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Braille Formatting from HTML (fwd)

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@access.digex.net>
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 10:40:24 -0500 (EST)
Message-Id: <199710301540.KAA18068@access4.digex.net>
To: w3c-wai-hc@w3.org (HC team)
Lloyd Rasmussen wrote with some clarifications about Braille usage
and how one might wish to couple the Web into the Braille world.

I am reading this into the HC record (with Lloyd's permission)
because I think it will help us in our work with CSS2.

-- Al

----- Forwarded message from Lloyd G. Rasmussen -----

From lras@loc.gov  Wed Oct 29 16:20:42 1997
Date: Wed, 29 Oct 97 16:20:08 EST
From: "Lloyd G. Rasmussen" <lras@loc.gov>
Message-Id: <70202.lras@loc.gov>
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To: asgilman@access.digex.net, jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.EDU.AU
Subject: Braille Formatting from HTML

Al and Jason:

I have been reading the discussion on the Wai-HC listserv, as HTML 4.0 
moves toward the next stage at great speed.

The following are my opinions, and do not represent those of the 
Library of Congress.

On the <pre> tag:  In U.S. braille production, poetry is usually 
rendered line by line, and when a print line is too long for the 
corresponding braille, runovers are indented by two character spaces, 
and skipped lines are reproduced.  Less frequently, in order to 
conserve space, poetry is represented as running text which includes 
an "end-of-line" symbol where new poetry lines begin.  I think it 
would be useful to know when any information, pre-formatted or not, is 
"computer" information, so that a translation program knows when to 
switch between literary and computer translation tables. This 
distinction will be necessary for the forseeable future, unless some 
kind of unified braille code is adopted. 

In the matter of quotations, long and short:  American rules already 
allow flexibility in the use of single and double quotation marks, in 
order to follow the conventions of the print document.  Almost all of 
the time, we get documents with double quotes for the outer quotation 
marks and single quotes for inner quotation marks.   I agree with 
Jason that spurious quotation marks are distracting in braille, and 
also in speech if that punctuation mark is turned on.  In U.S. 
braille production, long block quotes are often represented by a 
blank line above and below them, with no change in margin and with no 
quotation marks.  This seems best left to a style sheet, I think.  I 
don't see it as a "show-stopper" to accessibility. 

As I have said to Al before, I am a populist.  I am most interested 
in seeing tags and styles that work more often than not, which can do 
something sensible in the hands of page authors and automated tools, 
which will transform gracefully between different sizes of screens, 
speech and braille.  What a braille translation program or talking 
web browser ultimately does with all of these tags will depend on how 
widely they are implemented, how consistently they are used, and how 
well-educated web authors and HTML creation programs become.  If HTML 
was often displayed on the screens of handheld devices, and was thus 
often broken, the point about structure vs. presentation would be 
hammered home to more web designers.  We'll see.


-- Lloyd Rasmussen
Senior Staff Engineer, Engineering Section
National Library Service for the  Blind and Physically Handicapped
Library of Congress          202-707-0535
(work)       lras@loc.gov    www.loc.gov/nls/
(home) lras@sprynet.com

----- End of forwarded message from Lloyd G. Rasmussen -----
Received on Thursday, 30 October 1997 10:41:03 UTC

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