Loyola University Maryland

Disability Support Services

Alternative Text Policy

The following policy document has been developed to provide information and direction regarding the alternative text services the Disability Support Services (DSS) office provides, as well as guidelines relative to how these services may be obtained from this office. This policy will be reviewed and modified on a regular basis to meet the ongoing needs of students with visual impairments and print disabilities at Loyola University Maryland. Students who request books in alternative formats are responsible for the information in the policy.

If you know the policies and your responsibilities - and have not found your books in Learning Ally or BookShare - log in to your DSS account and request your books. Access your DSS at www.loyola.edu/dss and log in under the "Accommdations Information" tab. If you have difficulty logging into your account, please contact DSS at dss@loyola.edu.

Recipients of Alternative Text

Alternative text may only be requested by students registered with DSS who have been approved for this accommodation.

BookShare and Learning Ally

Loyola University Maryland will provide each student registered with DSS who is approved for books in alternative format accounts with BookShare (to learn more, go to www.bookshare.org) and Learning Ally (to learn more, go to www.learningally.org). DSS will also train students on how to look for books in these electronic book resources. If you would like to request training, please contact DSS at dss@loyola.edu.

Requests for Alternative Text

Alternative text must be requested each semester for each text needed. The student must be enrolled in the course for which the alternate text is being requested.

Purchasing of Materials to be Scanned by DSS, or Provided by Publisher

The student must purchase textbooks which are being scanned or ordered from publishers. The student must provide proof of the purchase before he or she receives alternative material from the DSS office.

Submission of Requests

If a student cannot find his or her reading in BookShare or Learning Ally, the student should request that DSS find the reading. Requests for alternate texts should be submitted by completing the online request in the DSS database. If students need assistance with the online forms, they should call 410-617-2750.

Alternate text requests should be submitted as soon as possible. Ideally, once a student enrolls in a course, he or she should try to get the reading list for the course from the instructor or the bookstore. Request are processed in the order they are received.

Turnaround Times

Turnaround times for alternate text requests are determined on a case-by-case basis.

Alternate text production for formatted text will begin when DSS has received the online request form, the hardcopy textbook, and the instructor's course syllabus. Students should expect that they will not receive hard copy materials back from DSS for about three weeks.

In order to meet immediate needs of as many students as possible, formatted alternate text may be provided in stages based on the course syllabus and direction from the requesting student.

Working with Publishers

DSS will make every effort to work with publishers to receive e-text in a timely manner and in a useable format. DSS will request e-text directly from publishers if the student does not want his or her book scanned, or if the book cannot be provided by other resources. Publishers require that DSS verify the purchase of books, so students need to present DSS a copy of receipts.


If the alternate text request cannot be located through other resources (such as BookShare, Learning Ally or the publisher) scanning of the hard copy materials is the next option. Students provide the book or materials to be scanned. Books will have their spines cut off, so they can go through a self-feeding scanner. Books will be rebound with a spiral binding, and the bookstore will buy books back with this binding. The time frame will be established on a case-by-case basis based on student need.

Format Request

When students choose to request unformatted e-text (text in its native format from the publisher), hard copy materials will not be required. DSS’s ability to deliver unformatted text is impacted by the publisher’s response to the request for e-text. All requests for unformatted e-text will be made for a preferred and useable format.

Students may also have a need to request formatted/edited text. Requests for formatted e-text will require the student to electronically submit a copy of the online request. The student will also need to deliver the hard copy textbook and instructor's class syllabus to the DSS office.

Hard Copy Text Conversion

Students can locally produce hard copy alternate text (Braille, large print) from electronic files provided by DSS for their personal use.

Student Use of Scanner

Students can scan materials using a scanner in the DSS office.

Canceling or Modifying Requests

In the event that a student drops the class, or there is a change in the materials needed to be provided, the student should notify DSS immediately.

This policy was adapted with permission from the Alternate Text Production Center (ATPC) of the California Community Colleges’ policy.