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Library Accessibility Services

This guides provides details about accessibility options at National University Library.

Screen Readers and PDFs

Adobe Acrobat supports assistive software and devices, such as screen readers and screen magnifiers that enable visually impaired users to interact with computer applications. When assistive software and devices are in use, Acrobat adds temporary tags to open PDFs to improve their readability.

When using a screen reader, you can change your reading settings for the current document by choosing Tools > Accessibility > Change Reading Options.

For more information about using screen readers, see Accessing PDF Documents with Assistive Technology: A Screen Reader User's Guide.

Screen Readers and Library Databases

Most Library databases are designed to be usable with screen reader technology. However, database content was created by outside vendors, some of which were not designed with accessibility in mind. Further, each screen reader works and interacts with databases differently. Many databases provide additional instructions as to how one may maximize use of their databases in screen-reader mode. Those instructions are included below. For further information, please contact the Library.

Database Screen Reader Instructions

Before entering the database, it is necessary to accept the terms and conditions. JAWS reads these automatically. Once heard you can press tab to highlight ‘I accept the above terms’ then enter. The default is to search The ACM Digital Library rather than The Guide, which is correct, but the search box on the homepage is labelled as The Guide Edit. If your links list your search results, the article title appears first, followed by the full text in PDF and sometimes HTML format.

View the HTML version if available as the PDF files are often without headings and therefore hard to navigate. Before you can download any full text item, you will need to disable your pop up blocker as full text opens in a new window. Use Adobe Reader to convert the PDF, although it still may not read in a linear way. Articles can also be converted to a more accessible format using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) equipment.

Customers with disabilities who experience difficulty using the ACM website, please contact us using the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) Accessibility Contact Form or email us directly at:

Credo Reference incorporates many features into its design for screen readers, such as the ability to skip over the navigation links when reading results, so that it is not repetitive. Here is a summary of the controls:

  • Tab - move forward through each link or form element
  • Shift-Tab - move backwards through the links
  • Spacebar - toggles the check when focus is on a checkbox
  • Up and down arrows - change selection when focus is on a selection list
  • Left and right arrows - move back and forth between radio buttons in a radio button group

For more information, see Tips for using Credo with a screenreader.

Ebook Central offers a special screen-readable accessibility mode for use with text-to-speech screen readers. Ebook Central is officially certified on JAWS & IE, and VoiceOver & Safari. Accessibility mode is supported on computers (both desktop and laptop), but not on tablets or mobile devices. Patrons are empowered to turn on accessibility functionality themselves with their screen reader – no librarian or tech support is needed.

For additional information, please see the support article Ebook Central: Accessibility Mode for Screen Readers.

Please contact the Ebook Support team to request accessibility mode if you cannot enable it directly using your screen reader or via your account settings.

Many pages have additional assistance tips for screen reader users in the Introductory Text at the top of each page. Please read this information and follow instructions for improved navigation.

Access the database, enter your search terms and press Enter to conduct the search. The resulting references are listed so that the Add to folder option appears after the title of the article it relates to.

Full text is provided in HTML or PDF or in some cases both formats. Use the HTML version when available. If only a PDF is provided and you are using JAWS, use Adobe Reader 7.0 to convert the article, but it will not always read in a linear fashion. If full text is not available in EBSCOhost, you can click the ArticleLinker button to check for availability in another library database. Add the references you are interested in to a folder and opt to list them, then if you use links list in JAWS, the email, print and save to disk options are towards the bottom of the list. To carry out another search choose the Advanced Search link.

EBSCOhost has been fully tested to allow users to navigate the web interface with only a keyboard. You may also be able to use the access keys listed below. There are problems navigating an individual record using Internet Explorer, making it difficult to return to your results. You are advised to use the links to full text etc. provided in the results list or use Firefox instead.

Access Keys:

Depending on your operating systems you will need to press Ctrl or Alt and 1, 2, or 3. The numbers permit you to do the following:

  • Access key 1 – Skip Navigation to Result Lists
  • Access key 2 – Search
  • Access key 3 – Main Navigation toolbar

For more information on searching EBSCO databases with JAWS, visit Accessibility Information for EBSCO Interfaces.

This database is complex and uses frames. For keyboard users it is recommended that you use F6 and SHIFT+F6 to move between the frames. There are a few drop-down boxes that refresh the screen as soon as you use the arrow key to move to the next option when using Internet Explorer. To open the drop down box and then select the option you want, press ALT+ DOWN ARROW, select your preferred option using UP and DOWN ARROW and then press ENTER to activate it. The search results pages have five frames. Listed below are the headings of each frame with a brief explanation of what they cover:

  • Global Navigation Frame enables you to go back to the LexisLibrary start page
  • Results Navigation Frame allows you to manipulate your references by changing the sort order, email and save them etc.
  • Results Classification Frame separates and groups the results under type of publication
  • Right Side Frame can be ignored
  • Results Content Frame lists your results

Please email Nexis Uni at for general questions about accessibility.

If you are using Internet Explorer and want to specify date ranges in Advanced Search use ALT + DOWN ARROW to open the Date Range combo box and use the up and down arrows to move through the options. Press enter to choose the appropriate date range, which may then open another box for you to enter the date details. If you don't access the combo box this way JAWS is confused when the additional date range boxes are automatically generated as you move through the options and stops reading. This does not happen with Firefox. Choose Full Text, rather than Full Text - PDF, where available. Once you are in Full Text, select level heading 2, to move straight to the full text.

For additional information, see the ProQuest Accessibility Directory.

Contact ProQuest Technical Support if you have difficulty accessing ProQuest content with adaptive technology. They are able to process 3 documents per request and will respond within 3 days with remediated content or let you know if additional time is required or remediation is not possible.

To access the Quick Search box, list Form Fields and select "for more information Edit". You can tab to the "SAGE Content Available to me" radio button to narrow your search to full text content. However, please note that while only those journals subscribed to will be searched, access to the backfile of a journal (often before 1999) may not be available, but articles from those years are still included in search results. References are listed in the order article title, reference details, short summary, check box, then links to Abstract, Full text (PDF), References, Table of Contents and Matchmaker (finds similar articles). All full text is in pdf format, which is not tagged and needs to be converted using Adobe Reader.

Article titles are not linked, so the two following methods may help you access results more easily. If you list the Form Fields on the page you will be able to hear the article titles as they have been attached to the relevant check box. Press Enter to check the box and move to that article title on the page. Select the plus key on the number keypad to change to virtual pc cursor mode. Choose to read the page and you will hear the article title, check box and links to Abstract, Full Text (PDF) etc. Alternatively check the boxes for the articles you are interested in, list Form Fields and choose first, "Add to My Marked Citations" then "View/Edit My Marked Citations" and press Enter. Your selected citations will display on one page and the article titles are listed as Heading Level 3. Choose the article you are interested in and you will hear the article title, reference details, links to Abstract, Full Text (PDF) and References, followed by the abstract.

If you browse to a journal issue, the articles are in the format: check box, author name, article title, journal title and links to Abstract, PDF and References. You can listen to the article titles by listing the Form Fields on the page, as they have been attached to the relevant check box. As mentioned in the previous paragraph move to the article title and change to virtual pc cursor to access the relevant PDF link.

Rather than using the Quick search option on the ScienceDirect home page, go to the search page so you can narrow your search more easily. To access this page list the links on the page and choose Search, which appears between Browse and Abstract Databases.

There are 6 search forms on the search page and you need to use the Journals Search Form to obtain articles. The database may default to search using this form, if it doesn't you can access it by the listing the links on the page. If you are already in the Journals Search Form, it will not appear on the list of links.

Once you have carried out a search the article titles are listed as links on the results page. The Summary Plus, Full Text and Links and PDF options are available after the information about the article. Check boxes are provided before the article reference details.

Use the Full Text and Links option to read the article full text. The PDF is untagged and needs to be converted using Adobe Reader.

For additional information, see the Elsevier Web Accessibility page.

Search results are listed in order of relevance rather than date. If you list the links on the page you will hear In the last week, In the last two weeks etc. These will take you to the references added within these time periods, and after each link there will be a number telling you how many references are available. The article title provides a link to the abstract and full text options, which is usually PDF only. If you list the links on the page the PDF link reads as Entire Document and HTML, if available as Open Full Text. The PDF is untagged and needs to be converted using Adobe Reader. Sometimes when HTML full text appears to be available only a link to the abstract is provided.

If you would like to request accessibility-related assistance, report any accessibility problems, or request any information in accessible alternative formats, please use one of the methods on the contact us page.

To help assist you with any issues you have, it is recommended that you read the WAI’s Contacting Organisations about Inaccessible Websites, and provide the information advised in your request.

The default is to search all Web of Knowledge databases. To just search Web of Science choose the Select a Database link and then the Web of Science link. You will search all citation indexes unless you deselect any, by going to the [Change limits and settings] link. Results are displayed in the order check box, reference number, title (as a link) and further reference details. To check a box, list the links on the page, move to an article title (move to link) and then select shift plus X to move to the check box for that article.

Before using Wiley screen reader, users need to ensure they have done the following to be able to read the full text. In Adobe Reader 8, open the Document menu and select Accessibility Setup Assistant. Click on Next until the fifth screen and ensure that the last option "Display PDF documents in the web browser" is not checked.

Access the basic search box on the home page by listing the Form Fields on the page and then "Enter words or phrases edit". A link to Advanced Search enables you to narrow a search by product type (journal or book). You can also browse by subject or product type. Search results are displayed in the format article title, journal title, reference details, author name then links to Abstract, References and PDF (full text). The article title is not provided as a link and not all articles are available in full text. Full text is not provided on Wiley if you are taken to a page with the heading Access article, Options for accessing this content. If you have conducted a search, you can read the article or chapter titles by listing the Form Fields on the page. If you browse you will not have this option and will need to read the page linearly.

If you right click on a PDF link and save target as, it will be saved as HTML, but open in Adobe Reader.

Should you experience any difficulty in accessing Wiley Online Library, please contact us.

WorldCat defaults to a screen with a single search box and a drop down or combo box to select a subject or database to search within. The option to Jump to Advanced Search is not accessible to screen reader users because the drop down or combo box will not allow you to scroll through the list of databases and then make a choice. To access Basic and Advanced Search options, choose the link List all Databases and the link for the database you wish to search. You will be taken to the Advanced Search screen. This page also has a link to Basic Search.

If you have difficulty using WorldCat, or would like to make general comments, please contact us by:

  • Emailing us at
  • Calling Customer Support at +1-614-793-8682