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Accessibility in Library eResources

This guide describes the accessibility features available in NSCC Libraries' database, streaming video, and eBook collections.

What is a Database?

In Library Research, a Database is a searchable collection of information such as journal articles, newspapers, magazines, and reports. NSCC Libraries subscribes to about 70 databases. Most of these are from GALE, ProQuest, or EBSCO. These are the types of databases, or platforms, we cover here.

HTML vs PDF

Articles in NSCC Databases are available in HTML or PDF formats or both. Here is the difference between the two:

  • Screen readers differ in their ability to read HTML versus PDF documents, but usually they can read both
  • Accessibility of HTML and PDF documents also depends on proper coding by the publisher
  • In Library databases, read HTML articles aloud with your screen reader, or where the Listen tool is present
  • In Library databases, use the Listen tool to download an mp3 version of HTML articles
  • ProQuest and EBSCO databases preview PDFs in Web frames/iframes
  • Browsers and screen readers differ in their ability to view and read a Web frame PDF
  • Gale databases feature downloadable PDFs only
  • It is best practice to download the PDF documents, open them in Adobe Acrobat Reader and use Read Out Loud or your screen reader
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader has a built in Read Out Loud tool which is not a screen reader, but will narrate PDFs quite well
  • Narrator is a screen reading app built into Microsoft Windows 10, which can read PDFs with some effort and scrolling
  • VoiceOver is a screen reading app built into Mac OS which can read PDFs with some effort and scrolling
  • In Library databases, many articles (especially older ones) are scanned PDF images; Read Out Loud and screen readers can't read them
  • Watch for "Scanned PDF" notes or popups in Library databases, and ask library staff if you need a better quality PDF

Gale

Gale Accessibility Statement

"The majority of Gale online products for libraries are compatible with assistive technologies and meet key federal standards for compliance under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, as well as most Level A (Priority 1) and AA (Priority 2) success criteria of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) developed by the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C).”

More information: Cengage Accessibility FAQ

Listen Tool

In  Gale Databases, when the Listen tool is present, there is the option to have the document read aloud. Articles that are not in full-text do not have this option. 

Image of Listen Tool in Gale

 

 

  • After your search, click on the title of a document to open it in HTML format
  • If the Listen image is present, you can play the document aloud
  • There is an option to download the document as an mp3

More information: Listen to a Document / Download as mp3

PDF documents

  • After you search Gale Databases, you will have an option to Download PDF. Articles that are not in full-text do not have this option
  • If you click on the title of an article to open it, you will have an option to Download PDF if the article contains full text
  • Most of Gale's PDF documents (including those published in 2019) are scanned PDFs
  • These scanned PDFs are like an image, which is not readable by screen readers or Adobe Acrobat Reader's Read Out Loud tool
  • Some of Gale's PDF documents are machine-generated PDF which are provided "as is." While they do not resemble the original document, they are easier to read aloud with screen readers or Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Please ask Library staff if you discover you need a better quality PDF of an article
  • You may get better results using HTML documents which can be screen read, or Listen / Download as mp3

ProQuest

ProQuest Accessibility Statement

"ProQuest is concerned with making its products accessible to all users, including those who are visually impaired.  Our interface is compliant with Section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Listen Tool

ProQuest Databases provide HTML versions of articles, but do not provide a Listen tool.

PDF Documents

  • After you search ProQuest Databases, you will have an option for Full text - PDF. Articles that are not in full-text do not have this option
  • If you click on the title of an article to open it, you will have an option to Download PDF if the article contains full text
  • Much of the content within ProQuest is available in PDF format
  • A large proportion of the older content, as well as content provided by third-party publishers, was created from scanned images
  • These scanned images are not readable by screen readers or Adobe Acrobat Reader's Read Out Loud tool
  • Watch for the note Full text - PDF (Scanned Image) versus Full text - PDF when you hover over the full-text or download buttons
  • Please ask Library staff if you discover you need a better quality PDF of an article
  • You may get better results using HTML documents which can be screen read

EBSCO

EBSCO Accessibility Statement

"The EBSCOhost platform, including EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS), is WCAG 2.0 Level A compliant. EBSCO has invested time and resources to exceed Web accessibility guidelines and to support several features that are part of the WCAG Level AA compliance by improving page orientation and navigation of EBSCOhost."

More information: EBSCO Accessibility FAQ

Listen Tool

In EBSCO Databases, when the Listen tool is present, there is the option to have the document read aloud. Articles that are not in full-text do not have this option.

Image of Listen Tool in EBSCO

 

 

  • After your search, the HTML Full Text link takes you directly to the full text of the article
  • Or, click on the title of an article to open it in HTML format
  • If the Listen image is present, you can play the article aloud
  • There is an option to download the article as an mp3

More information: Listen to a Document / Download as mp3

PDF Documents

  • After you search EBSCO Databases, the PDF Full Text link takes you to a PDF version of an article in Adobe Reader. Articles that are not in full-text do not have this option
  • If you click on the title of an article to open it, selecting PDF Full Text from the menu at left opens the PDF document in an iframe.
  • You will get better results by using the Download option to save and view the PDF in Adobe Reader
  • Newer PDFs are ADA compliant. EBSCO began providing its scanned PDFs with an Optical Character Reader (OCR) text layer in September 2004
  • Please ask Library staff if you discover you need a better quality PDF of an article
  • You may get better results using HTML documents which can be screen read, or Listen / Download as mp3