Documents, keypunch cards, and other materials related to automated braille stereotyping and translation

File, Document

Accession Number: 1992.2

Scope & Content: Collection consists of: .2a.1 - Booklet, "Braille Translation System for the IBM 704," produced by Ann S. Schack and R.T. Mertz, assisted by Fred Brooks, (New York: IBM. Department of Mathematics and Applications, 1961, preliminary write-up, M&A-10); described on title page as "A program which converts an ordinary punched card text into the special 'shorthand' form of Braille II according to complex rules for contractions and abbreviations, producing an edited output suitable for mechanized Braille publishing"; 11 x 8.5 in., papercover, stapled. .2a.2 - Computer printout, "Braille Translations Program - B1: Inkprint to Braille," in brown pressboard binder, 1964 with later revisions, 11.5 x 15.34 in. .2a.3 - Computer printout, "Braille Translations Program - B2: Braille to Inkprint," in brown pressboard binder, 1964 with later revisions, 11.5 x 15.34 in. .2a.4 - One packet of braille stereograph cards (white output keypunch cards). .2a.5 - One packet of initialization keypunch cards (yellow). .2a.6 - One paper data tape, 1 in. wide .2a.7 - APH press release from Finis Davis, June 9, 1964, announcing braille translation using an IBM 709 computer. .2a.8 - MIT press release, March 9, 1968, announcing first simultaneous production of a book in braille and standard print using a computer translation system. .2b - One box of IBM 704 Program Cards (keypunch, white).

Creator: American Printing House for the Blind. Data Processing Dept.

Interview Date: / /

Collection: APH Archives

Credit Line: APH Archives

Administrative History: In the 1950s, the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) began a research project with IBM to automate braille production. IBM had designed a braille entry setup in 1954 that produced a paper data tape, which could be verified, corrected and then run through a tape reader unit to automatically drive a stereograph, the machine that embosses metal printing plates with braille. The tape control system eliminated the need for manually typing braille directly onto the master braille printing plates, and the time-consuming task of manually correcting any incorrect symbols, and was in use at APH in 1955. The success of this pilot project encouraged APH and IBM to develop a program for the IBM 704 computer that could translate English text into grade 2 braille, and create keypunch cards that would drive the stereographs. The Braille Translation System became operational in 1959. Initially, input keypunch cards were produced at APH using an IBM keypunch machine, the cards were then sent to IBM, in New York, for braille translation using an IBM 704 Computer, resulting in a second set of braille keypunch cards that IBM sent to APH to run the stereographs. In fiscal year 1964, APH installed an IBM 709 Computer, donated by IBM, so that automated braille production could be done completely on site. In its annual report for fiscal year 1968, APH reported that it could, for the first time, produce a braille book at about the same time as the standard print edition, an effort made possible through a collaboration of APH, the MIT Center for Sensory Aids Evaluation and Development, and the Library of Congress. Computer tapes for ink-print production, created by the book publisher, were sent to MIT, where they were translated by computer into computer-punched tape used at APH in its automated braille system.

Publisher: New York

Publisher Place: New York

Subjects: Braille Data processing Computerized typesetting Transcription

Rights: Contact museum staff regarding reproduction of materials.