LearningAlly is usually the first format that we attempt to fill requests with. The LearningAlly talking books require a special player to be able to listen to them. This format is based on a DAISY format so it gives users the option of tracking through the book in many ways. The ODS has a limited number of Victor Players that we loan to students on a first come first serve basis. There is a free player available through the iOS app store that students can use to download and play books. To learn more about LearningAlly visit www.learningally.org.
For scanning textbooks and other course related documents we use Kurzweil 3000. From K3000 we edit the text in the documents and then export it to Rich Text Format (.rtf). We give the files to you on a CD. These files open in nearly all word processors (including Word, Works, WordPad, Word Perfect, and OpenOffice) making them accessible by all screen readers for no additional cost. There are many free and low cost applications that people can download and use to read these documents if they do not have a screen reader.
In some cases we will fill requests for Braille. These requests take a lot of advanced notice. If you want to request a textbook in Braille the request should be made no less than 2 months before you need the text. To request the book in Braille Please speak with your ODS counselor for approval of these requests.
There are generally three types of PDF formats that we can issue to students. Untagged or image PDF's are PDF files with no text recognition. Those files are only given upon request for students that just need an electronic copy because they cannot manipulate the physical copy of the textbook. The most frequently issued PDF's are Searchable PDF's which have Rendered text. These have had optical character recognition run on them and have been edited for accuracy. These are the files we most often receive from publishers. Tagged PDF's have markup for better navigation, alt tags for images, and structure for tables. The turn-around time on these are very long so we issue these files on an as needed basis.
Many publishers distribute the alternative text in a PDF file. The accessibility of the PDF depends on the publisher. The nice thing about this is that Adobe Acrobat Reader has a text to speech engine built into it. You can improve accessibility for screen readers by using the Accessibility Setup Assistant under the View menu > Tools > Accessibility Pane. After this is setup the program will ask you when you open if you want to tag untagged documents. The text tag is what screen readers are able to read. Default settings in this wizard should be fine but you can customize many of the accessibility options if you feel it is necessary.
To have Adobe Acrobat Reader read text to you go to the View menu and from the Read Outloud submenu select Activate Read Outloud. You can read the current page, read to the end of the document, pause, and stop reading. With Adobe Acrobat Reader 9 and higher you can also click on sections of text to have them read aloud.
Publishers often provide files in the .doc format which are Word Documents. These can be opened in most word processors and read by nearly all screen readers.
Some publishers provide their documents in an HTML format. This will open in all browsers but may have a preferred browser to use with specific publishers books. All full function screen readers and clipboard Readers, like Natural Reader, will read these files.
DAISY is an international format that can provide an audio track linked up to text and navigation options. It is a nice format but we rarely see publishers offer it. LearningAlly, BookShare.org, and National Library Services books use the DAISY format for navigation in their Audio Books. In the event that a student receives a DAISY book it can be read with a Victor Reader or read with a free program called AMIS.