Alternative Format Text

Alternative Format Text

New as of Summer 2016: The University of Pittsburgh has partnered with SensusAccess to offer a file converter tool that makes inaccessible documents (such as Word or PDF files) into more accessible media (such as searchable PDFs, audio MP3 files, Braille, or e-text).  SensusAccess is available to all Pitt faculty, staff, students, and alumni that have an active University email address. Please note that the quality of the converted document depends on the quality of the original document, and all conversion files will be delivered via email.  Click here to try it out!


In addition to SensusAccess, students approved for alternative format accommodations have the option to submit an alternative format request form.  Follow these steps to formally request your books through DRS each semester:

  • Find the list of your required course materials.
    • Open your class schedule through my.pitt.edu and click on ‘books,’ or
    • Go to the University Book Center http://pitt.verbacompare.com/, or
    • Check your syllabus for all course reading materials, or
    • Contact your professor or department for course reading materials.
  • Check if your course materials exist already in an accessible format. You can order books directly from the following sites:
    • Bookshare: an accessible online library for people with print disabilities.
    • CourseSmart: a digital rental service which lets you rent eTextbooks and online course materials.
    • Learning Ally : previously Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic or RFB&D, is a non-profit volunteer organization which produces a library of accessible educational materials.
    • National Library Service: a network of libraries that provides free library service to persons who are unable to use standard printed material.
    • Project Gutenberg: offers over 40,000 free ebooks.
    • Read How You Want: an accessibility site from which you can obtain a title in whatever font size or accessibility format you desire, including DAISY and other text-to-speech editions.
  • If your book is not available through any of the above resources, you can request alternative format text through DRS.  To do so, you must first sign the Alternative Format Agreement Form.  After signing the agreement form, you have the opportunity to submit the  Alternative Format Text Request Form online.  
    It is the student’s responsibility to purchase all course materials and to provide proof of purchase to DRS.  If DRS is able to acquire the course material through the publisher, DRS will contact you once we have received it. In the event that DRS is unable to acquire a textbook, DRS will request your copy of the textbook to be scanned and converted. Bindings will be removed from the book in order for the process to occur and, once complete, rebound with a spiral binding. All requests will be handled in a timely manner but may vary depending on availability, size and complexity of material.