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Electronic Resources Guide

This guide provides linking information for electronic resources..

Getting Started

This page provides information on the accessibility of Davidson's popular subscribed and purchased electronic materials. See below for specifics on what publishers and vendors are doing to ensure the accessibility of their resources. If you are looking for further information on the accessibility of our resources, please contact Kelly Denzer, Collections Strategist and Discovery Librarian, at

Elements of this page are adapted with permission from Webster University Library

Accessible Design
If you encounter this icon in our A-Z Database List, it means the vendor/publisher is designing its resources to comply with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, or offers flexible licensing terms that allow the library to expand equitable access for persons with disabilities.

Formats and Screen Readers

The library's databases present electronic resources in different formats: PDF, EPUB, or HTML.

  • HTML allows materials to be read by read-aloud software very easily.
  • PDFs can present some issues. PDFs are not as versatile. Font size cannot be adjusted for screen size. PDF accessibility depends on how the articles were scanned. In some cases, security features (to prevent the document from being altered) may interfere with a PDFs accessibility.
  • EPUB format is best as screen size will not affect the formatting, it automatically resizes to fit the screen of the device being used, whether it is a computer screen or phone.  The library also chooses to purchase ebooks in EPUB format when available. It is a freely available standard supported by a majority of eReaders and reading apps.

Screen readers allow individuals with impaired vision to interact with text on a screen with a speech synthesizer or braille display. The American Foundation for the Blind provides useful information on screen readers on their website. Read More

Web extensions for Chrome and Firefox allow users to evaluate web content for accessibility. WAVE browser extension is a useful tool that can evaluate any web page, including intranet, or password protected content. Read More and download

Accessiblity and Electronic Resources

For more information on the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the US Government Section 508 Standards, and W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, please see this website:

When designing web based or other electronic resources for your course, there are guidelines to follow for best practices. Generally, Word documents, PowerPoint Presentations, Excel spreadsheets, and PDFs created from any of these Microsoft Office documents can be made accessible for the majority of readers. Other important guidelines include:

  • Use Sans Serif fonts (e.g. Arial, Calbri)
  • Use at least 12 point font
  • Choose effective color contrast and avoid these color combos: red/blue, red/green, dark green/black/blue/black, shades of gray or tan.  A useful tool to confirm optimum color contrast is the Paciello Colour Contrast Analyser.
  • When conveying meaning, use of combination of color and italics.

JPG, PNG, and other image types (including image-only PDFs) are not accessible to screen readers.  Use alt-text or describe the image with text.

Library Resources and Accessiblity

Cambridge University Press Cambridge Core Collection Accessibility Guide

Screen reader friendly. Listen to most of the website using a screen reader (including the most recent versions of JAWS, NVDA and VoiceOver). Navigate most of the website using just a keyboard

Increase font size. Zoom in up to 300% without the text spilling off the screen.

Text to speech. Use text to speech tools to read out website content in both PDF and HTML format (e.g. ClaroRead for Chrome browser). Text to speech tools are built into some browsers (e.g. Microsoft Edge) and are available as a plug-in for many others. Your phone, tablet or laptop accessibility settings are also likely to provide text to speech functionality.

The absence of Digital Rights Management software on our platform means assistive technology users should experience no barriers caused by print or copy restrictions – however normal copyright conditions still apply and can be found in our terms of use [Opens in a new window].

EBSCO eBook Collection Accessibility Guide

Screen reader friendly. As noted in the EBSCO accessiblity guide linked above, interface and content is tested with several screen reader/browser combinations.

Most full book downloads require Adobe Digital Editions reader. Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) can be used with Voiceover, NVDA, and JAWS, and offers other accessibility features such as high contrast mode and full keyboard support. There is more information available on commands for screen readers in the help book that downloads by default with ADE 4.5.

Increase font size.  The online book viewer for EBSCO eBooks allows users to Zoom content beyond 200%. EPUB content is “reflowable” (meaning it adjusts to the screen size/zoom level) and works particularly well for users with vision impairments. Downloaded Books in EPUB format allow for changing fonts (using third party tools) that are optimized for dyslexia.

Text to Speech capabilities. 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. EBSCO recommends using downloaded chapters or page ranges, which are DRM-free.

EBSCOHost Database for articles and abstracts

EBSCOHost is fully functional for visually-impaired users. The EBSCOHost platform meets and in many cases exceeds section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards. Additionally, EBSCOHost is WCAG 2.0 Level A compliant.

Elsevier Accessibility Guide

ScienceDirect aspires to meet all guidelines established by the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0  and the U.S. Section 508 Standards  of the Federal Rehabilitation Act, as well as similar standards enacted by countries around the globe.

For a detailed review of how ScienceDirect supports of each of the WCAG 2.0 and Section 508 criteria, please refer to our Voluntary Product Assessment Template (VPAT) document.

Gale Databases Guide

Gale is committed to making its products accessible to users of all abilities and strives to make products universally accessible and user-friendly in conformance with Section 508 standards of the Rehabilitation Act and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Through the efforts of dedicated Product, User Experience and Development teams, feedback from libraries and users, and the extension of accessibility testing to include both automated and manual testing, Gale has an ongoing commitment to make its products universally accessible and user-friendly. For accessibility documentation see the Gale VPAT Statement

To learn more about the recent Gale platform enhancements and accessibility, please visit the Gale Platform Accessibility Update.

JSTOR Accessibility Guide

Screen reader friendly. As noted in the JSTOR accessibility guide linked above, JSTOR resources are accessible through screen readers. Headings, labels to interactive elements, and proper reading order make information available to assistive technology. Navigate the website using just a keyboard.

Increase font size. Zoom in at least 200%. Text will adjust so it can be presented without loss of information or functionality. Resize text, adjust text spacing, and color contrast is available.

JSTOR is a provider of 3rd party content. See this VPAT statement for further information on accessibility.

Oxford University

Wherever possible, the site meets Conformance level A (Priority 2) of the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). We have tried to avoid the use of non-W3C formats, and have run Bobby validation for Priority 2 accessibility. Where we have not been able to make a particular feature more accessible, we have tried to ensure that it degrades gracefully.

Project Muse Accessibility Statement

Project MUSE is committed to creating products that are fully accessible to all users, regardless of their physical challenges. To this end, we strive to conform to the AA level of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 and EN 301 549 Accessibility Standard, and to follow the technical specifications of Section 508 of the US Rehabilitation Act, including the updated standards released in January 2017.

ProQuest Ebook Central eBook Accessibility Guide

Screen reader friendly. As noted in the ProQuest accessibility guide linked above, Ebook Central tested using the latest version of screen reader and browser combinations.

Increase font size. Zoom in up to 300% without text spilling off screen using built-in browser features (e.g. CTRL +/- for PCs and Command +/- for Macs). Browsers offer add-ons, plugins, or extensions as well; Firefox offers the NoSquint addon and Chrome users can enable Zoomy for webpage magnification.

Text to Speech capabilities. People with dyslexia or different language backgrounds or people trying to multitask may benefit from listening to text. Ebook Central does not offer an embedded text-to-speech tool, but text to speech is available through browsers or digital devices, including the Edge browser; and as a plug-in for Chrome, FireFox and Opera.

SAGE Accessibility Guide

SAGE produces all books in Epub2 and Epub3, with only a few exceptions.  Their Epub3 content incorporates MathML as well as navigational and structural tagging, indicates reading order, and is compatible with many text-to-speech and magnification tools.  It is optimized for performance in the Firefox browser with the free NVDA screen reader. DRM varies by product, platform, content format, and distribution channel. SAGE endeavors to enforce a light DRM footprint.

Link here for the SAGE Data Planet Accessibility Toolkit

Taylor and Francis Accessibility Guide

Taylor & Francis has chosen to complete the International version of The Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) which encompasses Section 508 (US), EN 301 549 (EU) and WCAG2.1 for its products. The VPAT is a document which evaluates how accessible a product is. It is a self-disclosing document produced by the vendor which details each aspect of WCAG 2.1 requirements and how the product supports each criterion. Taylor & Francis publishes the majority of its new titles, and many older titles, in accessible eBook formats (mostly ePub3, but also PDF/UA) either for individual purchase or on platforms suitable for institutions.

Taylor & Francis Online has introduced a new feature offering an innovative text to audio option for all journal content, enriching their content for all online users, while making it more accessible to a wider range of readers. The introduction of Readspeaker allows logged-in users on Taylor & Francis Online to select the journal article they are looking for and listen to it via audio, simply by highlighting or hovering over specific sections, or by pressing play to listen to the entire article from start to finish.


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Mailing Address: Davidson College - E.H. Little Library, 209 Ridge Road, Box 5000, Davidson, NC 28035