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Accessibility and NSCC Libraries: Alternate Format Texts (AFTs)

This guide provides an overview of how NSCC Libraries provide accessible library services and resources to NSCC students and employees.

What is an AFT?

Alternate Format Texts, also known as AFTs, are electronic copies of textbooks. In order to obtain an AFT, Accessibility Services staff approve students who require them as a print accommodation. Once this happens, you will receive an email from your Campus Library, describing how to get the AFT process started. It takes time to place the request with the textbook publisher and receive the electronic copy so it's important to start this process as early as possible.

NSCC created content like coursepacks are available in digital format; just ask at your Campus Library to acquire the digital file. 

Open Education Resources are available in multiple digital formats (at no cost) providing students with choice and accessible options (e.g., Web, EPUB3, Digital PDF, XML, etc…)

Purchasing Your Textbooks

The first step in the AFT process is to purchase your textbooks. Purchase the eBook version of textbooks where possible. eBooks are published in accessible formats and buying eBook versions will save you time. Ask your Bookstore for assistance. 

Publishers require proof of purchase before releasing the same text in an alternate format.

  • We recommend purchasing your print texts from the Bookstore. You may purchase them online directly from publishers, but make sure you purchase the correct edition for your course.

  • You need to purchase a print copy of each textbook(s) for which you require an AFT.

  • Keep your receipt(s). You need to provide proof of purchase to the Campus Library staff.

  • Secondhand textbooks can only be submitted as an AFT request if a receipt from a commercial bookseller is available.  Some restrictions may apply (i.e., if a newer edition is available).

NOTE: If your required textbook is published by the Canadian Standards Group (i.e. plumbing code, building code, etc.), visit CSA on Demand which provides free online access to CSA's collection of code books, standards, guidebooks and handbooks. If you still want your own e-version, you will need to purchase it directly with the Canadian Standards Group.

Meet with Library Staff

  • Your Accessibility Services staff determine that you are eligible to receive AFTs, and notify your Campus Library.

  • Your Campus Library contacts you through your NSCC email account.

  • Library staff require your class schedule, textbook information and proof of textbook purchase (i.e. receipt). All of this information is necessary for library staff to place AFT requests with publishers.

  • Library staff submit your AFT requests to publishers within one business day of obtaining this information.

  • The time it takes publishers to fill AFTs requests vary (24 hours to 3 weeks). It is important to connect with your Campus Library staff early to get the request process started.

Receiving your AFT

  • Library staff contact you through your NSCC email account when your AFT has arrived.

  • In this email, they supply a link where you can access your AFT electronically.

  • You have 10 business days to download your AFT.

  • If you need assistance downloading your AFT, feel free to contact your Campus Library staff

YOUR RESPONSIBILITY: You will not copy (in any format), share and/or distribute the AFT and understand these actions infringe the rights of the copyright owner and/or may not comply with the publisher’s terms of use. You will also delete all electronic copies of the textbook upon completion of your final assessment if required by the publisher's terms of use.