UMCL: Providing Braille transcription for Mathematical Applications
Over the past decade many applications have been developed to aid visually impaired people doing maths. Unfortunately, most of these applications work with only one Braille code, the one in use in the developer’s country. For example, the support centre of my university recently asked me if I knew of a piece of software allowing transcription of LaTeX mathematical documents to Braille. Indeed I do: Labradoor, developed by the University of Linz, does exactly that but produces Marburg code, which is of no use to French students!
This was the starting point of the Universal Maths Conversion Library. UMCL was created to allow developers of such applications to provide output in various Braille codes. It works with a system of input/output modules that can be developed and installed independently of the applications. Several output modules have been developed so far, producing French, Italian, Marburg, British and Nemeth Braille. Input modules for MathML and LaTeX are also available. UMCL is an open source project under the LGPL licence; it can be freely reused in open source as well as commercial applications.
We are currently restructuring the library. The previous version can be tested at http://inova.snv.jussieu.fr/maths. A new version which includes all the modules mentioned above will be available within the next few weeks.
Note: this is the abstract of the presentation I’ll give at the @Science final conference: Making Science Accessible, in Milan, October 20.
EDIT (2013-03-07) the old INOVA server is not working anymore. I hope I’ll be able to provide a new version soon. I’ll post some information about it.