[vendtalk] [Cabs-talk] Petition to preserve the nemeth Uniform Braille system

Steve Jacobson steve.jacobson at visi.com
Fri Oct 26 14:52:20 UTC 2012


You and I tried to talk this out last summer at the convention, and I recognize that we probably failed to change one another's mind.  This is a complicated 
issue, and people should voice their opinions, but it just isn't as simple as you are portraying it here.

First, readers need to know that NUBS is not just the most modern version of Nemeth Code.  It is a braille code that includes literary braille as well and, like 
UEB, it changes literary braille as well.  In my opinion, and this is definitely a subjective judgement, NUBS has a greater impact on Literary braille than does 
UEB, so readers need to understand that NUBS would also change the braille that is read every day and not just affect math.  Readers may want to be 
sure they know what they are getting before making up their minds on this.  There have been many opportunities over the past decade or more to 
participate in studies of both NUBS and UEB, something I have done, so this is not really debate that is all that new.

You also did not mention that it is no longer just BANA who is talking about using UEB for literary braille and retaining Nemeth for technical and 
mathematical subjects.  We passed a resolution to that effect at our NFB convention last summer, the very convention where you and I talked about this.  
I also understand that the ACB passed something similar.  To leave that out of your note seems to me to be very incomplete.  A lot of us have studied this 
at great length, and it is true that we don't all agree, but I believe people need to sign any petition from a perspective of understanding the two codes and 
not out of fear or partial information.

Finally if a decision is made on this, even if that position is one you do not like such as adopting UEB for literary braille and retaining Nemeth Code, we can 
then give some good consideration to how Nemeth can be modernized, and I think that is something we should do.  However, the Nemeth Code is not all 
that bad as it is.

In my opinion, the big intent of a uniform code has been to standardize on upper and lower numbers.  I felt this was important at one time but now see that 
to do that either impacts literary braille or math braille that I feel has more drawbacks than what is gained by uniform numbers.  We're used to numbers 
being upper in literary braille and lower in math, so I just don't see the point in trying to solve that problem by adopting NUBS for literary braille or UEB for 
math.  Keeping the Nemeth Code for math and using UEB for literary braille makes complete sense to me and I supported the resolution that we passed on 
this last summer.  Braille just has to move forward, and while NUBS was finalized fairly recently, many of us have been aware of NUBS all along and have 
been following its development with interest but just feel a UEB/Nemeth approach makes the most sense.  

Best regards,

Steve Jacobson

Best regards,

Steve Jacobson

On Thu, 25 Oct 2012 14:56:27 -0400, Antonio Guimaraes wrote:

>Dear reader,

>I would like to bring your attention to a petition concerning changes
>to the Braille system in the United States.

>The Braille Authority of North America will vote to adopt the Unified
>English Braille this November. The body will likely retain the Nemeth
>code for use in math and the sciences, but will change Braille in this
>country to reflect adoption of the Unified English Braille used in
>other countries.

>BANA has given little effort and thoughtful consideration to Dr.
>Abraham Nemeth’s most recent \work to make American Braille uniform.

>It is my opinion that BANA is more concerned with unification of
>Braille with other English-speaking countries than the impact changes
>will have on education of all blind people who will study math and

>However, uniformity is vastly more important than unification. This is
>especially true considering that the Nemeth code is unique to the
>United States, and enables blind children to excel in their chosen
>career paths in the hard sciences.

>The Nemeth Uniform Braille System, NUBS, is the most up-to-date
>revision to the Nemeth code in use today. It makes American Braille
>usage uniform, and incorporates changes to the Nemeth code revision of
>40 years ago.

>BANA is moving towards adopting an older, outdated version of the
>Nemeth code available.

>Please sign a petition to preserve NUBS, and move blindness education
>on a path to excellence. Let’s bring the Nemeth system into the 21st
>century. Let’s give blind people a competitive edge. Let’s move
>together towards one Braille system for all Americans. Let’s preserve

>The petition is available here:



>Antonio Guimaraes

>Cabs-talk mailing list
>Cabs-talk at nfbnet.org
>To unsubscribe, change your list options or get your account info for Cabs-talk:

More information about the VendTalk mailing list