Library: Eresources and Accessibility

Library: Eresources and Accessibility.

We have a wide range of online resources at the library, ranging from ebooks, journals, databases, and subject guides. In fact, we have over 330,000 ebooks and over 220 online databases. More and more libraries and their resources are entering the digital sphere. With that, these resources must be accessible. And Edinburgh Napier University Library is committed to making sure that our online resources are accessible.

We are working with a range of tools and features for accessibility.

The tools and features available may depend on which platform the eresource is available on. By platform, we mean the website which hosts the resource. Sometimes we have the same resource available from multiple platforms, but often it will only be available from one platform.

In this article, we will be looking at the tools and features that make our eresources more accessible.

Accessibility Tool: Read Aloud

Read aloud tools (also known as text-to-speech) can be used to read out loud text on a webpage and PDF. How to use:

  • In Microsoft Edge, use the built-in Read Aloud tool. Look for the icon at the top of the page with a capital A and sound waves, or use the shortcut Ctrl + Shift + U to start. You can adjust the speed of the speech and also choose from different voices and accents.
  • In Google Chrome, try the ‘Read Aloud’ extension which can be added from the Chrome Web Store. You can adjust the pitch and speed of the speech.

These tools sometimes work less well if platforms have embedded ereaders. In these cases, try to download a PDF if available.

If you can download a PDF, try these options:

  • Use Microsoft Edge to open the PDF and use the Read Aloud tool.
  • Use Adobe Reader to open the PDF and use the Read Out Loud option under the View menu.
  • Use ClaroPDF to open the PDF and read aloud (part of the ClaroReadPlus package which can be accessed from AppsAnywhere).

Other tools

In ProQuest Ebook Central, you will need to switch on a text-only mode which will allow you to use read-aloud tools. To enable this, go to Settings in the top menu bar, then choose Profile, and select ‘Enable Text Only Mode’.

A few platforms have their own Read Aloud tools, such as VLeBooks and Gale. Look for the ‘Listen’ or ‘Read Aloud’ buttons if you are on one of these platforms.

Changing the colours, font and text size:

With most of our eresource platforms, you can use browser extensions to change various visual features of the webpage, including the text colour, colour background/overlay, font and text size.

We recommend the Helperbird extension (available for Chrome, Edge, Safari and Firefox).

You can change the colour of the text, links, and background, and apply a colour overlay. There are 30 different colour options to choose from, and the brightness of the colour overlay is also customisable.

You can choose from 25 font options, and six text size options, as well as customising word spacing, letter spacing, and line height.

After you have chosen your customisation options, the changes will be applied on any webpage you visit, as long as you have the Helperbird extension still switched on.

Helperbird also includes various other tools and customisation options which may be helpful. More information can be found at Helperbird tutorials.

There are some platforms which don’t work with extensions like Helperbird, usually because there is an embedded ereader rather than a plain text webpage. VleBooks and JSTOR are two examples. VLeBooks does have their own feature in Read Online mode which offers some colour customisation – look for the paint palette icon or the cog icon appearing in the top bar of the ereader.

If downloading a PDF is possible, you can open the PDF in Adobe Reader and navigate to Edit > Preferences. In the Accessibility settings for Document Colours, you can change both the background colour and the text colour, choosing from a wide range of colour options.

Keyboard Navigation

All of our major eresource platforms can be navigated using a keyboard only.

In a few cases, such as with VLeBooks, additional shortcuts may be needed to navigate to all areas of the screen, and these shortcuts are listed on the platform’s accessibility page.

Further Information:

You can find more information about browser extensions and other tools at Technology to help you study.

You may also refer to the web accessibility statements for all our third party products to find more information about specific platforms.

Need more support? You can contact the Library or the Disability & Inclusion team.

We have Ergonomic Equipment available at the Library Help Desks for loan.

Read our previous blog articles.