DAISY Music Braille Collaboration – latest news

Photo of sheet music

DAISY Music Braille Collaboration – latest news

Our Second Round Table was held in London on 31 October, to further discuss and plan the future direction of standards and tools for the production and sharing of music braille files, following on from the first Round Table Meeting (Leipzig, June).  Our primary focus is to secure the production of future paper music braille by agencies and in education.

Arne Kyrkjebø and Sarah Morley Wilkins chaired the meeting, to review progress on work areas identified after the Leipzig meeting, and to plan for longer-term initiatives.

This lively meeting of around 40 in the room with 12 online represented many of the major blindness agencies doing music braille production, as well as educators and some of the developers of the conversion tools. Experts came from Australia, Canada, China, Europe, India, Korea, New Zealand and USA.

Photo of participants in the room at the London Round Table Meeting

Work is underway around the table to improve music braille production in a range of ways, and we heard progress updates about:

  • Tests of music braille conversion tools (BrailleMuse, GoodFEEL, Hodder) with different music files, which has generated a list of fixes sent to developers, to try to improve the tools immediately.
  • DZB’s Hodder tool from DZB is being trialled at Dedicon with a range of music files, and both agencies will decide in 2019 what opportunities there are for their ongoing relationship, and perhaps for others too.
  • Influencing the successor file format to MusicXML, MNX, by submitting our requirements for music mark-up to the W3C.
  • Drafting an approach to publishers to make it easier for trusted intermediaries to obtain suitable master files, ideally without fee or contract.
  • Sharing metadata tags for online collections of music braille files (Bookshare, ABC Global Library Service, and NLS), to ensure easy file-sharing and retrieval.
  • Developing a more defined MusicXML specification suitable for faster and more accurate and reliable conversion into music braille, with guidance for mark-up specialists.
  • Preparing a requirements document to share with developers defining our major requirements for a future sustainable, accurate and reliable tool (or tools). A process for collective agreement and financial contributions will need to be in place if funds are required for major development.

Our next Round Table Meeting will be in Geneva 28-29 May 2019, where we anticipate having a focus on the tool specification and technical development plans, and MusicXML specification guidance.

For more information please email us at musicbraille [at] daisy [dot] org to be added to the circulation list.

All project reports, documents, meeting notes and presentations are on the Music Braille Project Page.