February 8, 2013
Dear Ms. Brunson and Mr. Pomerantz,
As chair of the Braille Authority of North America (BANA), I want to thank you for your continued support and participation. Your organization is an important part of BANA's efforts to promote braille literacy by providing rules and guidelines for use of braille codes. This letter will highlight some of BANA's activities in the past year and update you on current projects.
As always, BANA is grateful for the many hours of work and the dedication of many individuals who serve on our 13 technical committees. One major accomplishment of such volunteers was the completion of a comprehensive revision of the Braille Formats: Guidelines for Print to Braille Transcription publication, which went "live" on the BANA web site in April 2012. Members of BANA's Publication Committee developed a process to create accessible, searchable, and downloadable online versions of both the new Formats publication and the first-ever tactile graphics guidelines. These materials will also be available for purchase in print and braille from the American Printing House for the Blind.
BANA gained a new member organization in 2012, bringing the number of full BANA members to 15. The Alternate Text Production Center (ATPC) adds a welcome perspective to the board with its focus on post-secondary texts. Our representative from Horizons for the Blind, which joined in 2011, attended her first meeting in the spring. Having new members and representatives adds fresh ideas and new enthusiasm for the work, and the ongoing service of our dedicated continuing members brings needed continuity and background to current projects.
Much of BANA's activity last year was involved with Unified English Braille (UEB) and our continued conversations about braille code change. We have spent a great deal of time at our meetings in recent years in discussions on the pros and cons of UEB and on the current state of braille in the United States. BANA focused its efforts on informing our constituents about why braille needs to be updated to meet the needs of 21st century readers. A motion was carefully drafted to adopt UEB in the United States to replace English Braille American Edition. The motion also included language specifying the retention of Nemeth as an official code, along with music and IPA; the continued use of our formats and tactile graphics guidelines; and the need for the immediate development of a thorough implementation plan. The motion in its entirety can be found on our web site at www.brailleauthority.org/ueb/UEBpassed.html. This motion was passed at BANA's fall meeting in November 2012.
A UEB task force is in place working on an implementation plan. There are many decisions to be made in these early days as the work begins. It is important that all our constituents have a place at the table to share their ideas and concerns. You will be hearing more from BANA this year as we move forward. We are counting on the continued support of all our member organizations. Please consider what your organization can do to play a key role in the implementation of UEB. Thank you again for your support.
Frances Mary D'Andrea
Chair, Braille Authority of North America