A core function of the RCPD is disability-related services to the MSU community. This includes the production of alternative format materials for people with print-related disabilities.
- Alternative format materials include:
- Braille (literary and scientific)
- Large print
- Tactile graphic
These formats provide access to information and knowledge for persons with print-related disabilities including blindness, visual impairment, learning disabilities, and certain 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.
Production of these materials requires the establishment and maintenance of production capacities that ebb and flow with semester academic schedules. During periods when student needs have been met, the RCPD may experience extra production capacity allowing the unit to assist other programs and institutions to meet their goals and obligations for programmatic access by persons with disabilities.
The Alternative Format Production for Non-RCPD Programs and Institutions document describes production services of relevance for non-student needs. The summaries that follow are relevant to students enrolled in MSU credit-granting courses:
Please note: RCPD alternative format users are required to follow the Terms and Conditions for accessing alternative format materials.
Procedure for Obtaining Alternative Formats
Prepare a list of textbooks you will need for each course in which you have enrolled (including the syllabus) four to six weeks before the beginning of the semester to enable timely production and delivery of materials for the start of classes.
This list can be obtained in several ways:
- Access the bookstore web page and search for required text by semester. Be prepared to enter data such as: department, course, section number, name of instructor, and semester.
- Call the bookstore and request a list of books for each course. Be prepared to give the department, course number, section number, name of instructor, and semester.
- Contact your instructor to verify that each reference from the bookstore is correct. Errors or omissions in this step can jeopardize your receipt of appropriate books for your course and can result in wasted time and effort on the part of RCPD staff and volunteers. (If the instructor cannot be reached, call the secretary of the department offering the course to request or verify the list of books).
If you have any trouble getting the list of books contact your Specialist at RCPD for help.
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.
Before bringing textbooks to RCPD, call or inquire online at each of the following resources below to check on book availability. The edition is particularly important! Please note that RCPD does not produce alternative format materials that are already available in the needed format at other sources. Should your materials be available via one of these sources, you should order or download the needed materials directly.
For each book requested you will need:
- Complete title of text
- Author's full name
- Copyright date
- Edition number
Obtaining Electronic Text
Electronic text is a term used to describe print materials (often excluding graphics) available in machine-readable or computerized form. The text may be saved on media such as flash drives, hard drives, or CDs.
RCPD Books Database
If books you require are not listed on STAR, try accessing these external sources:
Referenced via STAR, online books database include over 400,000 books. Follow directions to search, order, or download needed materials. (Membership with RFB&D, NLS, and BookShare are required to access books. Applications for membership are available online).
Large publishing companies (McGraw Hill, Bartleby, Princeton Press, etc.) are another source that can be accessed to request needed materials. Recently, some publishers have also produced their books in e-book format. Again, RCPD will not produce a book that already has an e-text version. Publisher information is listed on the cover of the textbooks, and an RCPD Ability Access Specialist or Media Access Specialist can assist students in requesting needed materials.
Alternatively, STEPP, the STudent E-rent Pilot Project, is an eTextbook rental program offering cost-effective textbooks that all students can read. STEPP was launched by the Georgia Tech Alternative Media Access Center, in partnership with CourseSmart and the AccessText Network, through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education. The STEPP program is designed to meet the textbook rental needs of any postsecondary student and aims to help improve low-cost access to higher education textbooks for all students, including those with print-related disabilities.
If textbooks or other class materials are unavailable from any of the above sources, Tower Guard members and other volunteers may produce them at RCPD. Students may be asked to include a class syllabus when turning in the books for production. (Note: the production of Braille, large print, and electronic text requires the removal of book bindings and thus reduces or eliminates the potential for book resale at the end of the semester. While the textbook is being used for production, RCPD will give the student a completed "Book Loan for Student" letter to assist the student in obtaining a loaner book from the local bookstore. A receipt for the book must be presented with the letter to obtain a loaner book from the bookstore).
Each eligible student is expected to be familiar with and able to independently use STAR for textbook searching and file downloading functions. Contact your Specialist about scheduling a training session. Scanned text is saved in rich text format (RTF), and zipped before it is uploaded to STAR. Graphics and charts are usually not included as part of the e-text production. Files on parts of the book are usually organized in the sequence the text is presented in the printed book, for example, 00 Front Matter (Acknowledgement, copyright, table of contents, etc.), 01 Chapter, 02 Chapter (or 01 Part I, 02 Part II, etc),...and Back Matter (glossary, indices, appendices), etc.
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.
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.
- If you run into any problems accessing the STAR system, contact Liz Fuller (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Braille Distribution Policy
Some students with blindness find Braille represents the most effective method for accessing printed materials. When Braille is required, RCPD facilitates the use of electronic Braille Ready Files (BRF) and access to 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. Refreshable Braille displays are available at the RCPD and the Main Library’s Assistive Technology Center. Students may also arrange for an equipment loan.
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 books are comparatively large and bulky and thus typically require several volumes to equal the text of a conventional book. Students requesting Braille text should note that the production process requires the removal of the textbook cover and binding. This means the text to be produced will be returned in a loose-leaf state and does not typically allow for the resale as a used textbook. Braille production can require several months, and thus pre-planning for this format is essential. RCPD will produce Braille materials provided by a student when they are essential for participation in a credit-granting course in which the student is enrolled, and another alternative format is not sufficient and/or available for student use.
Production costs for Braille text are significant, thus RCPD requests that students using the service cooperate by returning Braille text at the end of the semester in which they are used. This allows the text to be stored for later use by other students and thus reduces future production costs and turn-around time.
Large Print Distribution Policy
Some students with visual impairments find that large print represents the most effective method for accessing printed materials. When enlarged print is required, RCPD facilitates the use of electronic Closed-Circuit TV (CCTV) systems that electronically magnify and dynamically enhance text in real time. This method of producing large print and enhanced contrast materials enables students to read nearly any print without the need to manage large paper versions of textbooks and other reading materials. CCTV equipment is available at the RCPD, the Main Library’s Assistive Technology Center, and selected MSU branch libraries.
Another effective way for producing large print is to scan the textbook into graphic file format, and then the individual can use programs such as MS-Word or any other built-in/added-on software programs for on-screen magnification and/or for large print printing. Where appropriate and functional, RCPD encourages students to practice this Large Print adaptation over using 11" x 17" paper. A scanned graphic page maintains original page layout, graphic, and pictures, and provides flexibility magnifying text to individual desirable size!
In cases where actual paper versions of textbooks and printed materials are needed, RCPD uses local printing and copy shops to prepare the enlarged texts on 11” by 17” paper. The resulting enlargements are comparatively large and bulky and thus typically require several volumes of enlarged print to equal the text of a conventional book. Students requesting large print texts should note that the production process requires the removal of the textbook cover and binding. This means that the text to be enlarged will be returned in a loose-leaf state that does not typically allow for their resale as a used text. The traditional turn around time on a textbook for enlargement is two weeks thus pre-planning for this format is essential. RCPD will enlarge text materials provided by a student when they are essential for participation in a credit-granting course in which the student is enrolled.
Production costs for enlarged texts are significant thus RCPD requests that students using the service cooperate by returning enlarged texts at the end of the semester in which they are used. This allows the texts to be stored for later use by other students and thus reduces future production costs and turn-around time.