Steve: producing Understanding Physics

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Steve: producing Understanding Physics

Post by
steve.murgaski
»
Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:10 pm
Jenn and I have been researching the best way to produce a physics textbook. Tonight we compared notes and came up with a plan. Here is our plan so far:

We have a physics textbook: Understanding Physics, 2nd edition, by Michael Mansfield. We have it available in three different formats, but we've verified that in all three formats the complex equations are stored as gif images. There isn't a way to automatically convert these images into braille - the closest option would be an OCR program that's capable of recognizing math, and the output from that would still need to be checked manually because of the unreliability of OCR.

Our solution is to take the first chapter of Understanding Physics, and try generating it in braille as a test case. I will do as much of the formatting as I can, and Jenn will manually type the equations that are in the word file as images. We will try using a Word add-in called Math Type, which works with the Duxbury braille translation software. (Duxbury is expensive to buy, but we should be able to run it as a demo for our purposes.) If we can get one chapter produced in braille we will at least know that this approach works.
steve.murgaski
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Re: Steve: producing Understanding Physics

Post by
jennlortie
»
Fri Mar 09, 2018 1:22 pm
Thank you for posting this update in the forum, Steve. :)

I have installed a demo version of MathType on Word and I am able to type the equations in Word. I found a free demo version of MathType here: http://www.dessci.com/en/products/mathtype/trial.asp

Did you have a chance to check out the Word document I sent you with the MathType equation? We'll want to make sure it can convert to braille before moving forward and producing all the equations using this approach.

Here is the link to download a demo version of Duxbury:
http://www.duxburysystems.com/product2. ... &action=up

I've started playing around on it so see how to convert the Word file. I think I've figured it out, but I am unable to save it as .brf with the demo. As you mention, Steve, it is incredibly expensive (nearly $700) to purchase. Ugh!

Maybe someone else who works for NNELS has Duxbury and can try to convert a trial file?

This link has a lot of helpful information that supports our approach as well:
http://www.duxburysystems.com/documenta ... matics.htm

I will post in a separate reply the other production steps needed.

Thanks for being awesome!
Jenn
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Re: Steve: producing Understanding Physics

Post by
jennlortie
»
Fri Mar 09, 2018 1:51 pm
Steps to produce Chapter 1 of Understanding Physics:

1. Remove all content after Chapter 1 (recommend to do this first, because Word won't crash as often if there is less content).
2. Ensure the NNELS style is applied and active in the document.
3. Remove cover image.
4. Remove styles from the document. One issue with removing the styles might be the use of superscript for values such as "10 to the power of 14" for example. If there is a way to remove styles, but retain superscript and subscript, that would be ideal.
5. Insert the book's title as Heading 1 at the beginning of book. Add the authors' names in Normal style underneath the title.
6. Add Heading 1 and Heading 2 styles to appropriate sections.
7. Format the Table of Contents using the List style and ensure that subsections (H2) are indented.
8. Remove the extra Table of Contents.
9. Disable all links (Select All + Ctrl + Shift + F9).
10. Add heading "Copyright and Publishing Information" and "Summary" above the appropriate sections.
11. Ensure all lists have the List style applied.
12. Remove information from tables and put it into the body of the text if it an be better presented this way. If the information is better presented in a table, please apply the NNELS recommendations for formatting tables: https://wiki.libraries.coop/doku.php?id ... ext:tables
13. Ensure all images are formatted as "In Line with Text." Apply any captions as the caption style to images.
14. It would also be helpful to somehow highlight or label any of the tiny images that are also equations. Not necessary, but it would probably help to make sure none are missed in the MathType process.
15. Add the "About this Digital Talking Book" (https://wiki.libraries.coop/doku.php?id ... gital-book) after the Title/Author and fill in the blanks to make sure it shows the correct dates and levels of headings.
16. Add the "Terms of Use" at the end of the document (https://wiki.libraries.coop/doku.php?id ... rms-of-use).
17. Do a happy dance. :)

Detailed information and instructions are available on the NNELS wiki at: https://wiki.libraries.coop/doku.php?id ... text:start

Please do not hesitate to comment on any roadblocks or any approaches that you have taken to simplify these tasks. And we are always here to answer any questions you might have!
jennlortie
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Re: Steve: producing Understanding Physics

Post by
steve.murgaski
»
Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:20 pm
Thank you for such thoughtful replies. I've gotten everything installed and was able to open the equation you emailed me, but I'm not sure if I'm getting it translated properly. What I'm seeing looks a bit like the quadratic formula, but with a bunch of other symbols in it too. Could you send me just the quadratic formula? (negative b plus or minus the square root of (b squared minus 4ac) all over 2a)

I do see that saving a file isn't allowed in the demo version of Duxbury, which is disappointing. The demo is a lot more limited than I'd assumed it would be. I'm trying to think of a free alternative to Duxbury but I have only a few long-shot ideas left.
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Re: Steve: producing Understanding Physics

Post by
jennlortie
»
Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:59 pm
Hi Steve,

I have send you the quadratic formula in MathType in Word... Does it work for you?

It's really too bad about Duxbury. Do you have any experience with RoboBraille? https://www.robobraille.org/ Maybe this is a program/service that we can use to convert the final product to braille? Maybe we could send them a test document to see if it translates correctly?

Jenn
steve.murgaski wrote:
Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:20 pm
Thank you for such thoughtful replies. I've gotten everything installed and was able to open the equation you emailed me, but I'm not sure if I'm getting it translated properly. What I'm seeing looks a bit like the quadratic formula, but with a bunch of other symbols in it too. Could you send me just the quadratic formula? (negative b plus or minus the square root of (b squared minus 4ac) all over 2a)

I do see that saving a file isn't allowed in the demo version of Duxbury, which is disappointing. The demo is a lot more limited than I'd assumed it would be. I'm trying to think of a free alternative to Duxbury but I have only a few long-shot ideas left.
jennlortie
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:35 pm
Contact:

Re: Steve: producing Understanding Physics

Post by
ka.li
»
Sun Mar 11, 2018 3:53 pm
Hi Jenn and Steve,
Formatting a physics textbook doesn't sound easy so hats off to both of you.

If you're looking for an alternative to Duxbury, you may wish to take a look at WinBraille. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles that Duxbury has but maybe it will help with saving.

Also, something to look at for producing textbooks in braille may be Braille Blast from American Printing House for the blind. It's free and allows quick translation of a textbook into properly formatted braille. Then the student can read it on their braille notetaker or have it be embossed.

As for doing OCR on equations, I agree that someone will have to check them for accuracy but a good program to do this in Infty Reader. It is specifically designed to do OCR on math.

Best,
Ka
ka.li
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Re: Steve: producing Understanding Physics

Post by
jennlortie
»
Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:50 am
Hi Ka,

Thank you so much for these suggestions! We will be sure to check them out as Duxbury does not seem to be a viable option at this stage.

Also very interested in the Infty OCR as it would be a lot quicker just to check equations than to rewrite them all!

Thanks a lot,
Jenn
jennlortie
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Re: Steve: producing Understanding Physics

Post by
steve.murgaski
»
Mon Mar 12, 2018 4:20 pm
Thanks very much Ka Li. I've been doing some googling and I'm excited about the BrailleBlaster program you mentioned, from American Printing House for the Blind. It seems to support nemeth, EPub, MathML, and also be free. So this could be a much better option for us.

WinBraille doesn't support nemeth, as far as I can tell. I'll check into the math OCR thing you mentioned too. :)

Jenn, thanks for the quadratic formula in a Word file. It still isn't displaying in nice Nemeth for me when I open it with Duxbury, but perhaps we'll give up on that program anyway. :) I'm going for the download of Braille Blaster, at http://brailleblaster.org/download.php I'll see what it can do with our files.
steve.murgaski
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Re: Steve: producing Understanding Physics

Post by
jennlortie
»
Thu Mar 15, 2018 1:44 pm
Hi Steve,
Awesome! Let me know how it goes!
Jenn
steve.murgaski wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 4:20 pm
Thanks very much Ka Li. I've been doing some googling and I'm excited about the BrailleBlaster program you mentioned, from American Printing House for the Blind. It seems to support nemeth, EPub, MathML, and also be free. So this could be a much better option for us.

WinBraille doesn't support nemeth, as far as I can tell. I'll check into the math OCR thing you mentioned too. :)

Jenn, thanks for the quadratic formula in a Word file. It still isn't displaying in nice Nemeth for me when I open it with Duxbury, but perhaps we'll give up on that program anyway. :) I'm going for the download of Braille Blaster, at http://brailleblaster.org/download.php I'll see what it can do with our files.
jennlortie
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Joined: Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:35 pm
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Re: Steve: producing Understanding Physics

Post by
steve.murgaski
»
Fri Mar 23, 2018 8:08 am
Last week I attempted to open our epub file with Braille Blaster, and ran into some difficulties. Although the American Printing House for the Blind says in their description of the software that it supports epub, the Braille Blaster's manual doesn't mention support for it. So I phoned APH, and was given an address for an email list for support questions about Braille Blaster. I joined the list and posted my question about epub support, but so far haven't received any responses.

At Ka's suggestion I called them again yesterday and left a message for Larry Scucon. I'm hoping Larry will be able to give us good advice on how to proceed. I also spoke with Peter Krautzberger about our project, at the EBook Craft conference. He agreed to put me in touch with someone who may have more ideas for us on accessible physics textbook production. I'm following up with Peter about that.

Luckily I don't think we had any illusions that this project would be easy, so at least we don't have to feel disillusioned. ;)
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