Assistive Technology Initiative Office
The Assistive Technology Initiative (ATI) provides accessible text to students, faculty and staff with print-related disabilities. It also aids in the development of accessible text to units within the university community.
We use a high speed scanner to convert hard copy documents into digital formats. Formats include, but are not limited to:
- Braille exams
- Digitally formatted text books (Word document, WYNN format, text, PDF, Bookshare DAISY or Bookshare Braille)
- Digitally formatted course handouts
- Braille and tactile handouts (limited)
- Large print handouts
- Electronic reserve materials converted to accessible e-text
To qualify to receive material in alternative formats, students, staff, and faculty must have a documented "print" related disability. Student requests for alternative text start at the Office of Disability Services (ODS). All other requests can be made by contacting the ATI at 703-993-4329.
- Register with the Office of Disability Services (ODS).
- Request an Assistive Technology Referral (AT Referral) at ODS.
- Register with the Assistive Technology Initiative (ATI).
- Complete the Accessible Text Agreement (PDF) with the ATI each school year the student is in need of copyrighted material in accessible formats.
- Complete the Accessible Text Request Form (PDF) for each required textbook, reading, etc. for which an accessible format is needed and submit these to the ATI in person or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Provide hard copies of the text, syllabi and purchase receipts as needed for textbooks.
- If the request is for a quiz or exam, complete a Test Form with ODS and the staff will facilitate the process with the professor, ODS and ATI.
- Contact the ATI if there are any changes in your course schedule or syllabus that affect your book requests. Also, contact the ATI if you have questions or experience any difficulties with your requested materials.
- Pick up the hard copy and/or electronic copy at the ATI.
- Review documentation to determine qualification for alternative text.
- The ODS sends the AT referral to ATI.
- ODS provides editors for text on a case-by-case basis.
- Exam and quiz requests are processed with the ODS. The ODS will facilitate the process with the professor, ODS and ATI.
- ATI receives AT Referral from ODS and conducts informal Assistive Technology assessment as needed.
- ATI collects Accessible Text Agreement form each school year.
- ATI receives Accessible Text Request form(s) from student at office or via email.
- Once requests and receipts are received, ATI contacts publishers. (This is done via AccessText or individual publishers. ATI will also check if the book is already available in electronic format from VA HEAT. If the student uses DAISY books from Bookshare or Learning Ally, ATI will encourage the student to make requests at those sites when books are available from those resources.)
- Once hard copies of materials are received from the student, ATI prepares text for scanning if needed, such as removing the binding from the textbook. (If the text is already available in an electronic format, ATI will return the text without removing the binding.)
- ATI scans the text through a high speed scanner.
- ATI runs OCR on file with ABBYY FineReader.
- ATI formats the text as needed.
- ATI saves the text in the requested format, such as Word, Rich Text, Text, PDF. (Students may create MP3 or Wave files on their own.)
- ATI burns the text onto CD.
- ATI rebinds the text. (This is a plastic comb binding. If the student wishes to rebind the text on his or her own, indicate this on the Accessible Text Request Form and the text will be returned to the student unbound.)
- ATI contacts the student via email to inform him or her that the rebound text, along with the electronic format on CD, is completed and available for pick up at ATI.
We now have an organizational membership with Bookshare. You may request Bookshare books by completing the same Accessible Text Request Form (PDF) you use for other book requests. You will indicate whether you want the book in a DAISY format or a BRF (Braille Refreshable Format) format. If your book is not available from Bookshare, we will email you to find out if you want us to scan your text instead.
If you would like to pursue an individual membership with Bookshare and search and download books directly, visit their website. Let the ATI know that you would like an individual membership and the staff can provide you with the form you'll need.
If you decide to use Bookshare books in the DAISY format, we can provide you with a free DAISY Reader from Bookshare. There are two readers available - one is geared toward students with learning disabilities (Read:OutLoud Bookshare Edition) and the other is geared toward students who are blind or visually impaired (VictorReader Soft Bookshare Edition). The Read:OutLoud version is now available for both PC and Mac Users!
Bookshare app for iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone: Read2Go is available at the Apple App store for $19.99. Images are supported in Read2Go; however, users will need to transfer books with images through iTunes in order to view them.
NEW! Free Bookshare app for Android: Go Read
If you want to know how to use Bookshare books with other assistive technologies you may already use at Mason or at home, check out these resources:
For students who wish to rent eTextbooks instead of print titles, CourseSmart is a good option.
The STudent E-rent Pilot Project (STEPP) was launched by Georgia Tech's Alternative Media Access Center, in partnership with CourseSmart® and the AccessText Network, through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education. This program is designed to meet the textbook rental needs of any postsecondary student and aims to help improve low-cost access to higher education textbooks for all students, including those with print-related disabilities.
- To rent an eTextbook:
- Create a free account on www.coursesmart.com.
- Search for titles.
- Contact email@example.com or call 866-588-3197 to enable the accessible reader (if using JAWS®, NVDA, VoiceOver, TextAloud).
- Preview the first chapter of a book before renting (and test how it works with your screen reader) or rent the book by adding it to your cart and proceeding to checkout.
- If a book needs structural tags added to improve its accessibility, submit your title requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For instructions and demos on how to use CourseSmart texts with assistive technology (including, but not limited to, Apple OSX, Read & Write Gold, and VoiceOver), please visit Georgia Tech's STEPP site.
- For more information on accessible etext from CourseSmart, please visit: CourseSmart Customer Support.
Visit our Mobile Apps page for more information on mobile apps for etext!
- Bookshare: Read2Go for iOS and Go Read for Android
- CourseSmart: eTextbooks for iOS and CourseSmart for Android and Kindle Fire
- Learning Ally: Learning Ally Audio for iOS
- Texthelp - Read & Write Gold: eBook Reader for iOS and Android (Note: Android version has limited functionality.)
Sample accessible text forms may be
found on AHEAD's E-Text website
Sample forms are under "Resources from the AHEAD E-Text Solutions Group."
Copyright Resources for colleges and universities
States Copyright Law
The Chafee Amendment to chapter 1 of Title 17, United States Code, section 121
National Library Service Factsheets - Copyright Law Amendment 1996
Mason Copyright Resources Office
- Educause - Legal Sources of Online Content
- U.S. Copyright - Section 1201 Exemptions to Prohibition Against Circumvention of Technological Measures Protecting Copyrighted Works
- HathiTrust Verdict Could Transform University Access for the Blind
Please note: These resources are provided as a service to the accessible text community. Their inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by George Mason University or the Assistive Technology Initiative. The degree of accessibility of these resource websites may vary.
- Sources of Legally-Available Digital Versions Textbooks and Other Written Works from the Association of American Publishers
These sites offer free electronic
books (in text and/or audio format) which are in the public domain.
"The term 'public domain' refers to creative materials that are not protected by intellectual property laws such as copyright, trademark or patent laws. The public owns these works, not an individual author or artist. Anyone can use a public domain work without obtaining permission, but no one can ever own it." (Stanford Copyright & Fair Use Website)
- Adobe Digital Editions
- Amazon Audio Books – audio books
- Amazon Kindle Store
- Apple iBooks
- Audible.com (An Amazon Company)
- Barnes & Noble The Nook Book Store
- Barnes & Noble - eBooks
- Blio - eBooks
- Cengage Brain
- Google Play
- Overdrive - Download Library Search
- Read How You Want
- Safari Books Online
- Sony Reader Store
Book Resources for Individuals with Print-Related Disabilities
- AccessText's Accessible Textbook Finder
- American Printing House for the Blind - Louis Database of Accessible Materials
- Association of American Publishers - Publishers Look Up Service
- International Braille Research Center Braille Book Library
- Learning Ally
- National Library Service of the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS)
eText Resources for colleges and universities
Accessible Electronic Text Resources for colleges and universities
- Accessible Instructional Materials - Advisory Commission on Accessible Instructional Materials in Postsecondary Education for Students with Disabilities
- AHEAD E-Text Resources Page
- Alternative Media Access Center
- Comparative Review of Electronic Book Resources from NFB's Braille Monitor
- High Tech Center Training Unit
- The University of Wisconsin-Madison, Badger Accessibility Services
- Mainstream Access to eBooks (article from the Braille Monitor)
Information about Formats
- Adobe Acrobat Accessibility Training Resources
- DAISY (Digital Accessible Information SYstem) & NISO (National Information Standards Organization)
Accessible Text Quick Links - Faculty & Staff
Foreign Languages Resources - coming soon STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Resources - coming soon Image Description Resources - coming soon
Foreign Languages Resources - coming soon
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Resources - coming soon
Image Description Resources - coming soon