Answered By: Sarah Johnson
Last Updated: Dec 10, 2016     Views: 24

The library has resources both in the library and online for people with low vision or blindness.

Resources in the Library

The library has a magnifying machine for enlarging text of print materials that people can use in the library.

We also work with Disability Support Services to provide accommodations.

Resources Online

We do our best to subscribe to electronic resources that are accessible for screen readers.

For example, our Research Guides are compliant with accessibility standards, and they're from the same provider we use for our library FAQs.

Most, but unfortunately not all, of our databases are also compliant with accessibility standards. All of our databases are listed in the A-Z Databases list. Most of these databases have pages that are compliant with screen readers, and a few of them provide audio versions of articles.

Here's some more information about some of the main database providers. Some of them have issues that librarians have been talking to these providers about and have requested improvement.

  • We know from testing that the EBSCO interface is not as friendly for screen readers, unfortunately. It takes longer to find the specific sections because of the way the menus are set up.
  • We also know that not all of the PDFs from the JSTOR database have been correctly formatted for accessibility standards.
  • ProQuest recently updated their interface, and I believe the new interface should be more compliant, but I haven't seen any studies on the new interface to know for sure.
  • Search@CULibraries is our primary search system. This system uses iframes to provide information about content. There are links with each source that open the iframe. To my knowledge, these links should also be compliant with accessibility standards.

Of course, there are a variety of software options available for people to use. At a recent workshop, an accessibility consultant spoke with a group of librarians about ways of enhancing our services for people with low vision or blindness. He explained that with modern technology, a major goal for librarians is to provide accessible content -- more than separate software packages. Support Services will usually have access to software.

Also, the consultant demonstrated the use of screen readers that come with operating systems (Narrator for Microsoft -- Windows 7 & 8 and Windows 10 -- and VoiceOver for Apple). And he showed us how VoiceOver worked with his iPhone. So, when we're testing our systems, those are the screen readers that we usually use for testing. If you use a screen reader, and it's a different one, please let us know if you encounter any issues.

We hope this information is helpful! If you have questions, please let us know.

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