Braille Book Review--Mar.-Apr. 1997
In Brief

NLS Catalogs Available This Spring

Braille Books 1995-1996 and Cassette Books 1996 will be available to patrons and libraries in large print this spring.

Braille Books 1995-1996 is a catalog that lists braille books produced by NLS during 1995 and 1996. The catalog Cassette Books 1996 lists books that NLS produced on cassettes in 1996. The special-format edition of each (Braille Books 1995-1996 in braille and Cassette Books 1996 on flexible-disc) will be released at a later date. The cassette version of Cassette Books 1996 will be available on loan from your regional libraries, also at a later date.

Both catalogs list fiction and nonfiction books by subject category. They also include sections for bestsellers, young adult books, and Spanish books.

Readers who ordered Braille Books 1995-1996 and Cassette Books 1996 on their annual order forms should automatically receive their copies in the mail. Others may request these catalogs from their local cooperating libraries. These catalogs are also available through the Internet by accessing the NLS home page at

NLS Publishes Bibliographies

NLS has published Bestsellers 1984-1994, a new bibliography listing books available in recorded and braille formats. Bestsellers 1984-1994 features fiction bestsellers from the specified period that are available through the talking-book program. It features novels by authors such as Danielle Steel, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, Stephen King, and John Grisham, among many others.

The large-print version of Bestsellers 1984-1994 has been distributed, and the braille version, which lists only those titles available in braille, should appear in early spring. A cassette version will be released later this year and will list only those titles available in recorded formats.

Patrons who requested this publication on their annual order form will receive it automatically. If you did not order but would like a copy, contact your cooperating library. This bibliography is also available through the Internet by accessing the NLS home page at

Magazine of the Month

The Magazine of the Month program offers readers a sampling of magazines not otherwise available through the NLS program. Each month subscribers receive a different flexible-disc magazine. Although the selections are subject to change, readers are currently scheduled to receive the following magazines this year. For a free subscription to Magazine of the Month, contact your local cooperating library.

Available magazines are

  • Compute (information for microcomputer enthusiasts)
  • Discover (general science for all reader levels)
  • Essence (general-interest topics approached with an African American perspective)
  • Exquisite Corpse: A Journal of Books and Ideas (fiction, poetry, and nonfiction selections)
  • Family Life (activities, current issues, and concerns for modern parents)
  • GreenPrints: The Weeder's Digest (gardening essays and poems)
  • Grit: America's Family Magazine (ideas and entertainment for the whole family)
  • Light (verse, satire, puns, wordplay, and other light humor)
  • Smart Money: The Wall Street Journal Magazine of Personal Business (news and information of interest to individual investors)
  • Successful Retirement: The Magazine to Keep You Young (advice and ideas for retirees)
  • Touring America: Travel in the USA, Canada, and Mexico (focuses on rewarding and historical places to visit)
  • Vegetarian Times (celebrates vegetarian lifestyle and promotes healthful living).

    NLS Contracts for Validation of National Literary Braille Competency Test

    NLS has contracted with Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO) of Alexandria, Virginia, to validate the National Literary Braille Competency Test (NLBCT), which was released by NLS in 1994 as a method of evaluating the competency of braille instructors who teach blind children and adults.

    The validation will document the NLBCT's ability to test an instructor's braille skills and verify the relevance of skills tested to skills that need to be taught. The validation will also document the reliability of the NLBCT's four versions to ensure that a person would receive a comparable score regardless of the version taken.

    The NLBCT was developed under Library of Congress auspices by a committee of experts at the request of major blind membership organizations in the United States. These groups were concerned that teachers of blind children and adults be skilled users of braille themselves. The test evaluates competence in writing braille with a slate and stylus and with a braillewriter, ability to read braille, and knowledge of braille code rules.

    The validation process is divided into two parts. In the first part, the contractors will analyze the literary braille tasks that are performed by teachers in rehabilitation settings, in residential schools, and in mainstreamed classrooms and determine the degree to which the NLBCT assesses competence to perform these tasks. Second, the contractors will determine the reliability of the four versions of the NLBCT. The test will be administered to at least two hundred examinees, and the results will be analyzed to determine reliabilities and standard errors of measurement and also the difficulty and pass-fail decision equivalence for each version.

    HumRRO is a nonprofit corporation engaged in research, development, and evaluation in the behavioral and social sciences. Its services are used to improve human performance and organizational effectiveness. The organization was first established at George Washington University in 1951 to carry out human resources research for the army. Its professional staff includes approximately sixty-five psychologists, statisticians, computer scientists, and technicians, and its areas of expertise include performance measurement, job analysis, the development of assessment instruments and methods, and certification testing.

    HumRRO will submit recommendations based on the group's analysis. The validation process is expected to take two years.

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