Promoting diversity by making eBooks more accessible

Earlier this month Sue Smith and Vicky Dobson, who work in the Library Disability Support Team, traveled to London to attend the presentation of the 2016 CILIP CDEG Diversity Award. They had been shortlisted for this award as part of a team from across the UK currently coordinating a national eBook Accessibility Audit. The team also includes colleagues from the University of Kent, the University of Liverpool, Manchester Metropolitan University and York St John University.

eBooks are digital versions of printed books and the Library has lots of them available. There are many advantages to eBooks. For example they are available both on and off-campus and most titles can be accessed by multiple users at the same time.

The eBook Accessibility Audit is looking at how accessible eBooks are for students with print impairments – difficulties accessing printed text, usually due to a visual or physical impairment or a Specific Learning Difficulty such as dyslexia.

eBooks have the potential to be very accessible. The flexibility offered by their electronic format means that, if they are compatible with assistive software, they can be adapted to the needs of individual students. Unfortunately, due to the design of some eBooks, this is not always the case and they are not all fully accessible. For example, in some cases the text can only be enlarged to a limited extent or it may be incompatible with screen reading software, making eBooks inaccessible to many disabled students. Accessibility also varies between different eBook platforms (interfaces used to access eBooks).

The ultimate goal of the eBook Accessibility Audit is for students with print impairments to face fewer barriers in accessing the information they need to succeed at university. The project aims to achieve this by:

  • Assessing the accessibility strengths and areas for improvement of different eBook platforms
  • Working with providers to achieve improvements in accessibility
  • Making information available on the accessibility features of different eBook platforms to help users optimise accessibility when reading them
  • Increasing awareness of the accessibility features of different eBook platforms amongst Library staff to help them support students using eBooks
  • Increasing awareness of the accessibility features of different eBook platforms amongst tutors to help them minimise barriers for disabled learners when designing resource lists

Although they didn’t win the Diversity Award, Sue and Vicky received a Highly Commended certificate on behalf of the eBook Accessibility Audit project team. They are pictured receiving the certificate, along with fellow project team member Alistair McNaught from JISC:


Whilst Sue, Vicky and other colleagues work with providers to achieve improved accessibility in the design and publishing of eBooks, there are lots of ways in which people using eBooks can customise them to make them easier to read. These include changing the text size and colour, changing the background colour, and having the text read aloud to you. Instructions on how to do this are available on the eBooks Accessibility page.

If you have any queries about using eBooks, please contact us.


Welcome back to the Library

We hope you all had fantastic summers and are ready for your next year of studies. We thought it might be useful to give you a quick update on what’s been happening in the Library and let you know about changes for 2016-17:

The first floor of the Sheila Silver Library is being refurbished and will be reopened fully by October. This also means that the books on the ground floor and in G28 and G29 will move up onto the first floor,  with the labs available for teaching once again.

DSC_0210 aAt Headingley Library there is new adjustable seating at all PC study carrels and group study tables as well as a clearly defined social seating area, which includes a newspaper stand and book displays.  Quick reference has been streamlined to ensure core texts are easily accessible and moved nearer to the student study space. The Student Meeting Rooms also have whiteboards to help you with your group work.

In response to your feedback we’ve extended our “overnight” hours so that only Leeds Beckett staff and students can use the Library from 19:00 (instead of 21:00). This means that you will have to have your Campus Card with you if you’re using the Library between 19:00 and 08:30.

Library PCs now have Windows 10 installed and the wi-fi across the campus has been upgraded. This may mean that you’ll need to reconnect but there will be plenty of staff on hand to help with this.

We’ve worked really hard alongside your lecturers to get as many reading lists as possible into MyBeckett so that material for your course is just a couple of clicks away. Select Resource Lists from the left hand side menu once you are in your module.

The Home tab on MyBeckett has been replaced with a Course tab containing all the SU tabinformation you need for your course and School, including key contacts and access to key Library resources and there is a new tab for information from the Students’ Union. Access to your timetables is no longer via Google Calendar; we’ve got a new system called CMISGo which lets you sync your timetable to your smartphone calendar.

Oh, and you can now pay by Contactless if you’re buying a binding kit or paying Library fines and charges.  And, as always, if you need any help just Contact Us!

Sheila Silver Library – reminder about refurbishment

Work is continuing on the redevelopment of the first floor of the Sheila Silver Library with construction due to be completed by mid-October 2016. The completed first floor will include space for group study, printing, book stock 001-599, three IT teaching labs, and four bookable Student Meeting Rooms. The ground floor of the Library will also see changes in October, when the book stock will be moved to the first floor and replaced with a group study area, and IT labs LSB G28 and G29 will be returned to teaching.

Books within the 001-599 range will be unavailable for brief periods in October whilst it moves from ground to first floor. You can put a hold on anything you need during this time and Library staff will be available to retrieve books for you.

We’re looking forward to seeing the newly refurbished floor and hope you are too.

Access Your Resource List in 3 Easy Steps

Resource Lists, also known as Reading Lists, are available via MyBeckett and provide easy access to the readings and resources recommended for your modules. They link you directly to items on the Library Catalogue, eBooks, journal articles, databases and other online material, making it easier for you to access the resources you need.

You can access your resource list in 3 easy steps:

  1. In the ‘Module’ tab in MyBeckett, scroll down and click the name of the relevant module under ‘My Modules’.
  2. Click on the ‘Resource List’ link located in the left column under Library Resources.
  3. Click on the green ‘View’ button.

That’s it!  Your Resource List for this module will now open.


We have a handy guide for students if you need any further help and of course you can always ask Library staff.


What’s new in MyBeckett

MyBeckett has now been upgraded which means new features and functionality for you!  Here are the changes you need to know about:

New Tabs and Content:

  • Get Started:  Use this tab during the first few weeks of term to access and download everything you need to get you started at Leeds Beckett University.

Get Started 2

  • Course: The Home tab and Groups tab have been replaced with the Course tab, which contains all the information you need regarding your specific Course and School, including who to contact for what, social media, jobs, Library resources and course evaluation tools.
  • Students’ Union:  The new SU tab will help you find out about upcoming events, get involved with campaigns and volunteering, join or set up clubs and societies, get confidential advice, and rate or submit student Bright Ideas.
  • Academic Integrity Tutorial: this is now located in the Assessment section of your modules, explaining what plagiarism is and giving advice on how to avoid it.

A New Timetabling System:

  • CMISGo: you can sync your timetable to your smart phone calendar using a new system called CMISGo, or view it on a PC.

System Tweaks:

  • Emails you receive via MyBeckett now display the name of the sender rather than ‘VLE Notification’.
  • MyBeckett is now fully supported by Microsoft Edge
  • Discussion threads now allow you to navigate easily from thread to thread

Help and Support:

  •  The student guides produced by the Learning Systems team have moved and are refreshed and ready for the new academic year. The new MyBeckett Support pages contain guides to MyBeckett, Turnitin, PebblePad, Google Apps and more.

Get Started with using the Library

To help you Get Started with using our services staff will be running 10 minute demonstrations at 11:30 and 15:30 starting on 3rd October.

160830 11279 Get Started image

Monday – Finding books and other resources on the Library Catalogue
Tuesday – Borrow and return resources via the self service machines
Wednesday – Top Up your Campus Card for printing and copying
Thursday – Borrow a laptop to use in the Library

There’s no need to book, just turn up at the Meeting Point in either Headingley or Sheila Silver Library. If you can’t make these times please ask a member of staff at the Help and Information Points and they will show you how to use the services or answer any other questions you have.