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Library Resource Accessibility Policy

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Effective: January 2015

Revised: 2022-04-14

This policy applies to U of G faculty, staff, alumni, retirees, community borrowers, students who are currently not registered with Student Accessibility Services (SAS), and other library users. SAS-registered students should visit the library’s Alternate Format Services page to learn about enhanced supports for course readings and textbooks.

Provision of Alternate Formats  

In accordance with Section 32(1) of the Copyright Act of Canada, the library will provide alternate format resources for print, digital, and multimedia materials from our collections, as well as personal materials, when requested by a user with a perceptual disability. These services are all free of charge, and subject to the conditions outlined below.

In the Copyright Act, a perceptual disability is defined as a disability that prevents or inhibits a person from reading or hearing a literary, musical, dramatic, or artistic work in its original format, and includes such a disability resulting from:

  • severe or total impairment of sight or hearing or the inability to focus or move one's eyes,
  • the inability to hold or manipulate a book, or
  • an impairment relating to comprehension

When feasible we provide:

  • Documents converted from print using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software.
  • Braille, DOCX, PDF, or computer-generated MP3 formats of library-created materials or materials that are part of the library's collection.
  • Captions and/or transcriptions for multimedia resources (e.g., sound recordings, and videos).*

Alternate format requests made under section 32(1) of the Copyright Act are not limited to a specific percentage of a work.

Requesting Alternate Formats

To request alternate formats of texts and media in any of the library's collections, as well as personal materials, complete the Library Resource Alternate-Format Request Form.

Omni Catalogue Content

Library staff are developing a workflow that will enable library users to request an accessible electronic version of a book or journal article directly through the Omni catalogue. In the meantime, follow the instructions above for requesting alternate format materials. Please note that the library will only be able to provide alt-format copies of content that the user is authorized to view and access - some items are only accessible to UG users.

Interlibrary Loan Content

Request the resource through interlibrary loan. Once the books arrives, follow the instructions above for requesting alternate format materials.

Personal Print and Multimedia Resources

Library Accessibility Services (LAS) will create alternate format versions of personal copies of print and multimedia resources that are required for research purposes by current U of G students, faculty, and staff. For multimedia resources such as audio and video files, we may refer you to tools such as Microsoft Stream, Zoom, or YouTube that have free auto-captioning, editing, and transcription tools.

Receiving Your Alternate Formats  

Your request will be processed by Library Accessibility Services ( LAS will fulfill your request within 7 to 10 business days. If we cannot meet this timeframe, we will contact you. 


Declaration of a Perceptual Disability

Before receiving an alternative format, you must confirm that you have a perceptual disability. See the Library Resource Alternate-Format Request Form.

Personal, Non-Commercial Use Only

Alternate formats provided by the library are intended for your personal, non-commercial use. Further copying, sharing, or distributing of these materials may require the permission of the copyright owner.

Commercial Availability

We will not create an accessible or alternate copy of a print, digital or multimedia resource if a commercial version is available in an appropriate format

Reproduction Quality of Digitized Materials

Alternate formats created using optical character recognition software will only be proof-read prior to delivery if requested, and if your request meets the following criteria:

  1. The resource is required for your academic research
  2. You have a visual impairment

Producing Library Materials in Braille

We will create a braille version of a library resource for current individuals with perceptual disabilities if the material is required for academic research and if the request is feasible (see the ‘Feasibility of Requests’ section below). If the Library is closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, the requestor can arrange curbside pick-up or mail delivery of this material.

Archival & Special Collections

Archival and special collections materials will be considered on a case-by-case basis depending on the feasibility of the request. The decision about whether and how much of an archival resource can be digitized and converted into an alternate format depends on the age, condition, format, size, and donor restrictions of the original material.

Video Rights Holder Permission*

Since cinematographic works (i.e., video) are not covered by 32(1) of the Copyright Act, library staff must seek permission from the video rights holder to add captions to a video. If the rights holder turns down the request or does not reply, an audio transcription will be provided to the requestor in lieu of video captions.

Feasibility of Requests

While the library is committed to providing alternate format copies for the U of G community, it isn't always feasible to do so. Reasons fulfilling your request may not be feasible may include:

  • Staff time required to produce the alternate format
  • Cost of producing the alternate format
  • Technological limitations
  • Turnaround time requested
  • Condition of the original
  • Format of the original

If your request for an alternate format copy of a resource cannot be granted, we will contact you with the decision and the reason within three business days.

Electronic Resources and Digital Rights Management (DRM)

Assistive software users may encounter problems interacting with some electronic book and journal database content in the library's collection that employ DRM. If this occurs, users may need to ask the publisher directly for access to an accessible version of the document or accessible interface in which to view it (i.e., the library may not be able to request an accessible version on the user's behalf). In some cases, this may require a valid U of G login and password. In this event the library will assist by providing relevant company contact information. If the content is something you need for academic research, please contact us at

The library is committed to ensuring that members of our user community with disabilities have equal access to our services and resources and that their dignity and independence is always respected. If you encounter a barrier and/or need an alternate format, please fill out our Library Print and Multimedia Alternate-Format Request Form. Contact us if you’d like to provide feedback: