Alternate Format Textbooks

There are many options available for students with learning disabilities and visual disabilities who are interested in obtaining their textbooks and other materials in alternate formats (alt-format) as an auxiliary aid to assist them with their reading and coursework. The discussion of this is best done on a case-by-case basis. For more information about this specific accommodation, please contact Disability Services at 617.353.3658. or

Text Book Information

Students requesting alt-format materials must submit a list of the books or other materials they are seeking to Disability & Access Services.

The easiest method for obtaining this information is by contacting the textbook department of the Barnes & Noble Bookstore at Boston University by calling 617.267.8484. Note: During the busiest part of each academic year, there may be delays in communicating with them. The following are online resources for locating complete information about your textbooks:

    eText Libraries

    • Boston University eLibraries BU Libraries collect many eBooks and provide access to millions of freely accessible electronic publications beyond our holdings. Current Boston University students, staff, and faculty can access our eBooks through a variety of sources and on various mobile devices.
    • Boston University Medical Center Alumni Medical Library
      The Boston University Medical Center Alumni Medical Library provides access to a variety of computerized software, online databases, textbooks, journals and other resources via their local server or over the Internet.
    • publishes the classics of literature, nonfiction, and reference free of charge for the home, classroom and desktop of each and every Internet participant.
    • Bibliomania
      Bibliomania’s library of classic literature, reference books and study resources provides 24/7 accessibility. It is a great way to bring the use of IT into literature lessons, and it saves on the cost of books.
    • Project Gutenberg
      The Project Gutenberg Philosophy is to make information, books and other materials available to the general public in forms a vast majority of the computers, programs and people can easily read, use, quote, and search.
    • On-Line Book Page
      The On-Line Books Page is a website that facilitates access to books that are freely readable over the Internet.
    • is an online community that enables people with visual and other print disabilities to legally share scanned books. takes advantage of a special exemption in the U.S. copyright law that permits the reproduction of publications into specialized formats for the disabled.

    Alternative Text (Audio, eText and Braille)

    • Louis Database of Accessible Materials
      The American Printing House for the Blind currently houses the Louis Database of Accessible Materials for People who are Blind or Visually Impaired. Louis contains information about more than 152,000 titles of accessible materials, including braille, large print, sound recordings, and computer files from over 200 agencies throughout the United States. Disability & Access Services uses this database as a resource for Boston University students.
    • National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress
      A free national library program of braille and recorded materials for blind and physically disabled persons is administered by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress. Under a special provision of the U.S. copyright law and with the permission of authors and publishers of works not covered by the provision, NLS selects and produces full-length books and magazines in braille and on recorded disc and cassette.
    • NBP (National Braille Press)
      National Braille Press is a nonprofit braille printing and publishing house established in 1927 and is one of the world’s leading producers of braille. Disability & Access Services has an excellent relationship with NBP and makes use of them as a resource for Boston University students.


    Founded in 1948 as Recording for the Blind, Learning Ally serves K-12, college and graduate students, as well as veterans and lifelong learners – all of whom cannot read standard print due to blindness, visual impairment, dyslexia, or other learning disabilities. Learning Ally’s collection of more than 70,000 digitally recorded textbooks and literature titles – delivered through internet downloads, mainstream computers and devices like iPhone and iPad, as well as specialized assistive technology devices – is the largest of its kind in the world. More than 5,000 volunteers across the U.S. help to record and process the educational materials, which students rely on to achieve academic and professional success.

    • Adobe PDF Generation Adobe has developed multiple methods for converting Adobe PDF documents to a format that is more accessible to screen reading software. This is a free service designed to benefit individuals with both visual and reading disabilities.
    • NBA (National Braille Association) The mission of the National Braille Association, Inc. is to provide continuing education to those who prepare braille and to provide braille materials to persons who are visually impaired.

    Braille Music

    • Dancing Dots Braille Music Technology
      Dancing Dots Braille Music Technology, L.P., was founded in 1992 to develop and adapt music technology for the blind. In 1997 Dancing Dots released its first product, the GOODFEEL® Braille Music Translator. In addition to selling GOODFEEL®, the company is an authorized distributor for a wide range of assistive technology and music products.
    • Music Section of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress
      The Music Section of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress includes a circulating collection of braille, large print, and recorded instructional materials and a subscription program of magazines produced in braille, on cassette, and in large print.
    • Braille Jymico
      Braille Jymico is the first private company in Canada to transcribe musical scores according to the “Braille Music Notation, American Edition.”
    • RNIB (Royal National Institute for the Blind)
      The Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) is located in the United Kingdom and offers a range of services to customers wishing to ascertain information about the availability of braille music and music-related materials.

    Please Note: These resources are provided as a service to the Boston University Community. Their inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Boston University or Disability & Access  Services. The degree of accessibility of these sites may vary.