APH News & Press

Pearson Education and The American Printing House for the Blind sign milestone agreement that speeds production of braille textbooks for blind students all over the United States

News Release: Louisville, Kentucky, March 22, 2000

Pearson Education, the world's premier educational publisher and the American Printing House for the Blind, Inc., the world's largest not-for-profit company that creates products for blind or visually impaired people, have agreed to work together to speed the process of translating print textbooks into braille to make them accessible to blind students.

At present, many months are required to complete the translation of a textbook into braille. This agreement will significantly shorten that time and make it possible for more braille readers to have access to textbooks at the same time as their sighted peers.

The current process for changing a book from regular print copy to braille is both lengthy and labor intensive. It requires highly skilled personnel who must:

Under the new agreement between APH and Pearson Education, Pearson Education will share its textbook files with the APH File Repository, thus eliminating the need to scan or re-key the text. The Repository houses transcribed braille textbook files, APH Educational Software and files that publishers have prepared for braille translation. The Repository is available from the APH web site (www.aph.org). To protect publishers' intellectual property, access is exclusively for authorized users.

Pearson Education has a long history of working with APH to make their materials available. In 1992, two of the educational publishing companies that are now part of Pearson Education: Simon and Schuster's Education Group and Scott, Foresman and Company, signed landmark contracts allowing authorized alternative media producers automatic copyright permission for their educational materials. This was the first step in speeding up the process of producing the braille materials. That contract also provided APH with hard copies of the works for use as masters, and access to source files when available. The current agreement builds on the trust developed between the two companies by allowing APH to make these files available to braille producers across the nation.


The American Printing House for the Blind, Inc., founded in 1858, is the oldest organization of its kind in the United States and the world's largest not-for-profit company that creates educational, workplace and life-style products for blind or visually impaired people.

In 1879, the U. S. Congress passed the Act to Promote the Education of the Blind. This act set up a system to provide free schoolbooks and other materials for blind students and named the American Printing House for the Blind as the national central source of these educational materials.

Pearson Education is the world's leading educational and professional publisher, offering a full range of rich content across electronic and print media for all students everywhere-from early childhood to professional education and training. The Pearson Education family of companies represents the most respected imprints in classrooms around the world, including Addison Wesley Longman, Allyn & Bacon, Computer Curriculum Corporation, Longman, Macmillan, Scott Foresman, and Prentice Hall. Pearson Education is the global education publishing business of Pearson plc, the international media group.


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