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Collection Management@Emory Libraries

Forms, Data, Policies, and Best Practices

Accessibility for Sight-Impaired Patrons

General Notes

  • Subject Librarians and the Reserves Team will work closely with the student and faculty member to create a shared document (e.g., Google doc) to be shared between the instructor, student, Course Reserves, and the SL. Preferably, the SL should be designated as a proxy for the course, both in Canvas and Course Reserves. The SL and Reserves should annotate the reading list for accessible texts.
  • Course instructors should submit requests through Course Reserves with a note regarding accessibility so that supplemental processing can take place to ensure accessible texts.

We would like to provide a few tips on how to provide access to academic and popular monographs to sight-impaired patrons. 

These recommendations are also on the Woodruff Collection Management libguide

Are there recommend versions for e-books for purchase or that Emory Libraries already own? 

Most, but not all, ebooks held by the Emory Libraries accessible will have both PDF and HTML options for reading and meet accessibility requirements for screen-reading (e.g., EBSCO, JSTOR), The HTML options are better for screen readers, although most new PDFs are now JAWS accessible, and are tagged for readers. EPubs are also good possibilities. However, for EBSCO and PQ titles it is best to also have a backup copy from the publisher. Ideally, a non-DRM copy is preferable. 

What if the e-version is old and/or does not meet accessibility requirements? 

We can re-scan locally if the library owns a print copy and utilize Adobe Acrobat Pro to create a more accessible copy. Another option is to reach out to the publisher for a custom scan.  

What if the Library does not hold an e-version? 

  • Publisher Aggregator Option. We can try for accessible copies via aggregate sources such as Internet Archive, Bibliovault or Bookshare 
  • Internet Archive. Please contact the Head of Collections, which can make the request as a super-administrator. 

  • Publisher Direct. We may also be able to acquire direct from the publisher or vendor (e.g., see this page from JSTOR and the University of British Columbia Press). Note that these requests require some lead time. 

  • Hathitrust. Another option is to acquire a copy through HathiTrust's accessibility service, of which Emory is a member. 

  • CIDI Center for Inclusive Design and Innovation). Emory Department of Accessibility Services (DAS) has a membership. It is particularly useful for textbooks. A few weeks lead time is necessary. To access this service, the student or patron needs to be registered with DAS.

If a text is retrieved from any of these sources, it must only be shared with the patron. 

Are audio versions available of texts? 

Overdrive may be an option for some texts but are limited to only one user. Please make a request through Chris Palazzolo. Some aggregators do allow for audio options for e-books (see ProQuest and EBSCO). Also, Internet Archive does provide an option for audio versions of texts in their Open Library. Note that for the latter, titles may already be in use, so may not be a reliable long-term source. HathiTrust may also be an option--see above.