Curriculum Access Through Digital Alternate Format Materials
There are several sources for students with perceptual disabilities in British Columbia to gain access to reading materials produced in high quality digital alternate formats. This page highlights the three largest public and not-for-profit sources and provides information for students, parents/guardians, and educators to request and download digital alternate format versions of learning and leisure reading materials.
The Accessible Resource Centre - British Columbia
All students with perceptual disabilities in the BC K-12 education sector are eligible to access learning materials produced in digital alternate formats by the Accessible Resource Centre - British Columbia (ARC-BC). ARC-BC is an online repository of nearly 6,500 titles available in one or more alternate formats. Education professionals serving students with perceptual disabilities can register for an ARC-BC account in order to download files and to request that new titles and formats be added to the repository.
- Link to the ARC-BC main web page
- Watch a series of short online training videos and take a quick knowledge quiz to register. Registration is approved by the ARC-BC District Contact.
ARC-BC Quick Facts
- ARC-BC has the ability to produce titles in 9 formats: .BRF (braille-ready file); .CDR (CorelDraw for tactile graphics); .CLKB (Clicker books); .DOCX (e-text); .KES (Kurzweil files); .MP3 (human and synthesized voice audio); .PDF (Adapted Portable Document Format); .PICTELLO (Books for the Pictello app); and .PPTX (Narrated presentations of primary-level books).
- The focus of the repository is on primary learning materials (e.g., textbooks, novels) that align with the renewed BC curriculum.
National Network for Equitable Library Service
The National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS) is an online repository of close to 35,000 titles in digital alternate formats. All public library patrons with perceptual disabilities from across Canada are eligible to access NNELS materials. Library patrons living in NNELS subscriber provinces can also submit requests for production to NNELS for new titles to be added to the repository.
- Link to the NNELS main web page
- Connect with your local library to obtain a NNELS account (for qualifying patrons with a perceptual disability)
NNELS Quick Facts
- The NNELS repository contains titles in 8 formats: .BRF (braille-ready file); EPUB2; EPUB3; DAISY2; DAISY3; .DOCX (e-text); .PDF (Adapted Portable Document Format; and .MP3 (human and synthesized voice audio).
- NNELS recently received a federal grant to add hard copy braille materials to their collection.
Centre for Equitable Library Access
The Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA) is an accessible reading service that serves individuals with perceptual disabilities in partnership with the public library sector. The CELA collection includes accessible reading materials across a number of alternate formats, both hard copy and digital. CELA also makes many popular newspapers and magazines available in DAISY format.
- Link to the CELA main web page.
- In British Columbia, CELA services are available only in public library systems that are CELA member libraries. Please see this list to determine if your local library system is a CELA member library.
CELA Quick Facts
- CELA supports both hard copy alternate format materials (e.g., books in braille format, dual media (print and braille) as well as digital alternate format materials. Please see the full listing of supported formats on the CELA website.
- CELA offers educators access to CELA services on behalf of students with perceptual disabilities through their Educator Access program.
- CELA also offers educators with a library card from a CELA member library the opportunity to gain free access on behalf of their students to Bookshare - the world's largest repository of books in digital alternate formats for readers with perceptual disabilities.