Guidelines and Specifications

The National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS) develops, maintains, and shares guidelines and specifications, as well as policy, describing how NLS  builds its collection producing braille and talking books and magazines and to.

Collection Development Guidelines

The Collection Building Policy guides NLS staff in selecting material for the collection, including books and magazines, by outlining priorities and selection criteria.

Narration Guidelines

NLS narrators regularly update Say How?: A Pronunciation Guide to Names of Public Figures and The ABC Book: Acronyms, Brand Names, and Corporations. These living documents help guide narrators in correctly pronouncing names of people and organizations that are too obscure or recent in prominence to appear in dictionaries and other standard reference works.

Braille Guidelines

Multiple braille codes are used at NLS, including the Music Braille Code (PDF). NLS also offers an information sheet of Frequently Used UEB Symbols (BRF) to help braille readers transition to Unified English Braille, which NLS adopted in 2016.

Audio Book Production

In 1995, NLS staff member Billy West released The Art and Science of Audio Book Production. While many of the technical details about cassettes and master tapes are no longer relevant to current production methods, the guide's core principles of what makes a high-quality talking book remain true today.

Contractor Specifications

For more detailed specifications on braille and talking book production and distribution, consult the NLS contract documents and specifications page.

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