in many nations around the world for braille
math production at the elementary, high school, college, and
university level.
 
Duxbury systems has worked with Design Science and Mackichan Software
to constantly improve the quality of braille translation and improve
the ability to utilize inexpensive main stream math tools such as Math
Type & Scientific Notebook as well as specialized products such as
INFTY READER

Sincerely,
Neal Kuniansky
Email: Neal at duxsys.com
URL: http://www.DuxburySystems.com
Duxbury Systems, Inc. 
The name for Braille since 1975.

-----Original Message-----
From: blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org
[mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of John Gardner
Sent: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 6:53 PM
To: 'Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics'
Subject: Re: [Blindmath] Used Braille College Text Books

Okay, this discussion has finally gotten my temperature up a bit.  I
can tell you that $50,000 to make a braille science book is not
unusual.  I have heard of books that cost quite a bit more.  Why?
There are two reasons that braille books are expensive.  One is that,
for whatever reason, it is commonly assumed that a braille reader must
have a book that meets all BANA standards perfectly.  If you have ever
read those standards you will understand that they can be met only if
a great deal of human effort is devoted to preparing and proofing the
text.  That costs a lot of money for any text and considerably more if
the text has math, chemistry, etc.  

The second reason that braille science books are expensive is that
only an expert (ie expensive) human being can transform the figures
into acceptable tactile diagrams.  Which is why science books cost so
very much more than non-science books.  

A company that turns out really good braille books has to charge a
great deal of money - often $50,000 to $100,000 to translate a science
bookd to braille.  Universities and non-profit agencies have the
advantage of talented, low-cost student labor and/or volunteers to
reduce costs considerably.

The reason my temperature is going up is that if we took full
advantage of modern technology, the cost of braille could be hundreds
of dollars instead of tens of thousands of dollars.  Of course they
would not be quite as perfect as BANA would wish, but they would be
plenty good enough for any competent braille reader to read them.  Why
isn't "good enough" not good enough?  I find it incomprehensible.

Let me tell you how to make an inexpensive good-enough braille science
book.

1. Transform the book to MS Word format.  It is usually easy to
transform the regular text even if the book has to be scanned from
paper copy and optically recognized.  Math may be recognized by Infty
Reader if the book is not too "cute".  Otherwise a human being must
re-enter math.  Entering the math may be the most costly part of the
whole transformation process, but still it shouldn't cost more than a
few hundred, or in the worst case some thousand dollars or so to do
this.  
2. If the math is simple, you can translate the document with Duxbury
or with the ViewPlus Tiger Formatter.  Duxbury doesn't do too well on
complex math, but the Formatter works well.  It uses liblouis as its
translator, and Nemeth by liblouis is excellent.
3. Emboss it.  Now you have the text and math, and I can tell you that
it is plenty good enough.  There are always some translation bugs, but
as time goes on those get fewer and fewer.  For example, Susan Jolly
recently pointed out to me that there is some incorrect spacing in
liblouis Nemeth translation of trig.  Even so I could read it, and I'm
not a good braille reader.
4. Use IVEO Creator Pro to input figures that need to be translated.
Relatively little editing is needed for most physics, math, chemistry,
computer science, electrical engineering figures.  Geology, biology,
and other such figures may need a bit more editing.  When embossed and
read by Iveo audio-touch, all labels are read aloud, making many
figures accessible with no additional effort.  A human being should
add annotations for any objects that are not obvious to the touch.
Few figures should take more than 15 minutes of time by a person who
understands the subject matter.

If you follow my recipe, a $100,000 advanced physics book may cost
several thousand dollars to produce.  The student may notice some
not-quite-correct formatting, but the braille translation should be
near perfect.  And she would need to use a computer and IVEO Viewer to
read the figures.  Isn't this "good enough"?

John Gardner

If one just puts a Word file into the Tiger Formatter, presses the
button, and lets it translate, all text and math is translated "well
enough".  Not perfect for two reasons.  One is that there still may be
small bugs in the liblouis translator, for example, some spacing in
the Nemeth braille is not quite right presently - something that Susan
Jolly pointed out to me recently.  Fools me, because I don't know the
braille rules perfectly so I didn't realize that the spacing was not
quite what it should be.  Even though I am a poor braille reader I
could read it.

-----Original Message-----
From: blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org
[mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Jordyn Castor
Sent: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 2:46 PM
To: Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics
Subject: Re: [Blindmath] Used Braille College Text Books

Hi all,
I just want to throw this out there.
I took Calc I last semester and my Resource Center for Person's With
Disibilities produced the book for me. I was told it cost around
$6000. 
The book was also high quality, with high quality graphics.
They are also producing my Calc II and physics books for next year.
It's crazy a company would charge 50-70,000 for a textbook.
Jordyn
On 6/19/2012 12:15 PM, Susan Mooney wrote:
> The university needs to talk to other people.  Yes, there are budget

> crappy transcribers out there.  The overwhelming majority of us are 
> professionals, however.  Braille Plus (www.brailleplus.net) is a 
> fabulous outfit which prides itself not only on accuracy and fast
turn 
> arounds but they are a joy to work with and for.  Again, most 
> instructors are not going to use the entire text so it may be worth 
> getting only the portion of the books needed.  I can't imagine
trying 
> to do physics and chem and math without braille.  I have transcribed

> many level college texts w/o doing the entire book. It doesn't
matter 
> if your son is the first or the 121st blind student.  The university

> needs
to get its butt in gear.
>
> SM
>
> On Tue, Jun 19, 2012 at 12:08 PM, Tammy Berg<tdberg72 at yahoo.com>
wrote:
>
>> Thank you everyone for your feedback and responses. After talking 
>> with the disability services department more, I was provided with
the 
>> following information regarding where they received their pricing
for 
>> the books being transcribed to Braille. My son will be the first 
>> blind student to attend their univesity so it's going to be a 
>> learning
experience for all of us.
>> They are offering audio books, readers, and scribes; however, we
were 
>> really hoping to get the books in Braille so he can be more 
>> independent and have the material at his fingertips. We will
continue 
>> to push for the Braille books.
>>
>> "The estimates were done by Arizona State University's Disability
>> Services Office that does the work in-house for their students.
Others
>> confirm that they deliver the
>> highest quality produced at a reasonable cost.
>> I have a list of other agencies that do Braille texts, but have
been 
>> warned that not all are equal in quality or production time.  Most 
>> conversion agencies require one year in advance to convert texts to

>> Braille.
>>   College level science and math pose another challenge:  it is 
>> important that the agency employs converters that know the subject 
>> matter well enough to accurately convert it.
>> The ASU estimates (sans two) for Fall 2012 semester were as
follows:
>> --Basics of Engineering Economy  = $18,000 (could be a "hybrid" for
>> $8000)
>> --Chemistry: The Molecular Nature of Matter = $55,000  (not cheaper

>> as a hybrid due to more labor involved in making the text/images to

>> audio with screen-reader) --University Physics = $72,000 (could be
a 
>> "hybrid" for $38,000 if student is accustomed to listening to math)

>> --Calculus = $71,000 (could be a "hybrid" for $40,000 if student is

>> accustomed to listening to math)"
>>
>>
>>
>> ________________________________
>>   From: Tammy Berg<tdberg72 at yahoo.com>
>> To: "blindmath at nfbnet.org"<blindmath at nfbnet.org>
>> Sent: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 1:50 PM
>> Subject: [Blindmath] Used Braille College Text Books
>>
>> My son will be attending a private university in the fall and we
have 
>> just been notified that they will not be able to provide his texts 
>> books in Braille due to the cost of $50,000-$60,000 per text that 
>> they were quoted for having them converted to Braille. Are there
any 
>> resources for used Braille math and science college text books.
>> The texts that he will be using in the fall are:
>> Calculus, 6th Edition
>> James Stewart
>> ISBN-13978-0495011668
>> Publiser: Brooks Cole
>> Chemistry
>> The Molecular View of Nature, 6th Edition Jespersen, Brady, Hyslop
>> Publisher:  Wiley University Physics
>> by Young&  Freedman 13th edition 2012
>> Publishers: Addison&  Wesley
>> Thank You - Tammy
>> _______________________________________________
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>>
>
>


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