UTS Library

Alternative Formats

Alternative Format Service (AFS) - guidelines and procedures


The Alternative Format Service (AFS) is provided by UTS Library and Accessibility Service staff. This service provides course materials in alternative formats to students with accessibility requirements and ensures that students have equal access to educational materials. Students who are registered with the Accessiblity Service may be eligible to receive all or part of their course materials in an alternative format.

When students use multiple formats, the format most readily available will be provided. In order to fully participate in the Alternative Format Service, students are expected to familiarise themselves with all conversion options and use the technology made available on campus, which can be borrowed through the Accessibility Service or through personal purchase. Additionally, accessible materials which are available on the Internet should be independently obtained by the student.

Note: UTS will not convert already existing texts readily available in an accessible format to another format. Conversion to formats such as Braille, or documents which have graphs or tables, may need to be outsourced.

Alternative Format Service Agreement

  1. Students must be registered with the Accessibility Service and have a UTS accessibility plan with the provision of material in alternative formats specified as an appropriate academic accommodation by their Accessibility Consultant (AC).
  2. The student must currently be enrolled at the University of Technology Sydney at the time of the student's request for alternative formats.
  3. Copyright law requires that copies of material being requested in alternative formats are not to be duplicated or shared by the student.
  4. Materials submitted at least 8 weeks prior to the start of class will be converted to alternative formats and available prior to the syllabus due date. Any materials arriving after the 8 week deadline will be processed and made available as soon as possible. Converting highly technical material with graphs or tables will typically require more time.
  5. UTS agrees to provide specific converted materials for the duration of the course that the student is enrolled in.

Steps to request alternative format material

  1. The student registers with the Accessibility Service and arranges a confidential interview where the Accessibility Consultant (AC) determines that the provision of course material in an alternative format is warranted.
  2. The student agrees to the terms of the guidelines.
  3. The student, AC and Library staff determine which alternative formats will be provided.
  4. The AC facilitates training in the agreed format for the student, if required.
  5. Following agreement on conversion formats and any appropriate training and referrals, the AC submits requests for course materials to the UTS Library for content transformation.

Format and delivery of alternative format material

  1. Current formats provided by the Alternative Format Service are:
    • Kurzweil 3000 file (.kes)
    • Text file (.txt)
    • Rich Text Format (.rtf)
    • MS Word file (.doc)
    • Audio (MP3 file)
    • DAISY file
    • HTML file
  2. Once an agreement is in place, the Library will produce materials in a format that is accessible to the student as agreed by the student, AC and Library staff.
  3. When an electronic copy of a textbook is received from the publishers, the student will receive the material in the format provided by the publisher if it is accessible.
  4. UTS will not produce multiple formats of the same textual material. Except if necessary to effectively communicate different textbook contents, eg figures, graphs etc
  5. Delivery method - a webpage is created for each student. Students are notified of the address of their webpage and can access the material on and off campus using their UTS Webmail username and password.