May points in telling people how paragraphs might simply be delt with were
based on practical considerations not what would actually be best for
everyone. I am concerned that the bookshare system has to be taken in to
consideration--not only bookshare's members. Tabs at the beginning of
paragraphs would be perfect if only the system useed them. A tab means
indent some amount of space, but leaves the exact amount of space to indent
or move up to the software seening it. That would mean that there would be
two spaces in braille and 5 in print, and for audio readers there would be
a nice unambiguous tab character. Unfortunately we don't have that option
as a solution.
I hope that we have another solution, which would be the bookshare system desiding how something should be displayed in DAISY, HTML, and BRF so we don't have to make sloppy compromises. If the bookshare system properly delt with paragraph symbols, which exist in all but plain text files, then the format a person downloaded would be formatted correctly for that form of presentation. The braille translation software should know enough to indent 2 spaces for every paragraph because that is how it is properly done in braille. For presentation on the screen it should use either a blank line, which would probably be best for the electronic form, or it should use a 5 space indent. I think a blank line is used in HTML, but I'm not sure that it is in the DAISY file. All I know is that Kurzweil doesn't displlay blank lines in the DAISY files I open from bookshare.
Another issue is that nothing can be perfect for everyone because the way something should be formatted for hard copy braille is not really the same is the perfect format for a BRF that is being shown on a braille display. Again the best thing is for the books just to have a paragraph indication that the device reading it can identify so the user can specify how they would like it shown on the display.
I guess what I am trying to say is that people need to stop asking what is wanted for a minute and check out what is currently being done. Wishful thinking isn't going to get us anywhere. Now if you can define the issues you think bookshare files have in each format, then you can write to the list, and possibly to bookshare's staff, with suggestions on how to improve it. Only then can we decide what work should be done by validators to make books ideal. Hopefully they will have to do very little to make books come out wonderfully.
Please help me and bookshare by downloading something from the collection that you either submitted or validated and compare the copy from bookshare with your original. If possible look at both the BRF and the DAISY. Notice what formatting of the original has been maintained and what has been lost. When you think you can clearly and unemotionally discribe what you have observed, share that information with the list.
I have tried to write a tip on characters that do and don't work for the bookshare system and have pput it on Jake's site. I can't guarantee that I really knew enough, but I tried. Now I would love help in seeing about formatting that does and does not work. You can also share any other oddnesses you discover. And please correct me if I was wrong about any point I have written about.
Sarah Van Oosterwijck
Assistive Technology Trainer
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