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Improving access to study material for the blind

Author: Thomas Kahlisch | Dresden University of Technology | Department of Computer Science | Institute of Information Systems | D 01062 Dresden
Phone: +49 351 463 8410
E-mail: kahlisch@inf.tu-dresden.de

Abstract

This presentation explains the services provided and the current projects at the Dresden University of Technology. The primary goal of the projects is to make study material accessible to blind and partially sighted students by using structured hyper-text based document formats.

It is described, how it is possible to convert study material, coded in a less structured ASCII format, into HTML, by using the basic SGML [1] tag set for accessible documents as defined by ICADD (International Committee for Accessible Document Design) [2]. This transformation guarantees the accessibility of the documents available on the World Wide Web.

Furthermore, the Transformation Services for HTML documents into American, French and German Braille, available on a WWW server:

URL: http://elvis.inf.tu-dresden.de/html2brl/

is explained. This service was developed by using the ICADD guidelines to translate SGML documents into Braille, large print and computer voice, published in appendix 8 of the international standard ISO 12083 [3].

The final part of the presentation describes our current project "Präsentation von elektronischen Dokumenten für blinde Menschen" [4] which is to design and implement an accessible hyper-text script reader for SGML-based study material. This reading program will establish access to documents, which are widespread over the network, for blind and partially sighted students. The handling of tables, mathematical expressions and the design of hyper-text structures in documents are the main challenges in this project.

Bibliography

[1]
ISO,
ISO 8879:1986 Information Processing - Text and Office
Systems - Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML),
Geneva, 15 October 1986
[2]
ICADD,
(International Committee for Accessible Document Design),
Chair America: George Kerscher <kerscher@montana.com>
Chair Europe: Tom Wesley <T.A.B.Wesley@bradford.ac.uk>
[3]
ISO,
ANSI / NISO / ISO 12083 Electronic Manuscript Preparation
and Markup,
Annex 8: Facilities for Braille, large print and computer
voice, 1994
[4]
TU Dresden,
Lehrbereich Mensch-Maschine-Kommunikation ifS,
Drittmittelprojekt: Präsentation von
elektronischen Dokumenten für blinde Menschen,
URL: http://elvis.inf.tu-dresden.de/