Braille, the ingenious system of six dots invented by Louis Braille almost 200 years ago in France, has meant literacy to millions of blind and visually-impaired individuals around the world. Since braille represents living languages, periodic modifications are necessary to reflect changes in languages and to keep braille vital and contemporary.
In the United States, English Braille, American Edition (EBAE) has been the predominant braille code. To keep U.S. braille consistent and up to date with the braille code used for international English, Unified English Braille (UEB) has been adopted as the official U.S. braille code. UEB is being implemented in the U.S. on January 4, 2016 in commemoration of Louis Braille’s birthday.
What does that mean for Bookshare members? You can immediately get on board with the transition to UEB. Bookshare’s English titles are now available in UEB, making it the largest collection of UEB titles in the world. Members can select from a huge variety of leisure, career, and educational books and read them in UEB on compatible reading tools.
Bookshare’s UEB titles are also an important resource for braille instructors. Teachers can help students learn how to read with the new braille code using a wide selection of fun and engaging titles for readers of every age and interest. Bookshare is committed to supporting the transition to UEB and hopes members will take full advantage of the breadth of its collection.
For members who wish to continue to read in the previous braille code, Bookshare will continue to provide books in EBAE. In addition, non-English books will continue to be available in their existing formats.
Are you ready to get started with UEB on Bookshare? Visit our Braille resource page for more details and instructions on reading Bookshare books in braille.
Bookshare strives to continually improve the quality of its braille. To produce our braille files, Bookshare uses an open source braille translator called Liblouis, which is also continuously updated. We encourage our members to report issues with our braille and our books in general. We collect this information and work to resolve bugs and issues where possible and partner with Liblouis when necessary.
Our goal is to provide braille readers with equal and timely access to the largest body of books and reading materials while continuously working to improve our braille quality. We are committed to serving our visually-impaired community by supporting the UEB standard.
To Louis Braille in honor of his birthday, we say “bon anniversaire” and “merci beaucoup” for giving the world braille.