Braille Universal Format
Braille Universal Format (BUF) – a typesetting system for joint print of multilingual scholarly publications in both ink print and Braille
Since 2002 the Teiresias Centre at MU has used Braille Universal Format for typesetting nearly all of the tactile documents. BUF comprises of a set of MS Word macros written in VBA 5. The advantages of BUF compared to other commercial tactile typesetting systems (Win Braille, Duxbury Braille Translator) are numerous:
- Typesetting takes place in a regular MS Word document, including spell check, the module for word splitting etc.
- The system contains rules for tactile typesetting of both Czech and multingual texts according to the respective national norms of numerous languages with the possibility of adding others.
- The system contains sophisticated support for the typesetting of mathematical formulas according to the Czech tactile norm.
- It enables printing Braille along with an ink sub-print in a character-for-character fashion. A moderately trained seeing reader can therefore follow exactly the progress of the blind reader.
- It is not a "push a single button" type of system. It is possible to follow the conversion progress and intervene in the process at any given moment.
- The system contains tools for the typesetting of simple chemical formulas, type IPA phonetic symbols, simple music notation and other functions which are still being developed.
Quite naturally, there are also several disadvantages to BUF:
- It is not comfortable to work with for the blind.
- It does not support Contracted Braille in foreign language documents: all the texts are only typeset in Uncontracted Braille.
- At this moment only Index Braille embossers are supported.
- It is a system developed specifically for the Teiresias Centre which is not easily transferrable to a different facility – it is not an intuitive tool and to use it one must be equipped with the knowledge of particular mechanisms.