- Some students with a print disability (i.e., students who cannot read, see, or manipulate print on paper) may require textbooks in a format alternate to print (e.g. Braille, MP3, PDF, Word)
- Where possible use of a text which previously exists in alternate format (alternate to print) is a sound practice in universal design.
- A print text can be converted into many formats, including, but not limited, Braille, PDF, Kurzweil, MP3 and Large Print.
- An electronic version (e.g. text PDF) may be accessible for some, but cannot be considered a universal format accessible to all.
- Alternate text formats for any individual student is based upon individual student needs, nature of disability, and subject matter of a particular course.
- Electronic versions (e.g. text document PDF, etc.) can more easily be converted to other formats (e.g. Large Print, Braille, and Kurzweil) making selection of an electronic text copy preferred.
- Regardless of format of original text, any work to convert a textbook to another format can take a significant amount of time and human intervention (e.g. math or physics to Braille).
- Early decision of textbook titles is strongly recommended at all times and in particular where it is known that an alternate version is required.
Sourcing Alternate Format Texts
- You can search AERO to see if there are textbooks that are in an alternate format.
- You can also search ATN, this database only shows the list of publishers; the publishers listed will have their books in the ATN database.
- LibriVox: Contains free public domain audiobooks.
- Project Gutenberg: Contains free ebooks.
- Alex: A catalogue of Electronic Texts
McMaster Library Accessibility Services (LAS)
- The student will arrange for alternate format texts through Library Accessibility Services.
- Receiving text in alternate formats can take a significant amount of time (e.g. Braille can take up to three months or more to produce).
- It is important that you provide textbook lists as early in the summer as possible to allow sufficient time for the conversion process.
- For any questions related to accessing an alternate format of a textbook, contact Library Accessibility Services.
Last Updated: October 31 2019