Choosing and Setting Up your Embosser, This Tuesday at 7:30 PM

In our first Masterclass of 2022, Matthew Horspool will be tackling the hows, whys and wherefores of braille embossers: choosing them, setting them up and making the most of them. The session will cover:

  • The purpose and function of an embosser and why you might want one
  • Different types of embosser
  • Different types of paper
  • Connectivity options
  • The user interface
  • The relationship between embosser and computer
  • The role of translation software

It will take place at 7:30 PM and you can register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYpcO-sqzktG9TvgYRqSttK4_cqV7zNAiby

To join by telephone, please use these details:

  • Phone number: 0131 460 1196
  • Meeting ID: 824 7645 2710
  • Passcode: 123456

Welcome to Braille for Beginners!

The first session of our new Braille for Beginners course starts this coming Tuesday (11 January) at 6:00 PM.

You will need pages 1-3 of the resources this week. We will start by introducing Mel and the other members of the Braillists team who will be helping to facilitate the course, and explain what we intend to cover over the next eight weeks. After that, we will move onto pre-braille skills, tracking, and the letters A, L, D and T. Finally, we will explain how braille numbers work.

To register for Braille for Beginners, please use this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0rdOGvrzgtH9WTECXlkSsLDU4m5Ow3zqcW

Alternatively, you can join by telephone using these details:

  • Telephone Number: 0131 460 1196
  • Meeting ID: 896 3871 3751
  • Passcode: 325661

For more information about the course, please visit braillists.org/beginners.

This Tuesday: Braille Around the World: a Special Event to mark World Braille Day

We know about braille in the UK, of course, and we regularly hear about braille in other developed English-speaking countries – the US, Australia, New Zealand and so on. But there are many other countries in the world about which we hear much less. How is braille taught? How is it produced? How easy is it to obtain? What braille technology is in use?

Join us at 7:30 PM on Tuesday 4 January to explore these issues in detail. We will be joined by panellists from China, Macedonia and South Africa who will help to set the scene, and we’re inviting you to ask them your questions. You’re also welcome to share your own perspective of international braille.

Please register for this event here: https://is.gd/YZhFWq

N.B. this is a new link. You will need to register even if you have already registered for our other sessions.

Alternatively, to join by phone, use these details:

  • Phone number: 0131 460 1196
  • Meeting ID: 825 7108 7388
  • Passcode: 968997

Welcome Back to the Book Club!

The first session of 2022 for our popular Book Club is this Thursday, 6 January, at 6:00 PM. There are three rooms for beginner, intermediate and advanced readers, and the books for each room are as follows:

  • Beginners: Paddington Turns Detective and Other Funny Stories, by Michael Bond (a continuation from this term)
  • Intermediate: Holding, by Graham Norton
  • Advanced: Black Beauty, by Anna Sewell

All of these books are available via RNIB Reading Services and are also included on the latest RNIB Orbit Reader SD Card.

Join the Book Club here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89353220947

To join by telephone, use these details:

  • Phone number: 0131 460 1196
  • Meeting ID: 893 5322 0947

Protecting Braillists Content Against Copyright Infringement

As the Braillists grows, people are increasingly wanting to share our content. This is fantastic – anything we can do to promote braille and increase braille proficiency is a good thing! But it leaves us vulnerable to misappropriation of our content, use of our content in a way which we might not endorse, or people finding our content without knowing where it originally came from.

We have therefore taken some steps to legally protect our content, which are described below.

Before we do this, though, we would like to reassure everyone of a few fundamental principals:

  1. Our content will remain free of charge
  2. Our content will not be subject to password protection or Digital Rights Management unless there is a specific need for it (e.g. recordings of Braille for Beginners), and in that case the protection measures will remain minimal
  3. You are absolutely permitted to share our content with other people – in fact, we encourage you to do so!

However, we ask that, if you do share our content, you observe the following conditions:

  • Wherever possible, please share a link to the content on either braillissts.org or braillecast.com. Although you are very welcome to share our content on your social media channels and refer to it on your website, we would prefer it if you did not host it on your own servers. In practice, this means you should include a link to our Media page, the relevant episode page on braillecast.com, or the direct MP3 download link from braillists.org or braillecast.com.
  • Please share our content in full, without alteration. For example, you should not attempt to remove the introduction or ending of a Braillecast episode, remove a section from the middle, or indeed only share a section from the middle. If you have a specific reason for needing to edit our content, please obtain written permission from us first.
  • When sharing our content, please make it clear that it came from Braillecast or the Braillists Foundation.
  • If you are sharing our content on a public platform, please tell us about it! We enjoy hearing about people sharing our content and may take the opportunity to promote you in our Newsletter and on our social media channels in return.

In legal terms, we have applied a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License to all of our content retrospectively, and will apply it to all new content going forward. The full license terms can be found on the Creative Commons website via the link above. Appropriate notices have been added to our Media page, all pages on braillecast.com, and the copyright line of the Braillecast RSS feed.

We hope that this makes our position clear, and you agree that we have struck a fair balance between freedom to share our content and protection of our intellectual property. However, should you have any questions or concerns, please do write to us at [email protected] and we will be happy to assist.

A Message From Our Chairman

Hi everyone,

On behalf of the Braillists Foundation Board of Trustees, I hope this finds you safe and well.

As we approach the end of our second year as a registered charity, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your on-going support, reflect on our progress over the previous twelve months and look ahead to the coming year.

The Braillists Foundation continues to grow and promote braille usage across the UK and around the world. You may remember how wonderful it was to kick-off in January with so many attendees at our first event of the year, a celebration of World Braille Day. Thanks again to our excellent panellists, Saima Akhtar, Fred Reid and Gary O’Donoghue for sharing how braille remains a vital literacy tool for blind people in the 21st century.

Details of our World Braille Day event for 2022 are included later in this Newsletter. In addition, the Braillists Foundation has been invited to take over the Visionary Twitter account on 4 January 2022. If you are on Twitter, we hope you will follow @Braillists and like and share Tweets promoting braille usage and use the #WorldBrailleDay hashtag.

In 2021, the Churchill Foundation recognised the value of braille and awarded the Braillists a second grant. We are using this to remunerate the presenters of our Masterclasses, cover the costs of transcribing episodes of our Braillecast podcast (including Masterclass recordings) into both text and braille, and engage part-time staff to provide much-needed management and administrative support. These staff, in partnership with our amazing volunteers, are working to create resources that we hope can be used to learn and promote braille usage for many years to come.

As well as our email forum and social media channels, our Braille Bar is where our community comes together to learn from one another. You always surprise and delight with your wide and varied discussion at our open question and answer sessions. Your respect for other attendees and willingness to share your knowledge is helping attract a positive, welcoming culture recognised across the world. Special thanks to Ben who often does the lion’s share of the work for these sessions, making sure they are well-moderated.

You can be sure our Masterclasses, where we take a deeper dive into some aspect of everyone’s favourite tactile reading system, will also return in the new year. Where else could you find a description of how to draw a Christmas tree with a Perkins, an introduction to grade 3, a guide to braille in the kitchen, an explanation of the BRF file type, how to get started with a slate and stylus, braille music and much more? If you missed a Masterclass, you can find recordings of all of them via the Braillecast podcast and on our Media page, along with transcripts and supporting documentation. We hope also in 2022 to make much of this content available for people offline via SD Cards that you will be able to access with your braille display or braille note taker. Many thanks to all our presenters for improving our collective skills and knowledge.

The Thursday evening Book Club is where beginners and more experienced braillists practice reading skills in a supportive and safe environment. These sessions continue to be well-attended and provide a friendly place for graduates of our Braille for Beginners course to apply what they’ve learnt. Multiple rooms are available so you can find a space where people are reading at your pace. Berni, Mel and Adeel do an outstanding job steering this group, again ably supported by Ben and Matthew.

Speaking of Beginners, if you or someone you know would like to get started with braille, it’s not too late to register for our free Braille for Beginners course starting in January. Mel will be guiding us through the basics including pre-braille skills, alphabet, numbers, punctuation and making sure that at the end of the 8 weeks we will have enough braille knowledge to play a game, make a label, create a shopping list and genuinely find braille to be useful in everyday life. Mel, I know how much our beginners value your patience and benefit from your experience.

None of the Braillists Foundation’s activities would take place without the tireless dedication of our staff, contractors and volunteers. They turn up week after week and often work long into the night to make sure our hundreds of hours of events are well-organised and promoted, and our many high quality resources are created. I am sure you’ll join me in offering my sincere thanks to everyone involved both in front and behind the scenes. Adeel, Ben, Berni, Ed, Hazel, Ilka, James, Judith, Kawal, Matthew, Megan, Mel and Steph to name a few. Superstars all of you. If I missed anyone, that’s a reflection on me not you!

Finally, it only remains for me to wish you season’s greetings and a prosperous and safe 2022.

Free Webinars from the UK Association for Accessible Formats

Welcome to the first of UKAAF’s 2022 series of webinars.

UK Association for Accessible Formats: World Braille Day: Roger Firman interviews Stuart Lawler from Sight and Sound Technology.

We are really pleased to introduce our guest, Stuart Lawler, from Sight and Sound Technology, talking about braille in its widest sense on World Braille Day.

Please click here to complete the registration link and reserve your place.

Having completed this, you will then be notified of forthcoming UKAAF webinars.

On February 1st, the webinar will be an interview with Stacy Scott from Taylor and Francis. Stacy will be able to talk to us about the ongoing work to make more electronic books accessible and much , much more.

Blind Adult Braille Display Users Needed for Research Study to Develop Ergonomic Guidelines

Hello braille display user,

This is an invitation to participate in a very important study to create ergonomic guidelines for braille displays. While there has been a tremendous amount of research to ensure the safety and performance of QWERTY keyboards (see ANSI 100-2007) to this day no ergonomic studies have been published.Thus, there are NO industry guidelines ensuring good ergonomics of braille displays or Perkins keyboards.In 2020, Vispero utilized a braille display survey.The results showed that 26% of the respondents indicated that they experience pain from using their display.Therefore, Vispero has a partnership with researchers from the University of Houston Clear-Lake to create an industry standard for braille displays. As a token of appreciation for your participation, you will be entered into a drawing to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card.We will hold drawing at the conclusion of our data collection, mid-February at the latest. Please note that this research is for those that are over the age of 18 and there is no obligation to participate or finish this survey, and participation is completely voluntary. Also, while the study is planned to help develop ergonomic guidelines in general, there is no direct benefit for participation.

Please click this link to begin, also feel free to share the link with anyone that uses a braille display. If you have any questions or technical problems, please email Joel Persinger. You may only take the survey one time per household. Click here to see the official statement regarding the sweepstakes rules or here to see the University of Houston Clear-Lake consent form.

Thank you very much for your participation.