The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) of the Library of Congress announces the fourth edition of the Instruction Manual for Braille Transcribing.
This version of the manual was developed under the leadership of Constance Risjord, a literary braille transcriber, former member of the Braille Authority of North America (BANA) literary technical committee and past chair of the National Braille Association (NBA) literary technical committee; John Wilkinson, NLS literary braille adviser; and Mary Lou Stark, head of the NLS Braille Development Section. More than 40 transcribers, peer reviewers, computer specialists, educators and editors contributed to the project.
The braille instructional manual is designed for use in the correspondence course in English braille transcribing conducted by the National Library Service and by instructors of similar braille classes in locations across the United States. The course is intended to familiarize students with the braille system, with braille contractions and their usage and with the rules of braille transcribing set forth by BANA and published in English Braille American Edition, which became the authorized braille code for the United States in 1959.
The original plan for the manual was to modify slightly the 1984 edition to reflect code changes adopted in 1987 and 1991, but the need for more drastic revision emerged as the project progressed. In the new edition, explanations have been expanded and many simulated braille examples added; drills and exercises have been updated and increased; and lessons have been modified to facilitate the smooth progress of the course.
Braille is a system of raised dots that represent letters of the alphabet, numbers, punctuation and other symbols, some of which may stand for groups of frequently occurring letters. Braille may be embossed on paper or read by means of computer-connected refreshable braille output devices, which present the raised dots on a keyboard-like apparatus.
There are several levels of braille: in Grade 1 braille, words are spelled out letter by letter; in Grade 2, a system of contractions streamlines the presentation significantly. Grade 3 is more highly contracted still and, like shorthand, often used for note-taking. Other braille codes are specialized for particular areas of interest, such as music, mathematics and scientific usage. The system was originated by a 19th Frenchman, Louis Braille, and has developed internationally to a high level of sophistication.
Persons interested in enrolling in the braille transcription course or wishing to obtain further information should contact the Braille Development Section, National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress, at (800) 424- 8567.
UK Records Expand International Union Catalog
Margaret Bennett, chief Executive of the National Library for the Blind (NLB) in Stockport, England, and Frank Kurt Cylke, director of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) of Library of Congress, have announced the addition of more than 30,000 catalog records from NLB to the Library of Congress's International Union Catalog of Braille and Audio Materials. NLB is committed to making all books listed available to users of the International Union Catalog through interlibrary loan or sale.
"Receiving these records has been extremely gratifying," said Robert Axtell, head of the NLS Bibliographic Control Section. "The British have an outstanding collection of tactile materials."
Records include materials in braille, Moon Type (an embossed format based on the standard English alphabet), large print and electronic text books as well as tactile maps. Catalog users will also be able to locate unique materials, such as a series of guidebooks created specifically for blind visitors to English cathedrals.
The largest braille lending library in the United Kingdom and one of Britain's largest braille producers, the National Library for the Blind has become the most recent contributor to the growing International Union Catalog, which now holds records representing some 21.4 million copies of more than 370,000 books and magazines from collections in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland and New Zealand. The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped of the Library of Congress is a free national library program of braille and recorded materials established by an act of Congress in 1931 and administered through a nationwide network of cooperating libraries. In 1999, more than 22 million books and magazines were circulated to a readership that exceeds 764,000 individuals.
The International Union Catalog is intended to serve as a tool for direct access by United States readers and for interlibrary loan as well as to reduce the duplication of effort among producers of books in special formats throughout the world.
For further information contact: Robert E. Fistick, Head, Publications and Media Section, National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress, 1291 Taylor Street N.W., Washington, DC 20542; telephone: (202) 707-9279; fax: (202) 707-0712; email: [email protected].