Adaptive Technology Centre

Queen's University
Search Type


Adaptive Technology Centre

site header

Alternate Format Services

Students may request course readings in alternate format if they are registered with Queen’s Student Accessibility Services and their advisor has made a referral.

Library Accessibility Services staff will:

  • Order textbooks in alternate formats (e.g., PDF files, MS Word, Large Print, MP3, audio books, or Braille) from publishers and repositories
  • Digitize or transcribe textbooks and course materials in-house as required

Requesting Alternate Format Materials 

  • Requests can be made at any point in the semester, but it is recommended that you contact us 4-6 weeks before the semester in which the alternate format is required. You can email Carol Tennant or visit her in her office, Room 120C, in the Adaptive Technology Centre, or fill in the online Request Form.
  • Please provide course codes, section numbers, names of instructors (if known), and preferred text formats when you contact us. 

Obtaining your Materials

Carol will work with you, faculty, and the campus bookstore to locate the textbook and reading information for each course, then source and request alternate format copies and contact you when they are available. Before receiving this material, you will need to provide proof of purchase (if required) for your books, and also sign an E-file Statement Agreement governing your use of the alternate format text.

Student Responsibilities

  • Providing course selections to Carol as soon as registration opens
  • Promptly notifying of all changes in course selections that will impact alternate format text requirements (e.g., dropping/adding courses), or if your required readings change
  • Providing proof of purchase for course texts/readers
  • Signing E-File Statement Agreements and following any publisher and copyright restrictions on alternate format materials. You agree not to reproduce or redistribute the material in any way, shape or form.

 In-House Scanning and Transcription

  • Carol sources e-text (i.e., MS Word or PDF) copies of student textbooks from publishers and repositories where possible. LAS staff will assist with scanning or transcription of text materials if a publisher's purchase requirements are not met or when alternative-format is not available.
  • In-house scanning may require that book spines be removed in order to speed up the process. Texts can be scanned without removing the binding, but it takes longer and may delay receipt of files.
  • Scanners are provided for student use in the Adaptive Technology Centre Lab.

 Alternate Format Services and Timeliness

  • LAS staff will work to provide students with their preferred text format in a timely manner. However, due to factors beyond our control (e.g., late requests, lack of course information, transcription difficulties raised by text quality or subject matter, unexpected workload, or the schedules of external suppliers and transcription companies), we cannot guarantee that students will receive alternate format materials within the timelines required for their courses. If this happens, students may have to seek an accommodation with their instructor or consider using formats other than their preferred one.
  • LAS staff will aim to provide students with course readings one week before they are required for class.

 Sources for Alternate Formats

ACE: Accessible Content E-portal

ACE is a repository of accessible format texts available to users with print disabilities at participating Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL) institutions.

ACE libguide for students:   

ACE Tutorial: Getting Started

AERO: Alternate Education Resources Ontario

AERO is a web-based digital repository operated by the Ministry of Education in partnership with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

Other Alternate Format Resources

The public library can help you find accessible formats through the Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA). Membership with CELA gives you access to Bookshare, an accessible online library of over 185,000 titles.

Canadian Copyright Act and persons with disabilities: 

A print disability or a “perceptual disability” is defined under the Canadian Copyright Act, as:

… a disability that prevents or inhibits a person from reading or hearing a literary, musical, dramatic or artistic work in its original format, and includes such a disability resulting from

a.            severe or total impairment of sight or hearing or the inability to focus or move one’s eyes

​b.            the inability to hold or manipulate a book, or

c.            an impairment relating to comprehension.