December 2, 2005
South Dakota Becomes a Leader in Braille Production
On September 1, 2005 South Dakota became a leader in the field of Braille production. On this date through the cooperative efforts of the South Dakota Department of Corrections/state penitentiary and the South Dakota Department of Education/state library, South Dakota opened the first Tactile Graphics Center. The Center was officially opened as part of the Braille Production Unit at the South Dakota State Penitentiary. This new addition to PheasantLand Industries Braille Unit will increase the speed and quality of Braille production. Twelve inmates have received the required training to produce tactile graphics for Braille books. The training was provided by Lucia Hasty of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Lucia is respected throughout the world for her knowledge of tactile graphics. She serves as the chair of the Tactile Graphics workgroup of the Braille Authority of North America (BANA). BANA is the official authority for all rules and regulations relating to English Braille. Lucia has provided tactile graphics workshops in most English speaking countries.
Today almost 50% of the information in a textbook is visual rather than just text. In addition to the Braille for each page of a textbook there is a need for tactile graphics to represent the visual information on each page. Creating the tactile graphic for the visual information is a very time consuming piece of producing a Braille textbook. Depending on the subject and grade level a textbook can contain hundreds of visual images. The tactile graphic(s) for just one visual image in a textbook can take from a few minutes to a few hours.
Before September 1, 2005 the Braille Transcriber was spending about Â½ of their time completing the tactile graphics for the textbook they were transcribing into Braille. This slowed down the production of each Braille textbook they were assigned to produce. With the ability of the transcriber and the tactile graphics technician working together and as the repository of graphics increases less time will be required for the graphics production and the Braille textbook will be completed in less time.
The Tactile Graphics Center will not only produce the tactile graphics but will also begin the development of a repository of graphics that can be used many times in many different books.
This Tactile Graphics Center will not only provide quality tactile graphics faster for textbooks needed in South Dakota but will be assisting many other states in their quest to provide complete Braille textbooks for blind students on the first day of school just like the sighted student receiving their print textbook on the first day of school.
Employees in PheasantLand Industries Braille & Tactile Graphics Center include; 7 inmates with Library of Congress National Certification in Literary Braille Transcribing and Textbook Formatting, 1 inmate with Library of Congress National Certification in Nemeth (math, science, computer Braille Transcribing and Textbook Formatting, 9 inmates certified as Tactile Graphics Technician l, 2 inmates certified as Tactile Graphics Technician ll, 1 inmate certified as Tactile Graphics Technician lll, and 3 inmates working in embossing/binding/shipping. This year PheasantLand Industries Braille & Tactile Graphics will produce over 200,000 pages of Braille and hundreds of tactile graphics for blind children not only in South Dakota but also for the rest of the country.
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