[Athen] Alternate Formats and Varying Editions of Textbooks

Susan Kelmer Susan.Kelmer at colorado.edu
Fri Jan 17 07:01:18 PST 2020


The student deserves to have the right version of the textbook, period. If everyone else in the class, and the instructor, are using the 7th edition then why are you telling your student with a disability that they can only have the 6th? That is RIPE for a lawsuit filed by the student against your institution.

Get the edition the student needs, remediate as necessary. That is our job, and we need to be doing our job.

Ignore the people who have responded that your student doesn’t have to show proof of ownership (note I did not say proof of purchase). That white paper that is being tossed around covers LIBRARIES but does not cover DSOs producing alternate format directly. This is still a very grey area, and it is better to err on the side of caution until further clarification from the courts or the federal government. A white paper is not law, it is simply an opinion piece. I ask for proof of ownership from the student (aka, show me your book). And I give students the version they are requesting and have obtained. There are some publishers that require proof of purchase before they provide files, which means I then do ask the student for a receipt, which I heavily redact of any personal/identifying information and provide to the publisher.

Susan Kelmer
Alternate Format Production Program Manager
Disability Services
Division of Student Affairs
T 303 735 4836

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From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu> On Behalf Of Mary Popish
Sent: Thursday, January 16, 2020 5:50 PM
To: athen-list at u.washington.edu
Subject: [Athen] Alternate Formats and Varying Editions of Textbooks

Hello, everyone!

I have a question about how different campuses manage alternate format delivery for textbooks when the required edition is different from a digital version that your office may already have from a previous year or other student. For example, if your office has a digital version of the sixth edition of a textbook and a student has purchased the seventh edition but needs some remediation to make the book accessible digitally, what do you do? Do you request the seventh edition from the publisher (or Bookshare, or AccessText, or whatever your process is)? Do you check with the student and the instructor and deliver the sixth edition if it would still work for the class? What about copyright, since the student bought a different edition of the book?

We've been talking about this a lot in our office, and we haven't landed on a great solution yet. I'd love to hear how other offices handle this sort of thing.

Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much!


Mary Popish
Adaptive Technology Specialist & Alternate Formats Coordinator
Disability Resource Center
Portland State University

Phone: (503) 725-9119
Fax: (503) 725-4103
Email: drc at pdx.edu<mailto:drc at pdx.edu>
URL: http://www.pdx.edu/drc
Pronouns: she / her / hers

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