[Athen] obligation to provide alt format for research/thesis work

Ron Stewart ron at ahead.org
Tue Oct 6 11:55:46 PDT 2009

This is typically a matter of negotiation between the student, the major
professor and the accommodations provider. In the past I have always agreed
to convert any book that the major prof indicated was a core materials but
as far as books for research, thesis or dissertation it was incumbent on the
student to indicate what specific materials they needed or required to
complete their degree requirements. In most instances I have agreed to
"dirty scan and ocr" the materials but refused to actually edit any of the
underlying text unless there was a compelling reason that was established to
do so.

As to library materials, research is a key requirement of graduate study and
in most instances the systems are fairly accessible. For ILL loan materials
or reference materials equipment was made available for the student to do
their own scanning and conversion and from time to time they could request
that these materials be converted for them but their major prof had to be a
member of the group making the final decision.

Ron Stewart

From: athen-bounces at athenpro.org [mailto:athen-bounces at athenpro.org] On
Behalf Of Roll,Marla
Sent: Tuesday, October 06, 2009 2:22 PM
To: Access Technologists in Higher Education Network
Subject: [Athen] obligation to provide alt format for research/thesis work

Hello all,

A colleague from our library contacted me to solicit thoughts on our
satellite university's obligation to provide all books potentially used to
write a master's thesis in a digital format due to a disability. To
summarize the situation. The librarian at this other campus is working with
an undergraduate student that intends to apply for graduate school. She has
been successfully acquired OCR capable journal articles and scanning
articles for the student. She is trying to determine what reasonable
accommodations are for books. If she has a book in print is she required to
scan the book or purchase an electronic/Braille copy of the book? What if
she borrows the book from another library (interlibrary loan). Can she
legally scan an entire book that the library owns or another library owns
and give the student the electronic file? Is it reasonable to expect a
library to purchase an electronic/Braille copy of a book or scan any book
that the student might need in the course of their research?

Can you all provide me input that I can share with this librarian? How are
other campuses handling alt format for books and resources used in the
research process? Students do not buy them so what is the obligation on the
part of the library?

Thanks much,

Marla Roll


Marla C. Roll, MS, OTR

Director, Assistive Technology Resource Center

Assistant Professor, Occupational Therapy

304 Occupational Therapy Building

Fort Collins, CO 80523


mcroll at cahs.colostate.edu

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