Access content in alternative formats

Request alternative formats for learning

Students can access learning materials in different formats, and use tools to convert files to other formats.

Items on your reading list

To find a module reading list, enter the module title or code in the reading lists system, or use the reading list link on the module page in Moodle. Reading lists have links to e-resources if available.

Check the Moodle module page to see if an item has already been scanned and added to the course documentation.

Online material

Access specific items that aren't on your reading list:

  • Check LibrarySearch.
  • Enter the title of the book or the search terms, such as social work - leave the default filter options as Everything.
  • This gives a list of all electronic and physical resources such as journals, books, web pages, etc.
  • To filter results electronic items only: select Full Text from the right-hand menu (under the Limit by heading).
  • To refine by resource type: select a format such as journals or books from the right-hand menu (under the Source Type heading).

When you find the resource you need, remember you can convert it to a more accessible format using SensusAccess

Permission to copy

Anytime you make a copy of someone else's work, you need to check you're not breaching copyright restrictions. There's provision within copyright law for making full text copies of works if it's for someone with a print disability.  

Copyright: conditions of use

You can make an accessible copy if:

  • you own the copyright (eg, it's your own work)
  • you have permission from the copyright holder
  • the copyright has expired
  • it's for someone with a print disability.

If so you need to agree that:

  • the copy won't be shared with others
  • you can't find a commercially available version in an appropriate format
  • you abide by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, Section 31A (Disabled persons: copies of works for personal use).

Contact us for copyright advice:

Find out more about copyright exceptions for disability.

Still can't get access?

If you can't get access with the above steps, try the following:

  • Request the item as an electronic resource from the library liaison team
  • Check LibrarySearch to see if it's available as a print copy, then create an electronic copy using the advice in the rest of this guide.

The Alternative Formats Service

The Accessible Information Team run the Alternative Formats service. This supports students with a print disability to obtain alternative formats of learning materials. To get this support, you need to have an eligible print disability and register with Student Support and Wellbeing (SSW). Your advisor in SSW will create an Inclusive Learning Plan (ILP) and refer you to the Accessible Information Team. They will offer you an appointment to discuss your requirements and provide access to services like RNIB Bookshare.

Using the RNIB Bookshare

The Accessible Information Team will create an account for you on RNIB Bookshare By accessing this account, you agree that these resources are only to be used for your own educational, non-commercial purposes and you will not share them with anyone else. 

Check your RNIB Bookshare account throughout the year, as new titles are being added all the time.  

  • Go to RNIB Bookshare and log in with details given to you by our team
  • Search for the title/ISBN of the book and follow the on-screen process
  • For help using RNIB Bookshare email the Accessible Information Team
  • You can only download books that you have legal access to through the University, check the library catalogue to confirm that the University owns a print copy.

Requests to publishers

Sometimes we need to go directly to publishers for files, which we then either email to you or share on OneDrive (if files are too large to email). 

Sometimes we need to create a scan of a copy of the book from the library. 

If you need to request a book that you cannot find on RNIB Bookshare, please complete our online form: Requests for students on the Alternative Formats Service. 

Requesting books from publishers and scanning books can take a long time. If you need it urgently, let us know so we can prioritise it.


  For more help and advice, please email

Last updated