RCPD produces alternative format materials for people with print-related disabilities. Alternative format materials include braille (literary and scientific), large print, tactile graphic, and electronic.
These formats provide access to information and knowledge for persons with print-related disabilities including blindness, visual impairment, learning disabilities, and motor disabilities. Such services are provided at no cost to RCPD registered students with print-related disabilities, who are both deemed eligible for alternative formats and using the material in MSU credit-granting courses.
If you are an RCPD student looking for an alternate format of your textbook, follow the steps below. See the corresponding accordion menu for further details on each step.
Gather your complete textbook information, including such details as title, author, and ISBN (International Standard Book Number). You can find relevant book information on your syllabus, on the Spartan Bookstore Website (by searching for your course and section), or elsewhere online such as in the book details on Amazon.
Using your information from Step 1, search for existing digital copies of your textbook. You may be able to find an accessible digital copy which you can purchase or rent instead of a physical copy, or that you can download in addition to your physical copy.
If you are unable to acquire an existing digital version of your textbook, you may request RCPD assistance by filling out the Requesting Textbook Production in Alternative Format form. Please note you must have already purchased or rented a copy of the book before requesting an alternate format. If we are unable to locate the textbook via our publisher sources, we can turn it into a PDF and send it directly to you. Please be advised that this process can take up to 2 weeks.
Step 1: Textbook Information
Gather the following book details before you begin searching:
- ISBN (International Standard Book Number)
- Publisher/Journal name
- Publication year
- Number of pages
- Course number
You can find relevant book information on your syllabus, on the Spartan Bookstore Website (by searching for your course and section), or elsewhere online such as in the book details on Amazon.
Bookstores serving MSU:
After you obtained the textbook information, search each book's publisher website to see whether the publisher sells the book in E-text (or E-Book) format. If the publisher sells the book in E-text format, buy it direct from the publisher. RCPD will not re-produce a textbook that the publisher already has in E-text format for sale. The most common E-text formats are accessible PDF, Word or Text format. You can usually find publisher's website address by using common Web search engine such as Google, Yahoo, etc.
Step 2: Search for E-Book On Your Own
There are many digital/electronic textbook resources. One of the most efficient ways to find your book online is to do a Google search for the ISBN (International Standard Book Number). Some resources are listed below.
Resources to rent/purchase e-books
If you don't need a physical copy of your book, you can search online for e-book versions. Many online booksellers offer e-books for purchase or rental, including:
Additional alternate format resources
RCPD students who are e-text eligible may gain access to alternate formats of textbooks through the following resources. If you are unsure if you qualify, contact your RCPD specialist.
- National Library Service for the Blind & Print Disabled (NLS)
- MSU Libraries Affordable Textbook Program
- RCPD STAR Database
If you cannot find your book on your own, you can request RCPD assistance.
Step 3: Request RCPD Assistance
If you are unable to acquire an existing digital version of your textbook, you may request RCPD assistance by filling out this form. Please note that you must have already purchased or rented a copy of the book before requesting an alternate format. If we are unable to locate the textbook via our publisher sources, we can turn it into a PDF and send it directly to you. Please be advised that this process can take up to 2 weeks.
Please note RCPD may need to temporarily take possession of your book to facilitate scanning and processing to digital format.
Downloading Electronic Textbooks from the STAR Database
MSU provides accessible books to students with disabilities through the RCPD's STAR (Samaritan Technological Advancements in Reading) database. Remember that you must have purchased or rented the printed book before using the textbook in alternative format.
Download the text-only version of these instructions or continue to screenshot version below.
- Enter the STAR web address on your web browser: Books.RCPD.MSU.EDU. Students or employees registered with the RCPD may login to the STAR database using your MSU NetID and Password.
- At the "Search By Title" text box, type a word that appears in the title of your book (such as Engineering). You can also go to the "Advanced Search" to search by the ISBN for your book.
- At the search returned page, click on the title of your book if it is found. If your book was not found, please complete this form to send a request to the RCPD. They will work on finding or producing an e-text for you.
- After you select the intended book by clicking its title, a "Details for book" window will appear.
- Review the information listed to confirm that it is the book you are looking for. If the book is the one you want, click "Request this Book" toward the bottom of the screen.
- You must enter the information for the semester and course ID (e.g., ENG 300) that you will use the alternative format for. After entering the request information, select the "Complete Request" tab.
- Click "Request this Book" one more time.
- Click the "download" link for the content you want.
- You must accept the "Usage Agreement" before you are able to download the book, by clicking "I have read and understand the procedures listed above and will at all time adhere to these responsibilities" at the bottom of the screen.
- When the download pop-up window appears, you can save the file to your computer.
Remember to log out of the STAR system when you are done, especially if you use a public computer.
Alternative Format Production for Non-RCPD Programs
The Alternative Format Production for Non-RCPD Programs and Institutions document describes production services of relevance for non-student needs.
Alternative Format Production Policies
The Michigan State University Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities facilitates appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities eligible for services. To maintain the integrity of services, a student who wishes to receive and use text in alternative formats must agree to abide by RCPD's terms and conditions.
Accessible Textbooks Terms and Conditions
The Michigan State University Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities facilitates appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities eligible for services. To maintain the integrity of services, a student who wishes to receive and use text in alternative formats must agree to abide by the following terms and conditions:
- The student must qualify as having a disability that is covered by 2 U.S.C. 135a; 46 Stat. 1487. A competent authority figure should be able to certify the student’s disability.
- The student must own a physical copy of the textbook he/she is requesting in an alternative format.
- The student must be currently registered at Michigan State University or registered at a participating consortium membership institution at the time of the student’s request for text in alternative formats.
- The student will not copy, reproduce or share any of the specialized formatted texts, nor allow anyone else to do so.
- The student will never post any e-text downloaded from MSU-RCPD's Samaritan Technological Advancements in Reading (STAR) textbook database system to a shared computer, server, hard drive, Internet service or other shared resource. The student understands that all e-text downloaded is tracked by MSU-RCPD, and that text may be encoded with imbedded or hidden content that aids in linking inappropriately distributed books to the student or institution which initially downloaded the e-text from the RCPD's STAR textbook database system.
- The student will delete e-text downloaded from the MSU-RCPD STAR system in the event the student sells or otherwise forfeits ownership of the purchased source material.
- The student will comply and encourage compliance with copyright law and the restrictions on distribution of the alternative format books. The student acknowledges that the copyright law exemption that makes the MSU-RCPD's e-text production service possible is important to people with disabilities and that he/she must act responsibly to safeguard this privilege.
- The student acknowledges that violations of copyright law may subject the person(s) committing such violations to civil and criminal liability, and that MSU-RCPD may cooperate with investigations of such violations by copyright owners.
- The student understands and acknowledges that the right to access e-text via MSU-RCPD's STAR textbooks database system can and will be terminated by MSU-RCPD upon written notice for violations of these terms and conditions.
- The student must return any physical/hard copies of alternative texts (e.g., Large Print, Braille, or audio) at the end of the class or when the student withdraws from the class and/or Michigan State University, withdraws from the participating consortium member institution, or is otherwise notified that materials are due for return to the RCPD.
- Should the student not return the alternative text referenced above at the end of the class and/or once withdrawn, the student’s university account shall be charged for the replacement value of the alternative format text and if that amount is not paid within a reasonable time, a hold may be placed on the student’s account which may limit access to university services and features.
Braille Distribution Policy
Some blind students use braille for accessing printed materials. RCPD facilitates the use of electronic braille ready files (BRF) by providing refreshable braille displays. This method of providing braille enables students to access print without the need to manage large paper versions of textbooks and other reading materials. Students may arrange for an equipment loan from RCPD or the Main Library’s Assistive Technology Center.
In cases where actual paper versions of textbooks and printed materials are needed, RCPD uses the BRF files to produce paper braille books in the office. Braille production is a lengthy process, and thus pre-planning for this format is essential.
Large Print Distribution Policy
Some visually impaired students use large print for accessing printed materials. For students who need to enlarge their textbook, RCPD can scan the book into graphic file format, and then the individual can use programs such as Microsoft Word or any other built-in/added-on software programs for on-screen magnification and/or for large print printing.