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Copy of Playboy in Braille Online

By Samantha Abernethy in News on Aug 18, 2011 3:20PM

A 1992 issue of Playboy Magazine has been scanned and uploaded to the internet by Internet Archives, a nonprofit working to create a complete internet library.

No, there aren't any pictures to feel.

Yes, it's safe for work.

No, you can't feel the Braille through your computer screen.

Why does it exist? One of the archivists wrote on the site's blog about the process of creating digital archives. If you think this was a waste of time, it took five minutes to create this scan.

Jason Scott, adjunct archivist, writes:

Now, I will be the very first to admit - the result is pretty silly. You’ve got something that needs to be read by touching it, which can’t be touched, and the two-sided indentations on the paper means it all looks pretty darn strange. So on one hand, it all can seem pretty useless.

In the mid-1980s the publication of Braille versions of Playboy spurred a bit of a controversy amongst legislators who found it to be an indecent use of tax-dollars. That led to a lawsuit, which decided it was a violation of First Amendment rights to stop publication. From an Aug. 29, 1986 New York Times article:

Until last December, Playboy had been published monthly in Braille since 1970 under the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. None of the other 35 magazines published in Braille was dropped. Playboy was the library's sixth most popular publication, Mr. Miller (Oral O. Miller, executive director of the American Council of the Blind) said.

What you see at right is the cover, which is then followed by 96 brown pages. They look plain, but if you look closely, you can see the bumps of Braille. This is one of four volumes created to reproduce a single issue of Playboy Magazine in Braille. Scott writes:

Well, we find out that this sort of thing exists at all, and why, and what it looks like, and how Braille can be printed on both sides, and that it would take four copies to produce the text of a single issue… and that apparently, there’s no centerfold.