PART 1  Math and Lambda: the experience of blind students and their teachers
(by Cristian Bernareggi)
The LAMBDA system is a software application designed to facilitate blind students in making mathematics at school. The main features of the system include:

a 8dot Braille code that blind that extends the national 6dot Braille codes. This code was designed to be easy to learn and read;

an interaction paradigm, based on the linearization of the mathematical notation, designed to navigate and process mathematical expressions through speech synthesizer and/or Braille display;

graphical rendering of the mathematical expressions. This feature aims to support communication between blind students and sighted people (e.g. schoolmates, teachers, assistants, etc.).

printing of the document including text and mathematical expressions.
In recent years the system has been adopted by many Italian schools (primary schools, secondary schools and by some students at university).
This speech examines how the LAMBDA system is used by blind students in primary schools, secondary schools and early years of university. The analysis concerns the use of LAMBDA both by students and teachers.
PART 2  MaxTract: for converting PDF Scientific Document into more accessible formats
(by Josef Baker)
Since the mid 1990s, Adobe's PDF format has become widely accepted as a quasistandard for document presentation and exchange, and together with the exponential growth of the internet, users can now access huge numbers of such documents. Whilst information is usually easily attainable through search engines such as Google, or specialised services like IEEE Xplore, mathematical documents in particular are far from accessible.
Due to the lack of a widely used internal standard, mathematics within PDF files is essentially stored as a series of unstructured symbols and images. This makes indexing of mathematics extremely difficult and also makes it incompatible with common tools such as screen readers and copy and paste. Whilst this is only an annoyance for many users, for those with a visual impairment it can result in a completely inaccessible document.
Many attempts have been made to overcome the problem of inaccessible scientific material, however, the majority of approaches are based upon standard text recognition and generally perform poorly over mathematical content. Furthermore, when used over natively digital files such as PDF, traditional techniques ignore and lose important embedded information.
In this talk I will present Maxtract, an alternative to the traditional OCR based approach for mathematical document analysis. Maxtract directly extracts data from PDF files, producing precise character information for all symbols on a page, including those representing mathematics. This information is used in conjunction with segmentation and layout analysis techniques, together with a novel grammar we have developed for parsing mathematical formulae, allowing the full analysis of mathematical documents. It produces an intermediate parse tree representing the page which, with suitable drivers can be converted to a variety of formats.
Drivers currently exist for for LaTeX, plain text, Presentation MathML and annotated PDF.
Finally, I will present an evaluation of Maxtract and plans for future work.
PART 3  FBK for inclusion: Portal for teaching mathematic to blind students
(by Giuseppe Nicotra)
This speech introduces the portal learninglambda.veia.it. This portal aims at collecting and disseminating resources about the LAMBDA system. There are many resources for those who approach LAMBDA for the first time, there are examples on the main branches of mathematics (algebra, calculus, etc.), solution strategies, advice on how to write, use, and troubleshoot various types of operations, expressions and problems in an effective way and making full use of the many features of the program. This collection of resources has been realized thanks to the help of Spanish Prof. José Enrique Fernández del Campo and Prof. Luciana Formenti and the support of the Fondazione Bruno Kessler of Trento in Italy.
PART 4  MUS4VIP: a new music didactical methodology, capable of exploiting the new software, in a context of integrated education
(by Giovanni Bertoni)
Music literacy, although of crucial importance for the general development of the blind person, is suffering a dramatic decay, owing to several factors, such as lack of trained teachers, high production costs of Braille music scores, demotivation deriving from traditional format of Braille scores, which are cryptic and not selfevident, as it is the case of normal scores. The proposed solution, based on a new XML format and related software, removes two main negative factors, firstly, transforming the digital Braille score into a friendly environment, with stable, clear and customizable reference points, and, secondly, opening new perspectives in the domain of bidirectional communication between blind and sighted peer, at all levels: scores, class communication, digital communication, in view of new perspective in elearning and job opportunities.