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Library Accessibility Services

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

Text to Speech

The library's databases present articles and abstracts in two different formats: PDF or HTML. HTML articles may be read by read aloud software very easily. PDFs can present some issues. PDF accessibility depends on how the articles were scanned. In some cases, security features (to prevent the document from being altered) may interfere with PDF accessibility.

Adobe Acrobat Reader

Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat both have a read aloud feature. This feature will allow pdfs that are ADA accessible to be read out loud for patrons.

NOTE: The absolute best way to make use of Adobe's accessibility features is to use Adobe in conjunction with your assistive technology screen reader software.

To turn the read aloud feature on in PCs:

  • Open the pdf.
  • Go to the View option at the top of the screen and select Read Out Loud and then scroll down to the last option listed called, Activate Read Out Loud.
  • Click on the screen to begin reading.

To turn the read aloud feature on in Macs:

  • Open the pdf.
  • Go to the Edit option at the top of the screen and select Speech and then select the option, Start Speaking.
  • Reader will start automatically.

To pause, select a specific section, or read to the end of the document, select view, the read out loud option, and then the appropriate option (pause, etc.).


The list of Library databases in the box below provide text-to-speech capabilities. In other words, they allow users to listen to an audio version of an article or e-book. Note that the audio files in databases are "machine read" and therefore do not demonstrate the natural voice or inflection of a human narrator.

The NU Library and the databases do not take responsibility for the accuracy, reliability or completeness of any audio file.

Databases with Text-to-Speech

Credo Reference allows you to listen to or download the MP3 of articles by clicking on the Read Aloud icon in the white toolbar above the article.

Screenshot showing the Credo Reference "Read Aloud" feature.

Although Ebook Central isn’t officially certified for text-to-speech, limited functionality may be available online. For downloaded PDFs and EPUB, assistive technology typically reads whatever metadata or alternative text is provided by the publisher and tagged to be associated with the image or chart. We provide accessibility guidelines to our publishing partners to obtain the most accessible files possible.

The Accessibility section of the Ebook Central LibGuide provides an overview of our accessibility support, a short video to demonstrate accessibility, and links to more detailed documentation including our VPAT and WCAG checklist.

All of the EBSCOhost databases listed below have a read aloud feature for HTML articles that may be manually activated. Note that this option is not available for every article, only those with HTML full text. To activate the read aloud feature, follow the steps below.

  • Choose the HTML Full Text option. The Listen icon appears on the Tools list just under the title of the article.
  • You may select three different accents and reading speeds
  • To pause the reading, click on the pause button.

List of NU EBSCO databases with the Read Aloud Feature:

  • Academic Search Complete
  • AHFS Consumer Medication Information
  • Alt HealthWatch
  • APA PsycBooks
  • APA PsycINFO
  • Business Source Complete
  • CINAHL Complete
  • Education Research Complete
  • GreenFILE
  • Health and Psychosocial Instruments (HAPI)
  • Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition
  • International Security & Counter Terrorism Reference Center
  • MEDLINE Complete
  • Mental Measurements Yearbook with Tests in Print
  • OmniFile Full Text Select
  • Regional Business News
  • SPORTDiscus with Full Text
  • Teacher Reference Center

For additional information about EBSCO text-to-speech see the instructional guide here:

Screenshot showing the Listen feature in EBSCOhost.

On the article's page, the "Listen" icon appears above the article title if audio is available. Click on "Listen" to begin play. Alternatively, you may click on the "Download" link in the toolbox on the right to download an MP3 file of the audio of the article. See detailed instructions below.

To hear a document read aloud, click or tap Listen to expand the player and begin playback.

Change the Settings

On the Listen player, you can adjust the reading speed and customize other Settings. By default, the text is highlighted as it is being read.

Download the Document as an Audio File

To download an audio file of the document, use the Download MP3 tool on the Listen player. Download MP3 is also available under Tools.

Listen to Part of the Document

  1. Select the text that you want to hear read (ignore the Highlight pop-up).
  2. Click or tap Listen

To reset the player, close the player (click or tap the Close Player arrows) or refresh the page. You can then select a different portion of the text or listen to the entire document. The amount of selected text that the audio player will read aloud depends on your web browser and operating system.

Screenshot showing the Listen feature in Gale.