Enhancing Accessibility in Post-Secondary Education Institutions

Alternate Formats Resources

In this section you will find resources and information on alternate formats and how they can be implemented to assist students with disabilities to be successful in PSE.

College/University Resources

  • The University of Calgary has alternate text format conversion resources available at the Disability Resource Centre. Printed material can be scanned and/or taped by students using the Reading Edge Scanner. Volunteer readers are available to convert text materials to tape format when required. Limited electronic text and Braille conversions are also available. http://www.ucalgary.ca/drc/node/80
  • At Ryerson University any student registered with the Access Centre and is diagnosed with a print disability can request their books in an alternative format. Students can have books and articles converted, usually with in 3-5 days or course textbooks which can take up to a month. Alternate format options include:
    • E-text or PDF
    • Books on Tape or CD
    • Braille
    • Large Print
    • DAISY CD
  • For more information see http://www.ryerson.ca/studentservices/accesscentre/services/formatmaterials/
  • McMaster University has a separate Library Service for Students with Disabilities (LSSD) which helps students with disabilities who are referred by The Centre for Student Development (CSD). LSSD services include:
    • Acquiring alternate format for required texts
    • Arranging retrieval of books
    • Assistance with photocopying
    • Booking study/consultation rooms with adaptive technology
    • Helping or referring students for research help
    • Assistance with library forms


    LSSD is also responsible for providing required texts and courseware in an alternate format. Available options include audio, electronic, braille or large print versions. There are also facilities where students can scan their own course material if needed. The library also directs students with print disabilities to free e-book sites. http://library.mcmaster.ca/lssd/alternate-formats

  • Library Accessibility Services (LAS) staff at the University of Guelph will search for and order textbooks in alternate format (e.g., DAISY, braille, large print, or e-text) from external suppliers and publishers on behalf of students who are registered with the Centre for Students with Disabilities and have been referred by their advisor. Staff will also transcribe and edit textbooks and course materials that are not available from external resources for students who, because of a physical disability, require help performing these tasks. Students are able to scan their own materials using scanners (including a high-speed scanner) in the LAS computer lab. http://www.lib.uoguelph.ca/assistance/LCSD/alternate_format_text.cfm

External Resources

  • Canadian Copyright Act (CCA) Section 32(1) allows individuals with perceptual disabilities and those acting on their behalf to create and use alternate formats of copyrighted print materials as long as they are not large print format or available commercially. Further, the act defines “perceptual disability” as a disability that prevents or inhibits the individual from accessing the print material due to a visual impairment, a physical disability, or a comprehension disability. For the specific Section 32(1) language, refer to that section in the Canadian Copyright (CCA) Act, available at: http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/ShowFullDoc/cs/C-42///en
  • The DAISY Consortium is an international association that develops, maintains and promotes international DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) Standards. The DAISY Consortium's mission is to develop and promote international standards and technologies which enable equal access to information and knowledge by all people with print disabilities. http://www.daisy.org
  • The Liberated Learning Consortium has worked with IBM Research to engineer a prototype Speech Recognition system that automatically transcribes audio or video files. The state of the art Speech Recognition engine is implemented virtually via “Cloud” so no software installation is required. The system also adjusts to each speaker’s voice so no voice profile training is required. The system creates text and interactive Multimedia Transcripts by converting raw data, such as mp3, MPG, WMV, AVI, etc. To learn more about the service, visit www.transcribeyourclass.ca.
  • Online tutorial for the Manager’s Guide to Multiple Formats is an interactive learning tool that provides information about multiple formats, and how to facilitate and implement their production. http://www.liens-ta.gc.ca/guide/zx30000E.asp
  • A comprehensive guide to Alternate Format Educational Materials (FAQs) provided through the Accessible Resource Centre – BC. http://www.setbc.org/Download/ARC/ARC-BC_AlternateFormats_FAQs.pdf
  • The Manager’s Guide to the Production of Multiple Formats provides tools needed to produce multiple formats for people with visual, hearing, and learning disabilities. http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/accessinfo/005003-4200-e.html

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