Greater demand from customer organisations and service users led to the development of a new, enlarged Media Centre which opened in Finglas, Dublin 11 in December 2005.
The Media Centre converts printed information into formats accessible to people who are blind or vision impaired for a range of voluntary, public and private clients.
It provides 6 specific services:
- Braille Transcription
- Audio Recording
- Clear Print Advisory Service and Mark
- Braille Training for the Pharmaceutical Sector
- Braille Advisory and Proof Reading Service
1. Braille Transcription
The Media Centre's Braille production team uses a range of technologies including a software programme called Duxbury for the conversion of documents to Braille. Our expert team carefully edits and proof-reads all Braille documents to the highest standard. To give your Braille document the highest professional finish, we also offer a variety of document binding types.
We Braille Greeting Cards Too!
NCBI Library and Media Centre can Braille your greeting cards for you. If you have a friend, family member or relative who is a braille reader, why not send them a greeting on their [birthday, wedding, anniversary etc] card in Braille. Just email us the text of the greeting you want to send to email@example.com  or call us on Tel: 01 8642266 and we will braille it for you. You can then insert the Braille message in the card.
Find out more about Braille
Download our All about Braille  leaflet.
2. Audio Recording
Using our suite of 5 recording studios the Media Centre can record a wide range of hard and softcopy documents onto audio files in audio-cassette, CD or WMA formats by our sound engineers.
All documents are narrated by professional readers in our studios, then edited and proofed for conversion. The Media Centre's digital sound recording techniques and our exacting quality-control processes ensure you receive the highest standard audio product.
Documents the Media Centre has previously converted into Braille and audio include:
- Annual company reports
- Customer Care plans
- National census forms
- Fiction and non-fiction books
- Banking guidelines
- Code of ethics, equality and human resource policy
- Health guidelines booklets
- In-house communications and newsletters
3. Clear Print Advisory Service and Mark
There are more 17,000 people who are blind or vision impaired currently known to NCBI. Of this figure, 95 per cent have some useful vision.
Problems with Reading
Someone experiencing sight loss may have blurred vision, colours can become dulled and it may be difficult to see small details. The person may also have difficulty scanning text and may be able to see only a small part of an image or text at a time.
Clear Print Can Help
Clear Print is a design approach for written information which makes the print easier to read for everyone including people with low vision.
NCBI Media Centre Clear Print advisory service and Mark aims to assist voluntary, public and private clients to make their printed information more accessible using clear print design.
The aim of the Clear Print Mark  is to acknowledge organisations that use clear print design in their printed information. To achieve this Mark, organisations can submit documents, forms, posters and any other printed information to NCBI’s Media Centre, who will advise on its accessibility in terms of clear print principles and recommend changes which will make it easier to read.
Organisations who comply will be awarded the Clear Print Mark which can be placed on a publication.
Read our Make It Clear Guidelines  which also explains what clear print is, guidelines on clear print design and a clear print checklist.
4. Braille Training for the Pharmaceutical Sector
Irish legislation requires Braille packaging to be included on pharmaceutical products. To assist with this, the NCBI Media Centre provides a certified Braille (grade 1) one day training course specifically designed for the pharmaceutical sector and associated industries.
On completion of the Braille course, each trainee will receive NCBI certification in grade 1 Braille, which the Irish Medicines Board have indicated will satisfy their qualification requirement for staff engaged process in checking grade 1 Braille, which has previously been verified by Braille experts, as part of a full Quality Control System.
Parties that would benefit from NCBI’s Braille training include:
- Pharmaceutical Marketing, Regulatory and Q/A departments
- Tooling manufacturers
- Carton producers
- Artwork and origination producers
- Labelling suppliers and
5. Braille Advisory and Proof Reading Service
Braille is a system of reading and writing. Braille is read by touch. It was invented by Louis Braille in France. Braille letters are made of raised dots. The Braille cell is made up of six dots, like the dots on a domino. Different dots are raised to represent different letters or numbers.
The dimensions of the Braille cell are standardized and cannot be altered. Marburg Medium Braille standards specify the exact spacing of the dots within the cell, the spacing between each Braille cell and the height of the dots. If the dimensions of the cell do not comply with these specifications, a Braille reader will not be able to read the Braille dots by touch.
If you are a sign designer, an architects, a sculptor, an artist, a student, a researcher or someone who is just interested in finding out more about Braille, NCBI Media Centre are happy to advise you about the specifications of the Braille cell. It’s important to get it right.
6. Audio Description
Audio description is the name given to a narrative track that assists people who are blind or vision impaired when watching a television programme, a movie, or a visual arts performance. Audio description enriches the enjoyment of the plot or content of visual passages or moments in a programme, performance or film by a person who is blind or vision impaired.
An Example of Audio Description
Here is a 3 minute example of what audio description is like. This example was made by our Media Centre for "About the House" - a building, architectural and renovation series presented by Duncan Stewart, with co-presenter Angie O'Brien and produced by Earth Horizon Productions. "About the House" is on weekly on RTÉ 1.
Listen to a sample of audio description:
Why Braille, audio, clear print and audio-description formats?
1. It's the law
Irish legislation now obliges organisations to provide accessible documents and media to people who are blind or vision impaired.
Part 3 of the Disability Act 2005 imposes significant obligations on Government departments and public bodies to make their information accessible to people who are blind or vision impaired.
According to the 2005 Disabilities Act, "where a public body communicates with one or more persons, the head of the body shall ensure if the communication is a written one and the person has a visual impairment and so requests, that, as far as practicable, the contents of the communication are communicated in a form that is accessible to the person concerned."
It is not only public organisations that have obligations to prevent discrimination against people with disabilities. Equality legislation also covers private organisations, within the Equal Status Acts 2000.
2. Reach your customers and service users
Organisations increasingly understand the importance of reaching a larger public base by the provision of information in accessible formats. Advertising in accessible formats is also becoming an increasingly important marketing practice as the provision of information in accessible formats increases the potential customer base for products and services. It also complies with good corporate and social responsibility practice.
3. Improve your image
As corporate responsibility and social inclusion become more important, voluntary, public and private organisations now understand the PR benefits of providing, and being seen to provide, greater access to facilities and information for customers who are blind or vision impaired.