Each of the Library's e-resource platforms and databases is different, and sometimes the user experience can vary even within the same platform or database. However, you are always able to access full text content via the Library in one of four ways: HTML, Online PDF, Downloadable PDF, and EPUB. Some of these formats are more accessible than others, and you may already have your own preferred format. Below we'll take a look at each of these these file formats and illustrate the accessibility benefits of each:
Full text content in HTML format is displayed online as a simple webpage. Generally only one article or chapter is displayed at a time. This format has the following benefits:
One limitation of HTML is that the text is displayed continuously rather than divided into separate pages, which some users may find confusing. Publishers and platforms sometimes indicate page numbers within the continuous text, but it is not possible to display only one page at a time online. If you would prefer such a layout, you may need to download the content in another format (see below).
Full text content available as embedded or online PDFs is usually displayed in a scrollable box within a webpage. Usually only one article or chapter is displayed at a time. Sometimes the whole text of an e-book can be read online within a special reader interface. On some platforms only a single page image is displayed at a time, and users are required to click or tap to access subsequent pages. However, embedded PDFs can almost always be downloaded to your device (see below). This format has the following benefits:
Depending on the formatting quality and embedding, the text of embedded PDFs may not always be selectable for copying and pasting into text-to-speech or other screen reading software. You may therefore have to download a copy of the PDF to use the text in this way.
Full text content available as downloadable or offline PDFs is always also displayed online as either HTML text or an embedded PDF (see above). Usually only one article or chapter may be downloaded as a single file. Occasionally, you may be able to download an entire e-book in a single file. This format has the following benefits:
Depending on the publisher and platform, some downloadable PDFs may not have been structured or optimised for accessibility and could therefore be difficult to navigate and read. Find out more about accessibility options and settings within PDF readers.
Full text content available in EPUB format is currently formatted at EPUB3 standard. It is usually available online within a special reader interface and offline as a download of the whole e-book text. This standard has the following benefits:
One limitation of the EPUB format is that the text is displayed continuously rather than divided into separate pages, which some users may find confusing. However, the experience of reading a print book or PDF may be approximated by adjusting page display settings within the EPUB reader so that text is displayed as a single-page or two-page spread instead of continuously.
This list is not exhaustive; depending on the publisher or platform, e-resource full text may be available to download in formats other than those listed above. The most accessible (and therefore ideal) format is an accessible MS Word file, but this is rarely available for user download due to publisher copyright considerations. If you are unable to access or use any of these file formats, take a look at our Alternative Formats pages for information about obtaining files in or converting files to a more usable and accessible format.
This text has been adapted from the E-book Audit 2016 and we thank the team for allowing us to reproduce and adapt their work.
Again, each of the Library's e-resource platforms and databases is different, and sometimes the user experience can vary even within the same platform or database. However, each publisher or platform generally prefers a particular format and offers the majority of their content in that format. As a rule, the newest content will be available in the platform's preferred format whilst older content may only be available as PDFs. We've listed each format below for you and where you can find and access content in that format:
|HTML||Embedded PDF||Embedded EPUB||Downloadable PDF||Downloadable EPUB|
|Kortext||Occasionally||Yes||Only within the Kortext App||Only within the Kortext App|
|Note that for all of the above platforms, Digital Rights Management will always be applied to downloaded whole books.
This means that you cannot download whole e-books from these platforms onto your laptop or device and keep them forever.
|ACLS Humanities E-Books||Yes||Occasionally||Yes|
|Cambridge University Press||Yes||Yes|
|JSTOR||Page images only||Yes|
|Liverpool University Press||Yes||Occasionally||Occasionally||HTML rendered as a PDF||Occasionally|
|Oxford University Press||Yes||Yes, though occasionally HTML rendered as a PDF|
|ProQuest||Yes||HTML rendered as a PDF||Occasionally|
|SAGE||Yes||HTML rendered as a PDF|
|Taylor & Francis||Occasionally||Yes||Yes|
You can find a comprehensive guide of each e-book platform's inbuilt accessibility features on our E-book Platforms In Depth page.
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