Loyola University Maryland

Disability Support Services

Alternative Text Policy

Alternative Text Procedures

The following 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 impairment and print disabilities at Loyola University Maryland. Students who request books in alternative format are responsible for the information in the policy.

Recipients of Alternative Text

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

Requests for Alternative Text

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

Once approved for alternative format, contact DSS and we will provide you with a Learning Ally account.  After this is set up you can make an individual Bookshare account. You will search these two sites for your texts.  Returning students can search these sites with their existing account.

If you do not find your book in alternative format through Bookshare or Learning Ally, you should search VitalSource. You will have to purchase your book in VitalSource.

If you do not find the book through one of these three sources, then you can submit a request to DSS. Alternative format requests are submitted through the students' DSS online account when they are not available on Bookshare ,Learning Ally or VitalSource. If assistance is needed on how to request readings in alternative format, please email DSS.

Proof of Purchase for Alternative Format Materials Provided by the Publisher

The student must purchase text books which are being requested through publishers. The student must provide proof of the purchase before they receive alternative material from the DSS office.

Submission of Requests

Alternate text requests should be submitted through a student's DSS online account as soon as possible. Ideally, once a student enrolls in a course, the student should try to get the reading list for the course from the instructor or the bookstore. Requests are processed in the order they are received. If you have any questions or concerns contact DSS.

Turnaround Times

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

Alternate text production will begin when DSS has received a request from the student's DSS online account. DSS will contact publishers to get an electronic version of a text. This process can take on average up to two (2) weeks.


If the alternate text request cannot be located in an electronic format, DSS will scan the hard copy materials. Students will need to provide the book or materials to be scanned. Books will have their spines cut off, fed through a scanner and books will be rebound with a spiral binding. The time frame will be established on a case-by-case basis based on student needs and size of the text.

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

Accessing e-text

Once the request has been approved and completed, an email will be sent providing this update from DSS. Students needing text-to-speech software on their computer or devices should refer to this document. Please contact DSS if another type of software is needed.

Canceling or Modifying

Requests In the event that a student drops the class, or there is a change in the materials required, 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.