Today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day! Here are a few thoughts on how the TLS have considered accessibility in our everyday library services.
All course readings digitised by the TLS are run through OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software to ensure they are accessible to those using screen readers.
Copyright regulations have changed over the years and our Copyright blog has been following these improvements.
Through ReadingLists@UCL we regularly link to e-books and electronic articles; these are subscribed resources provided by the library. Many have good searchability and portability, or features such as read-aloud; however DRM added by the publisher can render them less accessible. There has been some wonderful library-led research looking into just how accessible these platforms are. This project undertook an e-book audit in 2016 and its work is being continued by Aspire 2018.
Some initiatives encourage publishers to engage in making their platforms easier to access, such as ‘Praise a publisher – critique a publisher’ in which the library community gave comment and feedback on the publishers who were the most speedy and helpful in providing accessible copies of texts – and any who didn’t quite come up to the mark.
While we occasionally still email publishers to request an accessible copy of text on behalf of a student, more often their requirements are more immediately met with the RNIB Bookshare service. This has grown rapidly in recent years and now some publishers deposit accessible vesions automatically on pubication. Any UCL students who need access the RNIB Bookshare please register with UCL Disability Support who will enable your access. They will also be able to introduce you other relevant support, such as the SENIT suite of specialist IT equipemnt and software.
The UCL Library Disability support is also really welcoming: do ask them for key ways they can assist you or someone you know.
- For more information and inspiration, follow the Twitter hashtag #GAAD
- Want to participate? Raise your own awareness by going without your computer mouse for an hour, or using screen-reader software and turning off your screen. After this experience you might like to go back and make sure your webpages are accessible! Find more ideas on the Global Accessibility Awareness Day website.
- Try this training event on e-books and disabled readers. Aimed at publishers and aggregators it covers what to look for in accessibility statements.
- TLS mainly provides IT-based services however accessibility and inclusive design should touch all areas. Current Insta-crush is Sinéad Burke who, amongst other talents, is a charismatic advocate for inclusive design. Follow her to find out more!