[Athen] RE: Grad students and alternate formats

Ron Stewart ron at ahead.org
Wed Nov 13 11:36:09 PST 2013

Just another comment on this topic. Grad thesis and dissertation readings
can become a major issue, and one that I regularly use as one of my
teachable moments in my talks and trainings. What I recommend is in
determining the need to convert this is a relationship be established
between the student, the major professor and the service office. It is a
similar quandary to the optional and required book dilemma, with the exact
same effective solution.

Those materials that the student wants converted, and that the major prof
concurs, should be at a minimum provided in an "auto-ocr'd" version. Now
this requires that the student be proficient in their AT, but that is a life
skill as well as an academic skill and I seriously question the
survivability of any grad student who does not have the skills to be an
effective student. The best example of this is a student and now longtime
friend, who was a history of science major. They were studying a time in
which none of their source materials were available in a textual format.
Thank the gods for JSTOR who had almost everything in image based PDF. We
were able to get the materials through JSTOR and Inter-Library loan, run
them through auto recognition mode in the OCR application and the student
was able to use their AT (Openbook) to review the materials. Those that
were determined to be germane to a course at the time or later the
dissertation research topic were further edited once the student had
explicitly identified what it was they needed and the major prof concurred.
I normally use a similar approach to research deep studies.

Not sure if this helps but it has really proven to be a win-win over the
last couple of decades with a lot of students. Give a man a fish and feed
him for a day, teach him to fish and feed him for a lifetime!

Ron Stewart

From: athen-list-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu
[mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Shahida
Sent: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 12:21 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network
Subject: RE: [Athen] RE: Grad students and alternate formats

Thank you Sean, and everybody who answered. At the moment our library is
not part of the Hathi Trust Digital Library, but is in the process of
joining them so what you say is a valid option for the future. We are not
denying any books to the student, the waters just become cloudy in terms of
the readings not being tied to a particular class or professor (as one of
the publishers is asking for this information). The readings are up to the
student with guidance from their advisor. As long as the student presents
proof that they have purchased the book asked for, we will acquire or create
an alternate format. However a book on loan from a library, I can see us
doing portions but for the full book a purchase has to be made, beyond what
portion of the book being asked for, should we ask for a receipt for proof
of purchase? i.e. More than 5 chapters out of 10?

From: athen-list-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu
[mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Sean
Sent: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 12:59 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network
Subject: Re: [Athen] RE: Grad students and alternate formats

My comments would echo what Teresa and Kathy have said in terms of alternate
formats for grad students. One thing I would add, as it relates to
procedures, is that we also try to work with the faculty when dealing with
reading lists. Reading lists for a grad program may include a list of
titles, but sometimes faculty members have a very specific edition they want
the student to read even though it is not explicit on the program's reading

Another consideration may be to engage with the library at your institution
to find out their status and relationship with the Hathi Trust Digital
Library. Depending on who or what entity controls access to the accessible
versions of the files, grad students may find this resource useful in that
they may be able to obtain digital versions from a library representative
directly. Alternatively, it may be a disability services office that acts as
the "proxy" for the Hathi Trust. In any case, for students doing library
research, this may be another option to consider procedurally.

More about Hathi Trust and accessibility at:


Take care,


On Nov 13, 2013, at 9:20 AM, Kathleen Cahill <kcahill at MIT.EDU> wrote:

Hi Shahida,

The only difference might be that graduate students have lots of research
that might not necessarily be tied to a particular class or textbook. We
ask graduate students to produce a list of what's needed and prioritize
items. Then, we do our best to procure reading materials in alternative
formats that the student needs.

Hope this helps,


Kathleen Cahill

Assistive Technology Specialist

MIT ATIC (Assistive Tech. Info. Center)

77 Mass. Ave. 7-143

Cambridge MA 02139

(617) 253-5111

<mailto:kcahill at mit.edu> kcahill at mit.edu

From: <mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu>
athen-list-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu [mailto:athen-
<mailto:list-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu>
list-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Shahida Khaliq
Sent: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 11:51 AM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network (
<mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu> athen-list at u.washington.edu)
Subject: [Athen] Grad students and alternate formats

Good Morning All

Could those of you who deal with graduate students and their alternate
format requests give me an idea of what your policies and procedures are
concerning their readings. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Best Regards

Shahida Khaliq

Coordinator for Alternate Format Text & Adaptive Tech.

Office of Disability Services

<image001.png>Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Lucy Stone Hall, Livingston Campus

54 Joyce Kilmer Ave, Suite A145

Piscataway, New Jersey 08854

Phone # (848) 445-6800 Fax # (732) 445-3388

Office Hours Monday- Friday 8:30am-5:00pm

Website: <https://ods.rutgers.edu> https://ods.rutgers.edu

Making a Key Difference


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