Student Disability Resource Center

Photo of a study room at the SDRC

Alternative Text Services

The Alternative text (Alt–text) Services team at the SDRC is part of the Assistive Technology Lab department. We provide current students who qualify and have been approved for an Alt–text accommodation with access to school related texts in alternative formats. This includes required textbooks, assigned readings, instructor slide shows, and class handouts. Class notes and suggested reading/texts are not included in our Alt–text service. We try to provide the most accessible version of the materials as possible, depending on the source material.

NOTE: Materials are processed on a first come, first serve basis.

Alt–text materials can be requested in the following formats:

  • Braille: SDRC can emboss texts such as articles, quizzes, exams, and other school related documents. Please submit materials to be brailled well before you need them. Allow at least two business days for each Braille item requested.
  • DAISY: Digital Accessible Information System files are a combination of text and audio files. It offers navigational control to the content of the document through the navigation pane. There are a variety of DAISY readers ranging from PC programs such as Dolphin Easy Reader which SDRC supports, to stand–alone highly portable devices such as the VictorStream Reader.
  • doc and docx: Abbreviations for the word "document." It is the primary format for Microsoft Word. Standard software readers, like Jaws and Kurzweil, read these files easily.
  • PDF: Portable Document Format is an electronic format commonly used by Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat Pro. Adobe Reader can be downloaded onto your computer for free at the following website: http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html?promoid=BUIGO. This file can be read aloud using the read function in Adobe Reader. It provides alteration of pitch, voice and speed. PDF Read Aloud features can also be accessed through Read & Write Gold software. Adobe Pro is available on all computers in the lab.
  • txt/rtf: TXT is a file extension for files that consist of only text with little formatting. Files with a ".txt" extension are considered universal because they can be easily read or opened by any screen reader program that reads text. RTF, Rich Text Format, Is much like a txt file. It is compatible across multiple platforms. RTF can contain formatting such as underlining and bolding.

Finding and Requesting Alternative Text Materials

After your intake appointment, the Assistive Technology director will conduct a mandatory alt–text orientation and sign you up for services. During this orientation you will be shown how to access the resources available in the computer lab, as well as how to request textbooks and other materials required for your coursework.

Communication between you and the alt–text team is crucial in making sure you get what you need to access your course materials. Be on the lookout for emails from the alt–text team! And please let us know if you have dropped a course and/or will no longer need the material so we do not continue working on your books for that class.

  • The SDRC alt-text service is first come, first serve. Textbooks may be requested before you have purchased them. The best plan is to request books the same time you sign up for classes, or as soon as the class syllabus is available on BlackBoard. The sooner you request your books and materials, the faster we can provide them to you. Waiting until the second or third week of classes, when our team is at its busiest, could mean a significant delay in you getting an accessible text to use for studying.
  • Access the Alt Text Portal at SDRC at https://sdrc.intranet.fsu.edu. SharePoint is a closed–group site for students who qualify for alternative text services from the SDRC. This is where you sign up with your personal profile, submit requests for books, and download available books when they are ready. If you are unable to access the site because of your disability, let us know what accommodation you require in order to request the books.
  • You will be asked to sign in using your FLORIDA STATE ID. Once the site has opened, go to the sign up page by using the "Go to Alt–Text Forms" link. If you have not done so already, fill out and submit a "Profile" form.
  • Go back to the "Sign Up" page, and click on "Book Request Form." To complete the book request form, have the following information available for each of your textbooks: book name, book ISBN, book author, course number and section. You may request up to 10 books at the same time by clicking on "+Add Book."
  • You may attach a document such a class reading or book receipt at the bottom of the book request form.
  • To receive requested alt–text books from SDRC, you need to provide receipts proving you have purchased your required textbooks. Legally, we are only providing an accessible copy of materials you already own. Stop by the SDRC with the receipt for the materials you requested, or email a scan/photo to at_lab_sdrc@fsu.edu. We will not release books to you if we do not have a receipt from you for them.
    *No receipt necessary for instructor slide presentations, class readings, or other handouts.
    **You may not sell, share, loan, or give the accessible copy to anyone. They are for your use only!
  • The SDRC will send out an e–mail to your Florida State email address to notify you when the materials are available. You will be able to download them directly from SharePoint to your electronic device.

BookShare is a service that provides books and textbooks in accessible formats for those who qualify. You will be signed up for this service via FLORIDA STATE during your mandatory alt–text orientation. They have a huge archive of books available, so always check here first when looking for accessible versions of your course books. They also have a large variety of pleasure reading books.

A limited number of Individual memberships are also available through LearningAlly, which maintains an extensive audio–book library. Please ask if you need this accommodation.


Questions about Alternative Text Formatting should be directed to:

KimBoo York, Assistive Technology Coordinator
E-mail: kyork@fsu.edu
Office Phone: 850.644.9566

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