Press Release

April 2014

For Immediate Release

CONTACT: Frances Mary D'Andrea, Chair
Braille Authority of North America
Phone: 412-521-5797

Recent Actions: BANA Held Spring Meeting in Philadelphia

The Braille Authority of North America (BANA) held its 2014 spring meeting April 3 – 5 in Philadelphia, PA. Associated Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, (ASB), a BANA member organization, hosted the meeting. All sessions were held at ASB.

During its three-day meeting, the BANA Board reviewed and acted on semiannual reports from its eighteen committees, considered committee recommendations, and deliberated issues and challenges facing braille users and producers. The UEB Task Force reported on the development of a plan for the transition to UEB in the United States as well as the collaborative steps that have been taken to initiate dialogue and planning among the various braille communities. The development of resources for training teachers, transcribers, consumers, and family members is a focus of BANA's efforts at this time.

BANA welcomed three new organizational representatives to their first meeting as members of the Board. Dawn Gross is the new representative from the Alternate Text Production Center of the California Community Colleges (ATPC). Peggy Schuetz now represents the California Transcribers and Educators of the Blind and Visually Impaired (CTEBVI). Kyle Key has recently been appointed as the representative from the Clovernook Center for the Blind.
In addition to extensive deliberations involved in the 44-item meeting agenda, the actions of note included the following:

Revisited and revised organizational priorities in order to balance BANA's work during this time of focus on the transition to UEB.

Approved a recommendation from the Tactile Graphics Technical Committee that any braille volume containing one or more tactile graphics should contain a note on the Transcriber's Notes page stating: "The Guidelines and Standards for Tactile Graphics, 2010 was used in the preparation of the tactile graphics."

Approved a document detailing specific factors and specifications that should be employed when producing braille signage. This new fact sheet will be posted on the BANA website.

Voted that, in light of the major revision underway to align the Braille Formats publication with UEB, BANA will not produce for sale hardcopy editions of Braille Formats 2011, which can be downloaded free of charge from the BANA website and printed or embossed. The Board also voted to add the recently posted errata in the HTML, PDF, and BRF files of Braille Formats 2011 that are posted on the BANA website. These decisions followed an extensive deliberation of the complex issues impacting BANA's current obligations and resources. NOTE: Braille Formats 2011 went into effect in January 1, 2013. Materials now being transcribed should follow these guidelines.

On Saturday morning, BANA hosted an Open Forum, which was well attended by individuals from the Philadelphia community. BANA Board members and forum participants enjoyed reading example documents transcribed in Unified English Braille and discussing the characteristics of the code. They also discussed the progress of the transition to UEB as well as ongoing plans for informing braille readers and preparing educators and transcribers about specific code changes.

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The Board of BANA consists of appointed representatives from seventeen member organizations of braille producers, transcribers, teachers, and consumers.

The mission of the Braille Authority of North America is to assure literacy for tactile readers through the standardization of braille and/or tactile graphics.

The purpose of BANA is to promote and to facilitate the uses, teaching, and production of braille. Pursuant to this purpose, BANA will promulgate rules, make interpretations, and render opinions pertaining to braille codes and guidelines for the provisions of literary and technical materials and related forms and formats of embossed materials now in existence or to be developed in the future for the use of blind persons in North America. When appropriate, BANA shall accomplish these activities in international collaboration with countries using English braille. In exercising its function and authority, BANA shall consider the effects of its decisions on other existing braille codes and guidelines, forms and formats; ease of production by various methods; and acceptability to readers.