[nobe-l] (Press release on NLS transition to Unified English Braille)

David Andrews dandrews at visi.com
Tue Feb 3 20:44:32 UTC 2015

>The Library of Congress issued the following 
>press release on January 16, 2015. It is provided for your use and information.
>Braille and Talking-Book Program Embraces New Braille Code
>Unified English Braille Makes Print-to-Braille Translation Easier
>The National Library Service for the Blind and 
>Physically Handicapped (NLS), part of the 
>Library of Congress, next year will implement 
>the Unified English Braille (UEB) code on Jan. 
>4, 2016—the 207th birthday of Louis Braille.
>“This is the first extensive change to the 
>English braille code, a major literacy tool, 
>since the 1930s,” said NLS Director Karen 
>Keninger. “The new code will be especially 
>beneficial to students and other users of 
>technology. It resolves persistent translation 
>errors that occur when, for example, a student’s 
>work is translated to print for a teacher to 
>read, or when print material is translated to 
>braille.” Those who use computers, smartphones, 
>e-books and texting features will find it very useful.
>The code, which has been adopted by seven other 
>English-speaking countries, brings the braille 
>code into the computer age. “UEB is not much 
>different from the English Braille American 
>Edition that we’ve been using,” Keninger said. 
>UEB uses the same six-dot cell pattern as the 
>present code, but drops some contractions, uses 
>different spacing rules and allows for 
>transliterating a wider array of symbols.
>The Braille Authority of North America 
>(BANA)—which oversees the use, teaching and 
>production of braille in the United 
>States—adopted the code in November 2012. It 
>then began preparing constituents for the change 
>to ensure implementation in 2016. “Since many 
>BANA members produce braille or transcribe 
>braille, the NLS announcement will not be a 
>surprise. They have already been preparing,” 
>said Judy Dixon, NLS consumer relations officer and NLS representative to BANA.
>Beginning Jan. 4, 2016, all books added to the 
>braille collection will be produced in UEB. 
>“Current patrons should make the transition 
>easily as the new code builds on the old 
>system,” said Keninger. Existing braille books 
>will remain in the collection and be available. 
>The UEB books are not expected to be available 
>from the collection for at least six months. 
>Patrons will not need to change their equipment.
>NLS administers the braille and talking-book 
>program, a free library service available to 
>U.S. residents and American citizens living 
>abroad whose low vision, blindness or physical 
>disability makes reading regular materials 
>difficult. Through its national network of 
>libraries, NLS mails books and magazines in 
>audio and braille formats and digital audio 
>equipment directly to enrollees at no cost. 
>Music instructional materials are also 
>available. Selected materials may be downloaded. 
>For more information, visit 
>www.loc.gov/nls/<http://www.loc.gov/nls/> or 
>call 1-888-NLS-READ (1-888-657-7323).
>The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest 
>federal cultural institution and the largest 
>library in the world, holds more than 158 
>million items in various languages, disciplines 
>and formats. The Library serves the U.S. 
>Congress and the nation both on-site in its 
>reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its 
>award-winning website at www.loc.gov<http://www.loc.gov>.
>For more information contact:
>Jane Caulton
>Head, Publications and Media Section
>jcau at loc.gov<mailto:jcau at loc.gov>

         David Andrews and long white cane Harry.
E-Mail:  dandrews at visi.com or david.andrews at nfbnet.org

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