ebooks general meeting 2019: focus on accessibility

On April 1st the ebooks@cambridge team held our annual open meeting for Cambridge library staff in the main lecture theatre at St. John’s. The meeting was attended by some forty people from across the Cambridge libraries network, who gathered to hear from a range of speakers representing libraries, students and the Disability Resource Centre on the theme of accessible resource formats, our focus for the session.

The legal and institutional context for accessibility: The Disability Resource Centre

After some networking over coffee and an introduction from Jo Milton, Chair of the ebooks Advisory Group, the meeting began with a presentation by John Harding, Head of the Disability Resource Centre. John provided the legal and institutional context for the meeting by outlining the University’s obligations to make learning resources, including teaching materials, websites, ebooks and ejournals, accessible to people with disabilities. He explained what is happening already within the University and across the HE sector to meet our legal – as well as moral – obligations, and spelled out what actions we need to take, including the action to ensure that students have accessible versions of books, e-books and journals/literature.

The student experience

Next we heard from students. A student with multiple disabilities described some of the many challenges she faces in accessing readings for her course. The amount of time she spends in simply obtaining and converting texts into something she can work with, before even beginning the work of studying from them, was eye-opening. As a user of screen-reading software, ebooks are vital to her studies, and it was gratifying to hear that the work done by the ebooks@cambridge team to obtain accessible formats of reading list titles appears to have been a significant help. Neverthless, there is obviously much work still to be done.

Helen Snelling then read out an email testimonial from a student in the Music Faculty, and regular user of ebooks. She also described the challenges she faces, including chronic pain and reduced mobility, which make trips to the library difficult, and explained that ebooks were ‘a life-line’ to her (although she qualified this by saying that ebooks that are free of Digital Rights Management and don’t restrict downloading are more useful than ‘read online’ ebooks, which are much harder and more time-consuming to put through assistive technologies such as screen readers).

Where we are at with ebooks and accessible formats: news from the ebooks Administrator

Jayne Kelly, the ebooks Administrator, then gave her presentation on the theme of ‘Aspiring to inclusivity’. She reported on the JISC ‘ASPIRE’ project, which, using an open crowd-sourced approach, has audited and ranked ebook platforms according to the quality and availability of the guidance they publish regarding their accessibility (spoiler alert: EBSCO ebooks hit the top spot for aggregators). Jayne then went on to outline the dilemma faced by the ebooks team when selecting ebook models for purchase: best price often equals less accessibility. Buying more accessible ebooks appears to mean that fewer titles can be afforded. On the other hand, purchasing more accessible ebooks could present opportunities to save money across the University, for example on scanning costs and staff time converting print materials. Jayne finished her talk by explaining what makes an ebook more or less accessible and talking through what is involved in obtaining accessible formats from publishers and services such as RNIB Bookshare.

Futurelib update – Developing the accessibility and inclusivity of Cambridge library services – and some discussion

Finally, David Marshall talked about Futurelib’s current project to explore the needs of disabled students at Cambridge through deep, qualitative research. He shared some quotes from participants, giving us further insight into the experiences of disabled students, and outlined some of the forthcoming outputs of the study, including a prototype Accessibility and inclusivity toolkit for Cambridge libraries. The meeting then wrapped up with some stimulating group discussion around our experiences in providing accessible/alternate format resources for library users and our ideas for a perfect accessible resource provision service at Cambridge.

The meeting was well received by participants – we have received some very positive feedback. The decision to focus on such a hot topic and bring in speakers from outside the library world was welcomed.

Cambridge librarians can access the slides for these presentations on the Cambridge Libraries Intranet. Please contact ebooks@lib.cam.ac.uk if you have any questions about the meeting, or would like further information about ebooks and accessibility.

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ACLS Humanities Ebook now offering PDF chapter downloads

The ACLS Humanities Ebook platform is now offering DRM-free PDF chapter downloads for its page image titles (that’s those titles – the majority – that display the icon-book icon). This is a significant platform enhancement, greatly simplifying use of the content.

How does it work?

From the TOC page, click on a chapter heading to get into the title. Once in the e-book, you will see three buttons in the top left corner of the e-reader. Click on the button labeled “Chapter PDF”:

ACLS chapter download button

 

and then the “Download this chapter as PDF” link:

ACLS download link

Depending on your browser settings, the PDF will either open in a new browser tab or download directly to a PDF reader such as Adobe Reader. If the PDF opens in your browser and you wish to open it in a reader, hover your cursor over the centre-bottom of the screen and click the download button that appears:

ACLS download button

Tell me more about the ACLS Humanities Ebook platform

ACLS Humanities E-Book (HEB) is an online collection of around 5,000 books of high quality in the humanities. These titles are offered by the American Council of Learned Societies in collaboration with thirty-one learned societies, over 100 contributing publishers, and the Michigan Publishing division at the University of Michigan Library. The goals of this collaboration are to assist scholars in the electronic publication of high-quality works in the humanities, to explore the intellectual possibilities of new media, and to help assure the continued viability of scholarship in today’s changing publishing environment. The result is an online, fully searchable collection of high-quality books in the humanities, recommended and reviewed by scholars.

The ACLS Humanities E-Book platform is available on and off-campus to members of the University. The platform does not currently work with EZProxy, so off-campus users will need to click on the ‘Login for Full access’ buttons that display on book title pages, select University of Cambridge as your institution, then enter your Raven username and password.

Please contact ebooks@lib.cam.ac.uk with any questions about this platform.

AccessMedicine – now available again

harrisonebooks@cambridge is pleased to announce that we have managed to secure access to McGraw-Hill’s AccessMedicine platform for the next year. The platform is now active and can be linked to here or via the ebooks collection page on the public ebooks website.

As in previous years, we only have access to the single title Harrison’s Principles of internal medicine (currently in its 19th edition), and not other titles on the AccessMedicine platform. There is a record in iDiscover for the ebook version of Principles of internal medicine, linking to the platform.

As usual, any questions or comments about the platform are welcomed and can be sent to ebooks@lib.cam.ac.uk.

 

Science, Technology and Medical ebooks now on De Gruyter Online

The Betty and Gordon Moore Library is pleased to announce, that in addition to the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences titles already available to Cambridge users on De Gruyter Online, we now have access to ebooks in the following branches of the Sciences:

  • Chemistry
  • Computer Sciences
  • Engineering
  • Geosciences
  • Industrial Chemistry
  • Life Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Materials Sciences
  • Medicine
  • Pharmacy
  • Physics

De Gruyter Online science collections also includes titles published by its partner presses, such as Harvard University Press, Birkhäuser, Böhlau, and Transcript Verlag.

Here is a very small selection of STM titles:

  Nanodispersions  Malignant Lymphomas  Atmospheric Acoustics Climate change  Hydrochemistry  Offshore sea life  Tensors

Records are available in LibrarySearch and you can search for and access all De Gruyter Online titles via the De Gruyter Online platform (requires a Raven login off-campus). All of these titles are DRM free and allow unlimited concurrent access. You can download, print or save chapter PDFs and in some cases download the whole title in ePub.

If you have any queries or comments about De Gruyter ebooks please contact Jayne and Lindsay in the ebooks team on ebooks@lib.cam.ac.uk.

MyBook from Brill: affordable print-on-demand paperbacks

Brill MyBook iconBrill’s new MyBook program, available on the BrillOnline Books and Journals platform, enables Cambridge-registered users to purchase an affordable print-on-demand paperback copy of any book purchased as an ebook by the University, for their personal use.

MyBook has a fixed price of €25.00 / $25.00 per copy, and is printed in black and white. Brill will ship your copy free of charge, though VAT will be added where applicable.

Further information about the MyBook program is available here. Eligible titles (i.e. ebooks purchased by the University) can be found on BrillOnline and will display a MyBook purchase button. Brill ebooks are also listed in LibrarySearch.

 

Pearson ebooks on Dawsonera can no longer be downloaded

Dawsonera have informed the ebooks team that Pearson have altered their digital rights on all of their ebooks. As a result, from today, January 12th 2015, Pearson content is no longer available to download, and our users can only access their content online. This change includes Pearson titles that the library has already purchased as well as all future purchases of Pearson ebook titles from Dawsonera.

Please note that users can still access Pearson content via the read online functionality and users can still print and copy within the read online mode. There are currently 83 Pearson published Dawsonera ebooks in the universities’ ebooks collection.

Please see below for what users will now see when accessing Pearson ebooks on Dawsonera. The inability to download should be clearly indicated in red and the downloading icon is absent.

advanced microeconomic theory dawsonera pearsonThe ebooks@cambridge Advisory Group have clearly expressed their concerns about this retrograde step to Dawsonera and this in turn will be fed back to Pearson by the suppliers.

Please send any comments to the ebooks team on ebooks@lib.cam.ac.uk.