Accessibility of Google Books

A little-known nifty thing about Google Books is that books already digitized via GB, whether in copyright or not, can be made available to students with visual disabilities. More inside scoop on the MBooks project at the BLT blog and at the MBooks accessibility page.

We now have a system in place for students with visual impairments to use MBooks [i.e. the digitized collection] in much the same way. Once a student registers with OSSD, any time she checks out a book already digitized by Google, she will automatically receive an email with a URL. Once the student selects the link, she is asked to login. The system checks whether the student is registered with OSSD as part of this program, and whether she has checked out this particular book. If the student passes both of those tests, she will get access to the entire full-text of the book, whether it is in copyright or not, in an interface that is optimized for use with screen readers. Currently, this system is available to UM students with visual impairments. We are investigating the possibility of including students with learning disabilities as well.

5 thoughts on “Accessibility of Google Books

  1. Thanks for the mention! Just to clarify one point… It’s not a nifty thing Google Books is doing – it’s a nifty thing the University of Michigan Library is doing with the materials scanned by Google.

  2. So this is limited to UMICH students only right?

  3. The MBooks system is open to anyone. It’s only the extra service of providing full-text of materials still in copyright that is currently restricted to University of Michigan Students who register via the Services for Students with Disabilities office. There may be options for expanding this in the future.

  4. Let’s hear it for little victories!
    I hope the quality of the scans will make the content usable enough since, as I understand it, there is no human intervention during the production process.
    Some may be interested in this article which speaks to Google Books’ accessibility, rather than to this special effort made by University of Michigan
    First Step in Adding Accessibility to Google Books–Was It Enough?

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