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To:Speakup is a screen review system for Linux. From:Justin Harford Subject:Re: technical diagram description system query Date:Mon, 7 May 2012 13:58:26 -0700

Actually, I had on my math textbooks transcribed into law tech, and it worked great. Especially because it was much easier to find people to transcribe for me.

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On May 7, 2012, at 12:52 PM, Michael Whapples <> wrote:

> Hello Kirk and others who are interested,
> There are some who highly promote LaTeX for writing and reading technical documents. I certainly say for those serious on using technical notation and will make plenty of use then learning LaTeX can be a good investment, however I would never promote it for reading (it really is a document preparation tool) and also for many who may only encounter technical notation from time to time it really isn't worth the investment (if learning it for the technical notation is the only reason, I know some like using it for about everything in which case you will be making great use of it).
> Another mark up system, I think meant to be easier to learn but I am unsure whether so powerful is the asciimath notation (sorry I don't have a link to hand but I am sure a quick search will find relevant stuff). Asciimath is mainly used on the web but is therefore suitable for all platforms.
> Other more specialised systems exist like triangle and lambda, but I think these may be a bit limited and the editors which were designed for them were only developed for windows (not good for people here as its a linux list).
> A new system which John Gardner of ViewPlus is creating, and which I have been involved with when he was thinking of it is called Linear Editing and Authoring Notation (LEAN). A preprint of a paper by John Gardner on the LEAN system can be found at and I personally feel the system is a good way forward. LEAN is unicode based so should be simple enough for applications to work with. While at the moment work has mainly been focussed on Windows screen readers, I could imagine it working fine with others like Orca if someone made a suitable symbol dictionary. I have been working on a greasemonkey userscript so that one could read MathML equations in firefox using the LEAN system, that userscript can be found at but I must worn people its still work in progress.
> Finally there are other useful documents on the website.
> Hope some of this has been useful.
> Michael Whapples
> On 04/05/2012 14:20, Kirk Reiser wrote:
>> Hello everybody: I am slowly over time posting this request to all the
>> mailing lists I know and think might be related to the topic. I am
>> hoping to gather enough interest that we can develop standardize
>> systems and get some implementation.
>> One of the irritations I have whenever I'm reading something technical
>> in text is the lack of useful representation of scientific or
>> technical notation. It happens in every book and document in every
>> format from ASCII text to HTML and even in documents such as MS Word.
>> To a small extent we have some rough accessibility with basic
>> mathematical texts because most character sets offer some amount of
>> arithmetic related symbols and they are often necessary for
>> programming and/or scientific calculations. Even then representing
>> calculus or other higher mathematical concepts are not well worked out
>> and certainly not standardized in any way. What there is currently is
>> a mixed bag of .tex mark-up or text representation of Nemith code
>> symbols.
>> I would like to attempt to find standardized or common textual systems
>> and pull them together in one place as a resource for other people
>> writing new materials or editing previously available documents to
>> easily use. if there are no predefined systems, I would like to try
>> to build systems for each of the technical and scientific disciplines
>> for future writers and editors to use. I would also like to put
>> together a group of volunteers to edit at least one text in each
>> discipline so visually impaired students and readers can get past this
>> frustrating situation. We would make the books and papers available
>> through the bookserve project or other facilities if any are
>> interested in participating.
>> Some of the disciplines which I believe need systems found or
>> developed include: physics, chemistry, electronics, mathematics and
>> any others people feel should be considered.
>> If any of you know of any representational systems for any technical
>> or scientific disciplines please write or contact me in someway to let
>> me know about them.
>> If anyone is interested in being involved in gathering and developing
>> symbolic systems or discussing them also please contact me.
>> If you or someone you know might be interested in helping edit books
>> and papers using these symbolic systems, once again please contact me.
>> Depending on how much response I receive will determine what type of
>> on going communication I put together. If you have suggestions for
>> that I'd like to hear them as well.
>> I can be contacted at or on the #speakup channel on
>> Kirk Reiser
>> --
>> Kirk Reiser The Computer Braille Facility
>> e-mail: University of Western Ontario
>> phone: (519) 661-3061
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