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Mar 09 2021 - 07:30 PM
Ebook Accessibility Series: Using EBSCOhost and JSTOR Accessibility Features
Below you will find tips for accessing ebooks on the EBSCOhost and JSTOR platforms.


EbscoHost Accessibility Features


EBSCO Accessibility Statement


EBSCO is committed to providing accessible experiences for all users, regardless of ability or impairments. As part of this commitment, EBSCO allocates significant time and resources toward testing, tools, and partnerships to ensure that our products meet accessibility standards.

EBSCO eBooks strives to comply with the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) 2.1 level A and AA and the U.S. Section 508 Standards of the Federal Rehabilitation Act. Where possible, we go beyond compliance to ensure that all users can have a positive experience with our products and equal access to information.


EBSCO works with organizations such as the W3C (as a member), Deque Systems (for audits and training), the Carroll Center for the Blind (for testing and consultancy), and others as well as with our publishers to continually increase the accessibility of our content and platform.

We welcome questions or feedback about the accessibility of our products. Please contact accessibility@ebsco.com. We typically respond to questions or feedback within 24 hours/1 business day. Requests for remediated files will be fulfilled in 3-5 business days. For Voluntary Product Accessibility Template® (VPAT®) requests, contact EBSCO support.


Accessible features:

  • Text-to-speech
  • Transcripts
  • Alternative text
  • Aria landmarks (for screen readers)
  • Access keys
  • EPUB and DRM-free ebooks


How to navigate EBSCO ebooks with Screen Readers?

  • EBSCO books are compatible with popular screen readers: JAWS, NVDA, Talkback (Mobile Android), Voiceover (MacOS or iOS)
  • Books can be read in the online browser
  • Users navigating with a keyboard can tab to “Main content” to skip long list of links
  • Detailed tips for navigating ebook content using major screen readers, are available on EBSCO's accessibility guide https://connect.ebsco.com/s/article/EBSCO-eBook-Accessibility-Guide?language=en_US


How to magnify text?

  • EBSCOhost allows Zoom magnification up to 200%


PDF vs. EPUB format?


EPUB Format

  • EBSCO recommends reading books in EPUB format because content is “reflowable”- will adjust to screen size and zoom level
  • EPUB format is published for the web (HTML) and automatically fit to screen and works well with screen readers since most have headers that help with navigation, scroll (or use keyboard arrows) up and down to read the page
  • Note: Many books formatted in EPUB do not include page numbers


Screenshot of a table of contents page viewed full screen with magnified text in EPUB format. Content stays centered for easier reading.

Caption: Screenshot of a table of contents page viewed “full screen” with magnified text in EPUB format. Content stays centered for easier reading.



  • Most resources are available in both EPUB and PDF format, but some are only in one format
  • To search for resources in EPUB/ HTML format only, include FM EK in search box along with a Boolean operator (and, or, nor) and your search terms or keywords. (For example: FM EK and folk music searches items published in EPUB format only and those published in EPUB and PDF format, items published in PDF format only are excluded)


PDF Format

  • PDF format allows for page-level citations
  • PDF format is only compatible with screen readers using ASC 2 text layer (such as JAWS, NVDA, Voiceover)
  • PDF format is fixed and will not adjust to screen when text is magnified, scroll or (or use keyboard arrows) left and right, up and down to read the page


Screenshot of a table of contents page viewed full screen with magnified text. You will need to scroll (or use keyboard arrows) left and right, up and down to read the page

Caption: Screenshot of a table of contents page viewed “full screen” with magnified text.

You will need to scroll (or use keyboard arrows) left and right, up and down to read the page


How to access Ebooks using text-to-speech software?

  • EBSCO products are not tested on text-to-speech software/ software commonly used for dyslexia
  • EBSCO recommends users download DRM-free book chapters to use a text-to-speech tool or copy & paste into the text-to-speech tool (i.e. chapters can be downloaded and read through Adobe Acrobat DC)
  • Check publisher permissions as some books have limited copy, paste, and download options


Screenshot of an item record page in EBSCOhost. Publisher Permissions allows for unlimited print, email, save, copy, and paste. (Users can download pages to document readers)

Caption: Screenshot of an item record page in EBSCOhost. Publisher Permissions allows for unlimited print, email, save, copy, and paste. (Users can download pages to document readers).




Screenshot of an item record page in EBSCOhost. Publisher Permissions restrict print, email, save, copy, and paste options. (Users can not download pages to document readers).

Caption: Screenshot of an item record page in EBSCOhost. Publisher Permissions restrict print, email, save, copy, and paste options. (Users can not download pages to document readers).



Need additional help?

  • For tips navigating the database, use the “Help” link located on the far left on the EBSCOHost (Ebook Collection) Homepage
  • Type “accessibility” into the search box
  • Select “Accessibility Navigation Guide”


Ebook Collection EBSCOhost homepage.

Caption: Ebook Collection EBSCOhost homepage.



Screenshot of a search for accessibility through EBSCOhost Help link.


Caption: Screenshot of a search for “accessibility” through EBSCOhost “Help” link.


  • For general accessibility questions, send an email to accessibility@ebsco.com
  • To request a different format of an item and/or if an item is not accessible, contact the TC librarians and OASID https://www.tc.columbia.edu/oasid/
  • Include the title of the work and/or ISBN of ebook and the desired assistive technology
  • Requests will, typically, be filled within 3-5 business days



JSTOR Accessibility Features


JSTOR Accessibility Statement


JSTOR: “JSTOR is committed to ensuring digital accessibility for persons with disabilities. We apply WCAG and Section 508 standards to improve the user experience for everyone.The latest JSTOR Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) (PDF) demonstrates compliance with both Section 508 and WCAG standards and guidelines. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) define requirements for designers and developers to improve accessibility for persons with disabilities at three levels of conformance: Level A, Level AA, and Level AAA. The target for JSTOR is WCAG 2.1 Level AA.”


Accessible features:

  • Zoom in at 200%
  • Resize text, adjust color/ spacing
  • Listen and use website with a screen reader, headings/ labels available for interactive content
  • Publisher-supplied alt-text and image description of content
  • Content available as scanned pages and PDF
  • PDF files compatible with screen readers JAWS, NVDA, and Voice Over
  • Manual tagging of PDF files available upon request


How to navigate JSTOR ebooks with Screen Readers?

  • Content is available in PDF format only
  • JSTOR PDFs are compatible with popular screen readers: JAWS, NVDA, Voiceover (Mac OS)
  • Users navigating with a keyboard can tab to “Main content” to skip long list of links
  • Note: While website can be read, scanned books/ book chapters can not be read with a screen reader inside the browser
  • Option 1: Request the item in an additional format (there is a limit of 3 items per request)
  • Option 2: If the book is available as a PDF download:
  • Download the book to your computer and open with Adobe Acrobat Reader DC. Under view, select “Read Aloud” then “Activate Read Out Loud.” Or
  • (For Mac users) Download the book to your computer and open in Preview. Under Edit, select "Speech” then "Start Speaking." Or
  • Download the book to your computer and paste the text/upload the document into a free text-to-speech tool like NaturalReader.


Screenshot of Activating Read Out Loud in Adobe Acrobat DC.


Caption: Screenshot of “Activate Read Out Loud” in Adobe Acrobat DC.


Screenshot of Text-to-speech-tool on mac.png


Caption: Screenshot of "Start Speaking" in Mac Preview.


Screen Shot NaturalReader online

Caption: Screenshot of NaturalReader Online Reader


How to magnify text?

  • JSTOR allows Zoom magnification up to 200%, magnifying text will not change functionality, however text will not adjust to screen
  • Tip: If using a keyboard to navigate, click on the image in order to use the left and right arrows on the keyboard to read the text.

Screenshot of a page viewed full screen with magnified text. The text goes off the screen. You will need to use the left, right, up, and down arrows or toggle the screen to read the page.


Caption: Screenshot of a page viewed “full screen” with magnified text. The text goes off the screen. You will need to use the left, right, up, and down arrows or toggle the screen to read the page.


Need additional help?

  • For general accessibility questions or if a PDF does not meet your accessibility needs, contact JSTOR via phone, email, or Twitter Monday-Friday 9-5 pm
  • Phone: (888) 388-3574
  • Email:support@jstor.org
  • Twitter: @JSTORSupport
  • Include full citations with each request, limit three items per request
  • Requests will, typically, be filled within 3 business days