[Athen] Alternate format books questions

Angela Page apage4 at uco.edu
Thu Jan 28 09:33:18 PST 2016

My responses are below…

From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Nazely Kurkjian
Sent: Thursday, January 28, 2016 10:58 AM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: [Athen] Alternate format books questions

Hello everyone - I hope the beginning of your semesters are going smoothly. I have a few questions that hopefully you can help me with:

1) Bizarre situation only with UK publishers - I ask for an alternate format text file (PDF) of a title from their company and they always assume the student is blind even though I only said it's for a student with a print-related disability. Then I get a E-File Statement/Contract Agreement back that says I need to provide the name the student, then specifies "only the visually impaired person will use this file...". I am not very familiar with contract law, and I don't want to lie - what do I do? I know we can't give their name but if I don't give a name, what if the publisher refuses to give me the file? I'm trying to figure this out before I return the e-file agreement form. Does the UK have different accessibility laws for providing persons with non-visual print-related disabilities alternate formats? Perhaps this was just coincidental.

Unfortunately, publishers are not held to the same laws as we are (Section 504 and ADA), so they don’t have to provide the alternative formats. This is especially apparent when the publisher is out of the country. We try NOT to give names etc to publishers. However, occasionally it is necessary, but we get the student’s permission first. As for the wording on the contract, it should accurately reflect the situation. I would suggest speaking to your legal office about the e-file agreement.

2) Now more than ever our students are renting textbooks. Am I correct in that: if a student rents a book I cannot ask them to purchase a used book (in order to chop and scan), therefore our office must purchase the book and chop and scan our purchased copy. I've purchased more books this semester to cut up than ever!

Correct. Of course, you can try the professor. They assigned the book. They should know that the university is responsible for making sure an alternative version is available. I have contacted the book rental company to ask for permission to chop and scan a few hard to find books. I’ve only gotten their permission once, but it was worth a try.

3) Is anyone using Google Drive to send alt format books? We have Google Apps for Education so we have unlimited storage space. I've been experimenting with it. I fix the settings so the student I share it with cannot share the folder with anyone else and include a copyright agreement reminder in the folder.

We use DropBox and include a how-to-use file

4) Turnaround time - What is your turn around time from when a student submits a request to when they receive it (e.g., all requests will be made available within 7 business days)? Do you post this information on your website?

We do not give any turnaround time. Some books are available before the student leaves the room. Some have a bit of a wait time. It’s hard to give the student a time frame when I have no idea what the publisher may be up to! I encourage the students to get their receipts to me ASAP and keep in touch with them throughout the process. Normally, we get the alt text to the student within 2-3 days.

Thank you!!!


Nazely Kurkjian
"Shame on us... If we let the wonders of educational technology and broadband internet lead to more inequality as opposed to less"

Adaptive Technology Specialist
Services for Students with Disabilities - UU 119
Binghamton University
Phone: 607-777-2686
Email: kurkjian at binghamton.edu<mailto:kurkjian at binghamton.edu>
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