Reply To: Orthographic graphics with side labels in print

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Donald Winiecki


We want to be cautious and indicate that our response was specific to the examples we reviewed. Since we do not have the entire textbook, we can only advise on the specific graphics in question. Each instance should be reviewed and formatted according the context. Consistency throughout a transcription should always be a priority because that allows the readers to focus more on the content than the way the content is expressed.

GSTG 3.3 discusses the use of a planning sheet and recommends documenting the planning process. Listing the content, texture, symbols and labels helps track pertinent information and provide consistency in graphics presented throughout the transcription. As far as going back through the whole book, that would be up to the transcriber and tactile artist.

Drawing from the substantial experience with TGs and transcription on this Skills Group committee, we can elaborate on this to say that when it comes to tactile graphics, 3D shapes have always been one of the most challenging types of figures to render.

There have been many different innovations for rendering different kinds of images in tactile forms.

Among these innovations, a few stand out:

  1. Using a texture to identify a particular side in isometric and oblique drawing of 3D shapes. This first started being used about 15-20 years ago, and was typically used to identify the top, not front, of an object.
  2. Use of engraving lines for edges that are going inward or receding in a figure, and use the embossed lines for edges that are going outward or "coming out of" the page.

However, these are only attempts to use tactile features to communicate the shape of an object. None has proven to be universally helpful for all tactile readers. That said, we could expect that a reader who has been taught to understand these methods would benefit when receiving materials using the same tactile techniques consistently in the future. However, the opinions and feedback of proofreaders may not always provide the best benefit for all (and especially new) tactile readers.

Our best service to tactile readers is to consistently apply guidelines as shown in GSTG and related references. That way, we can be assured to provide content in a form that will likely be encountered in the future, even if materials are produced by someone else.