Eresource accessibility tools

We have online access to many Library resources, including ebooks, journal articles, databases, and more. This page provides information about tools which can be used to make our eresources more accessible.

The tools and features available may depend on which platform the eresource is available on. By platform we mean the website which hosts the resource. Sometimes we have the same resource available from multiple platforms, but often it will only be available from one platform.


Accessibility tools

Can I access Read Aloud functionality for eresources?

Read Aloud while reading online

For many platforms, you can use browser features to have the text of the webpage read aloud.

  • In Microsoft Edge, use the built-in Read Aloud tool. Look for the icon at the top of the page with a capital A and sound waves, or use the shortcut Ctrl + Shift + U to start. You can adjust the speed of the speech and also choose from different voices and accents.
  • In Google Chrome, try the 'Read Aloud' extension which can be added from the Chrome Web Store. You can adjust the pitch and speed of the speech.

These tools sometimes work less well if platforms have embedded ereaders. In these cases, try to download a PDF if available.

Read Aloud from a PDF

If you can download a PDF, try these options:

  • Use Microsoft Edge to open the PDF and use the Read Aloud tool.
  • Use Adobe Reader to open the PDF and use the Read Out Loud option under the View menu.
  • Use ClaroPDF to open the PDF and read aloud (part of the ClaroReadPlus package which can be accessed from AppsAnywhere).

Other tools

A few platforms have their own Read Aloud tools, such as VLeBooks and Gale. Look for the 'Listen' or 'Read Aloud' buttons if you are on one of these platforms.

Can I change the colour of the background or text while using eresources?

With most of our eresource platforms, you can use browser extensions to change the background colour, the text colour, or apply a colour overlay to the webpage.

We recommend the Helperbird extension (available for Chrome, Edge, Safari and Firefox). There are 30 different colour options available, and the brightness of the colour overlay is also customisable. Helperbird also includes various other tools and customisation options which may be helpful. More information can be found at Helperbird tutorials.

There are some platforms which don't work with extensions like Helperbird, usually because there is an embedded ereader rather than a plain text webpage. VleBooks and JSTOR are two examples. VLeBooks does have their own feature in Read Online mode where you can choose from eight background colours. 

If downloading a PDF is possible, you can open the PDF in Adobe Reader and navigate to Edit > Preferences. In the Accessibility settings for Document Colours, you can change both the background colour and the text colour, choosing from a wide range of colour options.  

Can I change the text size and font?

Browser extensions such as Helperbird (for Chrome, Edge, Safari and Firefox) can be used to change the text font and size on most eresource platforms.

Helperbird offers 25 font options, six text size options, as well as the ability to customise word spacing, letter spacing, and line height. The extension also includes various other tools and customisation options which may be helpful. More information can be found at Helperbird tutorials.

For a few platforms, such as VLeBooks and JSTOR, where the content is embedded within an ereader, Helperbird may be unable to work correctly.

Can I use keyboard navigation to access eresources?

All of our major eresource platforms can be navigated using a keyboard only.

In a few cases, such as with VLeBooks, additional shortcuts may be needed to navigate to all areas of the screen, and these shortcuts are listed on the platform's accessibility page.


Further information

You can find more information about browser extensions and other tools at Technology to help you study.

You may also refer to the web accessibility statements for all our third party products to find more information about specific platforms.


Need more support with Library resources?

If you encounter any problems accessing Library resources, or would like more help or advice, please contact the Library.
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