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Alternative formats service

What is this?

The Mountbatten Library is piloting a service for the provision of alternative formats of items on course reading lists. The pilot service covers core items and recommended items.

What is already available?

The library endeavours through its collection development policies to provide electronic access to resources wherever possible to ease off-campus and out-of-hours access. Guidance on accessing ebooks and help with eresource passwords can also be found on the library portal.

Final year students, postgraduates, staff or 2nd year students working on their dissertation can request items not available in the library via the inter-library loans service. Electronic items supplied by this service will have optical character recognition (OCR) as standard, as will any material digitised by the library for your unit reading list.

There are also many self-help options available online and accessibility tools and plug-ins for browsers e.g. Chrome or Firefox.You may also find RNIB Bookshare UK Education Collection a useful resource. Please note: The use of free online tools is solely at your own discretion. The installation of anti-virus software is recommended before downloading free or open source software or plug-ins.

Who is eligible for this service?

Any Southampton Solent University student who has difficulty using print books through visual impairment, dyslexia or any other condition that makes use of a printed text difficult. The student must register for this service with Access Solent.

What does it involve?

Upon receipt of a request, the library will endeavour to source a suitable format for the student either via an electronic version. a PDF from the publisher or digitisation. For a publisher PDF to be obtained or for digitisation, a print copy must be held by the library or owned by the student. Proof of purchase is needed for student owned copies, e.g. a receipt from a bookstore or online source. Any restrictions on the use of the material must be followed.

How do I access the service?

Students must make initial contact to the alternative formats service through Access Solent. This facilitates a full discussion of the student's needs and how these needs might be met with existing help options. After a referral to the service from Access Solent, students can request an alternative format via the requests form. 

To view PDF files you need to have Adobe Reader™ installed.
Adobe Reader™ is available free from the Adobe website.

How long do I have to wait?

We aim to acknowledge requests within 2 working days. We aim to provide electronic versions of texts or digitised copies with 5-10 days wherever possible. Digitisation times may vary depending on the amount of digitisation needed e.g. whether a book section or whole book. Requests requiring PDFs from publishers are subject to publisher timescales.

Students are advised to give as much advanced notice as possible to help us provide alternative formats in good time. As the service is at pilot stage, timings and items covered may change depending on demand.

How do I contact Access Solent?

You can contact Access Solent by email at or telephone 023 8201 3201. You will find information about Access Solent and the services they provide on the portal.

A pdf version of this portal page is also available

Alternative formats service

Page last updated on Monday 5 September 2016 at 3.22pm.


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