Reader Services provides alternative text (hereafter referred to as "alt text") to students for course materials such as textbooks or coursepacks.
The Purpose of Alt Text
Because text most often comes in the form of ink on paper, not all users are able to access all of the information. Alternatives must be provided by LCC in those situations where an accessible format cannot be acquired independently by students.
For instance, a blind user may require text to be converted into Braille, a dyslexic user may require text simultaneous aural and visual access to text, or a user without the ability to physically manipulate the text may require the text to be converted into an electronic format.
Types of Alt Text
Alt text comes in many varieties and must often be customized for its user. Some of the formats provided by Reader Services are described below:
Often shortened to just e-text, electronic text is text that has been converted or created for use on electronic devices such as computers, phones, tablets, or handheld readers for the blind.
E-text comes in many formats itself, including DOC, PDF, EPUB, and websites (HTML). Each format presents its own accessibility challenge, but they all share the key feature of being accessible to computers. This seemingly small feature allows computers and the computer users (you!) to do amazing things with the text, including:
- Select, copy, and paste text.
- Utilize voice synthesis to have the computer read text aloud.
- Enlarge, shrink, stretch, or deform the text in other ways.
- Index the text for quick searching.
- Explicitly differentiate different kinds of text (e.g. headings vs. paragraphs).
- Move around the text using a keyboard.
Braille is a tactile writing system that uses a system of raised dots within rectangular cells to represent letters and characters. A special machine is required to write Braille to special paper, and this process must be manually completed.
Tactile graphics, like Braille, are a way for visually impaired users to feel information with their hands. But unlike Braille, tactile graphics are used to represent images, graphs, charts, and other visual information rather than textual information.
Text enlargement is the process of increasing the size of text, images, or graphics to make it more readable. This is often done for individuals with low-vision when no other option is readily available.
How to Request Alt Text
In order to be eligible for alt text of any kind, the following conditions must be true.
- You must be an LCC student.
- You must meet with a CSA consultant to discuss your needs. This can be done as often as you like, but at least once every three semesters.
- A CSA consultant must approve your alt text accommodation.
- You must agree to the PDF FileAlt Text Terms of Service.
If all of the above are true, feel free to fill out our online alt text request form for each book that you need.
Once you have turned in your alt text forms and other requested materials, Reader Services will begin processing your alt text request.
The Center for Student Access