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International Council on English Braille (ICEB)

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Braille, a system of raised dots, is the primary literacy medium for people who are blind, deafblind, or have severe low vision. The International Council on English Braille (ICEB) coordinates and promotes the use of braille throughout the english-speaking world.


ICEB 7th General Assembly - POSTPONEMENT

The ICEB 7th General Assembly has been postponed and is now planned for the week of 19 to 23 October 2020 at the Academy London, Google's dedicated learning space. This decision was made due to public health concerns with the spread of COVID-19/Coronavirus and in response to international guest restrictions in place until the end of May.

The General Assembly serves as a time to get together and celebrate the importance of braille, as well as a formal setting for organisational operations. All business planned for the General Assembly will be delayed until October, including the appointment of a new Executive Committee for the next four year term. In the event that continued travel restrictions prevent the General Assembly from being held face-to-face in London in October, a virtual conference will instead be held at the same time.

Updated details will be made available at the General Assembly web page at www.ukaaf.org/iceb-7th-general-assembly-2020/. All existing registrations will be refunded and registrations for the new postponed event will need to be made. The Assembly will be live streamed for those unable to attend in person.

Thank you for your understanding and continued support. We very much hope that you can join us in October. Thanks also to UKAAF (UK Association for Accessible Formats) and RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) for hosting the event and to Google for the use of the Academy London.

Update to the rules for quotation marks and apostrophes

ICEB is pleased to announce the approval of new rules for quotation marks and the apostrophe. The rule is simplified, removing the concepts of “nonspecific” and “predominant” quotes; the importance of the apostrophe in braille is emphasized; there is an expanded section on avoiding ambiguity; and a section is added to give guidance for software developers. There are several new examples.

The new rules can be downloaded below:
Rules of UEB section 7.6 Quotation marks, apostrophe (PDF) - recommended for print readers
Rules of UEB section 7.6 Quotation marks, apostrophe (BRF) - recommended for use with a refreshable braille display
Rules of UEB section 7.6 Quotation marks, apostrophe (Word) - available for use with a screen reader

Update to the Guidelines for Technical Material

We are pleased to release the first section of the updated Guidelines for Technical Material, Section 3 "Signs of Operation and Comparison":
GTM 3. Signs of Operation and Comparison (PDF) - recommended for print readers
GTM 3. Signs of Operation and Comparison (BRF) - recommended for use with a refreshable braille display
GTM 3. Signs of Operation and Comparison (Word) - available for use with a screen reader

Further updates to Unified English Braille, as addendums to the Rules of Unified English Braille and the Guidelines for Technical Material, are now also available as downloadable files and on the UEB page. All of these updates are approved for immediate use.

ICEB newsletter

ICEB has launched a quarterly newsletter with up-to-date stories on ICEB activities, and braille news and events from around the world. The most recent issue was released in March 2020, with a special focus on braille in museums and galleries.

See the Braille Promotion page for further issues and a link to automatically receive the newsletter when it is released.

Survey on international use of UEB

ICEB is eager to know more about the use of UEB in non-member countries. If you can provide information, please complete our survey at www.surveymonkey.com/r/VKPXR7H or contact us at info@iceb.org.

Face-to-face meetings

The executive of the ICEB meets face-to-face once every two years, at the start and end of the General Assembly and at a two year interval between Assemblies.

The most recent meeting was a mid-term Executive meeting held in Dublin, Ireland from Tuesday 17th to Saturday 21st of April. Our thanks are extended to ChildVision and NCBI for hosting the event.

The 7th General Assembly of ICEB will be held in London from 11 to 15 May, 2020.

Braille Signage

The ICEB signage committee has completed its work. A summary of signage standards and practices in ICEB member countries is now available on our signage page.

Braille Music

ICEB's Braille Music Committee has compiled a list of resources on how Braille Music and UEB can be used together.

Survey on UEB representation of apostrophes and quotation marks

We have now closed our survey on UEB symbols used to represent apostrophes and quotation marks. Out thanks are extended to the 616 respondents and all those who distributed information about the survey to their networks.

More than half the respondents were from the United States and almost 20% were from the United Kingdom. There were ten responders from non-ICEB countries in Europe, Asia and Africa.

The two options that received the most votes were: Option 1, no change; and Option 3, using dot 3 for all single quotes and apostrophes, and lower "h" and lower "j" for double quotes. Less than 25% of the votes were for the other two options.

There was not a clear favourite between the two preferred options. For example, braille readers preferred option 3 somewhat more than option 1 while educators preferred option 1 somewhat more than option 3.

Detailed results have been sent to the braille authorities of ICEB's member countries and further input has been provided. The UEB Codes Maintenance Committee representatives are now discussing the implications of any changes to all rules relating to the apostrophe and quotation marks.

A statement of the issue, along with proposed approaches and examples, is given in the following document:

List of Training Resources Updated

ICEB has compiled a list of UEB training and resource materials available from its member countries. This list was last updated in February 2018.

Updated (2013) Edition of the UEB Rulebook Published

The UEB Rulebook was updated in June 2013. Since then, several amendments have been advised. See Unified English Braille (UEB) for details.

Purpose and General Organization of the ICEB

The purpose of the International Council on English Braille is to coordinate and improve standards for braille usage for all English-speaking users of braille. Refer to the ICEB Committee page for details of its organization, committees and representatives.

The members of the ICEB are the various countries where English is spoken, and membership is open to all such countries. The present membership consists the following eight countries:

The ICEB Constitution was adopted May 31, 1991, and revised May 7, 2012.

ICEB General Assembly Archives

The ICEB General Assembly meets every four years. The next General Assembly will be held in London in 2020, beginning on May 10. The Call for Papers is now open.

ICEB Codes

Further Information

For further information about the ICEB, see ICEB contact information.

See also the current ICEB Brochure for a more complete mission statement, information on activities and sources of funding, and other ways of contacting ICEB.

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ICEB contact information
Page content last updated: March 27, 2020.