Accessible Media Files
Bard SensusAccess is an on-demand file conversion service that helps Bard students, staff, and faculty convert digital materials into alternate formats, such as audio books, e-books, digital large-print and Braille.
This service improves the accessibility and readability of your digital documents.
Accessible PDF Documents
Review Your Current PDF Documents
- Audit your digital course materials. Do some PDF files display sideways? Are any of them somewhat illegible even under ideal conditions? If so, check to see if it is available from a vendor (via our library’s subscriptions) and replace that older, skewed scan. Or, re-scan it from a cleaner copy using one of the OCR-enabled copier/scanners on campus.
- Have you added the document properties for Title, Author, and Language to your PDFs (course reading) and/or Office files (like your syllabus)?
- Have you used a legible document file name that does not contain spaces and/or special characters? Is the document file name clear and concise, limited to 20–30 characters? (eg. Jackson_Rethinking_Repair.pdf )
- Was the document scanned using OCR (Optical Character Recognition)? If you don’t know, open the PDF, find a unique word in your document and search the text (using command-F or control-F) for that word. If you are able to search and find keywords in the text, characters are recognized in that document - this is one crucial step toward creating a more accessible document.
- Have you tried using a screen reader or another assistive technology? Open a document in Adobe Acrobat Pro or Reader, from the file menu, select View, then Read Out Loud. Select Activate Read Out Loud. From the same file menu (View - Read Out Loud) chose: Read this Page Only. How (machine) readable was your document?
- Scan at a resolution of 300dpi or higher (up to 600dpi for text that is smaller than 10 points).
- Use software like Adobe Acrobat Pro DC to convert the PDF file into recognized text. Acrobat Pro’s OCR currently produces better results than the OCR software on some copier/scanners.
- Add the document properties for Title, Author, and Language to your PDF.
- Scanning two document pages to fit onto one page almost always results in a document with high text recognition errors. Consider scanning one full-size page of the original text at a time.
- If you start with a clean source document (free of underlining, annotations, or black photocopying marks), you will usually be able to create a highly accessible document in only a few steps. When in doubt, re-scan your document or find a cleaner copy from a publisher, vendor or free online source (like archive.org or gutenberg.org).