Answered By: Tom Rowley
Last Updated: Oct 08, 2019     Views: 316

Here you will find an Accessibility Guide to the various eBook readers we use here at BCU.

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

  • 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
  • Browser magnification increasing the entire screen to make text more visible
  • Keyboard navigation so that pages can be navigated without the use of a mouse
  • Formatted book content to be 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 at -


  • Ebsco test our 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. 


  • The online reader has been tested in the following ways:
  • 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 OS/X 10.10 (Yosemite) operating system on a Mac and OS/X 10.9;
  • 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 our 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:
  • Full control of ‘read out loud’ functionality
  • High contrast colours or custom colours
  • The ability to override the page display
  • Set the zoom preference
  • Always displays the keyboard selection cursor
  • Always uses the system selection colour
  • Show portfolio’s in Files mode


  • 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.

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