Positive about Dyslexia

This week is Dyslexia Awareness Week 2017, and this year’s theme is ‘Positive about Dyslexia’. The Library has a wide range of support available for students with dyslexia to help you succeed at University.

If you think you might have dyslexia but you have not yet been diagnosed, you can complete QuickScan – an online questionnaire which identifies whether you have any indicators of dyslexia and provides advice on the next steps to take. This is accessed via the Support tab in MyBeckett (under Disability Support).

Students who have dyslexia can register with our University’s Disability Advice service who arrange tailored support on an individual basis. When you have registered with Disability Advice, you can use the Disability Resource Areas in the Libraries. These are comfortable silent study spaces for students with disabilities or dyslexia which contain a range of equipment, including larger desks and PCs with dual monitors.

IMG_20170925_132111595The Library has a wide range of books and eBooks about study skills and disability in higher education, including dyslexia. Look out for some of these on our Dyslexia Awareness Week book displays. There is also a collection of reference books on these topics in each Disability Resource Area.

Students registered with Disability Advice can borrow books for longer and place 10 items on hold at once instead of the usual 5, so you can use the Holds system to have books retrieved for you if you have difficulty locating them on the shelves.

We have an ever increasing collection of eBooks. If you find eBooks difficult to use due to dyslexia, we have information on how you can customise the settings to make them more accessible. This includes changing the text size and colour, changing the background colour, and listening to eBooks in audio format. Eligible students can also have their reading list titles obtained in accessible format through the Library’s Alternative Formats service.

A variety of assistive software is available, most of which is installed on all PCs in the Library. This includes Read & Write, which has tools for reading on-screen text aloud (text-to-speech), advanced spelling and grammar support and applying a digital coloured overlay to your computer screen. You can access a web-based version of Read & Write for Google Chrome off campus. There is also software for mind mapping to help you organise your ideas visually, and we have recently subscribed to Pro-Study software which helps you to collect, categorise and organise research from various different sources. We particularly recommend this for students with dyslexia. You can also use SensusAccess to convert documents into more accessible formats, including audio, so you can listen to them rather than reading. If you’d like to know more about the assistive software available in the Library you can come to a workshop – see our Software page for further details, and if you are looking for free software and apps we have several recommendations.

If you prefer to read printed text on a coloured background, coloured paper for printing is available on request free of charge at the Advice Point on the ground floor of each Library. You can choose from six different colours.

For help with study skills including academic writing, Skills for Learning offer online resources, workshops and tutorials.

Photo of SueStudents with disabilities or dyslexia can book a one-to-one appointment with the Library’s Learning Support Officer (Disability and Dyslexia) for help with a wide range of disability related issues in the Library, including using Library resources, assistive software, equipment and more. You can also contact Library staff for advice by phone, email and online chat.

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Library behind the scenes – “Copyright” is not a dirty word!

Whether it’s Pharrell Williams getting into trouble for copying Marvin Gaye’s music, J.K. Rowling winning numerous law suits or wrangles over a monkey selfie,  something called ‘copyright’ can impact on culture and society in many ways.

Rachel Thornton, the University’s Copyright Clearance Officer, based within the Library, tells us more: “Copyright gives legal protection to the original, recorded expression of ideas and it is often argued that without copyright there would be little incentive to create and innovate. Copyright allows creators to control how their works are used, as well as gaining reward for their endeavours.”

The first copyright law came into force in England in 1710, its good intentions demonstrated by its title: “An Act for the Encouragement of Learning”. This early statute only applied to the copying of books. Since then, copyright law has spread across the world, been updated and amended and has needed to take into account new forms of delivery and expression (the internet, social media!!).

But copyright can also be seen as a barrier; too prohibitive and complicated to follow. My role is to advise staff and students on how to reuse another person’s work without infringing copyright or being in breach of a licence, and to seek ‘copyright clearance’ when permission from a rights holder is required. Details of the Copyright Clearance Service are available on the Library website.

This can lead to some interesting tasks: clearing cartoons for inclusion in a published textbook, investigating music licensing for a drama deap conference cakesproject, tracking down photographers for a history presentation and contacting rights holders across the world for permission to use their material. I also contacted Orcid  to ask permission to use their logo on promotional cup cakes!

A large part of my role is also managing the Digitisation Service, which supports staff and students by providing digitised readings for use in teaching. We create digital copies of book chapters and journal articles under the terms of the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) Licence. These are then accessed from module reading lists in MyBeckett. During the last academic year there were 446 modules using a total of 2,140 licensed digitised readings. That was a lot of activity for our book scanner (both person and machine)!

Another area I support is the Alternative Formats Service, obtaining accessible formats of library texts for students with a print impairment. This involves contacting publishers and requesting an electronic copy of a book on behalf of a student who would otherwise not be able to read it in print (or online, if an eBook is inaccessible). We also use RNIB Bookshare to request and download titles – 157 accessible books were downloaded from this site alone for our students last year.

I haven’t quite been in this role since the 1700’s and that first law, but over the 20 years I have been a Copyright Officer, I have seen many changes and faced the challenges of interpreting new exceptions and restrictions to enable the University to make the best use of all the research, information and resources potentially available to us”.

Copyright guidelines and full details of all the services offered can be found on the Library website.