Alternate Format Text request

Alternate (or alternative) Format Text is typically a request for a required textbook or article used in a class in a format other than standard print such as digital or electronic (e.g., PDF), braille or audio. Most alternative format texts require technology for access, such as screen reading software like Jaws or Kurzweil that will read the text aloud. The type of technology required depends on the format of the text and the user’s experience and preference.

To Request Alternate Format Texts:

  1. Students requesting texts in an alternative format through SDS must be registered with Student Disability Services (SDS) AND be approved for this accommodation on their accommodation letter.
  2. Students must be enrolled in the course for which the text(s) have been requested.
  3. STEPS to request alternate format texts:
  • Check the Bookstore website (or contact the instructor/department) to find out what texts are required for each class you are registered in.
  • Check if your textbook is part of the Course Materials Initiative (CMI) or is provided in a digital format from the Bookstore (additional info linked below for CMI).
  • Check as you may be able to purchase your text in digital format from the Vital Source Bookshelf directly. Publishers do not provide alternative format texts if it is available through Vital Source.
  • Some texts (typically assigned journal articles) may also be available electronically and in accessible formats through the AOK Library articles, AOK Library Course Reserves, or the Library’s Interlibrary loan service.
  • If your book cannot be obtained in a digital alt format through the CMI or Vital Source steps above, please obtain the following information for each text needed to submit the request through SDS:
  •            Title, Edition, Author, Publisher and ISBN# 

**Coming soon- Alt Format Text Request through your Accommodate account!

Students should be advised that:

  • You are required to purchase a copy of each text book that you are requesting in alternative format and be able to provide proof of purchase/receipt (or rental) to SDS per copyright law.
  • Depending on the format requested and where it is being created/sent from, texts in alternative format may take 1-6 weeks (or longer) to arrive in the SDS office.
  • SDS strongly encourages that requests are received 6-8 weeks in advance of the start of the course/semester you are taking the class.
  • You may request alternate format texts at any time during the semester, however you need to be aware of the above stated timelines for delivery.
  • Alternate format texts obtained through SDS cannot be shared with other students as this behavior is a violation of copyright law. These texts are provided as necessary access due to a disability barrier for an SDS student.

SDS will make every effort to obtain texts in the student’s preferred format; however some texts may not be available in every format requested. In this case, SDS will contact you to discuss alternative access solutions.

Please note: If a text is unavailable from the publisher or other resources, SDS can manually scan and convert texts into an electronic format from the hard copy. This process may take up to 4 weeks or longer depending on the editing involved and may require the spine of a hard copy textbook to be broken.

To learn more about UMBC’s Course Materials Initiative (CMI) please go to the bookstore website. If you need to opt out of the CMI you must submit the Consent for CMI Removal Form to the bookstore by the last day of add/drop.