Accessibility and Alternative Format

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Accessible Reading materials
for blind and visually impaired students

Scanning Service for VLE (scanned items CLA)

The University Scanning Service can digitise items (e.g. chapters of books, journal articles) for teaching purposes, if the item is not already available in electronic format and if the request conforms to the CLA licence conditions.

The Scanning Service can also offer advice on the legal sourcing/acquisition of digital items that are not available through the Library funded resources and do not meet the conditions of the CLA licence. (See also Digital Library Support and Virtual Learning )

Scanning Service for visually impaired and blind students (CVIP items)

The Scanning Service can be used by academic departments to provide all required reading as accessible texts for disabled students. This service supports students who have a visual impairment; are blind; have a mobility impairment which makes carrying books or page turning difficult; and other students with specific requirements as referred by the Disability Service.

This service requires the collaboration of the Disability Service, academic departments, the library and the student.

The Disability Service has the following related responsibilities, to:

  • invite students to meet with an adviser for an assessment of their requirements;
  • inform academic departments of student requirements via the Disabled Students Adjustment system hosted on Pegasus;
  • support students in developing the necessary skills to make use of technology to access their courseware;
  • train and manage the adaptation and proofreading team;

Where a student requires to use the Scanning Service, the Disability Service sends an Alert email to the Library ( and to departmental disability contacts (DDCs) and adviser of studies of the student, advising them that the student has been added to the Scanning Service and advising of the actions required see: alert email.

A Summary of the Copyright for Visually Impaired Persons Act (CVIP) is available within the RNIB Guide to CVIP.

Academic Departments are required to provide the reading lists for the students’ classes

It is important that teaching staff proactively identify their required reading as far in advance of the start of semester as possible, in order that these reading lists can be made available when required in advance as a reasonable adjustment or when requested by the Scanning Service.

The Scanning Service adjustment states that requests should be submitted 10 weeks in advance. It is acknowledged that this is not always possible particularly in semester one when the student may have been added to the Scanning Service just before the start of term, or may have only just chosen their classes. In such cases please submit reading lists (requests) as soon as possible. This is eased by having reading lists available as standard in order that the delay between request for reading list and receipt of reading list is minimised.

Ensure that all Scanning Service requests are accompanied by "required by" dates. Such dates should be chapter specific where a large volume of material is requested.


The Library ( receive the alert email at same time as academic department and so are primed that a new student has been added and therefore they can anticipate provision of reading lists for the student's classes from the academic department.

Library Request Service process the departmental requests

  • Requests are prioritised in relation to the "required by" dates.
  • Publishers are contacted for an accessible copy and where this is not provided the university e-catalogue is used; where an e-copy is not available then scanning would be required. Where an e-copy is available it may require adaptation to make it accessible for the student.

Scanning Service process the materials received from the library.

  • Textbooks are scanned under the Copyright for Visually Impaired Persons Act (CVIP) licence and delivered as individual chapters files.
  • The scanned chapters are made available to the Disability Service for proofreading and adaptation.
  • Proofreading and Adaptation team prioritise received materials based on the "Required by" dates and work to deliver to the student in advance of this date.

Proofreading and Adaptation

Proofreading and Adaptation of a chapter takes typically four times longer than scanning the same chapter and can take even longer depending on the content.

  • Meaningful "required by" dates are essential for the team manager to schedule the workload and ensure that the student has their reading material at the start of the academic week in which they will require it.
  • Materials are pre-released to students following automated batch processing
  • Pre-released materials undergo light-touch proofreading and are released as readable texts typically PDFs which support REFLOW and text-to-speech.
  • Accessible texts require a higher degree of proofreading and can involve adaptation.

Related Recommended Reasonable Adjustments

Disabled students adjustment reports are held on the Disabled Students Requirements system hosted on Pegasus, searchable by class code or student registration number. Below is a list of all current reasonable adjustments related to print impaired students reading requirements.

The recommendations and proposed arrangements below are made following discussion between a Disability Adviser and student. Departments or members of staff considering alternative reasonable adjustments which will ensure that the student is not substantially disadvantaged are asked to discuss these, in advance, with the student and the Disability Service.

  • Academic for each class should liaise with the library ( to ensure that all required reading from their reading list can be digitised in a timely manner. Typically this involves making request 10 weeks in advance for full reading list, and shorter periods may be acceptable for additional reading which is not part of the main reading list;
  • Provide reading lists prior to the start of each semester or module. These should define core and additional texts, and indicate the most relevant chapters;
  • Assist student to acquire digitised versions of reading materials, in liaison with the library;
  • Provide all textual materials, including copies of overheads (with regard to student's print requirements);
  • Provide in advance for all forms of teaching session, an outline of content, any written instructions, and copies of OHPs and handout materials;
  • Provide ad hoc handwritten materials (e.g. tutorial solutions) in printed or digital format;
  • All written materials to be provided should be provided on disk or in digital format;
  • All online and electronic materials should be accessible;
  • Provide full verbal commentary of visual demonstrations - this may necessitate a separate 1:1 session;
  • Ensure that all teaching staff, including visiting staff and postgraduate tutors, are aware of the student's needs;
  • Provide following year's options in advance/at end of current year;
  • Provide assignment titles at the start of each semester/module;