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. Searchable PDF's have Rendered text. This type of PDF has 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. This format takes a little more time to produce is but is the most common format we produce for students.
Many publishers distribute the alternative text in a PDF file. The accessibility of the PDF depends on the publisher and usually requires remediation by our office. A nice feature of Adobe Acrobat Reader is the text to speech engine built into it. 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 X and XI you can also click on sections of text to have them read aloud. The PDF Aloud feature in Read & Write Gold also does a spetacular job of reading these documents.
Word or RTF
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. This is also a format that we commonly use when we are creating accessible documents by scanning the books.
Plain Text files can be issued in cases where the player that a student uses works best with a simple unformatted text file. Text files are usually converted from PDF or Word documents and edited.
DAISY is an international format that can provide an audio track linked up to text and navigation options. We do recieve some text based DAISY formatted books through our Bookshare.org membership. LearningAlly, BookShare.org, and National Library Services books use the DAISY format for navigation in their Audio Books. If a student receives a DAISY book it can be read with a Victor Stream, the DAISY Reader in Read & Write Gold, or read with a free program called AMIS.
Because of conflicts with New Jersy and Ohio law we no longer provide audio DAISY books from LearningAlly. If you wish to setup personal LearnigAlly or Bookshare.org accounts our counselors can assist you with the certification forms.
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. If the textbook has an online version available This may be a sufficiently accessible version and may not need to be requested. It is becoming more common for publishers to offer an online HTML version of their textbook. This is especially true for publishers that have acompanying products such as the Pearson MyLab products.
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 3 months before you need the text. To request the book in Braille Please speak with your ODS counselor for approval of these requests.