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December 4, 2001

Scores and Books About Music Now Available on Web-Braille

Music scores and books about music have been added to Web-Braille, a program of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) in the Library of Congress that makes books and other materials available online in braille. More than 250 music items are now available with more material to be added as it is produced.

"The addition of music materials has broadened accessibility beyond current NLS books and magazines," said Judith Dixon, NLS consumer relations officer, who created the Web-Braille concept.

The specialized digital holdings contain items not available from any other source, including many braille music scores. Some examples are J.S. Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier, Books 1 and 2, for harpsichord/piano (NLS book number BRM 00039 and BRM 00040); Charles Marie Widor's Symphony No. 5, Op. 42, for organ (BRM 03725); and Johannes Brahms's Motet from Psalm LI, Op. 29, No. 2, for chorus (BRM 05218). Braille books and magazines about music include issues of Musical Mainstream, a quarterly publication of the NLS Music Section that provides a selection of articles from various prominent music periodicals.

Inaugurated on Aug. 24, 1999, Web-Braille became a milestone in the history of library service for blind individuals by providing eligible readers with a direct channel to thousands of electronic braille files. The free Internet braille program has more than 1,600 registered users. Nearly 3,890 digital braille book files, 25 national magazines, and five national sports schedules are now available.

Web-Braille users, including individuals, schools, and libraries, access digital books and magazines through Internet connections and braille output devices, such as braille embossers or refreshable braille displays. NLS has linked its International Union Catalog for braille and audio materials to Web-Braille. As a result, Web-Braille books and magazines and music may now be accessed directly from the catalog by using author, title, subject, language, keyword, and other search parameters.

The NLS Web-Braille program is one of two major digital efforts spearheaded by NLS. The second is the effort to develop digital talking books to replace outmoded analog equipment such as cassette players. Digital technology offers many advantages such as improved sound quality and navigational features that will allow users to skip paragraphs and jump chapters.

During the past 70 years, NLS has developed an inventory of more than 23 million books and magazines that are distributed to a readership of more than 759,000 blind, visually impaired, and physically handicapped individuals through a network of 138 regional and subregional libraries.

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PR 01-179
12/04/01
ISSN 0731-3527

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