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Help with eBooks

How to use eBook readers.

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Expand the sections below to find more information on the Accessibility support each reader provides. For more information or individual assistance contact the Enablement and Wellbeing Team on +44 (0)121 331 7777 or send your queries online to iASK.

eBook Central

  • Is certified for use with major screen readers (JAWS for Windows and VoiceOver for Safari) for reading the contents of a web or ebook reader page aloud.
  • Includes browser magnification increasing the entire screen to make text more visible
  • Includes keyboard navigation so that pages can be navigated without the use of a mouse
  • Formatted book content is readable online and offline
  • 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
  •  Accessibility overview video.


  • Ebsco test their interface and content with the following screen reader/browser combinations:
  • JAWS + Internet Explorer 11
  • NVDA + Firefox
  • Other accessibility functions such as keyboard operability, colour contrast, etc. are tested in all browsers.
  • EBSCO's online reader provides books in two formats, PDF and EPUB. However, a range of screen readers should be able to read the ASCII text, when activated.
  • PDF format books have distinct pages, which allow for page-level citations. They have a fixed page size that may not work well on all devices or screen sizes/zoom levels.
  • EPUB books automatically resize to fit your screen, and are composed of HTML. This format works well with screen readers.
  • EBSCO do not regularly or officially test with Clarosoft, but if they are compatible with PDFs, and tools provided by the end-user, they should work.
Information for Low Vision Users
  • EBSCO interfaces have a responsive design that allows users with vision impairments to zoom in up to 200% without loss of functionality EBSCO’s company-wide design standards include requirements for minimum color contrast EBSCO’s eBook viewer has been tested with color inversion tools.The online book viewer for EBSCO eBooks allows users to Zoom content in further than 200%. EPUB content is “reflowable” (meaning it adjusts to the screen size/zoom level) and works particularly well for users with vision impairments
  • EBSCO’s eBook viewer has been tested with screen magnifiers such as ZoomText and MAGic Information for Color Vision-Impaired Users
  • EBSCO’s company-wide design standards include requirements for minimum color contrast, including for color vision impairments
  • EBSCO eBooks’ software development process uses tools to validate color contrast Information for Users with Dyslexia
  • EBSCO interfaces use web fonts that are known to work well for dyslexic users
  • EBSCO eBooks works in a limited capacity with Text to Speech tools. Known limitations exist for books with copy/paste restricted by the publisher, where the Text to Speech tool requires selecting text. There are also known limitations with DRM-protected content. DRM readers such as Adobe Digital Editions may not work well with Text to Speech tools when content is downloaded. Downloaded Books in EPUB format allow for changing fonts (using third party tools) that are optimized for dyslexia
Information for Deaf Users
  • EBSCO eBooks does not contain audio or video content so deaf users have access to the full range of content included in any EBSCO eBook.


  • On the left hand side under the BCU logo you will see Edit Accessibility Settings
  • Read & Write Gold - This software has OCR capability which enables the eBook to be read via the online reader or via download through Adobe Digital Editions.
  • Claro Read - Download the eBook to Adobe Digital Editions to enable this software to perform. This is not compatible with the online reader.
  • JAWS - Download the eBook to Adobe Digital Editions to enable this software to perform. This is not compatible with the online reader.
  • NVDA - Download the eBook to Adobe Digital Editions to enable this software to perform. This is not compatible with the online reader.


    Dawson's online reader has been tested in the following ways:
  • They have tested the latest version of JAWS using IE11 on a machine using Windows 7 and the latest NVDA screen reader using the most recent latest Firefox browser on a machine using Windows 7.
  • Voiceover to perform screen reading using the IOS 8 operating system using an iPhone, iPad Air and iPad Mini.
  • Content is received from publishers in both PDF and ePub format. Upon ingestion into their online reader, the OCR process extracts the text from the PDF file and indexes it, so that it can be used for full text searching within the eBook as well as ensuring that the text can be copied from the reader and pasted into an external document (MS Word). The online reader is image based, however as described above, all text has been extracted and is made available within the browser and is accessible to screen readers and native voice over applications within the major browsers.
  • In regard to a downloaded copy of our eBooks, the PDF file is provided to the user and they have full control of a host of accessibility options including:
  • Offers full control of ‘read out loud’ functionality.
  • High contrast colours or custom colours are available.
  • Offers the ability to override the page display.
  • You can set the zoom preference.
  • It always displays the keyboard selection cursor.
  • It always uses the system selection colour.
  • It shows portfolios in Files mode.

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